[amsat-bb] Re: Ham Radio Astronaut procedures.

Edward R. Cole al7eb at acsalaska.net
Fri Feb 9 07:45:46 PST 2007

At 08:54 AM 2/9/2007 -0600, Alan P. Biddle wrote:
>Back in the Dark Ages, when I worked for NASA, I once found myself in a
>Center director's office over flying a newfangled LCD display as part of a
>Spacelab payload.  They were locked up on the word "liquid" and were trying
>to apply all sorts of safety regulations in case of spills.  My solution,
>not to approval but to break them out of that mindset, was to remove a
>board, two LCDs, and a heavy cloth from my briefcase.  After placing them on
>the table in that order, I proceeded to literally hammer the two LCDs to
>twisted metal and other fragments, which I passed around the room to
>demonstrate there was no spillable liquid in an LCD.
>'tis the NASA way.

Good one, Alan.

I had assigned to me a project to make a power supply crowbar for microwave
beacon tranmitter at a ground station.  It had to switch 1000-volts to
ground in less than 30ms.  That was not too hard to do, but it had to work
from -50 to +150 deg F.  I started with a two transistor circuit with maybe
25 components.  The final circuit had less than 12 components.  It took six
months of testing and fiddling to get a reliable circuit.  All this to send
a timing signal between tracking stations.

I saw my old boss at MUD-2005 and one thing he told me in reminiscing the
old days at Goldstone....was the circuit worked for over ten years until
they dismantled the project.  Not one failure.  That is the NASA way.

Side Note: the timing system was kind of neat as the signal was sent around
the world to other tracking centers via mooon-bounce...that's right they
reflected the mw digital signal from the Moon.  It sent precise timing code
tied to a Hydrogen Maser time standard.  Eventually phased out by better

Ed - KL7UW 
BP40iq,  Nikiski, AK      http://www.qsl.net/al7eb
Amsat #3212
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