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ISS Commemorative Event



All,

The ARISS team has had several inquiries on what happened regarding crew 
operation of the ISS Ham radio system during the start of the ISS 
Commemorative Event this past weekend.  With this e-mail I intend to give 
you all as many facts as we have at this time.  As we get more information, 
we will pass it along.

To our knowledge, it appears that the ISS crew was not on the air this 
weekend.  This is based on a number of reports from hams all across the 
world.  I would like to thank all that took time out to report what 
happened during the ISS passes in their part of the world.  It is helping 
us convey solid information to our home organizations and to the space 
agencies.

Several of you were questioning whether the ARISS team did, in fact, get a 
message to the crew on this weekend's plans.  I can tell you that I am 
certain of this.  As was mentioned in my last e-mail, after communications 
were sent to Mike Foale regarding the special event (through the NASA 
channels), Mike Foale had responded back that he would support on the order 
of about 2 passes per weekend.  As I stated, the ARISS team got this 
information through NASA and directly from Mike.  Also, today I got 
confirmation that final information regarding this weekend's event (pass 
times that we shared with you on the 26th of November) was uplinked to the 
ISS crew on Friday.  So our information was there and the crew knew about 
the event.

Now, what happened?

We have discussed this with the NASA folks and there are two events that 
potentially could have impeded on Mike's ability to get on the air.  The 
first is that the ISS crew have had some serious issues with the Treadmill 
and it is understood that Mike put a bunch of time (his own time) this past 
weekend working on this important device that is critical for the crew's 
health and well being.  The other event is the "crushing" noise heard at 
the aft end of the Service Module this past week.  It has been reported in 
the press that the crew heard this noise and then initially thought that 
the Service Module was hit with debris.  At this point, this is not 
believed to be the case, however, the ISS International partners have asked 
the Russian team to look into the matter further since it occurred in their 
segment.  It was speculated that Mike and Sasha might have gotten 
instructions from the Russian team to scour the Service Module in an effort 
to determine the cause of this odd noise.

Some have stated this but I will reiterate it.  The Expedition 8 crew are 
truly die-hard hams.  Those of you who have been around a while know that 
Mike Foale was extremely active on the bands during his flights on the 
Space Shuttle and on Mir.  Sasha Kaleri was also a very active ham on 
Mir.  We have two great hams on board.  We also have two guys running an 
entire space station with a large cadre of  scientific experiments.  A year 
ago, that took 3 people.  So you can imagine that they are quite 
busy.  This makes ISS Ham more vulnerable when issues occur on ISS.  As we 
continually state, operation of the ISS Ham radio is "completely contingent 
upon the crew schedule and other duties or issues that might crop up on 
ISS."   We are impressed that the crew agreed to support the ISS 
Commemorative event.  And we hope that they will be on the air in the very 
near future.

So, where do we go from here?

Well,  we have a request into NASA to ask the Expedition 8 crew more 
details on what occurred this past weekend and, more importantly, if they 
will be will and able to support some (probably 2) passes this weekend.  As 
we get more information, we will share it with you.

I hope this helps explain what we know at this time.  The ARISS team 
recognizes that it is very frustrating to get expectations up and then not 
meet expectations.  It is never our intent to do this to the world-wide 
amateur radio community.  But we do want to alert you of potential 
opportunities as they become available.  We will continue to do this, as 
long as you all remember that these contacts are contingent upon the crew 
schedule.

73,

Frank Bauer, KA3HDO
ARISS International Chairman 

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