ISS and Ham Radio

Thirteen Japanese youngsters had the opportunity earlier this month to speak via Amateur Radio with NASA International Space Station (ISS) Science Officer John Phillips, KE5DRY. The contact was arranged via the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. The contact between NA1SS aboard the ISS and 8J9YAC, at the Japan Red Cross Radio Corps in Wakasa took place September 9.

Putting the questions to Phillips were members of the JRC Radio Corps-Wakasa branch and the Wakasa Branch of the Young Astronauts Club-Japan. One youngster asked Phillips whether the ISS crew could see the center of large storms on earth.

“If we fly near a hurricane or typhoon, yes, we can see the center very easily. In fact, I saw and photographed Typhoon Nabi about four days ago,” Phillips replied. The crew this past week also took photographs of Hurricane Ophelia.

Another youngster wanted to know what Philips would do if he met an extraterrestrial. “I hope we can find some method of communication, so I can tell him we are friendly, we mean him no harm, and that we can start to build a friendly relationship,” he responded.

Asked about the time difference between the ISS and the Earth, Phillips responded: “Some scientists predict that there is a very small slowing of time due to the effect of relativity in fast moving objects, but at our speed this would be a change in time of only a fraction of a second during our six months onboard.”

Masayuki Tsuda, JR9INQ, was the control operator for the contact. A crowd of about 100 onlookers included several members of the news media, parents of the participants and others. The Expedition 12 crew of Commander Bill McArthur, KC5ACR, and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev is set to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan October 1 in a Soyuz transporter. They’ll arrive at the ISS October 3.

ARISS is an international educational outreach with US participation by ARRL, AMSAT and NASA

Telemetry Download Competition

ESA announces SSETI Express telemetry download competition:

The European Space Agency (ESA) education department has announced an award to the radio amateur who submits the largest number of valid telemetry and payload packets from the student-built SSETI Express satellite.

Telemetry may be received on any band to qualify for the award. SSETI Express is scheduled for launch September 27 from Plesetsk in northern Russia. It will downlink telemetry and payload data in AX.25 format at 9k6 bps on 437.250 MHz and at 38k4 bps on 2401.835 MHz. The satellite later will also be available as a single-channel Amateur Radio FM transponder.
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Syracuse 3A Prepared

The Ariane 5 Generic launcher for Arianespace’s next mission is now in the final assembly facility at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, where its dual-satellite payload will be integrated.

With the rollout Sept. 16, the mission remains on schedule for a planned September 29 liftoff. This flight will carry France’s Syracuse 3A governmental military communications satellite and the U.S. Galaxy 15 commercial telecom spacecraft for PanAmSat.

For full details, see the Mission Update on Arianespace’s Website:

Re-entry of SOLAR-A

According to information from the Space Surveillance Network (SSN) of the USA, the Solar X-ray Observatory “Yohkoh” (SOLAR-A) re-entered theearth’s atmosphere at 6:16 p.m. on September 12, 2005 (Japan Standard Time, JST) over South Asia (at around north latitude 24 degrees and east longitude 85 degrees).

It was confirmed that the satellite disappeared from the orbit. Previous analysis shows that the frame of the Yohkoh burned and vanished at re-entry and it did not fall to earth.

The Yohkoh was launched aboard M-3S-II Launch Vehicle Flight No. 6 on August 30, 1991, from the Uchinoura Space Center by the former Institute of Space and Astronautical Science of the then Ministry of Education (currently the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA.)

Yohkoh Re-entry Location to the Earth’s Atmosphere


Scientists using NASA’s Swift satellite and several ground-based telescopes have detected the most distant explosion yet, a gamma-ray burst from the edge of the visible universe.

This powerful burst was detected September 4. It marks the death of a massive star and the birth of a black hole. It comes from an era soon after stars and galaxies first formed, about 500 million to 1 billion years after the Big Bang.

“We designed Swift to look for faint bursts coming from the edge of the Universe,” said Swift principal investigator Dr. Neil Gehrels of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “Now we’ve got one and it’s fascinating. For the first time we can learn about individual stars from near the beginning of time. There are surely many more out there,” he added.
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Student Satellite Ready for Launch

SSETI Express, a low Earth orbit spacecraft designed and built by European university students under the supervision of ESA’s Education Department, is to be launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on a Russian Cosmos 3M launcher on 27 September in the morning.

See ESA’s SSETI Express site at: