Shuttle Columbia commemorative radio special event

The Nacogdoches Amateur Radio Club (NARC) in Texas will mark the first anniversary of the shuttle Columbia disaster February 1 with a daylong special event operation from W5NAC. The club says the operation will honor the lost Columbia astronauts, recovery workers and volunteers and agencies involved in the debris recovery effort.

More than 350 Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) and Deep East Texas SKYWARN volunteers assisted with the shuttle recovery effort by providing the other responding agencies with a unified radio communication system as well as providing up-to-the-minute weather information.

“The amateur radio community really came together to serve during that time,” commented NARC President Kent Tannery, KD5SHM. “That is what we train to do.” Tannery said the special event is the club’s way of showing respect to all of the volunteers and especially the Columbia crew members and their families.

Details are available on the NARC Web site


The cooler and drier conditions in Southern California over the last few years appear to be a direct result of a long-term ocean pattern known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), according to research presented at the 2004 meeting of the American Meteorological Society.

The study, by Steve LaDochy, associate professor of geography at California State University-Los Angeles; Bill Patzert, research oceanographer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.; and others, suggests Pacific oceanic and atmospheric measurements can be used to forecast seasonal West Coast temperatures and precipitation up to a year in advance, from Seattle to San Diego.
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Supply rocket sans ham gear to arrive at ISS

NASA says the next Russian Progress supply rocket will arrive at the International Space Station January 31.

On hand to greet and unload the unmanned rocket, which carries 2.5 tons of food, fuel and supplies, will be Expedition 8 crew Mike Foale, KB5UAC, and Sasha Kaleri, U8MIR.

Not aboard the Progress will be additional Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) SSTV equipment and a Yaesu FT-100D HF/VHF/UHF multimode transceiver that ARISS had hoped might be able to go into space aboard this Progress flight. ARISS International Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, says the gear likely will be transported to the ISS during an April Progress resupply flight instead.

ARISS-JA made arrangements for the donation of the Yaesu transceiver and of a Kenwood TM-D700E VHF/UHF transceiver now on board the ISS and installed in a second NA1SS amateur station in the crew’s quarters. Bauer expressed his gratitude to both manufacturers for donating the gear.


January 29, 2004 — NASA’s Spirit rover on Mars has resumed taking pictures as engineers continue work on restoring its health. Meanwhile, Spirit’s twin, Opportunity, extended its rear wheels backward to driving position last night as part of preparations to roll off its lander, possibly as early as overnight Saturday-to-Sunday.
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Rosetta ­to help solve planetary mysteries

Rosetta is scheduled to be launched on board an Ariane-5 rocket on 26 February from Kourou, French Guiana. Originally timed to begin about a year ago, Rosetta’s journey had to be postponed, as a precaution, following the failure of a different version of Ariane-5 in December 2002. This will be the first mission to orbit and land on a comet, one of the icy bodies that travel throughout the Solar System and develop a characteristic tail when they approach the Sun.
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Mars Express sees its first possible water

Mars Express, ESA’s first mission to Mars, will reach its final orbit on 28 January. It has already been producing stunning results since its first instrument was switched on, on 5 January. The significance of the first data was emphasised by the scientists at a European press conference today at ESA’s Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany.
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With a roar and a rush of water vapor, the Space Shuttle’s Main Engines (SSME) reached a significant milestone on Wednesday Jan 21. The system surpassed one million seconds of successful testing and launch firings during a successful flight-acceptance test at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
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International Workshop on IGOS to be held in Tokyo

The Integrated Global Observing Strategy (IGOS) Partnership, which was established in June 1998, consists of 14 institutes including international organizations and the UN bodies. IGOS-P aims to realize efficient global observing activities by uniting both satellite and ground-based observing programs.
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Marco Polo. Alexander the Great. They were some of history’s most prolific explorers, each trekking across sweeping stretches of Europe and Asia in their lifetimes. But these greats of world history had nothing on you, thanks to a new topographic data set from NASA and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). You now can explore the vast reaches of most of Europe, Asia and numerous islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, from the comfort of home, without breaking a sweat.
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Arianespace Flight 158 with Rosetta

The Ariane 5 launcher for Europe’s Rosetta comet intercept mission is being readied for liftoff on February 26 from the Spaceport in French Guiana.

Rosetta will be the first mission ever to land on a comet, making a rendezvous with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November 2014 and releasing a probe that will touch down on its surface.

Follow the launch preparations with our Mission Update in the News & Information section on the Arianespace web site: