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Construction of the International Space Station continued this past week as five Americans and one Russian successfully mated the American built Unity component with the Russian built Zarya module.
On Monday, the Unity module came to life for the first time. Activation followed the connection of electrical and data cables by Astronauts Jerry Ross and Jim Newman during a 7-hour, 21-minute space walk.
Endeavour's astronauts boosted the fledgling International Space Station to a higher altitude Tuesday and had a chance to relax for a few hours as the first station assembly flight neared the halfway mark.
By Thursday, Endeavour's astronauts had installed antennas for an ISS communications system and helped free jammed antennas on the station's Russian module, achieving all the objectives planned for the second mission space walk. Space walkers Ross and Newman pressed ahead with the removal of launch restraint pins on the four hatchways on the body of Unity. This is where additional station modules and truss structures will be mated during future assembly missions. The two also installed a sunshade over Unity's two data relay boxes to ensure that they will be protected against harsh sunlight as the station circles the Earth. Near the end of the space walk, Newman was hoisted to the Zarya control module on the end of Endeavour's robot arm so that he could use a grappling hook to free a backup rendezvous system antenna. After nudging the antenna with the grappling device, the antenna popped out to its fully extended position as the shuttle passed over the northeast coast of Australia.
Endeavour's astronauts also opened the new International Space Station 'for business' Thursday, entering the Unity and Zarya modules for the first time and establishing an S-band communications system that will enable U.S. flight controllers to monitor the outpost's systems. Reflecting the international cooperation involved in building the largest space complex in history, Commander Bob Cabana and Russian Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev opened the hatch to the U.S.-built Unity connecting module and then floated into the new station together. The rest of the crew followed and began turning on lights and unstowing gear in the roomy hub to which all other modules will be connected in the future. Each passageway within Unity was marked by a sign leading the way into tunnels to which new modules will be connected.
Cabana and Krikalev then opened the hatch to the Russian-built Zarya control module, which will be the nerve center for the station in its embryonic stage. Joined by Pilot Rick Sturckow and Mission Specialists Jerry Ross, Jim Newman and Nancy Currie, Cabana and Krikalev hailed the historic entrance into the International Space Station and said the hatch opening signified the start of a new era in space exploration.
On Friday, Endeavour's astronauts wrapped up the first visit inside the ISS and prepared it for undocking, closing the hatches for the final time to the new complex before it is left to fly unpiloted for the next five months. Left behind were tools, supplies and clothing for the next crew of astronauts which will visit the station during the next shuttle assembly flight in May. Permanent occupancy of the station is currently scheduled for January 2000.
In all, Ross and Newman spent 21 hours and 22 minutes outside Endeavour in the initial assembly of the station.
On Sunday, for the first time ever, the new International Space Station Flight Control Room in Houston issued a wake-up call to orbiting astronauts. After preparation, Pilot Rick Sturckow separated Endeavour from the station, firing the shuttle's jets to place the orbiter 450 feet above the outpost. Sturckow then initiated a nose-forward flyaround of the station as shuttle TV cameras captured spectacular views of the two station modules framed against the blue backdrop of the Earth. Less than an hour and a half after undocking, Sturckow then fired Endeavour's jets one final time as the orbiter passed 450 feet below the complex, separating for the final time as the station faded from view along the horizon.
International Space Station flight controllers at Mission Control, Houston and at the Russian Mission Control Center in Korolev, outside Moscow, will now spend the next five months monitoring the station's systems and awaiting the launch of Discovery on the STS-96 mission. That mission will see a multinational crew of seven astronauts return to the station in a logistics resupply flight which will include at least one spacewalk to attach additional hardware to the new orbiting facility.
Late Sunday, flight controllers commanded the station into a new orientation to point the Zarya Control Module toward deep space and the Unity Module toward the Earth. Commands were then sent to place the station into a slow spin of about one revolution every 30 minutes to keep the station within proper thermal conditions as it orbits the Earth. Zarya's motion control system will be reactivated about once a week over the next few months to insure it is working properly and its guidance system will be updated with the latest orbital parameters.
