SUITSAT actual info by PB2RDF

20060204-00:00 UTC
At left you can see a gif animation movie, grabbed via Internet from NASA-TV transmission.
Launch of Suitsat was around 23:00 UTC, I did not noticed the exact time. (Exact time 23:02 UTC). Location was above the Pacific, Southern Hemisfere, Latitude around 30 degrees South, 120 degrees West,
   
20060204-23:00 UTC
Info from www.suitsat.org : Current thinking is SuitSat is transmitting, but far weaker than expected. Several reliable reports of short snatches of the voice and SSTV signals have been reported. It is recommended that you continue to listen during passes over your area. Please report any positive contact only. 
Reports of Reception of SuitSat
20060205-16:30 UTC
This morning listened to all passes, nothing heard, its a pity. Only some packet signals, think they are from ISS, but can't confirm , I was not listening with packet radio.
Perhaps next explanation might be a reason for the operational status of Suitsat:
When Suitsat and ISS are passing my location its early in the morning. Maybe are batteries so cold that no energy is available.
When Suitsat is in daylight the batteries are warmed up by the sun and Suitsat is operational at  very low power output. Directional antennes have to be used to listen to Suitsat.
Maybe in a next Suitsat there will be a controlled heater to warm the batteries and maybe a few solar panels. Or else a few logs, a chimney, a few bottles of oxygen and a stove (HI). Burn, I said, burn that Suitsat !!!
Some pictures from NASA-TV (via internet) of the launch of Suitsat
 
Recordings of radio amateurs of Suitsat :
04feb2006 Suitsat by ZS6TW
06feb2006 SuitSat by JN1GKZ
Both recordings were send to me by PD0RKC, look also at his website : PD0RKC
 
Also a conversation by NA1SS after the EVA of 03-04feb2006 can be dowloaded. 2feb2006NA1SS_SUITSAT.mp3
 
Download complete transmission of EVA and Suitsatlaunch by NASA-TV at Suitsat-1 movie
   
Source : SPACE-TV

International Space Station Status Report: SS06-005

Written by Administrator 
Monday, 06 February 2006

International Space Station Status Report: SS06-005

Space station crewmembers released a spacesuit-turned-satellite during the second spacewalk of their mission last night. Called SuitSat, it faintly transmitted recorded voices of school children to amateur radio operators worldwide for a brief period before it ceased sending signals.

Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev ventured outside for a five-hour, 43-minute spacewalk to release SuitSat, conduct preventative maintenance to a cable-cutting device, retrieve experiments and photograph the station's exterior. Clad in Russian Orlan spacesuits, McArthur and Tokarev opened the hatch to begin the spacewalk at 5:44 p.m. EST. It was the fourth career spacewalk for McArthur and the second for Tokarev.

After setting up tools and equipment, they positioned the unneeded Orlan spacesuit on a ladder by the station's Pirs airlock hatch. The suit reached the end of its operational life for spacewalks in August 2004. It was outfitted by the crew with three batteries, internal sensors and a radio transmitter for this experiment.

The SuitSat provided recorded greetings in six languages to ham radio operators for about two orbits of the Earth before it stopped transmitting, perhaps due to its batteries failing in the cold environment of space, according to amateur radio coordinators affiliated with the station program. The suit will enter the atmosphere and burn up in a few weeks.

Tokarev pushed the suit away toward the aft end of the station as the complex flew 225 miles above the south central Pacific Ocean. The suit initially drifted away at a rate of about a half meter per second, slowly floating out of view below the Zvezda Service Module and its attached Progress cargo craft. The suit is now separating from the station at a rate of about six kilometers every 90 minutes.

McArthur and Tokarev then moved from Pirs to the Zarya module where they removed a hubcap-shaped grapple fixture adapter for the Strela crane. They moved the adapter to Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 on the Unity module. The Strela fixture was moved to prepare Zarya for the future temporary stowage of debris shields.

McArthur and Tokarev made their way to the center truss segment of the station, where they tried and failed to securely install a safety bolt in a contingency cutting device for one of two cables that provide power, data and video to the Mobile Transporter rail car. The transporter moves along the truss to correctly position the Canadarm2 robotic arm for assembly work. The Trailing Umbilical System cable on the nadir, or Earth-facing side of the transporter was inadvertently severed by its cutter on Dec. 16.

