December 15, 2002

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Weekly Operating Update

ANS welcomes the opportunity to publish your good news of success in working a new satellite, new DX, new mode, etc. We also print reports about what space related activities your local satellite groups and ham clubs are doing. Send your operating reports to JoAnne ( and they will be printed here.

[ANS thanks KK5DO, and congratulates K5MAN and KF4HR for this week's operating news.]

Sapphire Status

Currently, Sapphire is not an active APRS digipeater; we're having some problems with the receiver/TNC (we have not been able to pinpoint the problem in the receive chain) and he is not listening to ground commands. The most likely remedy is a hard reset (which we have been unable to force from the ground), though we are hopeful that a 'natural' radiation-induced crash of the on-board software will take place ... someday.

That being said, you are free to attempt digipeating -- if successful, then a reset has taken place when we weren't looking. If you are able to pull off a digipeat, please let myself & Bob Bruninga know. Also, in its current state, Sapphire broadcasts a short CW pulse every 20 seconds on 437.1 MHz; changes to the pulse period (or the absence of pulses) are also noteworthy events.

[ANS thanks Mike Swartwout, KE6YNJ, Sapphire Operations Lead for this information]

Upcoming ARISS Contact Schedule as of 2002-12-07 07:00 UTC

The ARISS (a joint effort of AMSAT, the ARRL, NASA, the ARISS international partners including Canada, Russia, the European Partners, and Japan) operations team wishes to announce the following very tentative schedule for ARISS school contacts. This schedule is very fluid and may change at the last minute. Remember that amateur radio use on the ISS is considered secondary. Please check the various AMSAT and ARISS webpages for the latest announcements. Changes from the last announcement are noted with (***). Also, please check for possible live retransmissions ( Listen for the ISS on the downlink of 145.80 MHz.

For information about educational materials available from ISS partner space Agencies, please refer to links on the ARISS Frequently Asked Questions page.

If you are interested in supporting an ARISS contact, then you must fill in an application. The ARISS operations mentor team will not accept a direct request to support an ARISS contact.

You should also note that many schools think that they can request a specific date and time. It does not work that way. Once an application has been accepted, the ARISS mentors will work with the school to determine a mutually agreeable date.

Websites that may be of interest include:

Your completely filled out application should be returned to the nearest coordinating ARISS region if your specific region is not listed. E-mail is the preferred method of submitting an application.

Here are the email addresses:
ARISS-Canada and all other countries not covered: (Daniel Lamoureux VE2KA)
ARISS-Europe: (J. Hahn, DL3LUM / PA1MUC)
ARISS-Japan and all Region 3 countries: (Keigo Komuro JA1KAB)
ARISS-Russia: (Valerie Agabekov N2WW/UA6HZ)
ARISS-USA: (The American Radio Relay League)

Thank you ISS Expedition 5 crew:
Peggy Whitson KC5ZTD
Sergei Treschev RZ3FU
Valeri Korzun RZ3FK

We appreciate your efforts! Thanks again for a job well done! (***)

ISS Expedition 6 crew:
Kenneth Bowersox KD5JBP
Nikolai Budarin RV3FB
Donald Pettit KD5MDT

Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, Chicago, Illinois direct via AJ9N
1st choice 2002-12-29 18:21 UTC (***)
2nd choice 2002-12-30 17:25 UTC (***)
3rd choice 2002-12-19 16:22 UTC (***)
4th choice 2002-12-22 15:12 UTC (***)
Look for possible live streaming video, the website is

Cape Cod National Seashore, Wellfleet, MA, Direct via KM1CC
TBD week of 2003-01-13

World Scout Jamboree 2003, Sattahip, Thailand, Direct via E20AJ
TBD from 2002-12-28 to 2003-01-07

Hochwald-Gymnasium, Wadern, Germany, Direct via DN1TA
TBD 2003-02 (***)

Cowichan Secondary School, Duncan, BC, Canada, Direct via VE7POH
TBD after 2003-01-20

The latest ARISS announcement and successful school list in now available on the ARISS web site. Several ways to get there. click on English (sorry I don't know French) you are now at click on News

Currently the ARISS operations team has a list of over 60 schools that we hope will be able to have a contact during 2002-2003. As the schedule becomes more solidified, we will be letting everyone know. Current plans call for an average of one scheduled school contact per week.

