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ARRL Satellite Bulletin ARLS019 (2000)

ARLS019 Phase 3D Launch Slipped By One Day

QST de W1AW  
Space Bulletin 019  ARLS019
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington, CT  November 15, 2000
To all radio amateurs

ARLS019 Phase 3D Launch Slipped By One Day

The highly anticipated launch of the AMSAT Phase 3D Amateur Radio
satellite has been delayed by a last-minute technical glitch. Acting
Phase 3D Project Leader Peter Guelzow, DB2OS, reported from the
launch site at the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, that
a problem with a microwave link has delayed the launch for 24 hours.
The satellite was to go into space early on November 15 UTC.

The troublesome link only affected the telemetry between the
PanAmSat PAS 1R commercial payload and the ground facility. It had
nothing to do with the operation of Phase 3D. PAS-1R is the
mission's primary payload.

Guelzow said the telemetry link problem was promptly repaired, but
by then, it was too late to resume the countdown to make the
required launch window.

The launch agency Arianespace described the problem as an ''anomaly
in the ground-based telemetry system'' for the PanAmSat PAS-1R
satellite, which is installed atop the Ariane 5. Jean-Charles
Vincent, the head of Arianespace's Kourou facility, said the problem
was pinpointed in the umbilical mast on the Ariane 5 mobile launch

''We detected the anomaly this afternoon, and decided on the one-day
postponement to provide sufficient time to resolve it,'' he said
Tuesday.  The decision to delay happened before Arianespace crews
began fueling the main stage.

Also aboard the launch vehicle with P3D and the huge PAS-1R
communications satellite are the smaller British STRV-1C and 1D
mini-satellites. Vincent said both the launcher and its
multisatellite payload are in a safe mode, enabling the countdown to
begin again Thursday. The launch window remains the same--opening at
0107 UTC and closing at 0203 UTC (10:07 PM until 11:03 PM Kourou
time) on November 16.

In the planning, design and construction phases for the past several
years, Phase 3D promises to usher in a new era in Amateur Radio
communication. Once in its final orbit high above Earth, Phase
3D--the largest Amateur Radio satellite ever built--will offer
capabilities unavailable on current amateur satellites.


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