June 15, 2003

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Spirit to Visit Mars

After 2 delays due to weather, the Mars rover Spirit launched on a Delta 2 rocket at 1:58 p.m. Tuesday, June 10th from Launch Pad 17A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Half of an $800-million Mars Exploration Rovers team, Spirit will embark on hunts for signs of water. Spirit's landing site, Gusev Crater, is thought to have held a gigantic lake.

The next generation of Mars robots will hunt for hints of carbon. Both carbon and water are important signs of life.

Spirit's 7 month journey should end on the red planet on January 4, 2004.

[ANS thanks Florida Today for the above information.]

WARC-03 Opens in Geneva

The International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 got under way June 9 at the Geneva International Conference Center adjacent to ITU Headquarters.

Amateur radio is but a small part of the conference, which is trying to complete work on more than 40 agenda items. Three are especially important to amateur radio: realignment of 7 MHz allocations (Agenda Item 1.23), revision of the regulations governing the amateur and amateur-satellite services (Agenda Item 1.7), and consideration of an allocation for satellite-borne synthetic aperture radars (SARs) in the 70cm band (Agenda Item 1.38).

Check out ARRL's website for more detailed information about these agenda items at

The conference wraps up the week of June 30-July 4.

[ANS thanks ARRL for the above information.]

Lively Shuttle Webcast

The ARISS contact for Lively District Secondary School, Lively, Ontario, Canada on 2003-06-12 at 19:13 UTC will be available in audio and video. Check the website at

Good luck Lively and Ed Lu!

Charlie Sufana, AJ9N

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

Sea Launch Lofts Thuraya-2 Mobile Comms Bird

Thuraya-2, the second satellite built by Boeing for Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications Company of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, rocketed to geosynchronous transfer orbit today aboard a Zenit-3SL provided by Sea Launch Company, LLC.

The Boeing GEO-Mobile model satellite lifted off at 6:56 a.m. PDT (13:56 GMT) from the Odyssey Launch Platform positioned on the equator in the Pacific Ocean. The spacecraft separated from the launch vehicle approximately one hour and 40 minutes after the launch, and minutes later its first signals were received at a Telemetry, Tracking and Control Station at Uralla, Australia, confirming normal operation.

"The newest light in the heavens is Thuraya-2, a mobile communications satellite that will help connect users on the move within a vast area of the globe," said Dave Ryan, president of spacecraft builder Boeing Satellite Systems International.

[ANS thanks Space Daily for the above information.]

Frog Music Arrives at Space Station

A Russian cargo rocket, the only remaining supply link to the international space station, arrived at the outpost on Wednesday carrying food and recorded sounds of rain and croaking frogs for the homesick crew.

Psychologists working with the Russian and U.S. space agencies say the sounds of nature will relax the crew and help them cope with the six-month stint in space.

"The docking has been successful," a spokeswoman at ground control outside Moscow said.

Russia's Progress cargo vessel and its manned Soyuz are the only remaining ties to the $95 billion orbiting outpost since the Columbia space shuttle disaster grounded the U.S. fleet, leaving the outpost to struggle without deliveries from the larger craft.

The Progress M1-10 is packed with some 2,400 kg (5,300 pounds) of supplies for the station, including water, fuel and food, as well as music, recorded nature sounds and letters for U.S. astronaut Edward Lu and Russia's Yuri Malenchenko, on board since April.

The crew, reduced from the usual three astronauts in an effort to save fuel and water, is due to return in October.

The next Progress is scheduled to blast off from Russia's Baikonur base in Kazakhstan in August. Any hitch with either the Progress or the Soyuz would prove crippling for the ISS which is funded by 16 states.  Since the Columbia shuttle disaster, Russian space officials have planned an extra launch for November.

[ANS thanks CNN for the above information.]

Astronaut Visits ARISS Contact School in Person

Astronaut Dan Bursch, KD5PNU, recently visited Hambright Elementary School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In May 2002, as a member of the International Space Station Expedition 4 crew, Bursch--with assistance on the ground from the Southern Pennsylvania Amateur Radio Club (SPARC)--spoke with youngsters at Hambright during an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station school group contact. During the QSO with Hambright--which marked the Expedition 4 crew's last ARISS US school group contact--Bursch, a father of two youngsters, tackled such questions as "Can you still blow bubbles with gum in space?" and "If you open a soda, will it fizz?" On June 6, Bursch visited Hambright Elementary in the flesh to meet with club members and students. "We had the students read their same questions, and Dan Bursch answered each again and gave a more definitive answer--there were no time limits this time," said SPARC member James "Yogi" Bear, WB3FQY, who got Bursch to autograph his QSL card. Bear had served as control operator during the May 2002 QSO.

[ANS thanks ARRL for the above information.]

ISS Expedition 2 Crew Member Headed for Academic Career

Jim Voss--a member of the ISS Expedition 2 crew that also included astronaut Susan Helms, KC7NHZ, and cosmonaut Yury Usachev, UW3FU--is headed for a new career. Until recently the deputy for flight operations in the Space Station Program Mission Integration and Operations Office at Johnson Space Center (JSC), Voss has accepted the position of associate dean for external affairs in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Alabama's Auburn University--his alma mater. A retired US Army colonel, Voss is one of NASA's most experienced astronaut managers and a veteran of five shuttle flights in addition to his 163 days aboard the ISS, when, although not a ham, he took part in several Amateur Radio on the International Space Station school group contacts. "Jim has served as an integral part of the astronaut and human space flight program for more than 18 years," said NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe. "His contributions to human space flight are numerous, but even more important, his professionalism and demeanor have served as positive examples for the astronaut corps." Voss received his bachelor's in aerospace engineering from Auburn in 1972. He will assume his duties at Auburn in the fall.

[ANS thanks ARRL for the above information.]

Air & Space Day 2003

June 21, 2003 from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Livingston Recreational Field, Livingston St., Tewksbury, MA

AIR & SPACE DAY 2003 is a free, fun, family, educational event, created to show children that science, math, and history can be fun. Optional donations will be used to build an observatory for Tewksbury schools.

Some planned events & displays include:

More details, as well as updates to the participant list can be found at

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

Shuttle May Launch Before End of Year

NASA wants to return its shuttle fleet to flight by about Dec. 18 and then launch six missions to complete the U.S. core of the International Space Station by February 2005, agency officials said Tuesday, June 10th.

New ground rules already are being adopted along with other changes designed to prevent a repeat of the Feb. 1 accident that destroyed shuttle Columbia and claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Among them: No nighttime launches, an external fuel tank redesign to prevent foam debris from damaging shuttles and new methods for handling potentially deadly problems once a mission is under way.

NASA also is studying the possibility of using the station as a safe haven for shuttle crews in case of emergencies while in orbit. And the agency even is contemplating the benefits of having a second shuttle on standby when a sistership launches.

Senior agency officials, meanwhile, acknowledge the target date is ambitious and that NASA will approach the fleet's return to space with caution.

"We are going to be deliberate to ensure that we return to flight in a safe manner," said Michael Greenfield, NASA's Deputy Associate Administrator for Technical Programs. "We will take as long as it takes."

[ANS thanks Florida Today for the above information.]

Kids Day 2003 Take 2

The second 2003 Kids Day event is scheduled for June 21 between 1800 and 2400 UTC on the HF and 2 meter bands. Please take a few moments to make contact with kids on the air and to welcome them to the exciting hobby of amateur radio.

Further information can be found on ARRL's website:

[ANS thanks Scott, N3ASA, and ARRL 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,