[ANS thanks Charlie Sufana, AJ9N, One of the ARISS operation team mentors for this information]

ARISS Meets in Washington

It may have been snowing outside, but that did not stop ham radio delegations from descending on the Washinton, DC area for the Winter 2002 meeting to plan the future of ARISS and manned ham radio on board the International Space Station. Roy Neal, K6DUE, was there and filed back this report:

The delegates and representatives of ARISS met at the Goddard Space Flight Center, near the nation's capitol. They decided that 2002 was a good year for the space station. It grew rapidly and is working well. The same is true of ARISS.

There were many excellent contacts with schools all over the world, including Europe, South Africa and Japan. Ground stations in South Africa, Australia and Hawaii worked very well in making those contacts .

Packet has been brought on line and several thousand very satisfied users are making the most of it.

Four external antennas were installed last year. A monumental achievement that gave ariss the capability of operating almost any frequency from 20 meters up into the gigahertz range.

Among its problems, the space station has a crew of only three astronauts and cosmonauts, Instead of seven as originally planned. That severely limits operating time for amateur radio. The ARISS delegates were told that the international partners hope to increase crew size in the near future. Hopefully a lot more air time will be available.

Ham radio on the space station plans for the next phase call for expansion to 70 centimeter operation and a second station on the air. This would open the door to full duplex operation. At a future date it might even allow students to receive pictures on 70 cm while talking on 2 meters!

Work will continue, testing slow scan television and space cam hardware, hopeful of getting both these projects on the air perhaps by this time next year.

Many other exciting, advanced technology projects were discussed. They will be reported here on newsline during the coming year as the ARISS team continues building its ham radio station in orbit.

[ANS thanks ROY NEAL, K6DUE and Amateur Radio Newsline for this information]

Teacher to Fly in Space

NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe today announced that Barbara Morgan, the agency's first Educator Astronaut, has been assigned as a crewmember on a November 2003 Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station.

Today's announcement was highlighted with a ceremony at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore and fulfills the Administrator's commitment earlier this year to send an educator into space in a renewed mission to inspire a new generation of explorers. Morgan's flight represents the first of what is expected to be many flights as part of a new Educator Astronaut program, which will be unveiled in early 2003.

"NASA has a responsibility to cultivate a new generation of scientists and engineers," said Administrator O'Keefe. "Education has always been a part of NASA's mission, but we have renewed our commitment to get students excited about science and mathematics. The Educator Astronaut program will use our unique position in space to help advance our nation's education goals," he explained.

Morgan's assigned mission, STS-118, has as its primary objectives to install additional truss segments that will increase power and communications to the International Space Station, and to deliver additional supplies for the Station's crew. Morgan will participate in a number of educational events from space and be actively involved in the flight as a fully trained NASA astronaut.

Commander Scott J. Kelly (Cmdr., USN) will lead the six-member STS-118 crew. Charles O. Hobaugh (Lt. Col., USMC) serves as the Space Shuttle's pilot. Veteran NASA astronaut Dr. Scott E. Parazynski will be making his fifth space flight. The Canadian Space Agency's Dr. David R. Williams will return to space for a second time, and Lisa M. Nowak (Cmdr., USN) will -- like Morgan -- make her first flight into space.

A native of McCall, Idaho, Morgan was selected in 1985 as the backup candidate for the Teacher in Space program. Following the Challenger accident, the program was suspended and Morgan worked with NASA's Education Office, meeting with teachers and students across the country to share her space training experiences and their relevance to the classroom and America's future.

In the fall of 1986 Morgan returned to teaching at McCall-Donnelly Elementary School in Idaho, but continued to travel the country in support of NASA's education efforts. In January 1998, she was selected by NASA to complete her astronaut training. For more than a year, Morgan has served as a spacecraft communicator, or CAPCOM, in Mission Control at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, providing the voice link between the flight control team and crews orbiting in space.

"Barbara's commitment and dedication to education is an inspiration to teachers across the country," concluded Administrator O'Keefe. "She embodies the spirit and desire of this agency to get students excited about space again, and I'm pleased that she'll be able to fulfill that mission from orbit aboard the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station," he said.

Additional information about Barbara Morgan and the International Space Station is available on the Internet at: and

Information on NASA's extensive education programs is available on the web at:

[ANS thanks NASA News for this information ]

AO-40 RUDAK Status

RUDAK will be on for 72 minutes (16 MA units) from MA 136 to 152 on selected orbits over RUDAK command stations. The tasks to be accomplished are discussed in Jim White's post as below. Note that the middle beacon and passbands will be off during RUDAK sessions.

