July 13, 2003

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ISS Has a Field Day

Astronaut works dozens of stations from ISS during Field Day: US astronaut Ed Lu, KC5WKJ, worked more than three dozen stations from NA1SS aboard the International Space Station during Field Day 2003 June 28-29. The contacts appear to have been made during at least two ISS passes over North America. Operating the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station equipment, Lu managed to contact 39 stations in the US, Canada and Mexico on 2-meter FM simplex. For more information on ARISS, visit the ARISS Web site.

[ANS thanks ARRL for the above information.]

Waiting for Opportunity to Arrive

All of the world's spacecraft that were supposed to begin their journey to Mars this year are on their way.

NASA's second rover, Opportunity, flew into space from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 11:18 p.m. Monday.

"We're still cautiously optimistic so far," NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe said after the launch.

The rover still has 305 million miles left to fly in its seven-month coast to the red planet.

On Tuesday afternoon, it was about 200,000 miles away from Earth, not quite as far as the Moon. On Jan. 25, it is scheduled to enter the Martian atmosphere and land on the surface, cushioned by a nest of airbags. Its final resting place will be a location called Meridiani Planum, a site observed to harbor the mineral hematite. This mineral frequently forms in the presence of water, making it an intriguing place for geologists to study through the rover's eyes.

As of 9 a.m. Tuesday, Opportunity's twin rover, Spirit, had flown 47.9 million miles. It will aim for Gusev Crater Jan. 3. Gusev Crater has a channel running out of it, and scientists believe it may have held a lake.

Meanwhile, the European Space Agency called its Mars Express spacecraft last weekend to make sure everything was humming along properly. Mars Express with the Beagle 2 lander launched from Russia in early June. It will try to make its first science measurements later this month.

Japan's Nozomi spacecraft is not faring as well. It took a hit by radiation from a solar flare, and it is unclear how well it will work once it reaches Mars. It launched from Japan in 1998 and is taking the scenic route to Mars because it used up too much fuel.

NASA's next launch to Mars won't be until 2005, when the planets are close again. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will try to find water beneath Mars' surface from orbit.

[ANS thanks Florida Today for the above information.]

Falcon Rocket May Save Money

As early as 2004, Cape Canaveral could see a new rocket take to its skies.

Internet entrepreneur Elon Musk is planning to use the state- and Navy-operated Pad 46 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to launch his new Falcon rocket.

Vandenberg Air Force Base in California will get first dibs, though. Musk's company, SpaceX, intends to send the Falcon on its first flight from Vandenberg's Pad 3W as early as December, carrying a Department of Defense communications satellite.

The two-stage, liquid-fueled rocket would carry light cargo to space. Musk initially plans to charge $6 million for access to his rocket, compared with about $20 million for the Pegasus.

Eighty percent of the Falcon could potentially be reused. The first stage to fall away will be recovered from the ocean by a salvage company. Later, he said he hopes to make the whole ship reusable. This compares with about 90 percent of the shuttle that can be used again after every flight.

He said a less expensive rocket should create a new market for people who want to launch smaller satellites, but don't have $20 million to spend.

This month, the Falcon will test fire its second-stage engine.

In September, SpaceX will put the Falcon through a launch simulation. Musk said the rocket should be ready for flight by November.

Later, SpaceX could make the Falcon bigger to accommodate heavier satellites. That could happen in as few as 31/2 years. If SpaceX tried to go that route, Musk said, it would have the biggest launcher on the planet. He said it could be possible to outfit the rocket for humans.

[ANS thanks Florida Today for the above information.]

Loral to Build Critical Power Systems for Space Station

Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), a subsidiary of Loral Space & Communications has won a contract from Boeing NASA Systems, Houston, Texas, to build 40 replacement batteries for the U.S. photovoltaic, or power-producing, module of the International Space Station (ISS). These replacement units will be used as spares or to replace older ISS batteries currently on orbit.

SS/L's advanced nickel-hydrogen batteries are used to store electrical energy for use during the 16 solar eclipse periods that the ISS encounters during its daily orbits around the earth.

