[amsat-bb] Re: Phase 3 Express Launch Opportunities?

George and Cheryl Abbott ka1ajf at cox.net
Sun Jan 29 15:57:43 PST 2012

Is the P3-E satellite actually ready and available to be matched up to a 
rocket for launch into a high elliptical space orbit?

-----Original Message----- 
From: Peter Guelzow
Sent: Sunday, January 29, 2012 5:33 PM
To: Andrew Glasbrenner
Cc: amsat-bb at amsat.org
Subject: [amsat-bb] Re: Phase 3 Express Launch Opportunities?

On 28.01.2012 01:34, Andrew Glasbrenner wrote:
> Back to P3E. I like David's idea. I'd like even more to hear something 
> similar from Peter or Hartmut. I've donated to P3E in the past, and voted 
> as a BOD member to help fund their lab out of the -NA reserves several 
> years ago. I love the project, but until I hear a little more positive 
> about what's currently going on over there, my money will continue to go 
> to Kiwisat, FunCube, and first and foremost, Fox. I am the proud sponsor 
> of a solar cell on Fox, and hope to be able to do more this year.
> Have you heard we find out if we (AMSAT-NA and Fox) get one of the NASA 
> launches on Monday?

Hi Drew et all,

indeed all money donated to the P3-E project goes into the P3-E project
and we are grateful for all those direct contributions and support in
particular from many individual AMSAT-NA members and indeed many other
hams from around the world. Due to ITAR, unfortunatly AMSAT-NA had to
stop all it's official support (including money, which hurts) for P3-E
several years ago, as you wrote.. For example, we had to re-build and
continue the IHU hardware and software development on our own resources.
The same for the original SDX development, etc.  The S/C is still
sitting in our clean room in Marburg and waiting to be finalized. Having
no firm launch date yet, activities slowed down in some areas, while
other activities and groups are highly active and well alive.  The
biggest problem is indeed having no firm launch date yet..  this is
frustration for everyone involved. We all put so much volunteer work and
time into it...

When I read "Forget P3-E, build an MEO" (that's how I read it first) I
was indeed very concerned..  should we really forget all the hard work,
time and money which already went into the project and scrap it???   And
what than?    No - I'm not giving up...

OK, reading the second time I understood that Dave meant we should put
P3-E on  VEGA and use it's propulsion to go to MEO...

Unfortunately things are not so easy..  P3-E was designed to go from GTO
into HEO.  For example, all the magnetic attitude control won't work in
MEO anymore, etc..    Thus we were looking for GTO, but would it fit on
VEGA?  Indeed, we could try an elliptical orbit with a much lower
apogee,  but than we have to carefully study the effects of orbit
resonances which caused AO-13 to burn-up too soon.   However, I do
sympathize with the idea and we thought about it in the past, but
discarded the idea for reasons I have almost forgotten now.    So,
perhaps we should look again at it..  do some orbit and fuel
calculation, study orbit perturbations and orbit stability again and see
what the impact will be on the S/C design.    Any volunteers for that?

As Nitin wrote,  we contacted AMSAT-India to help with contacts to
ISRO,  we are in contact with SpaceX and I recently had a personal
letter exchange with the CEO of Arianespace.  If a launch possibility
arises, we will be on it.   It is not always a matter of money, but also
a matter of compatibility to slip in.  Ariane-5 for example is a real
workhorse now with standard launch configurations.  Any change on that
costs them a lot of money. If there is an "unusual" configuration were
they have to ask industry for a configuration change, than it might also
be easier for us to slip in..
That simply means we have to wait for the right moment or finding new
qualification flight..  Ariane 5ME is such opportunity we are actively
working on, but this will not be before 2018.

In the last several month our work and priority was mostly focused
regarding our funding situation and to improve it.  Although most people
still did not understand it, but the P5-A project is one these
opportunity we need. It is well alive and currently heavily discussed
within the highest ranks inside of our government organizations.   Apart
from this, we are currently working on another project to fly an hosted
payload on a GEO satellite... A decision is not made yet, but if we get
the opportunity it will provide some neat communication capabilities.
Our previous heritage and  P5 will help here too..

I'm currently having some serious family matters to take care off, so
please be patient if I do not reply quickly..

73s Peter DB2OS

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