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Mark Shuttleworth ISS Operations

Mark Shuttleworth received all the information in Star City, from the South
African Radio League, to study and write his ham ticket and he was fitting
these studies into his busy training schedule.  However, there was doubt
whether he would actually have the time to complete his RAE.  Mark had eight
months to learn Russian and complete his astronaut training.

Meanwhile, the Oakdale Amateur Radio Club near Cape Town, South Africa,
negotiated with our equivalent of the FCC to grant Mark a Ham ticket in
light of the tight schedule before the launch and in anticipation of him
writing the test.  The authorities agreed and awarded the temporary,
honourary callsign ZSRSA.  The callsign represents 'ZS=South Africa' and
'RSA=Republic of South Africa'.  (RSA is an international acronym.)  The
callsign is only valid for three months.

The authorities did not assign a numeral to the callsign, as the numerals
represent the country's provinces and geographic locations and no separate
allocation exists for space communications.  The numeral '0' is also
occupied, as it is used in callsigns to identify stations in digital
networks, such as packet radio, BBSs, nodes, etc.

I understand that NASA had/has reservations about the callsign because it
conforms to our aviation callsigns - ZSxxx.

The Oakdale Amateur Radio Club is located in Durbanville, a village which is
about 30km North East of Cape Town.  Durbanville is Mark's home town and
where his family still resides.  Naturally it will be a great occasion if we
can speak to Mark on board the ISS and that is the reason the radio club
went to the effort to obtain a callsign.

The first African-in-space-concept has certainly awakened a lot of interest
in technology and science in South Africa.  Mark started a venture capital
company to promote involvement in the sciences and The Shuttleworth
Foundation to further education on all levels, especially to poorer people.

Mark insisted to not simply be a space tourist, and completed his full
training as an astronaut (cosmonaut?) in Star City.  He insisted to do his
share of work on board and is responsible for a number of mission critical

Mark will also conduct various scientific experiments relating to
physiology, embryo cells, HIV and cell growth.  Mark insisted that the
experiments he conducts should have their origin in South Africa.  That
created an opportunity for leading academics at several South African
universities to formulate the experiments that he will perform daily.

You can read about Mark and his projects at www.firstafricaninspace.com.

Mark expressed his continued interest in Ham radio and will still write the
RAE upon his return to Earth.  His temporary callsign is entirely due to the
effort and negotiations by the Oakdale Amateur Radio Club and is subjected
to strict conditions as commanded by the authorities.  Mark's money
certainly did not "buy" the license in this instance.

We should embrace every opportunity to promote the Amateur Radio cause, and
Mark's space flight will provide another grand exposure to Ham Radio,
especially in South Africa and Africa where Ham Radio is still generally
viewed as a non-essential activity.

Thanks to Frank Bauer and Miles Mann and their teams for their efforts in
the Sarex and Marex programmes.

Deon ZR1DQ
Cape Town

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