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Satellite Celebrates 20 Years Working in Orbit

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the retirement-age dept.

Space 199

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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FIRST POST! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8433910)

SUCK IT DOWN!

Re:FIRST POST! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8434092)


I must post this anonymously.

I was a junior engineer on the UoSAT-2/UO-11 project. Early into the project a group of military people visited us. We were asked various odd questions. This exchange in particular remains strong in my memory:
Military Man: Can we mount a laser into this satellite?
My Boss: No way, that'd require a lot of reenforcement of the tube chamber (back then we didn't have solid state).
Military Man: You could compensate with more fuel for launch. I'll approve it myself.
My Boss: But.. a laser? What size are you talking about and for what?
Military Man: [leans to assistant, whispers back and forth] We can tell you but your juniors [myself and 2 co-workers] will have to leave. [we did]

my boss left the project immediately and worked on a secret payload project overseen by the military. Whatever that bird has in it, it's looking down at us.

I send this to you for your approval... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8434174)

HALP! I've been kidnapped by the NAZI Bush regime!!!! [nytimes.com] -- Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Lawful President of the Soverign nation of Hati

Re:FIRST POST! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8434200)

No, really, we believe you!

err..

Re:FIRST POST! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8434206)

I, too, must post this anonymously.

I was that Military Man. The project to which you refer was the 'Alan Parsons Project'. We were going to put a jumbo 'laser' on the moon as part of a world domination plan. Didn't work out for some reason, I think a British agent foiled the plan or something.

Yes... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8433921)

Sure, but what have they done recently?

pffft ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8433923)

20 years ago I was playing Donkey Kong.

asdfasfdasfsadf (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8433926)

bite me, you suckfucker

Not for a few more minutes... (4, Funny)

suso (153703) | more than 10 years ago | (#8433928)

Just wait, I'm calibrating the targeting device on my low orbit space modulator.

Hold it... Hold it........ Fire!

Re:Not for a few more minutes... (4, Funny)

herrvinny (698679) | more than 10 years ago | (#8433985)

Don't you mean your Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator [barbneal.com] ?

Re:Not for a few more minutes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8434237)

BarbNeal? Is she the Cowboy's wife?

I bet... (2, Funny)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 10 years ago | (#8433932)

...it runs Unix.

Re:I bet... (3, Funny)

loserbert (697119) | more than 10 years ago | (#8433953)

But have they paid for their license?

Re:I bet... (0, Redundant)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 10 years ago | (#8433954)

You bet it runs Unix?

BRILLIANT!!!

Please help me

Re:I bet... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8433967)

Actually, NASA had it's own operating system called PLEK-SLC for satelites back then.

Re:I bet.....and you lose (5, Informative)

Captain Sensible (141639) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434256)

UoSat is not a NASA satellite. It was built and is controlled by the University of Surrey (england to the geographically challenged). It carries ham radio gear and a store-and-forward repeater for NGOs in third world nations.

opinions needed (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8433935)

well? [netfirms.com]

Umm... (5, Funny)

leifm (641850) | more than 10 years ago | (#8433941)

Since when do we celebrate various equipment still working? Guess I better ready for my PS2's upcoming 2 year still working anniversary!

Re:Umm... (2, Interesting)

bob dobalina (40544) | more than 10 years ago | (#8433979)

Since we only ever talk about satellites when they break, it seems only fair.

Re:Umm... (4, Funny)

pcraven (191172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8433984)

Dude, I'm so old every time I hear PS2 I still think of IBM's old PS/2 [seds.org] . Anyone else remember those?

Re:Umm... (4, Funny)

savagedome (742194) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434050)

Remember? Take a guess where this post is coming from ;)

Re:Umm... (3, Funny)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434065)

A keyboard with a PS/2 style plug?

Re:Umm... (1)

Tango42 (662363) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434177)

Damn! That was going to be my guess. Now I'll have to go with a mouse with a PS/2 style plug, assuming the last thing you did to the post was click "post". *hopes he doesn't use keyboard shortcuts...*

Re:Umm... (1)

sjaskow (143707) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434067)

Yep, the first PC's I got paid maintain post college were 2 IBM PS/2 Model 30's and 1 PS/2 Model 60. IIRC they were 286/10's with 512K of memory and 20MB hard drives. And we paid almost $3,000 1989 dollars to upgrade them to 8MB each.

Re:Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8434083)

I had a model 30 and a until recently... idiot brother started playing around with the voltage switch on the back and "let the smoke out" of one of the chips on the motherboard... I made a nice clipboard out of it. Of course I've been using the keyboard on my shiny new athlon 2400...

Not only do I remember the PS/2, ... (4, Funny)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434096)

and not only do I remember the commercials featuring Jamie Farr (of MASH fame), but I even have a PS/2 t-shirt (in great condition).

