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ARRL Satellite Bulletin ARLS005 (1996)

ARLS005 Phase 3-D update

Space Bulletin 005  ARLS005
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington, CT  June 11, 1996
To all radio amateurs

ARLS005 Phase 3-D update

Ariane 5 failure could affect Phase 3-D launch

The spectacular failure of an Ariane 5 launch vehicle, the same type
of rocket that's scheduled to carry the Phase 3-D satellite aloft
later this year, may have an impact on the Phase 3-D program. The
rocket, on its maiden operational test, had to be destroyed June 4
by ground-based command 40 seconds into the flight at an altitude of
about 12,000 feet (4000 meters) when it appeared to veer off course.
The launch was from the European Space Agency's Kourou launch
facility in French Guiana, South America. Ariane 501 carried a group
of four scientific satellites known as ''Cluster'' which were
destroyed as well. No Amateur Radio satellites were aboard.

The AMSAT Phase 3-D spacecraft, now under construction, is
manifested on the second flight of the Ariane 5 series (Ariane 502)
which, according to ESA's latest schedule, is to be launched in
October of this year. AMSAT officials say it's too early to know
what effect the Ariane 501 failure will have on the 502 schedule,
the possible Phase 3-D launch date, or the vehicle on which it will
ride. But they do not rule out a schedule that extends beyond the
re-entry of AO-13 into the Earth's atmosphere.

AMSAT-DL President Karl Meinzer, DJ4ZC, and AMSAT-NA President Bill
Tynan, W3XO, expressed their sadness on hearing the news. In a joint
statement they said, ''We at AMSAT have enjoyed a mutually beneficial
relationship with ESA for over 15 years, and we are, quite
naturally, distressed to hear of this unfortunate occurrence.'' They
noted that except for the RS and Fuji satellites, all successful
Amateur Radio satellite launches since the early 1980s have been on
Ariane vehicles. Both men expressed confidence that the ESA team
will overcome this setback and develop a successful launch vehicle.
DJ4ZC and W3XO said they stand together in anticipating a successful
launch of Phase 3-D on a future Ariane mission.


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