Thursday, December 22, 2011

"End of Mission" for AO-51

Launch of AMSAT-Echo
(later AO-51) in 2004.
(AMSAT Photo)

As the 50th anniversary of the December 12, 1961 launch of OSCAR-1 approached in late November, controllers of AMSAT-OSCAR 51 announced that amateur satellite's "end of mission." AMSAT-NA Vice President of Operations Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA, said, "It is with a heavy heart I report that AO-51 has ceased transmissions and is not responding to commands." AO-51 provided low-earth orbit satellite contacts for seven years before its batteries finally failed. The AMSAT News Service reports that the AO-51 command team will regularly attempt to communicate with the satellite over the coming months and years, in hopes that at least one of its batteries will come back to life.