Wednesday, September 20, 2006

New ham crew/female civilian visitor heading to ISS

The next International Space Station crew plus the first female civilian visitor to the ISS lifted off from Kazakhstan early September 18. NASA astronaut and Expedition 14 crew commander Michael Lopez-Alegria, KE5GTK, and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, RZ3FT, will take over for the Expedition 13 crew of astronaut Jeff Williams, KD5TVQ, and cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov, RV3B. Along for the ride as a paying passenger aboard the Soyuz TMA-9 "taxi flight" is US business woman Anousheh Ansari, who will visit the ISS for about 10 days under a contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency.

The Soyuz rocket carrying Expedition 14 and Ansari took off from Baikonur Cosmodrome. The trio should arrive at the space station early on September 20. This will mark Tyurin's second time as a space station crew member. He was part of ISS Expedition 3 in 2001.

Remaining onboard the ISS for part of Expedition 14 will be European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter, DF4TR. The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program says Ansari, 39, will attempt some Amateur Radio contacts during her stay in space. A tentative schedule calls for her to speak with students at George Washington University, her alma mater, on Friday, September 22. Jeff Williams will serve as a control operator for that event. In addition, ARRL ARISS Liaison Rosalie White, K1STO, says Ansari wants to speak with US-licensed school children in random QSOs. Using the RS0ISS call sign, Ansari is expected to be on the air at various times from Thursday, September 21, until Tuesday, September 26. The worldwide downlink frequency is 145.800 MHz. The FM voice uplink is 144.490 MHz in ITU Regions 2 and 3 (the Americas and the Pacific) and 145.200 MHz in Region 1 (Europe, Central Asia and Africa). Ansari, who's standing in for Daisuke "Dice-K" Enomoto as the fourth private citizen to fly to the ISS, has been trained in use of the ARISS gear but was unable to get her license because of her accelerated training schedule.

Information above courtesy of the ARRL and Space Bulletin ARL008 bulletin from Newington.