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ARRL Satellite Bulletin ARLS003 (2008)

ARLS003 Astronauts Work on Columbus Lab on the ISS

QST de W1AW  
Space Bulletin 003  ARLS003
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington, CT  February 15, 2008
To all radio amateurs

ARLS003 Astronauts Work on Columbus Lab on the ISS

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station complex are
focusing on getting the new Columbus lab up and running. Columbus,
the laboratory built by the European Space Agency (ESA) and host of
two Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS)
antennas, was launched into space on February 7 aboard the space
shuttle Atlantis, arriving three days later.  According to NASA,
Columbus' activation process has been running a little behind
because of computer problems, but flight directors believe they've
fixed the glitch.

In 2007, the ARISS antennas successfully passed electrical and SWR
tests, with one of the two antennas, Antenna 42, going through a
final test -- a thermal test under vacuum. Columbus will house an
additional Amateur Radio station, including the first digital
Amateur Radio TV (DATV) station in space, as well as a ham radio
transponder. The yet-to-be-built Columbus amateur gear will
facilitate operation on new frequencies that will make it possible
for ARISS to establish wideband and video operations for the first
time and allow continuous transponder operation.

According to ARRL ARISS Program Manager Rosalie White, K1STO, "The
ARISS-Europe Team has been holding meetings to determine what the
ARISS International Team should have for a station in the Columbus
module. The Europeans will need to begin fundraising for the
multiple sets of equipment, such as the on-orbit equipment, the
required back-up on-orbit equipment and the test equipment."

She continues, "Some portions of the equipment system can be
purchased, but much of it would need to be built. Once the team
purchases or builds the equipment. Next comes the special testing
for space and getting the equipment certified (probably by ESA) and
finally manifesting the system for launch. All of that will take
many months and help from ARISS volunteers from many countries."

The mission, STS-122, brought seven astronauts to the ISS: Commander
Stephen N. Frick, KD5DZC; Pilot Alan G. Poindexter; Mission
Specialist Rex J. Walheim; Mission Specialist Stanley G. Love;
Mission Specialist Leland D. Melvin; Mission Specialist Hans
Schlegel, DG1KIH, of Germany, and Mission Specialist/Expedition 16
Flight Engineer Leopold Eyharts, KE5FNO, of France. Flight Engineer
Dan Tani, KD5DXE, already on board the ISS, will depart when
Atlantis returns to Earth; Eyharts will stay behind on the ISS and
take his place.

Atlantis will remain at the ISS until February 18, making for a
13-day flight.  Touchdown is set for February 20.


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