December 7, 2003

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Cocoa Beach 10th-grader Catches NASA's Eye

Massive bubbles of gas bursting from the sun hurtle highly charged particles toward Earth's magnetic field and endanger satellites and power grids below them.

Cocoa Beach Junior/Senior High sophomore Alannah NicPhaidin wants to know when the coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, are going to occur.

"It's like life or death between satellites," she said.

NicPhaidin's research and enthusiasm have earned her an invitation to the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, home of operations for the SOHO spacecraft that have studied CMEs during the past eight years.

The 15-year-old's work began last year, when her entry in the annual Space Congress science fair in Cocoa Beach -- "The Effects of Solar Activity on Near Earth Atmosphere: Hurricanes on the Sun" -- won second place and seven special awards.

John Wood, a lead engineer on the Hubble Space Telescope program, met NicPhaidin at the fair and invited her to Goddard.

With guidance from Florida Tech associate professor Hamid Rassoul, NicPhaidin showed a correlation between sunspot activity and CMEs.

Within the known 11-year cycle between periods of intense activity on the sun, NicPhaidin thinks there might be smaller, one-year cycles during which the activity peaks and falls.

Understanding those cycles means scientists might be able to predict the activity -- and possibly protect satellites, astronauts and infrastructure from the radiation.

"I think it's really meaningful because it can help people with satellites say, we're in a peak for this year, so we should be more on alert," she said.

Her interest is timely. In October, some of the most violent sun activity recorded launched nearly a dozen powerful CMEs, one of which disabled a Japanese satellite and knocked out power in parts of Sweden.

"They can have a very big social and economical impact on earth," SOHO deputy project scientist Paal Brekke said.

NicPhaidin grew up in Ireland, where she had a interest in science but leaned toward a career in veterinary medicine. She caught the space bug after she and her mother moved to Palm Bay in 1996 and she began seeing shuttle launches.

She hopes to predict CME occurrences before she graduates from high school and goes on to study astrophysics.

"Scientists are just now beginning to say maybe we should do more on these things," she said.

[ANS thanks Florida Today for the above information.]

Raytheon Team Awarded Study Contract by NOAA for GOES-R

Raytheon Company has been competitively selected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for a one-year study contract, worth $2.5 million, as an initial step toward the next generation Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-R) system.

The Raytheon team was awarded work in all four segments offered on the proposal including Space and Launch; Command, Control and Communications; Product Generation, Distribution, Archive and Access, User Interface; and End- to-End Integration.

[ANS thanks Space Daily for the above information.]

Hughes Network Markets Direcway Broadband To European Market

Hughes Network Systems, Inc. (HNS), the world's leading provider of broadband satellite solutions, today introduced the latest member of its family of Direcway broadband terminals, the DW6000, to the European market. The DW6000 is self-hosting, thereby eliminating the requirement to install any special software on customers' computers and extending Direcway service to Apple Macintosh computers, beyond Windows-based systems.

The DW6000 incorporates an advanced, single-board architecture, offering an Ethernet output for easy connection to LAN networks and satellite-based service activation, which eliminates the need for a terrestrial line.

In addition to high-speed internet and intranet/VPN access, it supports all of the feature-rich Direcway services offered to current customers, such as content delivery, multicasting, music distribution, digital media streaming, and distance learning and training.

Beginning in December 2003, the DW6000 will be available in Europe and sold to enterprise customers through HNS Europe's regional sales offices and from authorized value-added resellers and service providers.

[ANS thanks Space Daily for the above information.]

Dresden ARISS Contact a Success

Friday 5 December 2003 at 14:58 UTC the Technical Highschool Berufliches Schulzentrum Elektrotechnik DL0IKT in Dresden, Germany, performed a radio contact  with the US astronaut Mike Foale, KB5UAC, on board the ISS.

Last summer, 7 students of the Berufliches Schulzentrum Elektrotechnik in Dresden and their teacher Thomas Hetland, DL8DXW, made an extraordinary decision: they started a preparation course for the amateur radio exam. The goal was to participate in a radio contact with an astronaut on the ISS by using their own amateur radio callsign. On September 27, 2003, the amateur radio community gained 7 new members. Anna, Pavel, Martin, Henry, Coelestus, Markus and Stephan each received their own amateur radio licence.

The technical team did a brilliant job and set up the satellite station absolutely professionally. The 7 amateur radio youngsters, the coordinating teacher, Mr. Thomas Hetland, the technical team, the principal of the school, Mr. Klaus Goehler, a representative of the Ministry of Education and an audience of about 70 students gathered in the early afternoon and waited for the contact.

The ISS called the school at the predicted time. During the 10 minutes long contact the students asked questions on a variety of topics, ranging from gravity (real and artificial) to oxygen consumption and water reserves on the ISS. Mike Foale answered 14 questions. The sound quality was good, with very minimumal noise. The loss of signal came after the farewell words of the coordinating teacher, during the applause of the audience.

Two TV stations, 4 radio stations, and 2 newspapers covered the event. The Ministry of Education published an official statement of the event.

A big success and a superb illustration of the education power of the ARISS school contacts.

73, Peter Kofler, IN3GHZ, ARISS mentor

ARISS is an international educational outreach program with US participation from NASA, AMSAT (The Amateur Satellite Radio Corp.), and the American Radio Relay League. ARISS offers an opportunity for students to experience the excitement of amateur radio by talking directly with crewmembers on board the International Space Station.

Further information on the ARISS programme including upcoming school contacts is available at the ARISS website,

[ANS thanks Peter Kofler, IN3GHZ, for the above information.]

November SPACEWARN Published

The November edition of NASA's SPACEWARN Bulletin is now available on the internet at This monthly bulletin provides information on satellites and space probes. Certain technical details of recent launches are included in this bulletin.

[ANS thanks NASA for the above information.]

Weekly Satellite Report

Link to the weekly report on satellite ...

All Satellites
ISS. RS-12. RS-13. RS-15. 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,