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Space Science

Satellite Celebrates 20 Years Working in Orbit 199

Posted by michael
from the retirement-age dept.
lloydwood writes "The UoSAT-2/UO-11 small satellite was launched into low Earth orbit on 1 March 1984 from Vandenberg Air Force Base. Twenty years later, it's still in orbit and operational -- and we recently found launch footage. To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of starting in orbit, the original video celebrating the UoSAT-2 launch is available (in windows media and mpeg). Thrill to the computers, the clothes, and the haircuts of 1984. SSTL has launched more than twenty satellites since."
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Satellite Celebrates 20 Years Working in Orbit

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  • Bad press (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 01, 2004 @05:49PM (#8433994)
    Things like this should be publicized much more than the stupid mistakes NASA makes. It's hard to keep a car running 20 years even with a constant supply of oil and maintanence work. This is much cooler, and deserves more media attention than a mixing up of metric and Imperial measurements (all though the mixups are STILL important). Eh, just a quick rant.
  • Re:So... (Score:0, Insightful)

    by ixplodestuff8 (699898) on Monday March 01, 2004 @05:59PM (#8434090)
    That was a satellite, skylab was a station, you're comparing apples and oranges
  • Pretty amazing.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brain1 (699194) on Monday March 01, 2004 @06:02PM (#8434134)
    Considering that batteries die with age, solar panels degrade with exposure, and radiation of all sorts bombard the spacecraft. Also you have to have fuel to station keep, and it is only recently that ion thrusters have become available that dont require a lot of reaction mass to operate.

    20 years of operation in the harsh environment of space gets my applause.
  • Magnet links? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WeblionX (675030) on Monday March 01, 2004 @06:12PM (#8434195) Homepage Journal
    Why do most sites that host large images/movies not supply magnet links? It'd save them loads on bandwidth and people could stop making jokes about the server.

    (Not that I'm complaining about downloading at 215KB/s from the server..)
  • by FrostedWheat (172733) on Monday March 01, 2004 @06:25PM (#8434298)
    From a linked page: Jan King, W3GEY reports AO-7 is almost certainly running only off the solar panels. It is very likely to be on only when in the sun and off in eclipse. Therefore, AO-7 will reset each orbit and may not turn on each time.

    The batteries have probably gone, but the fact that the rest of it is still operating is amazing.

    I notice it has a CCD camera but I've been unable to find any pictures. Does anyone know if it is operational?
  • Re:Bad press (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jsebrech (525647) on Monday March 01, 2004 @07:30PM (#8434847)
    Actually, this would be more akin to keeping a computer running for 20 years non-stop, without ever having to manually powercycle it, and without replacing a single piece of hardware, in the middle of antarctica. Much more impressive that just doing good car maintenance.

    Still, I think it's pretty sad that computers are even more frail than we humans are. For ages most of what we built outlasted us; now the tables have turned.
  • by NateTech (50881) on Tuesday March 02, 2004 @06:07AM (#8438787) Homepage
    He said *working satellite*.

    Pay attention, there's going to be a test.

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