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AO-7 Appreciation

(Originally posted to Twitter.)

AO-7 (or AMSAT OSCAR 7), an amateur radio satellite we can still (again?) use today, was launched in 1974. I saw this magazine with an article on that launch at a local ham fest and had to buy it.

Cover of the December 1974 issue of CQ Magazine, showing an artists’ rendering of the launch of Oscar 7, later AMSAT Oscar 7.

I got it for half price! 😉

AO-7 has an interesting history, covered in detail in its Wikipedia article: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMSAT-OSCAR_7

It stopped working in 1981 when it’s battery failed, short circuiting it’s power bus. 21 years of the solar panels dumping power into shorted batteries later, the batteries became an OPEN circuit in 2002, allowing the satellite to operate while in sunlight.

It still works today.

At ~48 years old, It’s the oldest amateur radio satellite still in operation, and is the oldest satellite OVER ALL still in operation, if you don’t count passive reflectors in orbit.

It’s a neat old bird. (4 months older than me!)

-Mark

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