Yahoo! News Story - Inexpensive Satellite Does the Job

Yahoo!News refertofriend@reply.yahoo.com
Wed, 23 Jan 2002 19:24:02 PST






Rohit Khare (rohit@knownow.com) has sent you a news article

Personal message:

SURFsat, PCsat, anyone with a couple spare kilobucks... munchkins in a vaccuum... hmm. Anyway, an inspirational little story!
--Rohit

Inexpensive Satellite Does the Job
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20020123/tc/cheap_satellite_1.html


Inexpensive Satellite Does the Job
Yahoo! News News Home - Yahoo! - Help

Associated Press
Home  Top Stories  Business   Tech   Politics  World  Local  Entertainment  Sports  Op/Ed  Science  Health  Full Coverage
Technology - Associated Press
MyAdd to My Yahoo!
  
Reuters  |  CNET  |  Internet Report  |  ZDNet  |  TechWeb  |  NewsFactor  |  The New York Times  |  AP   | More ...

Related Quotes
S&P 500
NASDAQ
^IIX
HD
DJIA
^PSE
1128.18
1922.38
141.39
48.52
9730.96
676.24
+8.87
+39.85
+4.03
+0.02
+17.16
+14.72

delayed 20 mins - disclaimer

Full Coverage
In-depth coverage about
Telecom Industry
Related News Stories
·FCC to Return NextWave-Linked Downpayment-Sources - Reuters (Jan 23, 2002)
·Motorola Plans More Cost-Cutting - AP (Jan 23, 2002)
·Agere Reports $375 Million Loss - AP (Jan 23, 2002)
·Motorola Sees Return to Profit - Reuters (Jan 23, 2002)
·Braced for the change - Detroit Free Press (Jan 23, 2002)
More...
Opinion & Editorials
·Why Should Broadband Get a Tax Break? - Business Week (Jan 22, 2002)
·Broadband and the moon - RockyMountain News (Jan 22, 2002)
·Stop Qwest's sharing data - Denver Post (Jan 15, 2002)
More...
Related Web Sites
·U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - regulates U.S. broadcast media and communications markets. Site hosts the Daily Digest, a synopsis of Commission orders, news releases, speeches, and titles of public notices.
·European Union Information Society Directorate General - oversees telecoms, markets, and related technologies.
·International Telecommunication Union - international organization within which governments and the private sector coordinate global telecom networks and services.
More...
Magazine Articles
·Is a Takeover Next for Nextel? - Business Week (Dec 12, 2001)
·Did the first ever radio transmission really take place? - The Guardian (UK). (Dec 11, 2001)
·Total Recall - Far Eastern Economic Review (Nov 27, 2001)
More...
Audio
·Comcast Buys AT&T Cable to Create Net Service Giant - NPR (Dec 20, 2001)
·Comcast Buys AT&T's Cable TV Division - NPR (Dec 20, 2001)
·Motorola Plans More Than 9,000 Additional Layoffs - NPR (Dec 19, 2001)
More...
Video
·Networking analyst discusses JDSU, NT warnings - MSNBC (Jun 15, 2001)
·Canada holds cellphone airwave auction - CBC (Jan 14, 2001)
·AT&T CEO on the split and the four news companies - CNNfn (Oct 25, 2000)
Related Full Coverage
·Corporate Earnings
·Wireless Communications Devices
·Broadband
·ISP News
·Digital and Interactive TV

Wednesday January 23 2:35 PM ET Inexpensive Satellite Does the Job

Inexpensive Satellite Does the Job

By TOM STUCKEY, Associated Press Writer

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Once every 100 minutes, a bargain basement satellite loops around the earth, sending and receiving digital messages over antennae made from a metal tape measure.

A sailor on a solo crossing of the Atlantic bounces signals off the satellite to stay in touch with his family. New Zealanders on a cross-country hike use it to communicate with friends back home.

Any ham radio user with the proper digital packet-transmitting equipment who is within 2,000 miles of the 25-pound satellite can use it to send single-line text messages to a public channel.

After four months in space, the U.S. Naval Academy's ``bird'' is proving surprisingly resilient, to the delight of the midshipmen and faculty advisers who designed and built it.

The so-called Prototype Communications Satellite (PCSat) was the 44th amateur satellite put in orbit. It is one of more than a dozen built by university students around the world.

At a cost of just $50,000 - including plane tickets to the Alaska launch site - it was constructed using off-the-shelf parts not designed to withstand the rigors of space. Its life span was only expected to be a few months.

Six students put together the satellite last year after a three-year research and design project made possible with a grant from Boeing Co. The Department of Defense (news - web sites) Space Test Program approved the project and put it on a launch list.

A tape measure from Home Depot provided the antenna. Power comes from two dozen AA batteries that are recharged by the solar panels, which are in sunlight an average of 75 minutes per orbit.

Midshipmen designed circuit boards, ordering them from an Internet supplier. Parts rated for use in space, which are built to withstand the effects of radiation from the sun, would have been too expensive, so the students went with regular circuit boards.

Sept. 29 was Launch Day, and there were anxious moments at the academy as the cube-shaped satellite hitched a ride aboard an Athena rocket that blasted into space from Kodiak, Alaska.

Save for the failure of one of the six solar panels, damaged when the satellite separated from the rocket, there have been no problems.

On Launch Day, it was nine hours before PCSat made its first pass over Annapolis and the midshipmen and faculty advisers could see for themselves that their satellite was working.

``I was thrilled. It was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life,'' said Steven Lawrence, who helped build the satellite before he graduated in May.

In the following weeks, people in remote areas began to use the satellite as word about it spread through an international organization of ham radio operators.

Just how long PCSat works depends on how much solar radiation bombards the satellite and how long the batteries, solar panels and thousands of transistors withstand the sun's damaging effects.

``If we get lucky with radiation, it could last three years,'' said Darrell Boden, a professor in the aerospace engineering department.

-

On the Net:

http://www.ew.usna.edu/pcsat

Email this story - View most popular  |  Printer-friendly format

Archived Stories by Date:

News Resources
Message Boards: Post/Read Msgs (3 msg Jan 23, 9:26 PM ET)
Conversations: Start a live discussion
News Alerts: Department of Defense | Home Depot Inc
More Alerts: News Bulletins, News, Mobile, Stocks

ADVERTISEMENT
 Weekly Specials



Search News
Advanced
Search:  Stories   Photos   Audio/Video   Full Coverage
Home  Top Stories  Business   Tech   Politics  World  Local  Entertainment  Sports  Op/Ed  Science  Health  Full Coverage

Copyright © 2002 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.
Questions or Comments
Privacy Policy - Terms of Service
</body> </html>