After several attempts to drive the bolt with a high-tech screwdriver, McArthur wire-tied the cable to a handrail instead. That left the cable out of its cutting mechanism, disabling the Transporter from further movement on the stationís rail system for the time being. The Transporter is not needed for assembly work until the STS-115 mission to install additional truss segments.

The severed cable reel mechanism will be replaced during one of the three spacewalks by Discovery crewmembers Piers Sellers and Mike Fossum during the STS-121 space shuttle mission later this year.

McArthur and Tokarev moved back to Pirs. Once at the Russian airlock, they retrieved an experiment to study the effect of the space environment on microorganisms.

As their final spacewalk task, the crew photographed the exterior of Zvezda, including Russian sensors that measure micrometeoroid impacts, handrails, propulsion systems and a ham radio antenna. McArthur and Tokarev then returned to the Pirs airlock and closed the hatch at 11:27 p.m. EST. It was the 64th spacewalk in support of station assembly and maintenance, the 36th staged from the station, and the 17th conducted from Pirs. In all, station spacewalkers have accumulated 384 hours and 23 minutes outside the facility since December 1998.

Meanwhile in Russia, final preparations were made this week to ship the next Soyuz spacecraft from Moscow to the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch site in Kazakhstan. The spacecraft is scheduled to depart Monday and will launch the 13th station crew in late March.

During the week, the station was maneuvered through a new procedure using guidance and navigation computers in the Destiny laboratory to request firings of the thrusters on the Zvezda module while maintaining overall attitude control through the Control Moment Gyroscopes.

For information about crew activities, future launch dates and station sighting opportunities on the Web, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/station

Last Updated ( Monday, 06 February 2006 )
 
 

SuitSat Status 4 February  (source :  www.amsat.org )

Paraphrasing Mark Twain....the demise of SuitSat-1 is highly exaggerated!!

It is now nearly 24 hours since the successful deployment of the SuitSat-1 experiment. These past 24 hours have been a wild ride of emotions...tremendous highs...deep lows when people reported no signals and said SuitSat-1 was dead and now....some optimism.

It is absolutely clear that SuitSat-1 is alive. It was successfully turned on by the ISS crew prior to deploy and the timing, micro-controller functions and audio appear to be operating nominally. The prime issue appears to be an extremely weak signal.

I have heard several recordings and have monitored two passes today. When the signal is above the noise level, you can clearly hear partials of the student voices, the station ID and the SSTV signal. One of the complicating factors in reception is the very deep fades that occur due to the spin of SuitSat.

Based on the information we know thus far, one can narrow down the issue to the antenna, the feedline, the transmitter output power and/or any of the connections in between. Through your help, we would like to narrow down the issue further and also gather some internal telemetry from the Suit.

If the transmitter is running at full power, we would expect the Suit to end operations in the next few days to a week. If it is not, then it will operate much longer. Since we do not know how long this experiment will last, we ask for those with powerful receive stations to listen for Suitsat---especially during direct overhead passes when the Suit is closest to your area. If you can record these passes and send the audio to us, it would be most appreciated. We will continue to be optimistic that this issue will right itself before the batteries are depleted. So please KEEP LISTENING!

Based on what we have learned, we would like to provide the following guidelines to save you time and facilitate gathering information:

1) You need as high a gain antenna as possible with mast mounted pre-amps. An arrow is the minimal set...it provides very brief snipets of the communications. HTs and scanners won't cut it.

2) I would not waste your time on passes below 40 degrees elevation. SuitSat is too far from your station to receive a reliable signal. We have found that closest approach provides several seconds of SuitSat communication with 22 element yagis.

3) The "gold" we are looking for right now is the telemetry information and how long the vehicle stays operational. So if you hear any of the telemetry, please let us know.

We are also working to get the voice repeater set up on ISS to downlink SuitSat audio on 437.80 in the event that the ISS Kenwood radio can receive the SuitSat transmissions. The repeater may be operational as early as mid-day Sunday. Please do NOT transmit on 145.99, voice or packet, until we have confirmed that SuitSat is no longer transmitting. These transmissions interfere with our ability to hear SuitSat.

While the transmission part of the SuitSat experiment has not been stellar, SuitSat-1 has been tremendously successful in several areas. Some of these successes include:

- We have captured the imagination of students and the general public worldwide through this unique experiment.

- The media attention to the SuitSat project represents one of the biggest ever for amateur radio.

- We have had well over 2 million internet hits on http://www.suitsat.org today.

- Our student's creative artwork, signatures and voices have been carried in space and are on-board the spacesuit---the students are now space travelers as the Suit rotates and orbits the Earth.

