20 January 2015, 1215 UTC
Francesco De Paolis
Interpreter: Maria Pogodina
Not able to participate:
Roll Call—Rosalie White, K1STO
Welcome—Frank Bauer, KA3HDO
1. Thank You to ARISS Ops Schedulers—Rosalie White, K1STO
The ARISS Officers would like to thank Ciaran Morgan for volunteering to do a tour of duty as ARISS Ops scheduler for global schools from January through June 2015. Rosalie White said a thank you goes to all of our worldwide team of previous schedulers: Keith Pugh, Peter Kofler, Dave Taylor, Tim Bosma, Steve McFarlane, Will Marchant, plus Kenneth Ransom for stepping in from time to time. The whole ARISS team appreciates the very important hard work that has been done by all schedulers. Their efforts are another sign of great international teamwork and corroboration. Keith and Peter receive a major thank you for their multiple terms as ARISS Ops scheduler.
2. Update on US Educational-Opportunity Request for Proposals—Rosalie White, K1STO
There has been discussion at previous teleconferences on how the US ARISS team is handling many tasks previously done by the NASA Teaching From Space Office, which lost its funding for education projects. Rosalie said that last month, the US ARISS team opened a window of opportunity for accepting ARISS education proposals from US education groups for possible time slots during the second half of 2015. The US team was thrilled to receive 29 proposals! We evaluated the education proposals for excellence because we cannot select them all due to limited time slots. Selected groups will feel quite honored and are to be commended for their fine educational plans.
3. International Efforts to Ensure ARISS Sustainability—Frank Bauer, KA3HDO
Related to agenda item 2 (above) about loss of funding from NASA Teaching from Space, Frank Bauer accentuated the need for the ARISS team to begin a dialogue on sustaining ARISS for the future. You will recall hearing about the substantial cuts in NASA’s education budget and how the US team has met with several organizations and various NASA groups about funding. ARISS was able to garner non-education dollars from SCaN (Space Communications and Navigation). Frank said our meeting in Japan will afford the ARISS international team an excellent opportunity to talk in person about ARISS sustainability, but that we need to begin these discussions now.
Worldwide, our team must carefully coordinate our funding activity and in-kind support efforts. Each one of our international teams brings resources to ARISS--radios from Japan, the costly EVAs provided by Russia cosmonauts, ham TV systems from Europe, telebridge capability from Canada and more.
Our very top concern must be funds for maintaining operations capabilities for ARISS. Operations can be done on the ISS from the Russian segment and the US segment, and all of our operations must go through the ISS Payload Operations Office. Kenneth supports us from that office, so the absolute very minimum amount of funding we must have to sustain ARISS school contacts, is to cover Kenneth’s operations task. Our most urgent need is his operations activity. Of course, there are a number of other costs for maintaining operations and actually growing ARISS.
To ensure ARISS sustainability, our worldwide team must develop a one-year plan and a three-year plan. The plan must list goals, operations requirements, hardware requirements and development, and what initiatives we want to accomplish. The plan must include a budget on what these things would cost. The plan must contain a section describing what we need from others to meet these goals.
Things changed at NASA and will continue to change. Change will happen in the other space agencies. We must plan in order to sustain ARISS.
Frank concluded his presentation with commenting on how proud he is of how we began working extremely well as an international team after meeting in person at ESTEC. Once we start work as an international team on this new initiative -- how to sustain ARISS for the upcoming years -- it will make our world team even stronger.
Gaston Bertels asked for a cost figure for all Operations expenses. Frank said the ISS wants all payload flyers to be self-paying. Teaching from Space Office (TFS) provided $140,000 for 2013. In 2014, $70,000 was given by TFS and $70,000 by SCaN. For 2015, SCaN was able to provide $70,000. The team is working with CASIS on how to fund the rest of the needed $70,000 for 2015, including the researching of other organizations within NASA, and studying grants that could be won from corporations.
We will continue this very important discussion at future teleconference meetings.
4. Update on Ham TV—Gaston Bertels, ON4WF
The team heard a presentation from Gaston at ESTEC and at subsequent ARISS International teleconference meetings about ESA’s wish to give ARISS the custodianship of the Ham Video transmitter. Six conditions were laid out at ESTEC as what was needed and acceptable by ARISS for an agreement with ESA for custodianship. ARISS Delegates voted that the six conditions were the correct ones to give to ESA, and these six were sent to ESA’s legal staff and management for study and possible acceptance. ESA accepted the conditions and prepared final text for the agreement on use of the Ham TV transmitter. In December 2014, ESA forwarded the text of a Technical Understanding to Gaston for study, and potentially necessary editing by ARISS Officers. One issue uncovered was that the text and signatories included NASA Teaching From Space Office. TFS no longer supports ARISS. Gaston worked with the ESA staff to edit the Technical Understanding. On January 19, Rosalie circulated the final text of the Technical Understanding to the ARISS international team.
