[amsat-bb] Re: Re ISS D700 msg in AMSAT-BB Digest, Vol 3, Issue 71

Nate Duehr nate at natetech.com
Fri Feb 8 19:56:28 PST 2008

On Feb 7, 2008, at 4:51 PM, joe cassano aka jmario wrote:

> I'm curious to learn what organization owns/controls the D700 that  
> is on
> the ISS and how, where, when, and by who  decisions are made and
> implemented regarding switching the D700's mode of operation.
> I understand the D700 shutdowns for safety reasons, its use as a
> educational tool to connect school children worldwide with NASA, its
> availability as a recreational device for interested ISS residents,  
> and
> the fact that having astronauts watching over and tweaking the D700 is
> near or at the bottom of the astronaut's task list.   I have never
> understood how the non-shutdown, non-school  D700 time is allocated  
> and
> who does the allocation.
> Joe Cassano


This comes up often enough here that it's probably worthy of an FAQ  

The hams and folks that "run" the project do pop by this list from  
time to time and answer this question, but generally it is like any  
other ISS project -- it gets scheduled very carefully and meticulously  
in the NASA "way" of doing things, into the Astronaut's time, and  
generally it can run the gamut from a very active Astronaut who enjoys  
ham radio working people in all of their free time, to ARISS virtually  
being "ignored over in the corner" -- other than the required on/off  
cycles you mentioned for safety purposes, and the school contact  
schedule which is booked out years in advance, as far as I can tell.

I think the folks that run the project have shared more details about  
how the internal structure of the decision-making process at NASA for  
the daily crew tasking all comes together from the multitude of  
projects and people wanting their time, but at some point it feels a  
bit like the old saw that "You might just not want to know how they  
make sausage in the sausage factory."

I think I also read that some of the key personnel that have handled  
ARISS recently changed jobs (a promotion, it seemed -- if I read the  
news article correctly?) at NASA, so you never know how the internal  
"changing of the guard" may affect how much time/attention is going  
into a very... secondary payload... like ARISS.

(Trying to find a way to put that nicely... I have no intent of ever  
complaining in any way about us being able to talk through and to,  
ISS.  It's an amazing facet of our hobby that surprises many non- 
hams... "They hauled a ham radio up there just so you guys can point  
antennas at it and talk to it?"  It's truly an amazing opportunity  
many of us take for granted!)

Nate Duehr, WY0X
nate at natetech.com

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