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Suitsat One Step Closer to Deployment/SSTV Equipment on-board ISS


On Thursday September 8 at 13:08 UTC, Progress 19P lifted off from the 
Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.  Included in the 2.5 tons of fuel, food 
and supplies are two Amateur Radio on the International Space Station 
(ARISS) systems---the Suitsat amateur radio hardware and the Slow Scan 
Television (SSTV) hardware and software.  The successful docking of 
Progress to ISS on September 10 culminates the successful design, 
development, certification and delivery of these two ARISS Projects.  The 
ISS Expedition 11 crew will unpack this equipment, making it available for 
installation, use and deployment by the Expedition 12 crew.

The Suitsat amateur radio system, coupled with a school artwork project, is 
planned to be installed in an outdated Russian Orlon spacesuit.  It will 
then be deployed from the ISS during an Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA, or 
spacewalk).  This is expected to occur in the December timeframe by the 
Expedition 12 crew.  The Suitsat amateur radio system will beam down 
special messages and an SSTV image from within the Orlon space suit as it 
floats in space.  Suitsat radio system will allow hams and students to 
track the suit and decode special international messages, space suit 
telemetry, and a pre-programmed Slow Scan TV image through its 
specially-built digital voice messaging system and amateur radio 
transmitter.  As built, Suitsat will be a transmit-only capability that 
will run on the space suit's battery power.

As part of the Suitsat project, a CD with hundreds of school pictures, 
artwork, poems, and student signatures is included.  Two identical CDs were 
flown, one will go in the suit and the other will be for the crew to 
review.  Using the crew CD, we hope to downlink these images using the SSTV 
system that will be located inside the Service Module once it is 
operational.  There are approximately 300 items on the CD.  These are from 
all over the world (Japan/Asia, Europe, Russia, Canada, US, South America 
and Africa).  Several NASA Explorer Schools participated as well as 
numerous ESA and Russian Space Agency-sponsored schools.

The idea for Suitsat was first conceived by the ARISS-Russia team, led by 
Sergey Samburov, RV3DR, and was extensively discussed at the joint AMSAT 
Symposium/ARISS International Partner meeting in October 2004.  The 
project, also called Radioskaf or Radio Sputnik in Russia, is being led by 
project manager A. P. Alexandrov and Deputy Project Manager A. Poleshuk 
from RSC Energia, located in Korolev (Moscow area) Russia.   On the US 
side, the hardware project development was led by AMSAT member Lou McFadin, 

Since October 2004 the Suitsat design concept matured and evolved due to 
the challenging development time constraints.  In a very short timeframe, 
the ARISS international team designed built and tested a simple, yet fully 
featured system that we hope will inspire hams and students around the world.

The SSTV system will be installed inside the Service module as an integral 
part of the ARISS ham radio system.  It will transmit and receive (JPG) 
still images from the International Space Station in a format called Slow 
Scan TV (SSTV).  When fully operational, the SSTV system is capable of 
sending up to 480 images per day from ISS.    It will also be able to 
receive images from amateur radio stations on Earth.  This system will 
utilize the already installed Kenwood D-700 radio and the ARISS antennas 
mounted on the Service Module.  The SSTV equipment flown on Progress 19P 
includes the SpaceCam software, a radio/computer interface module, and data 
cables.  The dedicated laptop for SSTV operations will be launched on a 
subsequent Progress vehicle.

Over the course of the past several months, the Suitsat and SSTV system 
passed the stringent NASA and Energia safety certification process and were 
deemed ready for flight--clearing the way for the incorporation into the 
Progress 19P vehicle.  More information on SSTV and Suitsat will be 
provided as we get closer to installation and deployment .

On behalf of the ARISS International team, I want to congratulate the 
Suitsat hardware development team and the SSTV development team on a job 
well done.  We look forward to future operation of these systems on ISS, 
inspiring the next generation of space explorers.


Frank H. Bauer, KA3HDO
ARISS International Chairman
AMSAT V.P. for Human Spaceflight Programs
NASA ARISS Program Manager

ARISS is an international educational outreach program partnering the ISS 
space agency partners--NASA, RSA, ESA, JAXA, and CSA, with volunteers from 
the AMSAT and IARU (International Amateur Radio Union) organizations from 
participating countries. ARISS offers an inspirational opportunity for 
students to experience the excitement of Amateur Radio by talking directly 
with crewmembers on-board the International Space Station. Teachers, 
parents and communities see, first hand, how Amateur Radio and crewmembers 
on ISS can energize youngsters' interest in science, mathematics, 
technology, and learning. Further information on the ARISS program is 
available on the website http://www.rac.ca/ariss 
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