SO-67 Recovery Work Continues

SA AMSAT say there is still a recovery opportunity for the amateur radio satellite SumbandilaSat (SO-67).

The team at SunSpace are still incrementally reading back the program code from the nine power modules in an effort to determine the extent of the corruption. With SumbandilaSat going through eclipses, the satellite is not as much available as the team would like. SumbandilaSat’s batteries failed which means that the satellite is only active when the solar panels are illuminated.

“We need the information to confirm that the changes we made to stop repeated corruption were effective.” Johann Lochner ZR6CBC who spends a considerable amount of his free time on recovery of SumbandilaSat said. “It is our aim to ultimately reprogram one of the power modules to automatically switch the amateur radio transponder on and off.”

Because of the shorter illumination of the solar panels in the Southern hemisphere and most likely poor orientation of the satellite with respect to the sun, progress is much slower than originally anticipated. “Where we had three passes to work with in January we currently have one”, Johann said.

In early June 2011 for an unknown reason (but probably related to a major radiation event on 7 June) the primary controller on the power distribution unit (PDU) powering the On-Board Computer (OBC) stopped responding to commands from the ground station.

It later appeared that the battery had failed and nothing was heard  from the satellite for some time. The ground stations at SANSA Space operations at Hartbeeshoek and the Electronic Systems Laboratory at Stellenbosch University are receiving telemetry when the satellite’s solar panels are illuminated by the sun.

Johann said with SumbandilaSat responding when it is in full sunlight the team is confident that some operations will be restored even to the point where it may be possible to do some imaging and have the amateur radio transponder back in operation.

Source AMSAT News Service ANS

Southern African Amateur Radio Satellite Association SA AMSAT