First German Mars Mission makes sidestep to Venus
Ground station in Bochum generated echoes from Venus
The team of German Space Agency AMSAT-DL reached another milestone on the way to send a spacecraft to Mars on 25 March 2009. From ground mission control station in Bochum (located in the observatory IUZ Sternwarte) radio frequency signals were sent to Venus. After nearly 100 million kilometres of track and approximately five minute’s term they came back again as echoes from Venus surface and were received in Bochum. This was the first German success to receive echoes of other planets.
The transmitter technology for the planned Mars mission of AMSAT-DL was the last key component tested and fulfils its baptism of fire.
The AMSAT-DL prepares the first privately financed flight to Mars for the next possible launch window. This spacecraft is intended as a scientific and communication platform. In the last few years the largely honorary researcher of the AMSAT-DL developed and tested all essential components for this spacecraft. Many technical elements were successfully on satellites in earth orbits. With reception of its own echoes from Venus the ground commando station is ready for lift-off and the AMSAT-DL team is waiting in the wings to construct the spacecraft.
Development, design and construction of this first German Mars mission have been achieved through own work by the AMSAT-DL and its partner organizations. Already a third of the total project costs were performed. More own work shall follow during the mission. To finance the specific construction costs and the launch costs the AMSAT-DL tries to get financial support of the DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt). There is a need for finance of 20 millions Euros.
The AMSAT would like to demonstrate that their approaches to low-cost space missions are feasible. For comparison, these days the ESA and NASA missions to Mars have cost ten times as much.
The Mars mission is obliged to the open source principle. Private donors can contribute to the mission. A website was set up for Mars tickets http://www.ticket-to-mars.org. Anyone can buy his ticket to Mars up 50 EUR.
Through the open source principle it allows everyone to receive the mission live data during the flight to Mars. This is possible by using amateur radio frequencies and an own receiver with a dish with 1 meter diameter. If such equipment is not available then it is also possible to get a live stream via Internet. All necessary information will be disclosed before the mission.
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