Name: AMSAT-OSCAR 10 (Phase-3B)
Nasa Catalog Number: 14129
Launched: June 16, 1983
Launch vehicle: ARIANE 1-06
Launched piggyback with: European Test Satellite ECS-1
Launch location: Kourou, French Guiana
Weight: 90 kg plus fuel
Orbit: High-altitude, elliptical, synchronous-transfer, Molniya,
3997 x 35449 km
Inclination: 27 degrees
Period: 11 Hours, 39 Minutes
Size: 600 x 40 x 200 mm
Linear Transponders: Inverting (CW, SSB)
145.810 MHz (General) (Unmodulated carrier)
145.987 MHz (Engineering) (Switched off)
Mode B Uplink: 435.030 - 435.180 MHz LSB
Mode B Downlink: 145.825 - 145.975 MHz USB
Molniya Orbit - Long Communications Time
First amateur satellite with onboard propulsion (which did not function
entirely correctly, due to collision with part of the launch vehicle after
separation - hence the not-quite-Molniya-type orbit).
The latest information is available from:
AMSAT-OSCAR 10 was launched June 16, 1983. On December 1986 the main computer
failed due to radiation damage. Thus, the ability to control the spacecraft
was lost. It is presently operational on mode B. However, due to the inability
to orient the satellite, the batteries are not always fully charged. So
operation is random as AO-10 goes in and out of the sunlight. Communications
are encouraged when the transponder is operational and, of course, discouraged
when the downlink frequency is FMing.
The following is an informative note from Peter, DB2OS:
Satellite operators frequently ask "what is the attitude
of Oscar-10", or "can I have ALON/ALAT values for my computer program."
Here's the analysis written by James Miller, G3RUH.
The onboard computer of AMSAT-OSCAR 10 failed due to radiation
damage of the memory chips. Since then we have had no more attitude control
and due to seasonal changes of the alignment of the Sun in respect to the
solar panels, there are times were no electrical power will be available
and the spacecraft goes into hibernation until the sunangle is better again.
The battery is indeed fully depleted and due to the harsh environment it
may already have lost its capability to store electrical energy.
If the electrical power from the solar array is getting marginal, the
transponders starts FMing,which means that your carrier is moving back
and forth in frequency depending on the current transponder load. During
those "undervoltage conditions," it sometimes happens that the onboard
computer (IHU) starts to execute random code from the memory, which might
turn transponders or beacons randomly on/off. The beacon may even sound
like OSCAR-13, but that's mainly because the 400 Bit/s BPSK is done by
hardware; indeed it contains no useful information. Under normal circumstances
the transponder is on and the general beacon is transmitting only an unmodulated
See also W4SM's AO-10
Update for the latest.
J.A. King, "Phase III: Toward the Ultimate Amateur Satellite," Part 1,
QST, Jun 1977, pp 11-14.
J.A. King, "Phase III: Toward the Ultimate Amateur Satellite," Part 2,
QST, Jul 1977, pp 52-55.
J.A. King, "Phase III: Toward the Ultimate Amateur Satellite," Part 3,
QST, Aug 1977, pp 11-13.
Amsat Satellite Report, No. 60, Aug 1 and No. 62, Sep 7, 1983.
Jan King, et al, "OSCAR at 25: The Amateur Space Program Comes of Age,"
QST, Dec 1986, p 15.
Martin Davidoff, Satellite
Experimenter's Handbook, 2nd edition, The American Radio Relay
League, Newington, CT., 1990.
Keith Berglund, A
Beginner's Guide to OSCAR-13, AMSAT
to Satellite Summary
Last update May 31, 2003 - N7HPR