Endeavour's astronauts also deployed a small 590-pound satellite called SAC-A for the Argentinean National Committee of Space Activities. Equipped with five technology experiments, including one to track the movement of whales off the coast of Argentina, SAC-A was ejected from a canister in the cargo bay as the shuttle few over the northern Indian Ocean. The satellite is expected to remain in orbit from five to nine months sending back data to Argentine researchers back on Earth.
Endeavour is scheduled for landing at the Kennedy Space Center Tuesday night.
TDRS Tracking and Data Relay satellites handle all shuttle ground-to-air communications. The easiest way to follow shuttle communications and activities is NASA Select TV, which can be viewed from several sources including the Internet. Two of the web sites that feature NASA Select TV are:
Ken, N2WWD, has provided the following Keplerian elements:
STS-88 1 25549U 98069A 98349.16833912 .00002668 00000-0 33343-4 0 424 2 25549 51.5722 42.3372 0012690 242.6373 16.6851 15.59060500 1701
[ANS thanks NASA and Ken Ernandes, N2WWD, for this information]
ANS is pleased to report two new OSCAR numbers! Responding to a question from Keith Baker, KB1SF, AMSAT-NA President, both the SEDSAT and PANSAT teams have now answered that they wish OSCAR numbers be assigned to their respective spacecraft.
According to KB1SF, he also passed along congratulations from all AMSAT-NA members to both teams on their success in placing their respective satellites into orbit.
The assignment of consecutive OSCAR numbers to new Amateur Radio spacecraft is a wonderful tradition that dates from the launch of the very first Amateur Radio Satellite -- OSCAR-1. In order for an OSCAR number to be assigned, the satellite must successfully achieve orbit and one or more transmitters must be successfully activated in the Amateur Radio bands. Then, the builders and/or owners of the satellite must formally request that a consecutive OSCAR number be assigned to their satellite once the first two requirements are accomplished.
Speaking for the SEDSAT team, Dr. Mark Maier, SEDSAT faculty advisor and Associate Professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, said "the SEDSAT team requests issuance of an OSCAR number for SEDSAT. We would prefer the designation SO-33. As of October 24, 1998, SEDSAT was placed into orbit and its transmitter was successfully activated."
Likewise, Dan Sakoda, PANSAT Project Manager at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California said, "we would be very pleased to be assigned an OSCAR designation. As I understand, the number 34 is available and the designation PO-34 (PANSAT-OSCAR 34) could be used."
KB1SF has informed ANS that, in the light of this information, it is now appropriate to refer to the two amateur satellites as 'SEDSAT-OSCAR 33' (or simply 'SO-33') and PANSAT-OSCAR-34' (or simply 'PO-34') respectively.
[ANS thanks Keith Baker, KB1SF, AMSAT-NA President, for this information]
The ARRL has reported to ANS that nominations are now open for three exciting new ARRL national awards recognizing service, innovation and microwave development in the technical arena.
Stay tuned to ANS for further information and details on the new service, innovation and development awards offered by the ARRL.
[ANS thanks the ARRL and Rick Palm, K1CE, for this information]
A small satellite and a manned spacecraft are featured in this week's ANS information set. Both RS-18 and the Mir space station have seen recent changes this past week.
Russian cosmonauts successfully launched RS-18/Sputnik 41 on November 10, 1998, during a spacewalk from the Mir space station. Gerard, F6FAO, broke the recent news about the satellite on the AMSAT bulletin board last Friday, posting this report:
No signal in France. F6FAO
Other reports soon followed. Kevin, WB5RUE, told ANS he "didn't hear RS-18 on the last overhead pass in south Texas." Ray, ZS6RSW, reported he did not hear anything on 145.812 MHz during RS-18's scheduled pass Friday over South Africa. Ray, W2RS reported similar results. Tariq, AP2TJ, confirmed that RS-18 did not stop transmitting until after 0710 UTC on December 10th, as both Tariq and AP2NK copied the signal during that pass. Dennis, G0FCL, might have provided the real answer, as he copied an "ailing" RS-18 over the United Kingdom during the 1933 UTC pass December 10th.
