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STS-93 SAREX Bulletin 7: Columbia-Mir PRESS RELEASE

STS-93 SAREX Bulletin 7

Silver Spring, Maryland  USA
July 26, 1999 @ 0600 UTC

Columbia and Mir Linked in a Trilingual Conversation

Astronauts aboard the space shuttle Columbia on the STS-93 mission 
had the opportunity to talk with their fellow space travelers aboard 
the Russian Mir space station on Sunday, July 25, at 12:33 a.m. 
Houston time (0533 UTC).  The contact was made through a combination 
of ham radio and NASA communications networks.

The timing of the contact was tricky -- both crews had to be awake 
and Mir had to pass over a properly equipped amateur radio station.  
When Mir came over the horizon in Houston, Texas, volunteer amateur 
radio operator Brian Zemba made contact with French cosmonaut-
researcher Jean-Pierre Haignere aboard Mir.  Shuttle Columbia was 
almost half a world away, traveling over Indonesia.  

The space shuttle was patched in via NASA's communications network 
and Tracking Data and Relay Satellite (TDRS).  French Mission 
Specialist Michel Tognini aboard the shuttle exchanged greetings 
with Haignere.  Tognini said, "Mir from Columbia.  I hear you."  

The reply came, "This is Mir space station speaking, this is 
Jean-Pierre."  The two French space travelers then conversed in 
their native language.  Jean-Pierre then suggested handing the 
conversation over to the two commanders.  

Eileen Collins, the first woman to command a space shuttle, 
exchanged a few greetings with her Mir counterpart, cosmonaut 
Viktor Afanasyev.  Afanasyev said in broken English, "You are the 
first woman commander of a shuttle crew."  Collins replied, 
"Hello Victor, this is Eileen.  Dobrey-dien."  Jean-Pierre 
assisted with translating, "Victor is listening, he wanted to 
congratulate you."  Collins replied, "Spaseeba".  [Sp?]

NASA has a .WAV file of Eileen and Viktor at the world wide web site 
that provides a "congratulations" sound bite of the radio contact.  

Amateur Radio operator John Nickel, who helped coordinate the 
contacts commented, "It came as a nice surprise to us when 
Eileen greeted her fellow space travelers in Russian."  Collins 
worked with Russian cosmonauts on her previous two space flights, 
STS-63 which made a close approach to Mir and STS-84 which 
featured the sixth docking with the Russian space station.  

Also on Mir is cosmonaut Sergei Avdeev who flew to Mir with 
Tognini in 1992.  They exchanged greetings in Russian.

All together three languages were used during the 10-minute 
contact -- French, Russian, and English.  

NASA flies Amateur Radio on the shuttle primarily as an 
educational outreach project, permitting astronauts to talk to 
schools.  Russia flies Amateur Radio aboard Mir primarily as an 
off-hours recreational activity.  Amateur Radio equipment will be 
installed on the International Space Station on the STS-101 
mission scheduled for December 1999.  

More information about the Space Amateur Radio Experiment - SAREX - 
on the STS-93 shuttle flight is available on the worldwide web at

Submitted by Pat Kilroy, WD8LAQ, for Will Marchant, KC6ROL, and 
the SAREX Working Group.


Patrick L. Kilroy                                                WK
SSPP Hitchhiker I&T Lead Engineer  Phone:  301-286-1984
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center   Fax:    301-286-1673
Building 5, Mail Code 568          E-mail: pat.kilroy@gsfc.nasa.gov
Greenbelt, Maryland  20771         Web:    http://sspp.gsfc.nasa.gov

          Visit SimSat at http://simsat.gsfc.nasa.gov

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