It was interesting to run across a ghost sighting - a mention of the P3E satellite on the AMSAT-DL forum when a member asked about its current status. P3Express was the next development project following P3D (AO-40) which died on orbit during its shakedown phase.

Best I recall, the notion behind P3E was a return to a simpler design, like AO-13, only with modern components and a frame suitable for the launch equipment of the day. It never was launched due to 9/11 and the vagaries of the changing launch business of that era. There was one plan for it to be launched by the German government along with P5A - what would have been amateur radio’s first excursion to Mars, but all these plans fell apart and P3E went into deep storage.

Almost fifteen years later there was some scuttlebutt about it being moved to the University of Virginia to be modified and sent to HEO by the US government, but that fell apart too.

According to AMSAT-DL President Peter Guelzow, DB2OS:

“So far, P3-E is still in Bochum, as it was reported in AMSAT-DL Journal and otherwise”

After so long a passage of time it’s difficult to believe that there remains any chance of building and obtaining a launch for an amateur radio satellite to HEO or GEO. Some opportunity may one day present itself to add an amateur radio transponder(s) onto a commercial satellite much like the opportunity presented with QO-100. Still, the recent mention of the old bird brought back a lot of warm memories of a wonderful bygone era.