The conditions listed in the text of the Technical Understanding match those ARISS drafted at ESTEC. Signatories listed on the document are ESA Daniele Laurini, Head, Development and Future Projects Division, ESA, plus Frank Bauer as ARISS Chair and Gaston Bertels as ARISS-Europe Chair. The document names the L-S Band patch antenna and the Ham TV transmitter, and includes the possible special use by ESA of this equipment for short-term experiments. ESA remains the owner of the equipment; ARISS is the custodian of the equipment.
Once the document is signed, the team can use the Ham TV transmitter. Kenneth is developing operational protocol for doing so. The first step is beginning with blank transmissions allowing ground stations to finalize their equipment set-up. ESA funded five Ham Video ground stations. These were set up to cover all of Europe in a crosswise manner. This should allow 10-12 minutes of DATV downlink during favorable passes over Europe.
The agreement states that three ARISS contacts per ISS Expedition be set aside for ESA. Gaston clarified that these are not in addition to the audio contacts per the ESA-ARISS agreement of some years back, beginning with the Delta Researchers’ program. The total number of contacts per Expedition is still three. The contacts would be video when Ham TV is operational, and would be audio-only if Ham TV is not available.
Frank thanked Gaston for all of his years of work, his tireless leadership and guidance, and the ARISS-Europe team’s hard work on this project. The entire global team is thrilled that the agreement is being finalized in order for Ham TV contacts to begin soon.
5. Updates on ARISS-International Face to Face Meeting in Japan (hotel, JAXA)—Keigo Komuro, JA1KAB
The Japanese ARISS team created a spreadsheet listing team members who have said they hope to attend the ARISS-International meeting in August. Keigo Komuro is emailing the spreadsheet to everyone as it is updated with details on people's initial information on arrival and departure.
The hotel the Japanese ARISS team is working with has finalized its rates for 2015 and Keigo emailed those details to everyone. If people arrive prior to the event dates or stay later, the rates will remain the same for them; please see Keigo's emails. He needs reservation information as soon as possible from all team members hoping to attend in order to ensure rooms will be available. It is safer to make reservations for a longer period of time and then shorten the reservation if necessary, than to hope to extend the dates at a later time.
Keigo has successfully arranged for a tour of JAXA for Sunday afternoon. Details are pending.
Frank asked Keigo to convey to JAXA an invitation to give a presentation at the ARISS meetings.
Keigo has wanted to find ways to thank the Japanese radio manufacturers for their many years of support to ARISS through a number of contributions of equipment. He suggested to Frank a possible presentation to be done to the manufacturers, and Keigo will send invitations to them to our meetings. The ARISS team will be able to thank the companies in this public forum for their great support. It is highly important to note… Keigo must be the coordinator for any discussions with manufacturers, at the ARISS plenary meeting or any technical discussions or elsewhere.
6. Columbus Module Radio Upgrade, Forward Path—Mark Steiner, K3MS
Mark Steiner announced that AMSAT-NA formed a team to work toward having a Kenwood D-710 in the ISS Columbus Module. The team is developing a set of top-level requirements and a plan that will include how the hardware could be procured (purchase hardware, get donations of hardware, or build hardware) and who can procure what items. Flight safety will be addressed along with other flight certifications, as well as installation and verification procedures and operation procedures.
Here is the team draft of initial top-level requirements:
1) Launch D710 radio and supporting elements so we have a high-power radio in the Columbus Module (CM) that is compatible with the D710 radio in the Russian Service Module (SM).
2) All components shall be able to be used inter-operably across all the ISS segments.
2) Include a power supply that can interface with the existing system in the CM (including the Ham TV) and possibly be generic for later systems.
3) Be compatible with the other ISS Ham system components (headsets, SSTV module, antennas, etc.), perhaps with connector adapters, if necessary.
4) Allow D710 to be reprogrammed on-orbit, perhaps with iPad standard software load.
5) Provide enough flight-like hardware for training and system certification.
Ciaran asked if SSTV capabilities will be included. Mark said SSTV hardware and software are not intended to be part of this special effort, although in the requirements, an interface for SSTV will be considered.
7. SSTV Commemorative Operations—Frank Bauer, KA3HDO & Sergey Samburov, RV3DR
Sergey Samburov would like to expand SSTV commemorative operations to several opportunities per year honoring people and special events from around the world. The first opportunity would focus on pioneers in the development of spaceflight. This program could educate many world citizens regarding people and events important to space.
Frank asked ARISS delegates for suggestions on this. An image would need to be provided to be transmitted from the ISS, and an educational description would be needed to post on our websites.
Dick Flagg, AH6NM, was honored as a Yasme Excellence Award Winner for his years of working with the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program and its predecessor Shuttle Amateur Radio EXperiment (SAREX). The award was also for Dick’s support to NASA's Radio Jove project, another program designed to introduce Amateur Radio to students and the general public. The Yasme Excellence Award is presented to individuals who, through their service, creativity, effort, and dedication, have made a significant contribution to Amateur Radio in technical, operating, or organizational achievement. More details are at: http://www.yasme.org/news_release/2014-01-07.pdf
Our Next Meeting
Our next meeting will be Tuesday, 17 February 2015 at 11:15 UTC.
Rosalie White, K1STO
February 11, 2015