AO-27 satellite celebrates 27 years in space

AO-27 satellite

Stephan Greene KS1G reports the AMRAD-Oscar 27 (AO-27) satellite has celebrated 27 years in orbit

On the AMSAT Bulletin Board he writes:

Happy 27th birthday to AMRAD-Oscar 27, still alive and operating today [September 27]!

For an amateur radio satellite operator in the early 1990s, working on a satellite project based on the AMSAT Microsat design was a dream job!

The hams on the team (including Dino Lorenzini, Mark Kanawati, Steve Greene, and Mike Wyrick) couldn’t help but include an amateur radio payload, and were successful with the help of fellow amateurs and the local Vienna, Virginia Amateur Research and Development (AMRAD) group:  Paul Renaldo, Andre Castillot, Dave Rogers, Glenn Baumgartner, Sandy Sanders, Matt Butcher, Randy Mays, and Terry Fox, and with help from AMSAT’s Lyle Johnson, Chuck Green, and Jim White, among many others.

EYESAT-1/AO-27 launched (with the amateur payload and an extra UHF antenna for the downlink) at 0145 UTC September 26, 1993.  [Ariane-4 V59 also launched amateur satellites KO-25, IO-26, and PO-28, SSTL’s Healthsat-2, the Stella research satellite, and the Spot-3 earth observation satellite.]  The satellite was commanded on during the next orbit and the first QSO on the amateur payload was made the following morning on September 27, 1993. (We think – does anyone have an archive of amsat-bb emails from 1993 who can check?)

AO-27 was the first FM “bent pipe” satellite and proved to be easy to work with a strong downlink and sensitive receiver.  The amateur FM repeater has served many Hams worldwide and was one of the first “Easy Sats”.  AO-27 was later used for the first successful D-Star mode satellite QSO.  The 800 km orbit provides continent-spanning coverage.  At least one station is known to have worked 49 states solely via AO-27!

And here we are today, the 27th of September, 2020, celebrating the 27th birthday of AO-27!

Thanks to Mike Wyrick N3UC who babysat the spacecraft for the last 27 years.

And thanks to all those who helped.  There are many untold stories and photos we hope to share in the near future.

Current information on AO-27’s operating schedule is at
https://www.ao27.net/

Mark, Mike, Steve (N4TPY, N3UC, KS1G)

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