ARRL

ARRL Satellite Bulletin ARLS025 (1997)

SB SPACE @ ARL $ARLS025
ARLS025 Shuttle contacts PRC

ZCZC AS25
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Space Bulletin 025  ARLS025
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington, CT  July 15, 1997
To all radio amateurs

SB SPACE ARL ARLS025
ARLS025 Shuttle contacts PRC

It didn't come off without a hitch, but the crew aboard the shuttle
Columbia during mission STS-94 in July nonetheless managed a first
for the Shuttle Amateur Radio EXperiment (SAREX) program. On Monday,
July 14, the shuttle crew spoke with students at Tsinghua
University. The contact was via a telebridge link with Gordon
Williams, VK6IU, in Western Australia. The successful QSO marked the
first SAREX contact with a school in the People's Republic of China.

On the first scheduled orbit for the Tsinghua University contact,
the designated crew member, Payload Specialist Roger Crouch, was
busy with primary mission duties. The SAREX ground team stayed up
late and managed a successful QSO on the following orbit. There were
30 people in the Tsinghua University audience, along with Chinese
television, Chinese government officials, and some Chinese IARU
representatives.  David Chang, BY1QH, coordinated the contact at the
university's end.  Despite some rough copy, the contact went ''very
well'' with 10 questions asked and answered, according to SAREX
Principal Investigator Matt Bordelon, KC5BTL.

The Chinese contact was one of 17 scheduled SAREX QSOs the STS-94
crew members completed during their 16-day mission. Overall, ham
radio had a very prominent role in the mission, which not only
completed all of the scheduled SAREX contacts with school groups but
made numerous random QSOs with earthbound hams. Aboard the shuttle
were Jim Halsell, KC5RNI, the mission commander; Janice Voss,
KC5BTK; and Donald Thomas, KC5FVF, who set up the orbiting ham shack
and completed 19 random contacts before the ''official'' scheduled
test pass. Toward the end of the mission, the Columbia crew averaged
three dozen or so random voice contacts per day during the 16-day
mission.  The packet robot was activated nine days into the mission.

The other SAREX schools on mission STS-94 were: Alvin C. York
Agricultural Institute, Jamestown, Tennessee; Center Street School,
El Segundo, California; Crittenden Middle School, Mountain View,
California; Discovery Place Inc, Charlotte, North Carolina; Du Bois
Middle School, Du Bois, Pennsylvania; Dunn's Corners Elementary
School, Westerly, Rhode Island; Edgewater High School, Orlando,
Florida; Foursquare Radio Amateur Youth, Oxnard, California; Ione
Junior High School, Jackson, California; Lawrence Intermediate
School, Lawrenceville, New Jersey; Lexington Traditional Magnet
School, Lexington, Kentucky; Mountain View Elementary School,
Prescott Valley, Arizona; Public School No 9, New York, New York;
Robert J. Burch Elementary School, Tyrone, Georgia; S.J. Davis
Middle School, San Antonio, Texas; and Yeso Elementary School,
Artesia, New Mexico.

STS-94 marked the 24th SAREX mission. The mission--a ''refly'' of
the aborted STS-83 mission in April--carried the same crew members
and the microgravity science lab payload. The Columbia crew will
stow the SAREX equipment on July 16.
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