Wednesday, March 23, 2011

ARISS Achieves New Milestone - and More Satellite News

AMSAT reports that a ham radio contact between astronaut Cady Coleman, KC5ZTH, aboard the International Space Station and students from several schools in Poland marked the 600th school contact for the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. The contact took place on March 17. 

In other space and satellite news, AMSAT also reports that the ARISSAT-1 satellite - now on board the ISS awaiting a July launch - was scheduled to be turned on from inside the station on April 12, as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight, by Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, in 1961. 

FASTRAC-1 and -2 satellites. (Courtesy FASTRAC website)

Two new ham satellites -- FASTRAC-1 and FASTRAC-2 - successfully separated from each other on March 15 (they'd been launched as a single nanosatellite last November, according to the ARRL), and hams were invited to help track them. FASTRAC is a project of the University of Texas. For more info, see <>.

Bad news for three other ham satellites -- Explorer-1, KySat-1 and Hermes all were lost in a launch failure. According to Southgate News, the three satellites were on board an Orbital Sciences Taurus XL rocket, which failed to reach orbit after a March 4 launch.