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Re: ISS School Contact Info?

Hi all,

The ARISS mentors have been getting this question asked many times in the 
last few days.  Personally, I was asked 3 times in under 24 hours after the 
very successful Merivale contact on the 22nd.  This is great in that it means 
many of you are interested in what goes on and perhaps are willing to help 
out a school yourself.

Question, is there a web site were we can check on the future schedule of
ARISS contacts?  Does anybody have any ideas of how I, or all of us, can get 
ISS school sked info sooner?

The list is confidential; yes, the mentors know who is on the list; no, they 
cannot tell you.  We are basically trying to clear the schools in order as 
they came in.  Because this is truly an international effort, we are mixing 
in the international schools into the list we had from the ARRL and AMSAT.  
Many of the international schools are coming in from the MIREX or MAREX 
programs and as such we do not have a lot of information about them.  We have 
to recheck with all of the schools and have them fill out an application.

The way the planning works is that a school is contacted about a month out 
from a proposed date to see if the school could support that date.  The ISS 
planners in Houston and Moscow are working one week in advance and Will 
KC6ROL as the head ARISS planner gives them a proposed date and time one 
month in advance.  We hope that the ISS planners agree to the date and let us 
know so that we can tell the school a definite go at least one week in 
advance.  It makes it tough on the school and mentors but that is the way 
things are working right now.  As the schedule gets approved, Will KC6ROL or 
the school's assigned mentor will announce to the world.  

We hope you can understand the need for secrecy.  We may have to take a 
school out of order for technical reasons and we don't want people bent out 
of shape.  The schools really don't understand the process of the planning 
and we feel that the less announced the better until we know something 
definite.  We also don't want schools to get their hopes up too high.  So we 
keep to about 2 or 3 schools at any one given instant in time and get them 
through the planners.

To get a feel for the planning, remember we have to have the crew awake, be 
during either their off time or a scheduled time, be within range of the 
school if a direct contact, be within the school's hours of operation (if 
possible), not be within about a week of a shuttle or cargo ship arrival, not 
be on during the visit by the shuttle or cargo ship, have a willing member of 
the crew who is a ham, and have no ISS operational problems that would 
prevent the crew from having a school contact.  Oh yes, do not forgot, the 
orbit changes about every few days due to shuttle and cargo ship firings, or 
normal corrections by the ISS.  We have to work with Keplarian data that may 
be so far in advance that the predicted value could be so far off it isn't 
funny.  Bottom line, it is messy to plan.  As soon as we have definite dates, 
then the word goes out.  Please do not forget that ham radio on the ISS is 
secondary and that we are their quests.

Don't forget to check the ARISS and NASA web pages you can find out more 
details as they become available.  You should also visit the ARRL and AMSAT 


By the way, the next several weeks have more visitors to the ISS:
 Feb. 26 a Soyuz cargo ship gets launched
 March 8 STS-102 is launched with a new crew for ISS.
During the STS-102 mission, Discovery will carry the Expedition Two crew - 
Russian Commander Yury Usachev and American Flight Engineers Jim Voss and 
Susan Helms.
If you are interested in supporting a school for a future ARISS contact, 
please get an application from either the ARRL, AMSAT, or the ARISS site: 

 Charlie Sufana AJ9N
ARISS mentor
ARISS op for Burbank School (1st USA)
ARISS mentor for Merivale (1st Canadian)
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