May 25, 2003

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President's Letter May 2003

Hello again AMSAT members,

It was a great pleasure to meet so many of you at Dayton last weekend. Although the number of hams appeared to be slightly less than last year and there were a few more spaces in the flea market, I am pleased to report that AMSAT has a very good time at Dayton. This year we had more members renew their memberships and more new members join than for the last several years.

As is almost traditional the Saturday Morning AMSAT Forum was packed and three excellent talks were given by Rick Hambly, W2GPS on "Echo — AMSAT's Latest Satellite", Gould Smith, WA4SXM on "Getting Started in Amateur Radio Satellites" and by Bdale Garbee, KB0G on "A New Approach to Spacecraft Onboard Command and Telemetry Interfacing". All three talks were very well received by the audience and the applause for each speaker was loud.

Unfortunately, a few days before Dayton, I learnt that Echo will not be launched this year, but will have a delay of about 6 months. This is not an AMSAT delay but have learnt that the launch organization does not have a primary payload for their Fall launch. This means that unless we become the primary payload, something we could not afford, we must wait the 6 months until the next launch. On the positive side, it gives us a few more months to complete the work on Echo, complete the software and complete the tests. It may also slightly reduce our overall launch costs.

Returning to Dayton, I would like to thank the 30+ volunteers who offered to man the AMSAT booth and those who "turned up" during the 3 days asking if they could be of assistance. Your help was very much appreciated particularly by those of us who were organizing the AMSAT event.

On another matter, I am now pleased to report that the AMSAT annual meeting this year will take place in Toronto, as originally planned. The hotel contract has arrived at this QTH and will be signed about the time you read this. The Toronto team who are organising this event will have a spouses program and on the Sunday morning a visit can be made to the Hammond Radio Museum — one of the leading museums in North America.

You will note that this year is the "election" year for four positions on the Board of Directors. Please do vote for your representative of choice - this is your organisation and it is up to you to choose the right people to represent you.

I understand that we may have six or more people running for four places on the board. That is very good, but please read their information and do vote for your choice.

[ANS thanks Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, for the above information.]

Canadian Special Prefixes

Industry Canada has authorized the use of "Special Event Prefixes" between May 24th and July 27th to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the National Library of Canada. The special prefixes are CK for all VE's, CJ for all VA's, CY for all VO's and CZ for all VY's. The special prefixes will therefore be available for use in the upcoming CQ WPX CW Contest on May 24 and 25th.

[ANS thanks Amateur Radio Newsline for the above information.]

ESA's Cluster Solves an Auroral Puzzle

ESA's four Cluster spacecraft have made a remarkable set of observations that has led to a breakthrough in understanding the origin of a peculiar and puzzling type of aurora.

These aurorae — seen as bright spots in Earth's atmosphere and called 'dayside proton auroral spots' — occur when fractures appear in the Earth's magnetic field, allowing particles given out from the Sun to squirt through and collide with the molecules in our atmosphere. This is the first time that a precise and direct connection between the two events has been made.

On 18 March last year, a jet of energetic solar protons collided with the Earth's atmosphere and created a bright 'spot' seen by NASA's IMAGE spacecraft, just as Cluster passed overhead and straight through the region where the proton jet was emanating. An extensive analysis of the Cluster results has now shown that the region was experiencing a turbulent event known as 'magnetic reconnection'. Such a phenomenon takes place when the Earth's usually impenetrable magnetic field fractures and has to find a new stable configuration. Until the field mends itself, solar protons leak through the gap and jet into Earth's atmosphere creating the dayside proton aurora.

ESA's Cluster Project Scientist, comments, "Thanks to Cluster's observations scientists can directly and firmly link for the first time a dayside proton auroral spot and a magnetic reconnection event."

ESA's Cluster is a collection of four spacecraft, launched on two Russian rockets during the summer of 2000. They are now flying in formation around the Earth, relaying the most detailed ever information about how the solar wind affects our planet in 3D. The Cluster mission is expected to continue until at least 2005.

[ANS thanks the European Space Agency for the above information.]

European Leaders Discuss the Future of Space Technology

Key decision-makers responsible for shaping Europe's future in space recently gathered in London, to discuss how to enhance Europe's leading position in developing space technology.

This meeting was part of a series of consultation events on European space policy, following the publication of the EU Green Paper on Space. The consultation will be closed by a major conference in Paris on 23-24 June, paving the way for a White Paper and detailed Action Plan to be presented by the end of 2003. This week's conference specifically focused on how space R&D can lead to concrete applications and commercial products in a wide range of areas, such as telecommunications, navigation and localisation, and Earth observation.