I had to explain to my wife that wearing it didn't mean I was old: it meant I was being post-ironic.

Re:Not only do I remember the PS/2, ... (3, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434213)

No, post-ironic is telivision's TJ Hooker trying to sell Vic-20's to the group that he just recently admonished to " GET A LIFE! "!!!

Re:Umm... (4, Funny)

shadowj (534439) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434118)

Old?? The PS/2 series was introduced in 1987! That's not old! That's only... um....

Damn, I'm old.

Re:Umm... (2, Interesting)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434125)

Remember the PS/2's? I remember looking forward to them!

Perhaps the kid with his 2-year-old PS2 will have a greater appreciation for a functioning 20-year-old satellite when he has some gear of that age himself.

Re:Umm... (1)

rvw14 (733613) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434221)

Yes, and I also remember the wonderful PS/1. Anyone else every suffer fixing one of these? (I "fixed" it with a sledge hammer)

Re:Umm... (3, Funny)

DR SoB (749180) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434227)

Dude anyone who says "dude" isn't that old...

Re:Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8434275)

I always think of the Evans and Sutherland "Picture System 2"

Re:Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8434317)

Unfortunately I do. So I guess that means I'm an old fart too, but I'm not too old, since I can still remember them. Sounds almost like one of those, you know your old when... 'cept I can't quite remember how it goes.

Re:Umm... (1)

duanedv (754953) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434335)

OK, how many of you remember the Bally video game machine forhome users? It came with a 'cartridge' that let you 'program your own games' using a language called 'Palo Alto Tiny Basic'? The machine had a grand total of 1,800 bytes! And you could save this by dumping it to a voice tape recorder! (yes, you could reload from the tape also...at the amazing speed of 300 Bits per second). Ah, the REALLY old days! I believe this might have preceed the TRS 80. Unfortunately, Bally never understood the home market and the game machine died a slow death from neglect (at least that is how I perceived it) Duane

Re:Umm... (4, Funny)

mblase (200735) | more than 10 years ago | (#8433991)

Since when do we celebrate various equipment still working?

Wait until you're fifty years old. If your equipment is still working, you'll be celebrating too.

Re:Umm... (1)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434150)

Oh bah, I'm only 12 years from that and can get hard looking at pictures of Rosanne Barr..

Re:Umm... (0)

red floyd (220712) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434209)

Now that's just sick...

Re:Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8434249)

Nah, really sick would have links to pictures of my Rosanne Barr RealDoll.

Re:Umm... (1)

Grayputer (618389) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434166)

Since we started using Microsoft software (sorry couldn't resist).

Re:Umm... (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434343)

If your PS/2 is still working after 2 years that is something to celegrate. The damn drive allignment problem is horrid on those things.

After it is /.ed (~60 meg video!) (4, Funny)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 10 years ago | (#8433951)

[Insert obligatory "1982 web servsr" joke]

I can do better than that! (1)

nhaines (622289) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434255)

Wow, that server went down in flames in record time! I hope they weren't serving that video off the satellite. ;)

Slashdotting imminent (5, Funny)

capz loc (752940) | more than 10 years ago | (#8433956)

With posting a 64-meg MPEG, I think we can be sure that their server won't have nearly the uptime of the satellite.

Re:Slashdotting imminent (4, Funny)

budhaboy (717823) | more than 10 years ago | (#8433973)

It's sort of funny watching my download speed (via cable modem) slowly drop... T-250KB/s... 249... 248.. Kind of reinforces the whole moment of a lift off...

Re:Slashdotting imminent (2, Funny)

slipgun (316092) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434203)

It's a university site and they still couldn't survive a slashdotting!

Posting an MPEG link direct to slashdot is the very definition of cruel :-)

Re:Slashdotting imminent (1)

Gossy (130782) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434286)

Hmm, well I'm getting 900KB/s from my connection, so I don't think they're having too many problems.

Long time! (-1)

qat (637648) | more than 10 years ago | (#8433960)

How much longer will one of these badboys last before they have to be replaced? ARE THEY CAPABLE OF TIME TRAVEL YET SO THEY WON"T HAVE TO BE REAPLACED?

If it was... (5, Funny)

SisyphusShrugged (728028) | more than 10 years ago | (#8433961)

If it was made twenty years ago, wouldnt it have to be 10,000 times larger than a modern computer and so expensive that only the five richest kings of Europe would own them.

Re:If it was... (2, Informative)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434094)

Dude, it's, like, built around a Sinclair ZX80.

KFG

Re:If it was... (1)

BTWR (540147) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434407)

yes... but could it be used for finding dates?

Not quite as amazing as Oscar 7 (5, Interesting)

Rorschach1 (174480) | more than 10 years ago | (#8433978)

The Oscar 7 [amsat.org] satellite was launched from the same place in 1974. It spent about 20 years dead in space after its batteries shorted, before it started working again out of the blue.

Incidentally, that launch pad [spaceflightnow.com] is about 3 miles from where I'm sitting. I can see it if I climb up on the antenna tower on the roof, but management got mad last time I did that to watch a launch.

Re:Not quite as amazing as Oscar 7 (2, Funny)

PPGMD (679725) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434071)

Oscar 7 was fixed by aliens. Sort of like the Spirit Rover. http://klydemorris.com/strips.cfm?strip_ID=1240

Re:Not quite as amazing as Oscar 7 (1)

boomgopher (627124) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434171)

Hey, are you at the ILSC on North Base?

I used to climb the towers on the roof to watch the MMIII launches from the LFs near Minuteman beach.


Re:Not quite as amazing as Oscar 7 (1)

Rorschach1 (174480) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434263)

12000 (30SCS HQ), off Airfield.

Re:Not quite as amazing as Oscar 7 (1)

ThomK (194273) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434290)

Very cool post, how do I become a satellite hobbyist?

Most likely it... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8433980)

...runs UNIX. :-)

1984 (4, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 10 years ago | (#8433987)

Hey, some of us remember 1984, you insensitive clod!

Re:1984 (3, Funny)

trick-knee (645386) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434032)

> Hey, some of us remember 1984,

yeah, and what was that crack about hairstyles supposed to mean? I still look like that.

Re:1984 (2, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434085)

> I still look like that.

I bet most of those rocket scientists do, too. :)

Re:1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8434131)


I still look like that.

Let me guess.. you're an engineer or a computer geek..

Re:1984 (1)

joebok (457904) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434274)

I just wish I looked like that - back in the day I still had hair to style!

Re:1984 (1)

mhayenga (684912) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434223)

Of course we do...

the year after I was born... :)

Re:1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8434307)

You were born in the 1980s and already know how to write?

Damn, time flies and apparently I'm entirely too fucking old. :P

Re:1984 (1)

red floyd (220712) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434250)

Loved the ADM-5 terminal. Used to use those and ADM-3A terminals in the Crown Stat Lab up at UC Santa Cruz.

Re:1984 (4, Funny)

digital bath (650895) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434325)

I must say, 1984 sure was a double-plus-good year.

Bad press (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#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.

So... (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 10 years ago | (#8433995)

... what did they do right that Skylab did wrong? Except not be a part of NASA, of course...

Re:So... (0, Insightful)

ixplodestuff8 (699898) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434090)

That was a satellite, skylab was a station, you're comparing apples and oranges

Lame song..... (0, Redundant)

ThomasFlip (669988) | more than 10 years ago | (#8433996)

That has to be the absolute most lamest song I have ever heard in all my time on the Internet. It's a cross between New Order and a rocket science textbook.

Re:Lame song..... (1)

donnyfire (679042) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434105)

And yet it was a smash hit in the mid-'80s, recieving quite a bit of airtime on MTV and the radio.

20 years uptime (3, Funny)

vpscolo (737900) | more than 10 years ago | (#8433998)

Now if we had hardware/software that could do that you could truely run a business with 100% SLA. Of course if you had a bewoulf of these... ...I'll get me coat

Rus

Re:20 years uptime (1)

protohiro1 (590732) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434129)

I think that's the first Fast Show reference I've seen on slashdot. Very amusing that show. Not a bad place for a reference. (I'd mod it +1 funny) But I think, in the interest of all we ought to make that the LAST Fast Show reference on slashdot. You know how these things get out of hand here.

What exactly does it do? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8434000)

I'm 'working' from home as we speak, but I'm not doing one damn thing useful.

hair? (4, Funny)

Matey-O (518004) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434008)

"and the haircuts of 1984"

Those are not 1984 haircuts....Flock of Seagulls had 1984 haircuts....these are the haircuts of people that don't give a lot of wattage to personal apperance.

If they were closer to New York, we could give the Fab 5 a call! (http://bravotv.com/Queer_Eye_for_the_Straight_Guy /)

Re:hair? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8434259)

If they were closer to New York, we could give the Fab 5 a call! (http://bravotv.com/Queer_Eye_for_the_Straight_Guy /)

I thought the Fab 5 were Michigan U basketball players fron the early '90s. Chris Webber, Juann Howard, et al.

Landsat 5's birthday, too ... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8434014)

http://www.spaceimagingme.com/content/Constellatio n/Landsat/index.asp

Launch Date March 1, 1984
Launch Vehicle Delta 3920
Launch Location Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
Weight 1938 kg

Pheakin' bird was inctruckingcredibly sturdy.