--W4SM for the AO-40 / RUDAK Command Teams

We will be resuming RUDAK work on AO-40 soon with a short (about 1 hour) window during orbits when the satellite is in view of the command stations in Colorado and Alabama. RUDAK will be on only on those orbits.

The objectives of this series of RUDAK windows are to do some further testing in preparation for implementing DSP based digital links to RUDAK that ground stations with modest equipment can use as well as to gather data from the radiation experiment (CEDEX). Additionally, if time allows, further work to collect good pictures from SCOPE may be undertaken. The objective of the SCOPE work is to compress pictures on-board to reduce the file sizes and it possible to routinely take pictures, and implement a scheduler so the earth can be imaged when the satellite is not in view of a command station. New command software will also be tested.

The window is being constrained to about 70 minutes and only when in view of the command stations in order to limit the impact on transponder operations.

Stacey has announced the implementation of the RUDAK windows in the scheduler. Please see the FAQ at for further information about AO-40 and RUDAK.

[ANS thanks Jim White of the RUDAK Command Team for this information]

Ariane Launch Failure

The maiden flight of a new heavyweight European space rocket failed Wednesday just three minutes after takeoff when its burners cut out, the director general of Arianespace said. Jean-Yves Le Gall immediately apologized to customers for the failure of the Ariane rocket, which was carrying two satellites: a Hotbird TM7 for the European telecoms consortium Eutelsat and Stentor, an experimental communications satellite for the French space research institute CNES.

[ANS thanks Space Daily for this information]

First satellite for Algeria in Surrey's Disaster Monitoring Constellation

Thursday 28th November 2002
Surrey, England

AlSAT-1, the first of a five-microsatellite constellation, has been successfully launched today for SSTL's Algerian customer, CNTS.

The launch, into a 700km sun-synchronous orbit onboard a Kosmos 3-M rocket from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia, took place on schedule at 06:07hs GMT today in thick snow and temperatures around -20oC. This is Algeria's first satellite and marks the country's commitment to participating in space and international co-operation. AlSAT-1 also initiates the launch of the first ever microsatellite constellation dedicated to disaster monitoring.

AlSAT-1 will be joined in orbit by a further four Surrey-built microsatellites to be launched in mid-2003. AlSAT-1 encompasses the latest in small satellite technology from SSTL, providing extremely wide swath (600km) 32-metre multispectral imaging and 1 GByte solid state recorders for high capacity onboard storage of image data and transmission to ground at S-band. With just a single satellite in orbit it is possible to image the same area anywhere in the world at least every four days. When the complete constellation is operational it will provide a daily imaging revisit capability worldwide - a major factor for disaster relief agencies. The remaining four microsatellites are also being built at SSTL in collaboration with Nigeria, Turkey and the UK.

At the launch site, the CEO of SSTL (Prof Sir Martin Sweeting) and the Director of CNTS (Dr Azzedine Oussedik) observed the lift-off and were able to relay the countdown on-line, to SSTL and CNTS staff in Guildford (UK) and Arzew (Algeria). Dr Oussedik said: "Algeria is proud to join the community of space faring nations and to have this opportunity by working with Surrey and the UK to achieve our first satellite in orbit. This project has trained Algerian specialists to bring the benefits of space to our nation and its people." Speaking in the sub-zero arctic temperature, Sir Martin said: "SSTL is also proud to achieve a successful launch for our Algerian customer and at the same time mark the 21st Surrey satellite in orbit. The UK, Algerian and Russian teams worked extremely well together to achieve today's launch - the first DMC mission in the international constellation".

Some 30 minutes after launch, the AlSAT-1 spacecraft was released into orbit, and 3 hours later the CNTS command station in Algeria activated the satellite and started the process of commissioning it for full operation.

Pictures available at: and

[ANS Thanks Prof. Sir Martin Sweeting OBE, G3YJO for this information]

Weekly Satellite Report

Link to the weekly report on satellite ...

All Satellites
ISS. RS-12. RS-13. RS-15. RS-20. AO-7. AO-10. UO-11. UO-14. AO-16. LO-19. FO-20. UO-22. KO-23. KO-25. IO-26. AO-27. FO-29. TO-31. GO-32. SO-33. PO-34. UO-36. AO-40. SO-41. SO-42. NO-44. NO-45. MO-46

Please send any amateur satellite news or reports to the ANS Editors at

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This week's AMSAT News Service bulletins were edited by AMSAT News Service Editor Dave Johnson, G4DPZ,