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ARRL Satellite Bulletin ARLS003 (1998)

ARLS003 Four schools scheduled for MIR QSOs

Space Bulletin 003  ARLS003
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington, CT  February 18, 1998
To all radio amateurs

ARLS003 Four schools scheduled for MIR QSOs

The SAREX Working Group has announced that four schools have been
tentatively scheduled for school-to-Mir contacts in the very near
future.  If all goes as planned, students at the schools soon will
get to talk with US astronaut Andy Thomas, KD5CHF/VK5MIR, who
arrived aboard the Russian space station in late January.  The
school contacts will be a new experience both for the pupils on
Earth and for Thomas aboard Mir.  So far, Thomas has not used the
spacecraft's Amateur Radio equipment because of the crew's busy

Schools on the ''prime'' contact list include Shell Beach Elementary
School, in Pismo Beach, California, Prairie Hills Elementary School,
Colorado Springs, Colorado, Buist Academy, Charleston, South
Carolina, and Carey Junior High School, Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Arranging the contact schedule has taken several months and was
complicated by equipment problems aboard Mir and--more recently--the
change in crews.

Sources at NASA say the contacts could happen within the next two
weeks, and possibly as early as next week.

The schools involved have been given tentative QSO dates, but these
could change.  ''There is always a possibility of a delay with SAREX
schedules,'' warns ARRL Educational Programs Coordinator Glenn
Swanson, KB1GW.  ''Such is the nature of any experiment.''

A typical Mir pass lasts approximately ten minutes, during which
students will interview the spacecraft's crew by asking prepared
questions.  Also aboard Mir are two Russian cosmonauts--both hams:
Talgat Musabayev, RO3FT, and Nikolai Budarin, RV3FB

Thomas, 41, will remain aboard Mir until June.  It's not yet been
decided if another US astronaut will succeed him on the Russian
space station.