[amsat-bb] Crew handleing of ARISSat-1

Andy Kellner hawat1 at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 3 09:10:51 PDT 2011

Is it just me, or did it look that crew did handle the satellite extremely unprofessional ?
The removal of the Solar Array covers was pretty uncoordinated. They basically just ripped them off. Once outside they let the satellite bounce around like a basketball. For several minutes the satellite was just left to his own devices dangling from a teather, hitting the station all over the place, while the Astronauts try to position themselves.

Then they pulled it in and flipped the switches without any coordination with the ground and apparently no regards of the order the switches are supposed to be flipped. He then described the LED's he was seeing, and it was pretty apparent that he didn't knew how it was _supposed_ to be look like. This became even more apparent when they discussed how many antennas are actually supposed to be attached to the satellite. One said : "I was here 3 months earlier and there was only one". Is that the way to check that the device is in a correct configuration ? 

Just to the end, when the decision has been made not to deploy, somebody at the ground warned them to be careful not to break any solar arrays. IMHO it is a miracle that the solar arrays are still intact, and I would not be surprised if they broke of the second antenna because of careless handling.

I understand that it must be very difficult to do all this is space in a bulky space-suit. But nevertheless this is a Satellite which is fragile and needs the be handled carefully. There are procedures to follow and checks to make before the sat is deployed. If it would have come to the crew, they would have just pushed it out and be done with it.   This is all financed by donations and build by volunteers. Many people put a lot of effort into this. Its not that we can just build and launch another one, if they screw it up. I think its simply unexcusable that the correct configuration of the satellite has not been confirmed even before the spacewalk has started. Very disappointing.

Andreas Kellner - VK4FHAW

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