[amsat-bb] Re: Can we get them to fix AO-40 first then?

Larry n1miw at cox.net
Wed Oct 14 16:07:47 PDT 2009

   With all of the chatter lately in regards to HEO's (people putting their
eggs in one basket with a hole in it) etc., it still brings up the point
that even though the satellite doesn't work now, maybe it just "might" if
the solar panels were attempted to be opened. I've received several emails
in regards to that particular command & why it wouldn't work, but we will
never know if AO-40 is in the proper attitude since it is off. If we could
attempt to recover the satellite & just get SOME telemetry to see what's
going on, we're in better shape than just letting it sit up there & "hope"
the short goes away or that she "wakes up". Imagine if the "event" damaged a
circuit by putting it to ground that is causing everything to short out, and
moving a panel releases the short due to vibration! How many of you have hit
your TV set to fix a jumpy screen? Or better yet, an analog meter to get the
needle to move? Hopefully the transmitter comes back on the air sending
telemetry once more if this could happen. It doesn't seem right that there's
a battery up there that's only what, 2 years old, and it developed an
internal short? I am by no means an aerospace expert, but I have batteries
for my HT's that are older than that & still work fine. If this is what
happened, I hope newer designs are including circuitry to prevent the total
failure of the sat if this was to happen again. After the "event", there was
talk about AO-40 possibly not being in one piece - was there a definite
answer? I don't remember, nor did I check the archives.

   My final thought on this is - if you can't get the receiver to decode
commands, it's a loss, end of story. If it will receive, make it open the
panels to get more power to the bird. Once the satellite is fully
illuminated by the sun during its rotation, then try to work on stabilizing
the satellite. Until that is tried, I personally feel that not every last
attempt at reviving AO-40 has been attempted, and we could very possibly
have an operating (although partially crippled) HEO in orbit. Besides, if
the propellant is still there, what's to say it won't leak out between now &
whenever she decides to "wake up"? Who's going to be able to control it in
20+ years? Won't it be useless to hams then too?

   I'm not looking to start any heated arguments - this is all just my
opinion. I haven't read every book there is on satellites, nor do I even
remotely work close to the industry. I'm just an average ham who enjoys the
sats from time to time, and would love to see someone "tinker" with AO-40 to
get her back on the air!!!!!

73's... Larry N1MIW

...LEO's are satellites too!!!!!

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