Watching a slashdot happen... (4, Funny)

Dracolytch (714699) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434030)

Kinda cool, actually...

Downloading at: 45 KBps

30 seconds later...

Downloading at: 40 KBps

20 seconds later...

Downloading at: 35 KBps

The race is on! Will I get the file before the server dies?!?

~D

Re:Watching a slashdot happen... (1)

PPGMD (679725) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434110)

Holding steady at 93KBps. While watching the WMV.

Life expectancy (4, Interesting)

milgr (726027) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434043)

So what is the life expectancy for this satelite?

Re:Life expectancy (2, Funny)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434288)

I think the question should be, "what was the life expectancy for this satellite?"

TORRENT (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8434054)

Torren of the WMV file HERE [sbl.ath.cx] .

This service brought to your courtesy of Soup, Bread, Linux.

Re:TORRENT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8434440)

come on, this is slashdot. a torrent of the MPEG... or NOTHING! yeah take that MS! (i'll fight ya on my own) :p

Mirror (5, Informative)

patdabiker (710704) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434061)

I posted a mirror of the video here [mac.com] .

Fashion statement (5, Funny)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434115)

Thrill to the computers, the clothes, and the haircuts of 1984.

Although we can be reasonably well-assured that the computers were state-of-the-art at the time, the clothes and haircuts are another matter. Please remember that these are professional geeks we're talking about, and are therefore not exactly cutting edge when it comes to fashion. To all appearances it was closer to 1978 than 1984.

I know this because I was in college in 1984, and we all looked great, but these guys look like dorks.

My own celebration.... (-1, Offtopic)

darth_silliarse (681945) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434133)

I would like to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of my overclocked and slightly worn Geforce2... should this reach 20 years, to the amusement of relatives, neighbours and the local police I'll do a fairy dance naked in the pissing rain

Pretty amazing.. (5, Insightful)

brain1 (699194) | more than 10 years ago | (#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.

Re:Pretty amazing.. (2, Insightful)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 10 years ago | (#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:Pretty amazing.. (1)

brain1 (699194) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434400)

Made a few CW contacts through AO-6 way long ago, but havent put together a setup for the newer birds. Hmmm gotta do something about that...

1984 was so long ago (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8434148)

Duke Nukem: Forever was only 3 years into development.

Re:1984 was so long ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8434346)

:)

And AmigaOS 4.0 was "on schedule and rocking".

(Please ignore that the Amiga and AmigaOS 1.0 was just about to be invented in 1984, not that uninteresting trivia like physical impossibilities ever bothered the latest trademark mismanagers).

20 years alright (3, Funny)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434172)

and we recently found launch footage

Unfortunately they forgot to update the server it was originally hosted on way back in the day.

Magnet links? (2, Insightful)

WeblionX (675030) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434195)

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..)

20 years is nothing. (5, Interesting)

Gavin Scott (15916) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434225)

What about the amazing story of the Amateur Radio satallite Ostcar 7 that was launched in 1974, operated for six years, then died due to a shorted battery, only to re-awaken from the dead [arrl.org] in 2002 after 21 years of silence.

So we have satellites that work after having been dead longer than your satellites have been alive.

Nyeah.

G.

the photographs look like... (-1, Troll)

gomel (527311) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434251)

... MADE IN SOVIET RUSSIA !

( i'm serious, they really remind me of CCCP tv flicks ).

Commercial Insues... (-1)

fetus (322414) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434289)

(Running woman hurls a satellite into space)

"On March 1, 1984, the US will launch a long living satellite and you'll see why 1984 will be like 1984."

Speech Synthesiser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8434293)

From here [surrey.ac.uk] :
"Payloads [...] Speech Synthesiser"

What good will that do a satellite in orbit?

Satellite goes up... (1)

Undefined Parameter (726857) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434306)

... webserver goes crashing down. She hasn't impacted yet, but she's burnin' up in the atmosphere as I type!

I just hope the satellite's not being controlled from that poor box....

~UP

They don't make things like they used to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8434382)

I haven't seen anything built in the past 10 years that had an uptime of 20 years like this satellite.

Just to clarify... (5, Informative)

Rico_za (702279) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434388)

UoSAT-2 was not a Nasa mission. It was built by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd in Guildford, a University town just west of London. We [sstl.co.uk] 've grown quite a bit since then. We specialize in building small satellites (think 100 kgs, not 1000's of kgs). It's a different way of doing things to the way NASA and ESA usually does, but it's catching on.

Soundtrack? (1)

Koyaanisqatsi (581196) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434425)

Anyone happen to know which song plays on the video? It's actually quite good ...
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