European institutions are bringing fresh momentum to the development of a European Space policy. On 13 May, the EU Competitiveness Ministers adopted a key resolution supporting reinforced co-operation between the European Commission and ESA to this end. This resolution calls for a rapid conclusion of a framework agreement between ESA and the European Commission, and for urgent actions to be taken at the EU level to answer the challenges faced by Europe's space sector, notably in launch services and commercial satellite markets. On 15 May, the European Parliament adopted a similar resolution, insisting that space be a shared competence in the new EU Treaty. Next week, on 27 May, the ESA ministerial meeting will address a series of key issues, notably, the future developments of the Ariane launcher.

[ANS thanks the European Space Agency for the above information.]

Russia to Launch 9 Satellites in June

Russia is to launch nine satellites in late June from the Plesetsk military cosmodrome in northwestern Russia, space officials said Thursday as quoted by ITAR-TASS news agency.

Russia's lightweight Rokot rocket will carry the Canadian Space Agency's Bridge satellite, the Mimoza satellite owned by the Czech Academy of Aciences, a Russian Monitor-E space complex model and six small Japanese satellites.

The Rokot, developed on the basis of an intercontinental ballistic missile RS-18, was first launched in March 2002.

[ANS thanks Space Daily for the above information.]

PCsat Status

PCsat seems to be doing fine (in noon sun) and so I took a shot at seeing if we can get her to last through the next 35-minute eclipse. So I turned off the digi at 1600 UTC just now and set the callsign to NODIGI.

With no user load, TXD set to 100 ms, and all other loads off and all packets minimized, this might just make it through eclipse. I figured it was worth a shot.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

[ANS thanks Bob, WB4APR, for the above information.]

AMSAT-NA Office Closed

The AMSAT-NA Office will be closed on Friday, May 23rd through Monday, May 26th. I will be recovering from Dayton! The office will reopen on Tuesday, May 27th at 10:00 AM EDT.

[ANS thanks Martha Saragovitz for the above information.]

Expedition Six Returns Home

The Expedition Six crew returned to Houston, Texas, on Wednesday. Commander Ken Bowersox, Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin and NASA ISS Science Officer Don Pettit will continue physical rehabilitation and debriefings. They had been in Star City, Russia, since their 161-day mission ended on May 3.

[ANS thanks Arthur, N1ORC, for the above information.]

ARISS Contacts

Upcoming ARISS Contact Schedule as of 2003-05-20 19:00 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)

ISS Expedition 7 crew:
Yuri Malenchenko RK3DUP

Klem Road South Elementary, Webster, N.Y.
2003-05-27 13:01 UTC via WH6PN in Hawaii (***)

Ecole primaire de l'Apprenti-Sage, Quebec, Quebec, Canada (***)
TBD UTC (***)

Lively District Secondary School, Lively, Ontario, Canada (***)
TBD UTC (***)

Webster High School, Webster, N.Y.

Stanford University
Palo Alto Gunn High School, California

Cornell University

Boulder High School, Colorado

Panahou High School, Honolulu, Hawaii

Federation Departementale des Radioamateurs de Seine Maritime - FDARSM Rouen, France

Rains High School, Texas

Challenger Learning Center of Tallahassee, Tallahassee, FL

Contact was not completed

Kuise Elementary School, Amagasaki, Japan (***)
TBD UTC (***)

Euro Space Center Space Camp, Transinne, Belgium (***)
TBD (***)

The latest ARISS announcement and successful school list is now available on the ARISS web site. Several ways to get there.

Latest ARISS announcements and news  Successful school list or

If you can not get into the GSFC site, then go directly to the RAC site. (***)

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 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.

Charlie Sufana AJ9N

[ANS thanks Charlie Sufana, AJ9N, for the above information.]

AMSAT-NA Space Symposium Call for Papers

The 2003 AMSAT-NA Annual Symposium is scheduled for October 17-19, 2003 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This is the first call for papers to be presented at the 2003 Symposium.

Papers may be presented by the author during the Symposium or simply offered for inclusion in the Symposium Proceedings publication.

The subject matter should be of general interest to amateur radio operators involved in satellite communications. Suggested topics include:

A brief abstract of the proposed paper should be submitted as soon as possible. The final date for abstracts is June 15, 2003.Copy ready papers must be received no later than August 15, 2003.

Electronic submittal is preferred in MS Word format. Please email your electronic submittals to Wayne Chandler at

[ANS thanks Wayne, VE3WHC, for the above 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. GO-32. SO-33. PO-34. UO-36. AO-40. SO-41. SO-42. NO-44. NO-45. MO-46. AO-49. SO-50

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 Scott Lindsey-Stevens, N3ASA,