[ANS thanks Space Daily for the above information.]

MOST Launches

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) today confirmed the successful launch of its first space telescope from launch facilities in northern Russia. Called MOST (Microvariability & Oscillations of STars), the telescope was launched at 10:15 AM EDT, and released into orbit at 11:46 AM EDT. MOST is packed in a microsatellite the size and mass of a suitcase, thanks to innovative Canadian technology. Despite its modest dimensions, MOST will make some specialized astronomical observations beyond the capacity of any other instrument on Earth or in space. MOST is designed to probe the interior of stars, set a limit on the age of the universe, and for the first time, detect light reflected by little known planets beyond our solar system.

The MOST satellite was built by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies, while the telescope itself was designed and built by the University of British Columbia, with support from Toronto's CRESTech and Spectral Applied Research. Dynacon Enterprises is the prime contractor, which built the power system and developed the satellite's pointing system, whose new, miniaturized reaction wheels are what make it possible to put such a powerful instrument in such a small package.

Once in orbit 820 km above the Earth's surface, MOST will circle the Earth once every 100 minutes, at a speed of about 27,000 km per hour, passing over ground stations in Toronto and Vancouver several times a day.

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

Upcoming ARISS Contact Schedule as of 2003-07-08 15:00 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

Euro Space Center Space Camp, Transinne, Belgium
Contact was a success Mon 2003-07-07 08:25 UTC via ON4ESC (***)
Congratulations Euro Space Center Space Camp and Ed Lu KC5WKJ (***)

Webster High School, Webster, N.Y.

Stanford University
Palo Alto Gunn High School, California

Cornell University

Punahou School, Honolulu, Hawaii

Boulder High School

International Space School

Incarnate Word Academy Houston, TX

Challenger Learning Center of Tallahassee, Tallahassee, FL

Contact was not completed

Brussels Planetarium

Proposed questions for Brussels Planetarium are:

  1. Can you really recognize Belgium by night?
  2. an you see the greenhouse effect on earth from aboard the ISS?
  3. Is the ISS not too small to live comfortably? And has life in space any influence on your physical and psychological condition?
  4. Does it make a big difference to observe sun and planets from high up there?
  5. What impresses you most when you look to the earth?
  6. Can you experience the big silence of the universe despite the noise inside the ISS?
  7. Since you don't have to overcome the steady pull down of gravity in space, does this state of microgravity has an influence on the process of getting tired?
  8. What is the importance of doing experiments in space?
  9. What would happen when you were in space without a protecting space suit?
  10. How was it on the first of July to celebrate your birthday in space? Was there a little party onboard?
  11. Is it easy onboard the ISS to live together with people from different origins and cultures? And do you have any advice for people on earth to live in peace?
  12. What do you experience when you are performing a spacewalk?
  13. How long do night and day last up there? Does this cause problems?
  14. Can natural disasters be forecast from space?
  15. Do you experience the same feeling in space when you are hungry?
  16. Can the ISS be damaged by space debris? And how can we solve this problem?
  17. Can one have muscular pain in the weightless circumstance of space? If it does exist, does it feel the same as on earth?
  18. How do you experience the notion of time while floating free in space?
  19. What is the less pleasant aspect of being onboard the ISS?
  20. Are the space simulations on earth comparable to the real thing?

Turkey Space Camp

Soar Valley College, England

Neston Primary School, Corsham, England

Kagawa Junior High School, Ube City, Japan

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.

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

Shuttle Report Delayed Until August

The Columbia shuttle disaster investigation has put back the release of its final report because of delays in drawing up the conclusions, the top inquiry official said Friday. The report by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board was to have been sent to Congress before the end of July.

But the board chairman, Admiral Harold Gehman, said the document "sometime in August, middle or third week."

"It's more important that we get it right than we get it quick," Gehman told a Washington press conference.

The report is to set out the sequence of events between takeoff and the disaster as Columbia re-entered the Earth's atmosphere, before its landing at Cape Canaveral base in Florida.

It is expected to recommend technical and organisation changes but no date for a resumption of shuttle flights.

[ANS thanks Space Daily 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,