CQ Communications, Inc.
Friday, February 22, 2013
Hams Take Part in ISS "Dead Zone" Experiment
No, it's not Zombies in Space, but rather an experiment to see the extent to which "exhaust" from new electric thruster engines may disrupt radio communications. According to the AMSAT News Service these new thrusters, which NASA is planning to use for future space exploration missions, produce highly-ionized plumes of space plasma that have a side-effect of scattering RF signals. The experiments carried out in early February, used the International Space Station's amateur radio packet beacon on 145.825 MHz to help determine the size, shape and duration of the RF "shadow" that would result each time a thruster is fired. Participating ham stations noted the times at which the beacon signals disappeared and reappeared as the ISS flew over their locations. More information about the experiment may be found at <http://bit.ly/sEKOJd>.