ARISSAT-1’s battery appears to be failing quicker than expected…

August 14, 2011 | Amateur Radio, Amateur Satellite | By: Mark VandeWettering

I didn’t get a chance to record any more ARISSAT-1 data this weekend, but I did catch up on some reading. Apparently, it’s batteries are giving out quicker than expected: the voltage is dropping low enough to cause a reset when the satellite goes into eclipse each orbit. If you were thinking of grabbing some telemetry/SSTV from the satellite, or even attempting some QSOS, perhaps sooner would be better than later.

You can read up on the Power System of the satellite here, which includes a link to this AMSAT Journal article which gave many details. Apparently the silver-zinc batteries which were used aboard the satellite (largely for safety, a dead short of these batteries does not cause a fire) have many features which were seemingly not that well understood. These batteries are typically used in a deep-discharge situation, and only recharged five times. Aboard ARISSAT-1, they are recharged in a shallower cycle, more times. There also seems to be some issues regarding temperature performance. I skimmed the article, but will reread it and rethink it some more soon.