RS-18 contained no recharging system (such as solar cells) and did meet its expected design life of 30 days.
Several amateurs reported receiving slow-scan television signals broadcast recently from the Mir space station. Allen, N2YAC, reported to ANS he copied Robot 36 format SSTV signals from Mir during orbit 73206. According to Allen, "picture quality was good with very little noise." Andy, G0SFJ, copied 5X9 signals of the Mir interior. Mike, N1JEZ, reported receiving four SSTV pictures from MIR, including "a neat shot out the window." Other SSTV reception reports were received from KB2WQM, ZLl2TE and N3CXP. The downlink frequency being used by Mir for SSTV transmissions was 145.820 MHz.
Bob, WB4APR, filed a very interesting report. WB4APR was conducting an APRS School Experiment when he heard SSTV tones. Bob quickly connected his SSTV equipment and copied the first images from Mir. WB4APR has posted these images on the APRN web page at the following URL:
Dave, WB6LLO has also posted Mir SSTV images on his site, all in .bmp format. View these images at:
Further information on slow-scan television, including the various methods that can be used to receive SSTV images using a personal computer, is available at the following URL:
[ANS thanks SpaceNews for the Mir SSTV information, material for this bulletin also came from the AMSAT Bulletin Board]
ANS news in brief this week includes the following:
Mir . RS-12 . RS-13 . RS-15 . RS-16 . RS-18 . AO-10 . AO-27 . FO-20 . FO-29 . KO-23 . KO-25 . UO-11 . AO-16 . DO-17 . WO-18 . LO-19 . UO-22 . IO-26 . TO-31 . GO-32
The PBBS is running a Kantronics KPC-9612 + V.8.1 TNC. The commands are similar to most PBBS and BBS systems.
MIREX has announced an on going APRS School Days Test. MIREX is allowing schools to use APRS for position and status reports via R0MIR. Non-school stations are asked to refrain from using APRS type transmissions or beacons via R0MIR.
Several amateurs reported receiving slow-scan television signals broadcast recently from the Mir space station. N2YAC, G0SFJ, N1JEZ, KB2WQM, ZLl2TE, N3CXP WB4APR and WB6LLO have all copied Mir SSTV signals.
Scott, WA6LIE, has a set of instructions on how to work the Mir space station. Copies of the instructions are available from Scott by e-mail at email@example.com, or by packet at wa6lie@wa6lie.#wcca.ca.usa.noam.
[ANS thanks Scott Avery, WA6LIE, and the MIREX team for Mir status information]
Uplink 145.910 to 145.950 MHz CW/SSB
Uplink 21.210 to 21.250 MHz CW/SSB
Downlink 29.410 to 29.450 MHz CW/SSB
Downlink 145.910 to 145.950 MHz CW/SSB
Beacon 29.408 MHz
Robot Uplink 21.129 MHz, Downlink 29.454 MHz
Last reported to be semi-operational, beacon only.
Uplink 21.260 to 21.300 MHz CW/SSB
Uplink 145.960 to 146.000 MHz CW/SSB
Downlink 29.460 to 29.500 MHz CW/SSB
Downlink 145.960 to 146.000 MHz CW/SSB
Beacon 29.504 MHz
Robot Uplink 21.140 MHz, Downlink 29.458 MHz
Last reported in mode K (from Jerry, K5OE).
The RS-12/13 satellite has seen many recent changes in operation during the past weeks. Modes K, T, KT and simultaneous RS-13 operation have all been reported by a number of stations.
No official word from the satellite controllers has been received. ANS recommends monitoring each satellite carefully to determine the transponder in operation and which mode it is operating in.
