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Packet



All,

As I stated yesterday, We will continue to keep you informed on the 
on-going, drawn-out saga on the packet system.

  Well, it should be obvious at this point that the packet is still not 
working.  The procedure we (US and Russian teams) generated did not get 
uplinked to the crew.  Our plans were to have a one-on-one discussion with 
Ed Lu around 13:00 UTC today as he debugged the packet module issue.  We 
got word right before the pass that the radiogram did not get 
uplinked.  Despite this, several U.S. ground stations still attempted to 
contact ISS with no success.

The ARISS team plans to have another international teleconference tomorrow 
with NASA in attendance to scope out our recovery plan.  Tentatively, we 
are going to ask (again) for the crew to turn on and re-configure the 
packet module.  To ensure this gets done before Expedition 8 (yes...before 
November) we are asking that the crew perform the procedures without an 
audio debug session.  This may occur as early as this weekend.

Over the past few months I have had numerous discussions with NASA senior 
management about our inability to get our packet procedures uplinked to ISS 
and performed by the crew.  Many of these individuals are painfully aware 
of our problem and have agreed to work with us to resolve this 
problem.  FYI, we had a similar problem with school group operations at one 
point and we resolved these problems similarly.

What complicates the non-school group operations process is that both the 
US and Russian operations teams need to be fully cognizant of our plans and 
agree to them in a timely fashion.  Crew members on both sides are involved 
since the equipment is in the Russian segment and a US crew member is 
usually doing the debugging.  Unfortunately, something seems to go wrong 
along the way and we end up having to start over.

I know many of you are frustrated.  We are too.  Please do me a favor and 
do not compare our ISS ops to the Shuttle operations or Mir 
operations.  The ISS is a relatively new vehicle and international 
operations is definitely not simpler than US-only or Russian-only operations.

Please remember too that there are only 2 crew members on ISS when there 
are usually 3 members.  So the level of work that this expedition is 
experiencing is much higher than normal.  Thus, our ability to request crew 
member's time on the Russian or US side is very difficult.

When you look at operations and realize that hardware development has had 
nearly the same hurdles to overcome, I think you can imagine the 
substantial challenges and near miracles that were required by the ARISS 
team to bring the ISS amateur radio hardware to fruition.  I am proud of 
this international team.  Further, I am convinced we will resolve this 
process problem and move on to other challenges...including the 
installation of the Phase 2 hardware in a couple of months.

Please keep the faith.  We promise to continue to keep you informed as 
events unfold on the packet issue.

73,  Frank Bauer, KA3HDO

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