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[Fwd: The ARRL Letter, Vol 18, No 26]

I've attached a nice summary article from the ARRL electronic newsletter
about the DSP experiment that will be conducted on STS-93 using SAREX. 
Everything is still on schedule for a July 20th launch.  The Flight
Readiness Review on July 8th is a critical milestone and the launch date
will be finalized in that meeting...

There was also a piece with Owen Garriot about the future of amateur
radio in human space flight.
	Will Marchant, KC6ROL
	AMSAT-NA SAREX Operations Manager

ARRL Letter distribution list wrote:
> The ARRL Letter
> Vol. 18, No. 26
> June 25, 1999
> The next Space Amateur Radio EXperiment mission--set to launch in July--will
> field test a digital signal processing box NASA is looking at to improve the
> quality of shuttle communications audio.
> Word from NASA is that the next SAREX mission has been scheduled to launch
> on July 20 at 0436 UTC aboard shuttle Columbia mission STS-93. Originally
> set for last summer, the mission already has been delayed several times.
> The STS-93 Mission Commander is Eileen Collins, KD5EDS. This shuttle
> mission, which will deploy the $1.5 billion Chandra X-ray observatory into
> orbit, marks the first for a female commander. "It's good to have a
> challenge like that because it just motivates you and makes you want to work
> harder," Collins told the Associated Press this week. Other hams on board
> include Mission Specialists Michel Tognini, KD5EJZ, and Catherine Coleman,
> Students at five schools--in Texas, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Florida--are
> on the list to talk to the STS-93 crew via Amateur Radio. And that's where
> the DSP experiment comes into play. NASA's SAREX Principal Investigator Matt
> Bordelon, KC5BTL, says the agency's contractors have been exploring ways to
> make improvements to the aging shuttle fleet. Among the possibilities was
> improving the intelligibility of shuttle communications audio by using DSP.
> But Bordelon says making and testing these kinds of changes on the
> astronauts' communication system gets expensive and involved, so it was
> decided to first try out a DSP box by Quintronix on the less-critical SAREX
> payload aboard STS-93 to see how it performed under actual spaceflight
> conditions.
> "They wanted an easy way to determine if this would clean up the audio,"
> Bordelon explained. The SAREX Amateur Radio gear uses standard interfaces,
> so it was an easy match from a hardware standpoint. Bordelon says he thinks
> SAREX will provide a good test of the DSP hardware/software package.
> "It's a box with a headset connection on one end and the connectors to the
> equipment on the other," he explained. "It's got a couple of switches on it,
> and it's battery-powered," so it doesn't need to take power from the shuttle
> itself.
> Bordelon says the two-channel DSP box tailors both the transmit and receive
> audio, but it is not adjustable. The only thing the operator can do is turn
> the box on or off and either enable or disable it.
> "For anything in spaceflight, you want to keep it as simple as possible," he
> said.
> The Quintronix DSP box will interface with one of the old reliable Motorola
> MX-360 H-Ts that NASA has been using for SAREX flights for nearly two
> decades now--the same type of transceiver that astronaut Owen Garriott,
> W5LFL, used to make the first Amateur Radio contacts from space in 1983.
> NASA has dubbed this particular SAREX hardware configuration as
> "Configuration CQ." Bordelon explains that SAREX is comprised of several
> different configurations of hardware, each one designated by a letter of the
> alphabet. "We typically use Configuration C on most shuttle missions," he
> said. Add the Quintronix DSP box to the mix, Bordelon says and "you could
> either say that we merged the two together for a purely coincidental name
> or, that it embodies the true spirit of Amateur Radio for this mission."
> STS-93 will mark the 25th time that the Space Amateur Radio EXperiment has
> flown. It's also the only SAREX flight scheduled for 1999 and the last one
> scheduled to take place from the shuttle fleet. Bordelon says future shuttle
> missions will be "way too busy" to accommodate SAREX. The Amateur Radio on
> the International Space Station program is working toward establishing a
> permanent Amateur Radio presence in space aboard the ISS. An interim Amateur
> Radio station should be operational from the ISS by early next year.
> The SAREX program is a cooperative venture of NASA, AMSAT, and the ARRL. For
> more information on SAREX, contact Jean Wolfgang, WB3IOS, e-mail
> jwolfgang@arrl.org.
> Past astronaut Owen Garriott, W5LFL--the first ham to use Amateur Radio from
> outer space--predicts that Phase 3D and the Amateur Radio on the
> International Space Station projects will change the face of ham radio.
> "Educational value, technical value, it's all there right in front of us,"
> he says of P3D and ARISS.
> Garriott believes that Phase 3D--which could launch as early as this
> fall--can serve as a conduit for US students, with coordination from local
> amateurs, to hook up with youths in other countries to practice foreign
> language and for on-air cultural exchange. Garriott also pointed out that
> Phase 3D's eccentric orbit will make it visible from large portions of Earth
> for long periods of time. "P3D is going to open up a whole new opportunity
> that we did not have in low-Earth orbit like the space station or other
> low-altitude OSCARs," he said.
> Garriott also says that astronauts on the ISS could include a brief daily
> ARISS transmission from the perspective of space aimed at school-agers "to
> stir up even more interest in our young people" about Amateur Radio. He
> discussed his ideas during forums at the Dayton Hamvention as well as in an
> interview with the ARRL.
> In 1983, Garriott pioneered the SAREX program by working dozens of
> earthbound hams on 2 meters using an H-T and an antenna mounted on the
> inside of the shuttle's window. "It's grown much further than any of us
> would have forecast back in 1983" when there were two astronaut-hams, Tony
> England, W0ORE, and himself.
> Today, Garriott points out, there are more than 80 astro-hams, and Garriott
> is looking forward to Amateur Radio's playing a major role aboard the ISS.
> "The impact on the space program has been substantial," he said. Not only
> has Amateur Radio in space been good public relations for the hobby, but
> "it's very good for crew morale," Garriott said. This will be important for
> ISS crews in particular, since they'll spend longer periods in space.
> Licensed for more than 50 years, Garriott says ham radio has been a very
> strong influence in his life and professional career from the very
> beginning. He also says he's encouraged by the number of young people
> joining the hobby, especially since the advent of the Technician license.
> "People may feel that it's not adequate progress or bemoan the fact that we
> are not further ahead than we are," he said. "But I think we really need to
> be quite pleased with how far we've come and the substantial interest we
> have, and make use of the potential that we have in front of us coming along
> with Phase 3D and the International Space Station to stir up even more
> interest in our young people."

Will Marchant
kc6rol@amsat.org		http://www.citizen.infi.net/~wmarchan/
marchant@ssl.berkeley.edu	http://chips.ssl.berkeley.edu/
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