RS-12/13 command is now in the hands of Alex Papkov, in Kaluga City, Russia.
Uplink 145.858 to 145.898 MHz CW/SSB
Downlink 29.354 to 29.394 MHz CW/SSB
Beacon 29.352 MHz (intermittent)
Semi-operational, Mode A (2m uplink, 10m downlink)
Dave, WB6LLO, reports he has prepared a "quick and dirty" set of operating instructions for RS-15 at the following URL:
Uplink 435.030 to 435.180 MHz CW/LSB
Downlink 145.975 to 145.825 MHz CW/USB
Beacon 145.810 MHz (unmodulated carrier)
AO-10 continues to function well with the exception of the periodic deep QSB, which can be partially eliminated by switching antenna polarization. Strong signals have been heard even at apogee. Also note that AO-10's apogee is approaching its most northern point (ArgP = 270). This gives the satellite track on a rectangular (Mercator) map projection a distinctly symmetrical pattern. The apogee will begin a slow migration southward.
Many reports of AO-10 activity. Mike, N1JEZ, recently worked VR2ZGK for DXCC country #104. KD4ESV reports QSO's with W8WRP and JA5LG. KA7YAO reports CW contacts with K2LGJ and W8JAQ.
Mart, DL6UAA, tells ANS that he is planning AO-10 operation from 3B8 in March and April '99. If successful, Mart says this will be the "first satellite operation from 3B8 land." Stay tuned to ANS for details. Additional information on the operation is available at http://www.qsl.net/dl6uaa/.
W4SM tells ANS that he has, using ranging software (and hardware) developed by James Miller, G3RUH, recently made ranging measurements on AO-10 for the last week and have fed these measurements into an algorithm which generates modified Keplerian elements from a "seed" set of elements. The Keplerian elements generated appear to be accurate within 16-25 km.
Note: This element set may have to be entered by hand or cut and pasted line by line into a tracking program, rather than automatically extracted. They are not in the complete AMSAT format, orbit# (Epoch rev), Element set#, and Checksum are not included.
Satellite: AO-10 Catalog number: 14129 Epoch time: 98334.41402 Inclination: 26.8570 deg RA of node: 56.2190 deg Eccentricity: 0.59993 Arg of perigee: 269.7500 deg Mean anomaly: 218.2590 deg Mean motion: 2.05837914 rev/day Decay rate: 0.00 rev/day^2
Stacey Mills, W4SM, has more information about the satellite at the following URL:
[ANS thanks Stacey Mills, W4SM, for his AO-10 status information and web site]
Uplink 145.850 MHz FM
Downlink: 436.792 MHz FM
The TEPR settings of AO-27 were recently reset by Chuck, KM4NZ. The new settings now reflect the Earth's position during the northern fall/winter season, and should provide more satellite 'on' time for AO-27 during each pass.
Mike, N1JEZ, reports working IK3ZAW recently, who was in W4 land. Mike says it "was surprising to hear an IK3 prefix on AO-27!"
[ANS thanks Michael Wyrick, N4USI, for AO-27 information]
Uplink 145.900 to 146.000 MHz CW/LSB
Downlink 435.800 to 435.900 MHz CW/USB
FO-20 in mode JA continuously.
[ANS thanks Kazu Sakamoto, JJ1WTK for the FO-20 status reports]
Kazu, JJ1WTK, tells ANS that the FO-29 Command Team has released the following announcement concerning FO-29 status:
The present JA mode of operation will continue to investigate the frequency of bit errors in the on-board-computer. Reports from Amateurs on the value of channel 2A are appreciated. The position of 2A is the fifth item after 'HI HI' in CW telemetry. The normal value is '00'. Reports should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FO-29 is still in 'full sun illumination'; this should end in December.
The on-board-computer (OBC) did accept commands from ground control before full illumination began. The FO-29 Command Team says digital (JD) mode operation may be available soon. Digi-talker operation is also being planned.
