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SpaceCam1 status April 21, 2003

ISS Amateur Radio Status: April 21, 2003

SpaceCam1 Slow Scan TV project for ISS, Update

By Miles Mann WF1F,


Manned Amateur Radio Experiment, North American Division

SpaceCam1 Slow Scan TV project for ISS, Update

The MAREX-NA/ARISS SpaceCam1 SSTV System is an entry-level PC based Slow
Scan Television system designed to be used on board the International
Space Station.  The SpaceCam1 system will support multiple common SSTV
transmission modes.  SpaceCam1 has been specifically designed to be
accessible to as many Amateur Radio stations as possible around the
world.  The original proof-of-concept system was built by the MAREX-NA
team and successfully flown on the Russian Space Station Mir (December
1998 until August 1999).  The proof-of-concept system has proven the
ability of the hardware design and it has taught us how to make
additional improvements for the next generation SSTV system for ISS.

In January 2001 the SpaceCam1 project was accepted project by the ARISS
team to be one of the future Amateur Radio projects for the
International Space Station.  
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The SpaceCam1 software has been under development since 1999 and is
being created by the SiliconPixels team managed by Jim Barber (N7CXI).

In order for any project to be approved for Space flight operations it
must be first safety certified.  The certification process for any
project going into the ISS is a very lengthy process.  The SpaceCam1
software was reviewed at NASA in the summer of 2000 and again in Russia
in the fall of 2001.  Additional End-to-end testing of the whole system
is planned for late 2003. 

The ARISS Hardware Manager Lou McFadin (W5DID) was assigned the task of
building an Audio interface box for the SpaceCam1 project.  The Audio
interface box will allow the audio from a standard Laptop PC to be
plugged into the existing Amateur Radio station on ISS.  SpaceCam1 will
then be able to control the ISS Ericsson Amateur Radio transceiver radio
currently on board ISS and the future transceivers planed as follow on
projects.  The Audio Interface boxes have been built and are currently
waiting for a testing cycle and approvals.

When will SpaceCam1 fly?

That's a good question. All of the flight schedules for 2003 and 2004
are being re-planned as we speak. The Space Shuttle Columbia accident
has certainly slowed down the delivery date.  SpaceCam1 is one of the
Amateur Radio top projects for ARISS this year, however we do not have a
specific launch vehicle slot at this time. The ARISS team is still
looking towards a late 2003 flight. We will just have to wait and see.

Aside from the flight, we now have all of the parts we need to submit
the flight manifest requests to NASA, except the final testing in

Software	SpaceCam1, completed
Adapter	Audio Interface box, completed
Computer	A5
Radios		Ericsson Transceivers, currently on ISS
Antennas	4 new antenna systems installed on ISS in 2002

Paper work status:
A lot of the paper work is done.  The next phase to is get the SpaceCam1
project on an official test cycle.  The tentative plan for the next test
cycle of the Amateur Radio equipment is scheduled for Q3 in 2003.  The
ARISS team is actively working all of the paperwork and testing issues.

SpaceCam1 FAQ:

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Will I be able to receive images from SpaceCam1?

Yes!  SpaceCam1 will transmit and receive images on amateur radio
frequencies, using standard SSTV formats.  Although SpaceCam1 is capable
of operating in several modes, the standard format will be Robot 36. 
This format offers the best standard compromise between image quality
and transmission time.

In addition to two-way "interactive" operation, SpaceCam1 provides the
following fully automatic functions:

· Transmission from a live camera or disk at specified intervals 
· "Slide Show" operation from a set of images stored on the system 
· SSTV Repeater

What equipment will I need to receive the images?

Radio receiver with an outdoor antenna.  The radio receive will need to
be able to receive FM signals in the 435.000 - 438.000 MHz radio band.
A PC with SSTV software or a dedicated SSTV scan converter. 
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Tracking software (optional, although it helps a lot!)
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URL Update:
On April 6, 2003, the old MAREX URL was resold to a different company,
30 days after MAREX renewed the name.  We have not been able resolve the
problem with our URL company and are currently trying to find a new
company and new name.  Please do not go to the old MAREX address.  I
have temporarily moved some parts of the MAREX web page to:

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Take care all and good luck and please be courteous.

73 Miles WF1F MAREX-NA

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Until we meet again

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