ARISS International Monthly Meeting Teleconference
March 16, 2021 – 1100 UTC
Interpreter: Ksenia Shelkova
Unable to attend:
Francesco De Paolis
Roll Call—Martha Muir, W4MSA
Welcome—Frank Bauer, KA3HDO
Frank opened the meeting by congratulating all the folks who were involved in the success of getting the Columbus radio system back in operation. It involved a lot of work by a lot of people.
1. Call for Acceptance of Minutes—Frank Bauer, KA3HDO & Martha Muir, W4MSA
The Minutes for the February ARISS International monthly meeting had been distributed to the delegates earlier. Stefan Dombrowski made a motion to accept the Minutes and Gaston Bertels seconded that motion. The motion to accept the Minutes was approved without dissention.
2. Columbus Module Radio System
Summary: Frank said that thanks to the work done during an EVA on March 13, 2021 the “ARISS IORS is back in operation!” Folks around the world are using the APRS on it. Frank and Oliver had held a press conference on March 10 to explain the situation with the radio. Oliver added that folks on the European side are glad to have the radio back in operation. Frank concurred, saying that NASA is happy that the crew was able to fix several other cables with Bartolemeo, allowing Bartolomeo to become fully operational. The cause of the cable anomaly is still not known.
Frank thanked everyone who helped get the radio system back in operation. This was a big, coordinated activity involving ESA, Airbus, NASA, and more. What was accomplished was not easy to do. The ARISS team was grateful for the support and teamwork by the space agencies to resolve this issue quickly. Frank said he would also like to thank Sergey for allowing us to use the radio in the Russian module for ARISS contacts in the meantime. The cosmonauts also did familiarization training with Victor Glover to get him up to speed on that radio. “Thank you, Sergey”.
3. April SSTV Activities
Summary: Sergey began his remarks by congratulating everyone involved in solving the radio problems. He said that he was surprised by the number of Russian hams who followed the progress of the repairs and reached out to him afterward with their thanks.
Coming up in April will be the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s flight. There will be great celebrations in Russia to mark this. On April 9 there will be a launch of a new vehicle to the ISS. On April 17, there will be a crew from the ISS returning to earth.
The next SSTV transmission will occur after April 20 and will be the result of “International Teamwork.” Part of these images will be about the 60th anniversary of Gagarin’s flight. For the rest of the 12 images in this program, it is recommended that each region select ham radio astronauts to include. Sergey would like to recognize the first crew of radio amateurs who called from space.
4. Status of Waiver Requests
Summary: The extension of the Waiver Request policy was discussed by the ARISS-I officers (Frank, Oliver, and Martha). Currently scheduled to end on June 30, the policy was extended to September 30. The Waiver Policy was put in place for two key reasons: (1) to protect the safety of the students, faculty, and hams during this pandemic and (2) to minimize the last minute cancellation of ARISS contacts. Both of these figured into the decision to extend the Waiver Policy.
The release of the vaccine and other factors may allow this extension to be shortened if things get better with the pandemic.
John Kludt said that only 3 schools will be affected by the extension of this policy. Frank thanked John for handling these waiver requests and reminded delegates that waivers are only required if a contact will not accept a Multipoint Telebridge. Oliver added his thanks to those operating the telebridge stations that support these contacts.
Frank also thanked John for the video productions that are available on YouTube. He said that schools are watching the videos of other ARISS contacts and are trying to make theirs better. Sponsors are watching the videos, too. This is ‘one of the positives coming out of this Covid situation.’
When are we going to turn on the voice repeater on the new radio system? John said he will work with the Ops committee to develop an overall schedule for APRS and voice repeater operations.
Eric Oosterbaan asked if a ham could send a image to the ISS and then get it back down? Frank said yes, this is possible using the voice repeater. But we would want to have special SSTV event times so that there are no collisions from those wanting to talk on voice and those sending SSTV images. Eric then asked if a string of commands could be sent to and from the ISS to control robots in schools? Frank answered ‘yes, via APRS.’
The ARISS-I meeting will be Ear to Ear again this year due to the continuation of the pandemic. Oliver is in charge of this meeting and said it will occur from June 21 to June 25. These dates do not conflict with the Friedrichshaven hamfest. If delegates have a topic to add to the agenda, please send them to the ARISS-I officers.
Frank reminded delegates that the Artemis II proposal was submitted on time. He has since heard this proposal was still under consideration and should know more in April if it is still in the running to fly. Frank also said that the recent problems with the IORS seemed to indicate the need for test equipment on the ISS. It would need to be small and lightweight and requests suggestions by delegates.
Dave Taylor said that he is still working with the ARISS-I listserv to get that various lists completely switched over from its current amsat.org domain.
The next meeting is April 20, 2021 at 1100 UTC.