[ANS thanks Kazu Sakamoto, JJ1WTK, for this report.]
Uplink 145.850, 145.900 MHz FM
Downlink 435.175 MHz FM, 9600 Baud FSK
AA7KC reports normal KO-23 operation this past week.
[ANS thanks Jim Weisenberger, AA7KC, for KO-23 status information]
Uplink 145.980 MHz FM
Downlink 436.500 MHz FM, 9600 Baud FSK
AA7KC reports KO-25 is operational but downlink efficiencies have been below 50%.
[ANS thanks Jim Weisenberger, AA7KC, for KO-25 status information]
Uplink 145.900 or 145.975 MHz FM
Downlink 435.120 MHz FM 9600 Baud FSK
No additional information is available at this time.
ANS has not received any recent updates concerning the current status of UO-22.
More information on the satellite is available at the following URL:
[Chris Jackson, G7UPN/ZL2TPO, is the Operations Manager of UO-22]
Downlink 145.825 MHz FM, 1200 baud PSK
Beacon 2401.500 MHz
Clive, G3CWV, reports an uneventful month for OSCAR-11. Telemetry has been nominal.
The mode-S beacon is on, transmitting an unmodulated carrier, however telemetry indicates that it has partially failed, delivering half power. This beacon is a useful test source for those testing mode-S converters prior to the launch of P3D. The 435.025 MHz beacon is normally off.
Two new WOD software packages have recently added to the Oscar 11 web site. The first package enables various WOD channels to be compared with the solar eclipse status of the satellite. The second package compares measured and calculated magnetic fields encountered by Oscar 11. Both packages are of an advanced nature, users will need experience using the other WOD packages on the web site and a spreadsheet program.
The URL is http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/clivew/
Beacon reception reports should be sent to: email@example.com
[ANS thanks Clive Wallis, G3CWV, for this information.]
Uplink 145.900, 145.920, 145.940, 145.860 MHz FM, 1200 bps Manchester
Downlink 437.0513 MHz SSB, 1200 bps RC-BPSK 1200 Baud PSK
Beacon 2401.1428 MHz.)
The AO-16 command team has authorized an APRS experiment on AO-16 to explore the use of the 1200-baud PACSAT for APRS position/status reporting. The test periods will run each Tuesday from 0000 to 2359 UTC.
Telemetry is nominal.
Time is Sat Dec 12 12:07:56 1998 uptime is 1546/06:31:47 +X (RX) Temp -6.658 D RX Temp 0.603 D Bat 1 Temp 6.654 D Bat 2 Temp 6.049 D Baseplt Temp 6.049 D RC PSK BP Temp 0.603 D RC PSK HPA Tmp 1.209 D +Y Array Temp 4.234 D PSK TX HPA Tmp 0.603 D +Z Array Temp -5.448 D RC PSK TX Out 0.457 W Total Array C= 0.444 Bat Ch Cur=-0.012 Ifb= 0.019 I+10V= 0.332 TX:010B BCR:80 PWRC:59E BT: A WC:25 EDAC:EC
General information and telemetry WOD files can be found at http://www.ctv.es/USERS/ea1bcu
New telemetry WOD graphics corresponding to Dec-09 can be found at http://www.ctv.es/USERS/ea1bcu/wod.htm
[ANS thanks Miguel A. Menendez, EA1BCU, for this report.]
Uplink 145.840, 145.860, 145.880, 145.900 MHz 1200 bps Manchester FSK
Downlink 437.125 MHz SSB, 1200 bps RC-BPSK
No BBS service. On Board Computer reload in progress. The digipeater is active.
