[amsat-bb] "PR" of PcSat2 during spacewalks this week

Nate Duehr nate at natetech.com
Wed Sep 20 13:28:15 PDT 2006

Bob will probably have some comment on this, but I wondered if anyone 
else noticed it.

I've been listening to/watching NASA TV most of the week with the 
Shuttle mission going on, and was obviously interested to watch/listen 
during the spacewalks.

What I found especially interesting (or disturbing?) during the 
spacewalks was the announcers descriptions of the external payload boxes 
being worked on, like PCSat2.

When they worked on removing PCSat2 there was this (almost mumbled) dumb 
description of what is was -- something like "radio experimentation 
equipment".  And that's about it.  No mention of its name.  No mention 
that it was built by students at the Naval Academy.  No mention of 
Amateur Radio.

Yet, the next day when they were removing the other science experiments, 
there were long gushing words about all the peace, love, and worldwide 
joy that a box with 20 different pieces of metal stuck to the outside 
would bring as the scientists of the world, as they would be able to see 
the effects of being outside in space had on different metalurgical alloys.

Sorry - ok yes, I'm exaggerating.  But my curiosity is still piqued.

Why was PCSat2 given such a "boring" billing during the announcer's time 
to speak about what the Astronauts were doing, versus all the 
glowing/gushing descriptions of the other scientific experiments?

Is radio science or the word "Amateur" in Amateur Radio a source of some 
kind of embarasment for NASA PR people these days?

Or, was there simply no good typed up description for the announcers to 
read from, so they skipped it?  (I'm hoping here...)

In other words, was there a PR opportunity for Amateur Radio missed 
because no one had time to send a good description and make sure it got 
into the correct hands for reading during the spacewalks?

Was there anything anyone could have done to make the description of 
PCSat2 at least sound more interesting than a mumbled comment about a 
radio black-box the announcer seemed clueless about?  Or at least even 
have its NAME mentioned so people with a web browser and Google could 
find the rest of the story?

Somehow I want to give the announcers more credit than that they were 
just "dumb" about it -- they all seem to be VERY well versed in what's 
going on in almost all aspects of Shuttle operations.

Along those lines, is there any reason they would be told NOT to say 
what it was, perhaps?  (Hey, it's a possibility, right?  I'm not much of 
a conspiracy theorist, but you have to consider all possibilities.)

I'm very curious.  Probably more than I should be.  :-)

Anyone else notice this?

Nate WY0X

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