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Mir Status 1/18/2001, Retirement announced

Russian Space Station Mir Retirement announced, March  2001.
Mir Bounce
Packet Flash back

January 18, 2001

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

Russian Space Station Mir Retirement announced.

The plans are being finalized for the retirement party for the Russian
Space Station Mir.   The 130 ton space station will splash down in the
pacific ocean on or about March 6, 2001 (this date may change due to a
communications glitch with Mir this week). This will bring an end to the
Mir phase of the space program as the Russians concentrate what they
have learned on the New International Space Station.  On February 20,
2001, Mir will celebrate its 15th year in space.  This should prove to
all, that the Russians know how to build their space ships.  Of course
they did have some news worthy failures, after all, how many times has
your car broken down over the past 15 years.  We learn from our failures
and we learn how to build a better space station.  All of the
information learned from Mir, both the success and failures will be
applied to build a better international space station than we could ever
have build without the information learned from Mir.

Over the next few weeks the tabloid news media will do their best to
emphasize the failures and gloss over the success of the Mir space
program.  And  I predict that a few months after Mir is sleeping at the
bottom of the pacific oceans, that the news media will then turn their
attentions toward the ISS.  Then after the second news worthy failure on
ISS, the tabloid news media will take out their old Mir stories and dust
them off  and change the words Mir to ISS.  That way they can save some
typing, since the story will already include the words, "Rusting,
Trouble prone, etc".  The news media should remember, that the chip
inside their word processor is the great grandson of the circuits
developed for the Apollo space program.

How will it happen and when:
A remotely controlled Progress supply ship will docked with the Mir
station this month.  The Progress ship will use its guidance system and
engines to slowly lower the orbit of the Mir space station.  The Mir
station is currently orbiting at an altitude of 191 miles.  The altitude
will be lowered in a controlled manner to around 90-130 miles.  Then
some time in March, the engines on the Progress ship will fire up and
send the station into the Pacific Ocean.  A few small fragments of the
station may survive re-entry and splash harmlessly into the ocean. 
There is virtually no chance that of any of the pieces will reach land.

Many of us will miss the old lady.  From an Amateur Radio point of view,
she was the most popular Amateur radio station on the air for several
years.  Thousands of Amateur Radio operations who knew nothing about
satellite operations were able to tune in and use the Amateur Radio
Packet Email system or chat with an Astronaut or Cosmonaut. And during
the last year, we were able to see their smiling faces via MAREX  SSTV.

73 and 88 Mir

Mir packet flash back

WF1F>R0MIR-1 [08/03/97 03:00:49]: <<C>>:
R0MIR-1>WF1F [08/03/97 03:00:50]: <<UA>>:
R0MIR-1>WF1F [08/03/97 03:00:51]: <<I00>>:
Logged on to R0MIR's Personal Message System


Msg # Stat Date     Time  To     From   @ BBS  Subject
    4 P    08/03/97 10:04 R0MIR  WF1F          mike
    3 P    08/03/97 09:57 R0MIR  WD6EFM        hi mike
    2 P    08/02/97 23:00 N6CO   R0MIR         msg
    1 P    08/02/97 22:57 ALL    R0MIR         Mir status
12248 Bytes free

Next message Number 5
r 1
Stat   : PR   
Posted : 08/02/97 22:57
To     : ALL    
>From   : R0MIR  
BID    : 
Subject: Mir status
@ BBS  :        
Subject: Mir status

TNC lost pwr again. We are getting ready for Anatoli and Pasha to dock 
with us on 7th August.  Vassily and Sasha leave on their Soyuz on 14th 
August.  Mike remains during the first of 2 eva's to do repairs after
collision.  on shuttle, sts-86, in the middle of 
October.  Greenhouse space plants, 2 of them, are showing cotyledons,
the earth seeds are doing even better.  Mike. kb5uac.



R0MIR-1>WF1F [08/03/97 03:02:53]: <<I52>>:
 - Logged off

Can we still work Mir?
All of the Amateur Radio equipment on Mir is currently disconnected,
however, have you tried to bounce your signal off of Mir?
It called Earth-Mir-Earth?

Many of you may have heard of Moon bounce, also called Earth-Moon-Earth.
Did you know you could do the same thing with the Russian Space Station
In the 1960's NASA launched a satellite project called Echo. 
 It was just a big inflatable balloon 100 feet in diameter floating in a
low orbit, Mir is bigger than Echo.  Echo was the first American passive
satellite ever launched and it was successful.  The word Passive means,
it had no electronics to relay radio signals. The radio signals just
bounced off the reflective material.  Terrestrial radio stations would
aim their antennas at the Satellite Echo and literally bound their
signals off Echo to communication.

The same theory can be used with the Russians space Station Mir.

In 1994 I actually heard some echoes of a distant amateur radio station
actually bouncing off the Space Station Mir.  It happened during a
pre-arranged Mir radio schedule with Cosmonaut  Aleksander Serebrov.  I
would routinely have a schedule with the Mir crew to make arrangements
for school schedules.  A fellow ham Joe W2KQ was also assisting with
making the school arrangements.  I live in the Boston Mass, Joe lives in
New Jersey, under normal conditions I can not hear Joe on the 2-meter
band.   The only time we can hear each other is during a band opening
and if we have our antennas pointed at each other.  At the time of the
contact we were both running similar stations, each equipped with a
12dBd gain antennas and 150 watts of raw power (total ERP 2400 watts). 
After I was done talking to Cosmonaut Aleksander, I signed clear knowing
that Joe would pick up the conversation.  Aleksander then began talking
to Joe W2KQ in New Jersey. After listening to Mir for a few more seconds
I began to hear Joe's unmistakable voice echoing off the Russian Space
Station Mir.  At first I assume we had a band opening on 2-meters.  Then
I looked at my computer to see where my antenna was pointing.  The
computer controlled antennas was aiming South East, out to sea at the
Mir Space Station.  New Jersey was on my side of my beam, not off the
front or back of the beam.  Then I looked closer at the computer to see
where Joe was pointing his beam.  Sure enough, Joe's beam would be
pointing North East out to sea, also towards the Mir Space Station.
There are a few possible other explanations, however since both of our
antennas were pointing out to sea and elevated up towards the Space
Station Mir, it seems a pretty good theory we were bouncing off Mir.  So
who will be the first to log a 2-way Mir bounce?

What do you need to Mir Bounce.
A big station.
Antenna 	12 dBd or more
Power Raw	150 +
Antenna preamp
Mode CW or SSB
So if you have a Big gun, give Earth Mir Earth a try.

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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