17 March 2015 -- 1115 UTC*
Francesco De Paolis
Interpreter: Mark Leybovich
Not able to participate:
Roll Call—Rosalie White, K1STO
Welcome—Frank Bauer, KA3HDO
Frank Bauer welcomed everyone. He discussed the message in Rosalie White’s recent email saying that when we have an agenda item, we will also include a summary in the agenda. Having a summary prior to the meeting means the presenter doesn’t need to use meeting time to introduce and describe the topic. Having a summary beforehand gives participants time to think about the topic, and allows us more meeting time for questions and answers from everyone.
1. ARISS Contact Counts—Dave Taylor, W8AAS
There has been some confusion lately about how to assign contacts to ARISS Regions. I ask the Delegates from all ARISS Regions to consider approving these rules as a way to clarify the process and resolve future confusion.
1. In general, contacts are counted for the region that selected the schools involved.
2. Contacts handled by one region at the request of another will be counted for the requesting region, unless the two regions agree otherwise.
3. The ISS crew is an international resource. Crew members from any region can be assigned to contacts for any region, limited only by their availability. The crew member for a contact has no effect on what region gets credit for the contact.
4. There are two methods of scheduling ARISS contacts. Contacts with USOS (US Operating Segment) crew use NASA and the weekly ARISS scheduling telecon. Contacts with ROS (Russian Operating Segment) crew use Roscosmos and Sergey Samburov. The method used to schedule a contact has no effect on what region gets credit for the contact.
Previously, our operations were handled in a simple way, but now we have many routes for handling our contacts. We have more crew members participating and educational groups from more countries participating, and these are good things. We have more options and opportunities and help than previously, and this gives us more routes to take, which is a good thing.
Delegates spoke about a few of the different scenarios such as some that are described in the summary above. The Delegates agreed with the list above.
Francesco DePaolis recalled that cosmonauts and different countries’ astronauts have done contacts with schools in all ARISS Regions, and asked Sergey if the cosmonauts would continue to be willing to do ARISS contacts for all ARISS Regions. Sergey answered that he and they would be happy to help.
There were no other questions or discussions, so Frank said we would move forward having the ARISS international operations team follow the outline above.
2. Ham TV, Update--Gaston Bertels, ON4WF
1. Ham Video implementation
2. Procedures and Blank Transmissions Ham Video - status
3. WiFi filters - delivery
4. Chained ground stations - status
5. Slide Show project - status
Gaston Bertels reviewed the steps for implementation of Ham TV: develop procedures for operating Ham Video onboard, run blank transmissions, check the performance of ground stations, do a Ham Video test contact with a school, and if all goes well, we will have our first real school contact utilizing Ham Video.
Kenneth Ransom prepared the procedures, and then NASA presented them to ESA, owner of the equipment, whose concerns are always: safety, storage, and engineering. It is likely that ESA will return the document to NASA next week. We hope all is approved, and then blank transmissions will begin.
Kerry Banke developed a filter for WiFi interference. He built six filters and sent them to the European ground stations where the filters will be installed.
Art Towslee continues to work on the slide show, and is developing the Raspberry Pi interrupt to strengthen the system and protect the memory card.
Stefan Wagener asked if the transmissions will be available for reception by most of the world. Gaston said transmissions will run continuously for several orbits for several days. Gaston explained that analysis and full study of transmissions can be done using the system developed by Jean Pierre Courjaud. The modulation of the blank transmissions is full black, but everything will work the same as it would once regular transmissions commence.
Ciaran Morgan has written to companies asking to use two large satellite earth station dishes for Ham Video reception of school operations to be relayed via the Internet during the Tim Peake mission. Ciaran asked how much he could publicize such re-transmissions. Gaston said the blank transmissions would allow these dishes to be tested. Frank said we’ve been working over a year to make Ham TV operational, with ARISS finally getting the custodial agreement with ESA. (Frank just received a copy that was signed by all parties.) But we must be cautious before committing to utilizing the system until we have tested everything. Gaston remains optimistic that progress will continue at a good pace and hopes Ham TV will be available for the Tim Peake mission, but we need to tell all potential users that testing is yet to be finalized. Frank agreed, saying we are confident but cannot confirm using the Ham Video system until we complete all preparatory stages. He said Ciaran and all of us must wait a while to publicize potential use of the system.
Lou McFadin said AMSAT-NA has upgraded the Keplerian elements that the organization distributes, which should help ground stations with more accurate orbit predictions.
3. International Efforts to Ensure ARISS Sustainability, Update--Frank Bauer, KA3HDO
ARISS international cooperation in development, in operations and through partnering with our regional space agencies are crucial elements of a long-term, sustained, and thriving ARISS program. The past 3 years have been challenging for ARISS due to reductions in support by NASA’s Teaching from Space (TFS) Program, including unstable support prior to 2014, elimination of all TFS funding in April 2014 and elimination of TFS personnel support in August 2014. TFS also threatened to cancel ARISS as an international program. If ARISS-I is to remain sustained and thriving, we cannot allow our team to be entirely dependent upon one organization to remain viable. We need to diversify our funding and support dependencies across the international team. We need to develop an international approach to funding and support to ensure sustainability. This includes an international strategy on funding needs, fundraising efforts and acquiring in-kind support. (In-kind support is support or a donation of things other than money.)
