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Burbank School Contact


Those that have listened in directly or through MSNBC know that the school 
group contact with the ISS Crew and the Burbank School did not go as 
planned.  As many heard, the crew were on the assigned downlink.  The 
school students and the radio team also heard Bill Shepard on the downlink, 
but were unable to establish the contact.

Right now it is not explicitly clear what event or events caused the missed 
opportunity.  A debrief with the radio team uncovered a number of things 
that will significantly improve the possibility of success at the next 
opportunity.  We will also be discussing this with the crew to understand 
their perspective.  The ARISS team is working toward a subsequent 
opportunity for Burbank very soon (potentially as early as sometime this 
week).  As we get more information, we will provide it to you.

I had an opportunity to witness the attempted contact.  I am very glad I 
did.  It was exciting to see the students all prepared and excited.  The 
entire school, K through 8, have spent months learning about the space 
program.  The teachers have assigned them projects related to space.  They 
have build their own Shuttles & Space Stations and have learned about 
amateur radio, orbits, and life aboard the International Space 
Station.  The whole community, teachers, students, and Charlie Sufana's 
(AJ9N) radio team have banded together as one cohesive team.  The students 
were disappointed, but understand that this is an Experiment and are 
looking forward to a future opportunity.

Regarding school group operations, I think we are all relearning some 
things that we honed to almost perfection on the Shuttle and Mir 
programs.  I personally learned some things that we will use to improve the 
program.   The entire ARISS team, those present and those listening from 
afar, have taken good notes and will factor these into future school group 
contacts.  Our vision is to get back to the 95+% success rate that we had 
achieved late in the Shuttle and Mir programs.

Stay tuned.

Frank Bauer, KA3HDO
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
AMSAT-NA V.P. for Human Spaceflight Programs   

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