- Carried in the spacesuit CD are pictures of Roy Neal, K6DUE, and Thomas Kieselbach, DL2MDE, two of our colleagues who have contributed to the ARISS program and have since passed away.

- We successfully deployed an amateur radio satellite in a Spacesuit from the ISS, demonstrating to the space agencies that this can be safely done.

- This ARISS international team was able to fabricate, test and deliver a safe ham radio system to the ISS team 3 weeks after the international space agencies agreed to allow SuitSat to happen. This was a tremendous feat in of itself.

SuitSat-1/Radioskaf is a space pioneering effort. Pioneering efforts are challenging. Risk is high. But the future payoff is tremendous. As you have seen, we have not had total success. But we have captured the imagination of the students and the general public. And we have already learned a lot from this activity. This will help us and others grow from this experience.

Keep your spirits up and let's continue to be optimistic. And please keep monitoring!!

73, Frank H. Bauer, KA3HDO
ARISS International Chairman
AMSAT-NA VP for Human Spaceflight Programs

 

 
SuitSat Status 15 Feb.  (source :  www.amsat.org )

It is absolutely clear that SuitSat-1 is alive. It was successfully turned on by the ISS crew prior to deploy and the timing, micro-controller functions and audio appear to be operating nominally. The prime issue appears to be an extremely weak signal.

Based on the information we know thus far, one can narrow down the issue to the antenna, the feedline, the transmitter output power and/or any of the connections in between. Through your help, we would like to narrow down the issue further and also gather some internal telemetry from the Suit.

If the transmitter is running at full power, we would expect the Suit to have ended operations after a few days to a week. If it is transmitting at lower power, then it will operate much longer. Telemetry has been received which tells us that the 28 volt battery is now operating in the range of 26.7 volts on Wednesday, February 8 to 26.5 volts on Wednesday, February 15.

Since we do not know how long this experiment will last, we ask for those with powerful receive stations to listen for Suitsat---especially during direct overhead passes when the Suit is closest to your area. If you can record these passes and send the audio to us, it would be most appreciated. We will continue to be optimistic that this issue will right itself before the batteries are depleted. So please KEEP LISTENING!

The SuitSat team plans to provide special recognition to the person that copies the last SuitSat telemetry, specifically the Mission Time and Battery Voltage.

Based on what we have learned, we would like to provide the following guidelines to save you time and facilitate gathering information:

1) You need as high a gain antenna as possible with mast mounted pre-amps. An arrow is the minimal set...it provides very brief snipets of the communications. HTs and scanners won't cut it.

2) I would not waste your time on passes below 40 degrees elevation. SuitSat is too far from your station to receive a reliable signal. We have found that closest approach provides several seconds of SuitSat communication with 22 element yagis.

3) The "gold" we are looking for right now is the telemetry information and how long the vehicle stays operational. So if you hear any of the telemetry, please let us know.

While the transmission part of the SuitSat experiment has not been stellar, SuitSat-1 has been tremendously successful in several areas. Some of these successes include:

* We have had 5 million internet hits on http://www.suitsat.org.
* Our student's creative artwork, signatures and voices have been carried in space and are on-board the spacesuit---the students are now space travelers as the Suit rotates and orbits the Earth.
* Carried in the spacesuit CD are pictures of Roy Neal, K6DUE, and Thomas Kieselbach, DL2MDE, two of our colleagues who have contributed to the ARISS program and have since passed away.
* We successfully deployed an amateur radio satellite in a Spacesuit from the ISS, demonstrating to the space agencies that this can be safely done.
* This ARISS international team was able to fabricate, test and deliver a safe ham radio system to the ISS team 3 weeks after the international space agencies agreed to allow SuitSat to happen. This was a tremendous feat in of itself.
* We have captured the imagination of students and the general public worldwide through this unique experiment.
* The media attention to the SuitSat project represents one of the biggest ever for amateur radio.

SuitSat-1/Radioskaf is a space pioneering effort. Pioneering efforts are challenging. Risk is high. But the future payoff is tremendous. As you have seen, we have not had total success. But we have captured the imagination of the students and the general public. And we have already learned a lot from this activity. This will help us and others grow from this experience.

Keep your spirits up and let's continue to be optimistic. And please keep monitoring!!

73, Frank H. Bauer, KA3HDO
ARISS International Chairman
AMSAT-NA VP for Human Spaceflight Programs