Over the years, we have done well in garnering space agency and outside organization support to ARISS by all 5 regions. Some international examples include the Service Module EVAs and internal volume and power for the radios (Russian provided), flight operations support, hardware development, hardware launch and landing (US provided), antenna development, Columbus Module volume and power for the radios (Europe provided), telebridge station (Canada provided), Kenwood radios (Japan provided), crew on-orbit support (all regions), telebridge stations (all regions). Despite these outstanding support accomplishments, lessons learned from the past three years have shown that we must do better and we must diversify our support further.
Over the past 3 years, we have made the following progress:
1) We have significantly improved our cooperation and teamwork as a result of our meetings at ESA ESTEC in April 2014, including the cooperation and actions that have resulted from this meeting
2) The ARISS-US team have made the following changes to improve sustainability:
a. Garnered financial support from NASA SCaN for 50% of the payload operations/developer task (Kenneth Ransom task)
b. Developed a US-specific prioritized budget plan to help sustain ARISS and ensure that ARISS US-segment operations remain stable from year to year. The ARISS-US team will soon provide to the ARISS-I team a copy of this prioritized budget plan for review and discussion
c. Worked with NASA ISS Program Office to establish relationships with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), which is responsible for 50% of ISS utilization in the US segment
d. Developed a proposal to join CASIS as an ISS National Lab payload which was accepted; this provides some substantial capabilities for the future (launch mass, safety certification and testing support, educational outreach collaboration)
e. Working with NASA ISS Program Office, NASA SCaN and CASIS on a joint memorandum of understanding which describes NASA & ARISS-US team roles and responsibilities
f. Developing a “Space Act Agreement” with NASA to enable the transfer of funding from outside sources into the NASA operations/developer task
g. Working with CASIS on garnering outside “corporate sponsors” to support ARISS in the future. These can be US sponsors and international sponsors
h. For the rest of NASA Fiscal Year 2014, worked with the ISS Program Office to ensure other 50% of payload operations/developer task is funded, keeping US segment operations stable through to April 2016 (if we include the planned 50% support from SCaN for next Fiscal Year
3) We are improving international cooperation in operations, through the use of both the US Segment and Russian Segment crew members for school contacts
4) Through leadership by AMSAT-Italia/ARISS-Europe, we are developing a HamTV system that will enhance ARISS educational outreach through video downlinks.
5) Through leadership from Sergey/ARISS-RU, we are initiating an international SSTV downlink initiative to involve hams and schools, worldwide, in capturing these outstanding SSTV images.
6) Based on discussions at ESTEC, we have started an interoperability initiative to develop future hardware systems that can be utilized in any segment of the ISS.
As we prepare for our next ARISS meeting in Tokyo, we should all work towards the development of an overall ARISS international funding and support strategy to ensure that our program continues to grow and thrive. The US team, prior to the Tokyo meeting, would like to further describe its plans to diversify its funding base for ARISS as well as describe the initial budget that we have developed and our plans to raise funds through corporate sponsors. The international team should then develop an international fundraising and support strategy for ARISS. To do this, each region should recommend at least one individual who will serve as the region lead/point of contact on this activity. We should think about the development of an additional committee to address funding strategy planning.
We have been discussing sustainability at our past several meetings, and here is more to consider. We do not want ARISS to be in the position where if one group stops supporting ARISS, then ARISS will have to stop operating. Frank’s list of examples of support from all ARISS Regions shows how each region has made significant contributions, money and non-monetary contributions, such as personnel, hardware, and other items. In the past six months, the US team has taken significant steps to improve the situation on US support; those steps were covered in his summary. One key item has been successful—the efforts to obtain full funding to cover Kenneth Ransom’s task. His task is funded through the end of NASA Fiscal Year 2015 (September 30, 2015) and we anticipate the NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation organization will fund this task through April 2016. So we should have no disruptions through that date. This gives our worldwide team some time to find additional funding resources and to develop a plan for stable, sustained funding from a variety of sources.
Frank wants to set up a committee to develop sustainable funding, and to have the committee in place by our meeting in Tokyo in August. The committee name would be Sustainable Funding Committee, and each ARISS Region should have a representative. Information will be emailed to delegates within a week.
4. Columbus Radio Upgrade, Update--Mark Steiner, K3MS
ARISS team members continue to define the requirements for upgrading the primary radio in the Columbus Module. The group is planning for a Kenwood D710 in order to maintain compatibility with the radio in the Russian segment. Development continues on defining the requirements for an upgraded power supply capability. Some considerations are: the ability to support existing components/cables and the D710 as well as providing flexibility for future items; the ability to coexist with other payloads in the Columbus Module; manufacturing options; and safety. Once a top-level configuration is developed it will be shared with the ARISS-I community for ideas before being sent to the PS&U Committee. Also to be discussed at that point will be the resources required to build and implement the system.
Mark summarized the report sent to the ARISS-I team.
Keigo Komuro asked if there are heat dissipation concerns with the D710 based on previous issues with the D700. The team is studying this and will address it in its proposal.
Reminder: Image files for “Inventors of Space Travel” SSTV downlink events must go to Sergey and Frank no later than March 20.
Keigo distributed an updated participant list for the Tokyo meeting, and wants to confirm if there will be two participants from AMSAT-Italia.
Sergey told Keigo that he will be training Takuya Onishi, the Japanese astronaut scheduled to fly on Expedition 48/49 in May 2016. Sergey can relay any questions or information to Takuya if Keigo has something to share.
Our Next Meeting
Our next meeting will be 21 April 2015 at 1115 UTC.
Rosalie White, K1STO
29 March 2015