Two Hams, Olympic Torch Return Home from ISS
Two astronauts and a cosmonaut returned safely to Earth from International Space Station today. The Expedition 37 crew of European Space Agency Astronaut Luca Parmitano, KF5KDP; Russian ISS Crew Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin, RN3FI, and NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg landed in a Soyuz spacecraft in the Kazakhstan steppe, returning in the same spacecraft that took them to the ISS last May.
They carried with them the Olympic torch that went into space recently with the Expedition 38 crew. The torch will be used to light the Olympic flame when the Winter Olympics open in Sochi, Russia.
Parmitano spent five months on the ISS for his “Volare” (“I will fly”) mission, under a bilateral agreement with Italy’s space agency and NASA. While in space, he proved to be an enthusiastic and passionate radio amateur and handled several Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school contacts.
“When all questions prepared by the students could not be answered during the scheduled pass, Luca used to come back whenever possible to continue the space talk on the following orbit,” reported ARISS-Europe Chairman Gaston Bertels, ON4WF. Parmitano ranks fourth in terms of the number of ARISS school contacts performed during a single expedition. As IRØISS, Parmitano also made more than 230 random contacts with hams on Earth. — Thanks to Gaston Bertels, ON4WF