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NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe today announced plans to name the landing site of the Mars Spirit Rover in honor of the astronauts who died in the tragic accident of the Space Shuttle Columbia in February. The area in the vast flatland of the Gusev Crater where Spirit landed this weekend will be called the Columbia Memorial Station.
Since its historic landing, Spirit has been sending extraordinary images of its new surroundings on the red planet over the past few days. Among them, an image of a memorial plaque placed on the spacecraft to Columbia's astronauts and the STS-107 mission.
The plaque is mounted on the back of Spirit's high-gain antenna, a disc-shaped tool used for communicating directly with Earth. The plaque is aluminum and approximately six inches in diameter. The memorial plaque was attached March 28, 2003, at the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Chris Voorhees and Peter Illsley, Mars Exploration Rover engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., designed the plaque.
"During this time of great joy for NASA, the Mars Exploration Rover team and the entire NASA family paused to remember our lost colleagues from the Columbia mission. To venture into space, into the unknown, is a calling heard by the bravest, most dedicated individuals," said NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe. "As team members gazed at Mars through Spirit's eyes, the Columbia memorial appeared in images returned to Earth, a fitting tribute to their own spirit and dedication. Spirit carries the dream of exploration the brave astronauts of Columbia held in their hearts."
Spirit successfully landed on Mars Jan. 3. It will spend the next three months exploring the barren landscape to determine if Mars was ever watery and suitable to sustain life. Spirit's twin, Opportunity, will reach Mars on Jan. 25 to begin a similar examination of a site on the opposite side of the planet.
[ANS thanks NASA News for the above information]
Congrats go out to those that have recently made their very first satellite QSO. May they have many more years of fun on the satellites.
Bob Koulouris, SV1SWE
Glenn Graf, KB1GUE
Congrats go out to all of the following for earning their Oscar Satellite Communications Achievement Award.
Congrats also go out to the following for earning their South Africa Communications Achievement Award.
#US79 N9KQQ Ted Carlson 4-Jan-04
and...finally, congrats to Emily Clarke, W0EEC, for earning her 3,000th endorsement to the W4AMI award and to Karl Sandstrom, K5MAN, for earning his 5,000 W4AMI certificate number 16.
To see all the awards and a list of those earning the awards, visit http://www.amsatnet.com/awards.html
[ANS thanks Bruce Paige, KK5DO, for the above information]
As of 8th January the Echo Launch Campaign had received $46,945, according to the 'thermometer' on the 'www.amsat.org' web page. The target is $110,000.
More details can be found at: http://www.amsat.org/amsat/sats/echo/index.html
[ANS thanks AMSAT.org webmaster for the above information]
'The Monty Python song "always look on the bright side of life" comes to mind as we contemplate the apparent loss of the Beagle 2 Mars lander. By now, repeated attempts to contact the spacecraft have failed, and it seems reasonable to conclude that we will never hear from it.
We have lost much science and adventure along with the lander, but the Beagle 2 project is more than just the hardware that was deposited on the surface. Beagle 2 has been a mission that has been underway for years, and has generated interesting results throughout its course.
The Beagle 2 team, headed by Professor Colin Pillinger, has pioneered new ground in developing planetary missions. Their innovations have appeared in everything from funding strategies to media campaigns. Along the way, they have recruited individuals ranging from modern artists and pop stars to amateur spaceflight engineers who have modified devices such as dental drills for use on Mars.
Some of this maverick engineering has been demonstrated in the past with small satellite groups such as AMSAT, well known for their amateur radio satellites. But nobody has previously taken such planning all the way to Mars.'
The full article can be found at http://www.spacedaily.com/news/beagle2-04b.html
[ANS thanks Peter, VK1KEP, for the above information]
Actual data from AO-40 telemetry:
2004 Jan 7 / Jan 8
ALON/ALAT 341 / 0
The U,L1 -> S2 passbands are now active from MA 20 to 140.
Please run low power and stay well clear of the beacon. Thanks.
[ANS thanks W4SM, for the above information]
On January 2, Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills, Ohio experienced a successful ARISS contact with astronaut Mike Foale, KB5UAC. The Gilmour students asked 12 questions of Foale. Fifty people were in the audience during the contact. At least one newspaper and Fox TV covered the event.
The next ARISS contact is scheduled for Armstrong Middle School in Flint, Michigan. The contact will take place January 12, 2004.
ARRL published an article entitled, "ISS Commander Gets on the Air with New Ham Gear," in their weekly ARRL Letter. See http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/04/0102/
ARISS Chairman, Frank Bauer, received an inquiry from the magazine, CQ VHF to publish the paper written on the Phase 2 Hardware entitled, "Amateur Radio on the International Space Station- Phase 2 Hardware System." The magazine, CQ VHF, is a USA-based amateur radio magazine that caters to amateur radio development and operations at VHF frequencies and above. The paper and photos were submitted and will be published in the winter edition of CQ VHF.
To view the paper, see http://www.amsat.org/amsat/ariss/Papers/Phase 2 AGM03Final.pdf
Astronaut Mike Foale was active during a North America and Europe pass on Saturday December 6. Numerous ham radio operators in these parts of the world made contact with Mike Foale or heard the ISS downlink. Those who heard or worked the ISS qualify for a special ISS Commemorative Certificate.
Instructions on receiving an ISS special event certificate follow:
1) Please send an 9 inch by 12 inch (minimum) envelope for your certificate with adequate postage or IRCs included. Smaller envelopes will result in your certificate getting folded (not a pretty sight).
2) Include your name, callsign and whether you worked ISS or heard ISS.
3) Send your QSL/SWL information with the envelope to your ARISS QSL distributor in your area (Americas, Europe, Japan, or Russia). See the ARISS Web Page for more details: www.rac.ca/ariss
Please note that this process will take several weeks. The plan is to get a bulk listing of QSLs/SWLs so that the calls can be added to the certificate prior to printing. We will then bulk mail these certificates to the QSL distributors. The distributors will then mail the certificates to you.
[ANS thanks Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, for the above information]
Link to the weekly report on satellite ...
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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This week's AMSAT News Service bulletins were edited by AMSAT News Service Editor Dave Johnson, G4DPZ, email@example.com