|Mission type||Amateur radio|
|Operator||AMSAT / NASA|
|Mission duration||4.5 years (achieved)|
|Launch mass||18.2 kg (40 lb)|
|Dimensions||16 cm × 30 cm × 44 cm (6.3 in × 11.8 in × 17.3 in)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||15 October 1972, 17:19 UTC|
(Delta 91 / Thor 575575)
|Launch site||Vandenberg, SLC-2W|
|Contractor||Douglas Aircraft Company|
|End of mission|
|Last contact||21 June 1977|
|Reference system||Geocentric orbit |
|Regime||Low Earth orbit|
|Perigee altitude||1,448 km (900 mi)|
|Apogee altitude||1,457 km (905 mi)|
AMSAT-OSCAR 6 (a.k.a. AO-6) was the first Phase 2 amateur radio satellite (P2-A) launched into low Earth orbit. It was also the first satellite constructed by the new AMSAT North America (AMSAT-NA) organization.
AMSAT-OSCAR 6 was box-shaped, measuring 43 cm × 30 cm × 15 cm, with a mass of 18.2 kg. It had a near-circular polar orbit of 1448 × 1457 km with an inclination of 101.70°. It deployed two quarter-wave monopole antennas, one each for 144 and 435 MHz, and half-wave dipole antenna for 29 MHz. It remained operational for 4.5 years until a battery failure on 21 June 1977.
Equipped with solar panels powering NiCd batteries, AO-6 provided 24 V at 3.5 watts power to three transponders. It carried a Mode A transponder (100 kHz wide at 1 watt) and provided store-and-forward morse and teletype messages (named Codestore) for later transmission. Subsystems were built in the United States, Australia, and Germany.
AO-6 had a 1.3 watt transmitter into a half-wave dipole antenna. AO-6's receiver input sensitivity was approximately -100 dBm (2 μV per meter) and had an Automatic gain control (AGC) that provided up to 26 dB of gain reduction optimized for single-sideband modulation. The transceiver team consisted of Karl Meinzer DJ4ZC, Wallace Mercer W4RUD, Dick Daniels WA4DGU and Jan King W3GEY.
AO-6 demonstrated several uses of new technologies and operations.