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Mir ISS status Oct 18, 2000

ISS and Mir status report

October 18, 2000

By Miles Mann WF1F,
MAREX-NA (Manned Amateur Radio Experiment, North American Division)

The Mir Station is currently unmanned and all of the amateur radio
equipment is turned OFF.  The next manned mission to Mir is scheduled
for January/February 2001.  The January mission will be a short 2-4 week
mission.  I do not expect very much amateur radio voice activity, but we
are hoping for more SSTV activity.  
There will be a Progress cargo rocket launch in October.  This rocket
will help boot Mir into a higher orbit.
The Mir station is having a funding problem.  A decision will be made in
November to either extend Mir for another year or to splash Mir into the
pacific ocean in March 2001.  Of course I hope will fly until 2002 and
see the completion of the Destination Mir program.

Mir Survivor a.k.a. Destination Mir:
NBC out bids for Destination Mir (Survivor).  The first two Survivor
series were presented by the  TV company CBS.  The Mir version of
survivor is being presented by NBC.  So, don't look on the CBS web page
for Mir stuff you need to look on the NBC page.
At the present time, the page does not have any useful information, but
it's a start.

The shows producer Mark Burnett is in Australia filming the Outback
version of survivor which will air right after superbowl Sunday in
January 2001.

MIR, new ham satellite:
One of the Progress cargo rockets going to Mir next year, is planning on
carrying a small Amateur Radio satellite named Kollibri.  This satellite
will have a life span of 4-6 months.  It will be launched from the
Progress rocket after it is in a Mir orbit.  The satellite will then
free fall back to earth over the next 4-6 months.  The satellite is
equipment with telemetry equipment and a digital voice recorder, and
solar panels.  The web page and some of the specific details have been
posted at the address below, the web page is currently only in Russian. 
The date of the launch has been delayed until after the Mir mission
status has been reviewed.  The project could be transferred to a
Progress rocket bound for ISS.

The shuttle STS-92 is currently docked with the ISS.
For more information on this mission please check the NASA web pages.

Shuttle ISS visibility:
If you missed the Boosting phase, you can try for a evening pass as a
star the week.  Check the NASA web page for a sighting list for your
state/country.  Yes, after the shuttle  is in orbit you CAN see the
shuttle/ISS with you eyes.

ISS Amateur Radio Access:
The 2-meter voice and packet station has already been delivered to the
International space station.
The bag of equipment is just waiting to be activated.  A request is
being processed through formal channels to ask for the equipment to be
turned on sometime during mid November 2000 by the ISS crew.  Part of
the reason for the early start date is to celebrate 12 years of amateur
radio activity from the Russians in space.  November 6, 2000 marks the
12 year anniversary of Amateur Radio activity from the Russian Space
Station Mir.  It all began 12 years ago, when Mir flight engineer Musa
Khiramanovich Manarov U2MIR made the first two way 2-meter contact from
the Russian Space Station Mir to Leo Labukin UA3CR. At the time of the
contact, Leo Labutin, was visiting the Amsat convention in Washington
DC. That first contact ushered in a whole new chapter in accessible
Amateur Radio satellite access.

This year the Amsat symposium is on October 28 in Maine.  I had asked if
we could move up the launch of the ISS crew a few weeks so we could have
the inaugural Amateur Radio com link on the 28th, but they said it was
too short of a notice to make the changes.  We will have to do the first
ISS com link in November.

Ground Station Link:
What will you need to Hear the ISS Amateur Radio 2-meter Station.
That's a tricky question because there are good orbit pass and poor low
orbit passes.  On a good 45 degree orbit pass, since ISS is only 250
miles high, you will be able to hear the 2-meter signal with a very
small antenna (0 dbd  to  minus 12 dbd (rubber duck)).  During a very
low orbit pass under 20 degrees you may need a much larger antenna.
The station on ISS will be transmitting in the satellite 2-meter band
(ITU 144.000 - 146.000 mc).  The exact frequency will be announced at
the last minute.  The transmitter power output is approximately 3 watts,
into a vertical antenna rated at minus 3 dbd.  I do not have the coax
loss values at this time.  This combination will provide an ERP rating
of 1.5 watts.  The 1.5 watt value is not that bad, I was able to hear
the RS-17/18 satellites from my car antenna (minus 3dbd) and those
satellites were only running 0.5 watts.  If you only have a zero dbd
gain antenna and a police scanner you will still be able to hear the ISS
on some good orbits.
(note:  if your antenna is rated in db rather than dbd, subtract 3 to
convert the value to the correct dbd rating)

Copyright 2000 Miles Mann, All Rights Reserved.  This document may be
freely distributed via the following means - Email (including
listservers), Usenet, and World-Wide-Web.  It may not be reproduced for
profit including, but not limited to, CD ROMs, books, and/or other
commercial outlets without prior written consent from the author. 
Images received from the MAREX-NA SSTV system on the Russian Space
Station Mir are considered public domain and may be freely distributed,
without prior permission.

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