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AMSAT GO-Mars/P5A, Amateur radio Mars orbiter
JTN
post Aug 12 2008, 06:38 PM
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This has been on my radar for a couple of years, and I've been meaning to ask about it. Gets to Mars by tricky Moon-flyby trajectory (which compensates for non-optimal piggyback launch). Payload includes radio stuff (duh) and camera(s), and various proposals for things like Cubesats and maybe a balloon(!) to ride along.

http://www.go-mars.org/ (German)
http://ticket-to-mars.org/ (million-dollar-homepage-like donation site)
http://www.amsat-dl.org/p5a/

Surprised I haven't seen much mention of it here; this post in 2006 is the only reference I can find.

These guys have successfully built and launched Earth-orbiting satellites, and received signals from interplanetary craft, so their proposal is unusually credible. However, I haven't found much detail on the above websites; in particular, I haven't worked out how they're doing MOI -- I'm not a rocket scientist but that feels orders of magnitude from the propulsion systems they've proven in Earth orbit.

In particular, I don't see status updates. There are pictures of hardware, and recent news items on the website, but nothing indicating that they're gearing up for launch soon (I've had 2009 pencilled in for a couple of years, although I don't recall my source for that; ticket-to-mars.org currently says "it should begin its nine-month journey during launch windows in 2009 or 2011"). A few dates on the website are now in the past, e.g. "late 2007" for launch of P3E, an Earth orbiter which is to test some of the technology.

Anyone know more about the progress of this interesting project?
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RJG
post Aug 12 2008, 08:03 PM
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There was a presentation on this Mars mission at the AMSAT-UK Colloquium a week or so ago. The presentation was broadcast live as a webcast and the archive recording is now available at www.batc.tv (search under Film Archive for AMSAT UK Lecture 10).

The trick appears to be to get a free ride into geostationary transfer orbit and then take it from there. All seems very do-able. 65kg science payload into Mars orbit by 2012!

The other AMSAT UK lectures hosted on this site are also interesting and show that there is much going on in the amateur satellite world.

Regards
Rob
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mcaplinger
post Aug 12 2008, 08:58 PM
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QUOTE (JTN @ Aug 12 2008, 11:38 AM) *
I'm not a rocket scientist but that feels orders of magnitude from the propulsion systems they've proven in Earth orbit.

It's only a few 100's of m/s delta V different from what their GTO satellite AO-40 was capable of. See http://www.amsat-dl.org/p5a/p5a-to-mars.pdf
But A0-40's propulsion system failed so there's some work to do there.

As indicated, it's getting the free launch that's probably the biggest issue.


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Disclaimer: This post is based on public information only. Any opinions are my own.
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nprev
post Aug 13 2008, 01:48 AM
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I would suggest that they approach a commercial concern like DirecTV or Sirius and pitch the ride as a PR/community service effort (which it really would be.) Comsats are going up left & right with very little fanfare.

I can see the Sunday morning commercials now: "DirecTV: Bringing you your world...and now another!" tongue.gif


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dh2va
post Aug 13 2008, 05:13 PM
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We are currently talking to possible sponsors (federal and commercial) as the main doorstopper right now is the money. Technology-wise, propulsion is under control, as the AO-40 motor was capable of delivering enough delta-v with a slight increase of fuel mass (problem with AO-40 is understood). Communications is well under control as our multiple receptions of Voyager 1 demonstrate. A phase-coherent transponder for precise navigation will fly on P3-E, planned for next year. As soon as the money is there we can start serious design and metal-bashing as many parts are replicas of the AO-40 spacecraft. Of course things like thermal design and attitude control will be different from AO-40, but nothing special.

Things will heat up considerably once the budget is secured.. stay tuned.

Achim Vollhardt, DH2VA
AMSAT-DL P5-A project leader
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nprev
post Aug 14 2008, 01:33 AM
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Figured you were! smile.gif Welcome to UMSF, Achim, and please do keep us posted!


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JTN
post Aug 18 2008, 06:09 PM
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Thanks for dropping by, Achim, and the best of luck!

QUOTE (mcaplinger @ Aug 12 2008, 09:58 PM) *
It's only a few 100's of m/s delta V different from what their GTO satellite AO-40 was capable of. See http://www.amsat-dl.org/p5a/p5a-to-mars.pdf

Mm, GTO is a long way there, isn't it? Thank goodness our planet doesn't rotate faster smile.gif Should have read that PDF.
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hendric
post Aug 19 2008, 05:13 PM
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Achim,
Thanks for dropping by. I might be able to buy a few pixels for us bozos on UMSF, if Doug doesn't mind. What are your plans for data releases?


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imipak
post Aug 19 2008, 07:19 PM
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I tried to, but the SSL cert was expired.


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Marz
post Jul 8 2009, 05:26 AM
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Has anyone heard an update for the P5A Mars Mission? 2009 and 2011 are listed as the launch years, but I seriously doubt it's launching this year since I have found no news about the mission status.

Is 2011 planned? The only information I can find is:
http://ticket-to-mars.org/en_EN/mission.html
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djellison
post Jul 8 2009, 06:56 AM
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Well - I'm hoping they'll be at Amsat UK again in a couple of weeks so they can do an update. I'm going.
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