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ARRL Satellite Bulletin ARLS007 (1999)

ARLS007 Phase 3D Accepted for "First Suitable" Ariane 5 Launch

QST de W1AW  
Space Bulletin 007  ARLS007
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington, CT  October 8, 1999
To all radio amateurs

ARLS007 Phase 3D Accepted for ''First Suitable'' Ariane 5 Launch

AMSAT-NA says the Phase 3 Amateur Radio satellite has been accepted
as a payload for the ''first suitable'' Arianespace Ariane 5 vehicle
launch. The announcement came today from Phase 3D Project Leader and
AMSAT-Germany President Karl Meinzer, DJ4ZC, who said a launch
opportunity could come during the first half of next year.

''As the primary agency responsible for securing a launch opportunity
for Phase 3D, I am pleased to announce that AMSAT-Germany and
Arianespace have now come to an agreement calling for the launch of
P3D as a secondary payload aboard the 'first suitable' Ariane 5
flight,'' Meinzer said in a statement from Marburg, Germany. ''From
the very beginning of the Phase 3D project, we considered the Ariane
5 series our primary launch vehicle. Our long history of success and
mutual cooperation with both the European Space Agency and
Arianespace, coupled with our need to lift P3D into a high
geostationary transfer orbit, made the Ariane 5 the unanimous choice
by AMSAT.''

Specific details of the launch agreement were not released.

AMSAT-NA President Keith Baker, KB1SF, was elated with the latest
news. ''I'm very pleased to see that AMSAT-DL's negotiations with
Arianespace have resulted in a launch contract for Phase 3D, and I'm
delighted we are again slated to fly on an Ariane vehicle,'' he said.
''Following the resounding success of Ariane Flight 503, the Ariane 5
has now proven itself to be a very capable launcher.''

Baker said that given past successes with ESA and Ariane, ''I believe
we now have an unbeatable combination.'' Once in orbit, Baker said,
''the Phase 3D satellite will not only help us usher in the new
Millennium, it will also signal the dawn of a brand new era for
Amateur Radio.''

While both AMSAT presidents expressed optimism for an early launch
of the satellite, Meinzer expressed caution that the wait for the
''first suitable'' flight could still turn out to be a long one.
''While the launch of Phase 3D could come as early as the first half
of the year 2000, we must remember that Ariane's launch manifests
are continually being updated to accommodate market changes as well
as the availability of other payloads,'' he explained. Meinzer said
''one or more changes'' to P3D's anticipated launch date as well as
its specific Ariane 5 mission number ''are a very real possibility
before our satellite actually flies.''

ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, welcomed the AMSAT
announcement. ''Congratulations to AMSAT's Phase 3D team on moving
another important step closer to launch,'' Sumner said. ''For those
who have been putting off getting their stations ready for Phase 3D,
the time for procrastination is just about over.'' The League has
been a major contributor to the Phase 3D project.

Based on its new 'standby' launch status, Phase 3D is slated to be
delivered to the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, later
this month to be ready once a specific Ariane 5 launch is

The Phase 3D project has been an international effort that has
worked with donated resources. In addition to AMSAT-DL and AMSAT-NA
teams, AMSAT groups from Austria, Great Britain, Japan, Canada,
Finland, Russia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, France, New
Zealand and Hungary also have participated.

AMSAT says that while Phase 3D's primary focus is on improved
worldwide satellite communication, the satellite also will have a
very positive influence on the future of Amateur Radio. ''Phase 3D
will be Amateur Radio's premier vehicle to continue the quest for
new communications technologies for generations yet unborn,'' the
AMSAT announcement said.


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