ARRL

ARRL Satellite Bulletin ARLS008 (1997)

SB SPACE @ ARL $ARLS008
ARLS008 Phase 3D delayed

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Space Bulletin 008  ARLS008
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington, CT  March 25, 1997
To all radio amateurs

SB SPACE ARL ARLS008
ARLS008 Phase 3D delayed

Modifications to the Ariane 5 rocket's electrical systems and
software will mean another costly delay for the Phase 3D Amateur
Radio satellite. The European Space Agency (ESA) announced March 24,
that the Ariane 502 which will carry Phase 3D aloft from Kourou,
French Guyana, has been rescheduled for a mid-September launch. ESA
said the schedule change was in response to recommendations of a
board of inquiry that looked into the causes for the failure of the
Ariane 501 launch last year.

''This additional action, which does not call into question the
design of the launcher nor its flight readiness, is intended to
improve its robustness, increase the operational margins and allow
for degraded operating modes,'' an ESA press release said.

AMSAT-NA President Bill Tynan, W3XO, said a complete analysis had
not yet been done but that he believed the delay would add ''on the
order of 100,000 dollars'' to Phase 3D's cost. That's on top of an
estimated 200,000 dollars combined funding shortfall that AMSAT-NA
and AMSAT-DL were reporting in late February. So far, AMSAT-DL has
invested nearly 2 million dollars in Phase 3D, compared to nearly
1.4 million dollars for AMSAT-NA.  ''Every month adds costs,'' Tynan
concluded.

Phase 3D fund-raising efforts will continue. Earlier this year, the
Japanese AMSAT group, JAMSAT, helped bridge the funding gap by
transferring 50,000 dollars to AMSAT-NA. The money represented
excess donations from JAMSAT members for the Phase 3D SCOPE camera.
The completed SCOPE camera, designed and built entirely by JAMSAT,
has been installed and successfully powered up at the Phase 3D
Integration Laboratory in Orlando, Florida, where preparation and
testing continue.

Tynan emphasized that the Phase 3D team plans to take maximum
advantage of the schedule change to perform additional testing.
''It's not time being wasted,'' Tynan said, adding that the Phase 3D
team ''will use the delay to be even more sure about the
spacecraft's readiness.''

Prior to announcement of the latest delay, AMSAT-NA Vice President
Keith Baker, KB1SF, had been reporting that AMSAT was racing to meet
the early July launch schedule and that work on the satellite was
moving along swiftly.

A series of pictures of Phase 3D work in progress is available via
the AMSAT-NA Web site at http://www.amsat.org. Depending on its
workload, the integration team hopes to be able to update these
photos as work progresses.
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