Telemetry is as follows:
Time is Sat Dec 12 12:15:27 1998 uptime is 133/22:37:51 Bat 1 Temp 4.057 D Bat 2 Temp 4.057 D Baseplt Temp 4.618 D RC PSK BP Temp 0.131 D RC PSK HPA Tmp 1.252 D +Y Array Temp 1.252 D PSK TX HPA Tmp 0.131 D +Z Array Temp -4.917 D RC PSK TX Out 0.659 W Total Array C= 0.340 Bat Ch Cur= 0.131 Ifb= 0.025 I+10V= 0.133 TX:017 BCR:89 PWRC:62D BT:3C WC: 0
General information and telemetry samples can be found at http://www.ctv.es/USERS/ea1bcu/lo19.htm
[ANS thanks Miguel A. Menendez, EA1BCU, for this report.]
Uplink 145.875, 145.900, 145.925, 145.950 MHz FM
Downlink 435.822 MHz SSB, 1200 Baud PSK
Telemetry is reported as being received on 435.822 MHz at 1200 baud PSK.
ANS has not received any recent updates concerning the status of IO-26. No additional information is available at this time.
Downlink 436.923 MHz
TMSAT-1 is now open for general access by Amateur Radio operators worldwide. TMSAT commissioning has been completed and shows that most of the spacecraft systems are operating correctly. Normal access will allow operators to use the store and forward communications on the spacecraft and also download the high-resolution multispectral images.
It is hoped Amateur Radio operators will take advantage of the high-resolution multispectral images available from TO-31 and keep other traffic to a minimum. Due to current limitations with on-board memory, images will only be available on the satellite for a few days after they are taken. Software to display the thumbnail images from the WAC (Wide Angle Camera) will be released shortly.
Testing will continue and access may be limited to command stations only. If at any time the BBS is in a 'SHUT' mode as displayed in WiSP (or any of the digital programs), do not attempt to access the satellite as it may delay any command string that is underway.
Fernando, CX6DD, reports he is about to finish his first set of image files from TO-31, telling ANS the images "look great."
[ANS thanks Chris Jackson, G7UPN/ZL2TPO, for this report]
Downlink 435.325 435.225 MHz
HDLC telemetry framed so a TNC in KISS mode will decode it
The TechSat-1B micro-satellite was successfully launched from the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome on July 10, 1998. The satellite is expected to be available for general amateur use in the future.
ANS has not received any recent updates concerning the current status of GO-32. No additional information is available at this time.
The satellite does not have a continuous beacon, but does transmit a 9600-baud burst every 30 seconds (for about 3 seconds in length), currently on 435.225 MHz.
The TechSat team has also constructed a home page about the TechSat bird, and promise they will add more information in the next few weeks. To view the site, point your web browser to:
[ANS thanks Shlomo Menuhin, 4X1AS for this information]
Attempts to command the mode A transponder 'on' have been unsuccessful to date. At this time the RS-16 transponder is non-operational. The 435 MHz beacon (only) is operational.
No additional information is available at this time.
Russian cosmonauts successfully launched RS-18/Sputnik 41 on November 10, 1998, during a spacewalk from the Mir space station. The satellite stopped transmitting early on December 11, 1998, meeting the 30 day projected lifetime.
A computer .wav file of the actual received signal can also be found at:
Gerard, F6FAO, suggests the following address for RS-18 QSL requests:
RS-18 QSL Manager
14 bis rue des Gourlis
92 500 Rueil-Malmaison
The list of received QSL's by the French QSL manager is available at the following link (note: the list changes daily as cards are received):
Downlink 145.825 MHz FM, 1200 Baud AFSK
Beacon 2401.220 MHz
The 145.825 MHz and 2401.220 MHz downlinks are off the air.
No additional information is available at this time.
Downlink 437.104 MHz SSB, 1200 Baud PSK AX.25
WO-18 is reported to be in MBL mode after a software crash.
No additional information is available at this time.
[Please send any amateur satellite news or reports to the ANS Editors at firstname.lastname@example.org, or to ANS Editor Dan James, NN0DJ, at email@example.com.]
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This week's AMSAT News Service bulletins were edited by AMSAT News Service Editor Dan James, NN0DJ, firstname.lastname@example.org.