[amsat-bb] Re: ARISSat-1 - Photos from NASA TV

Burns Fisher burns at fisher.cc
Wed Aug 3 17:56:46 PDT 2011

Thanks to everyone who posted pictures.  I think Phil Karn's picture number
9204 is particularly interesting.   It almost looks like something coming
out of the collar and bending back and down away from the camera.  Any
chance that is an antenna stuck somewhere?

But I'd also like to make a couple comments which are, of course, just as
much speculations as the comments that I'm trying to refute.

First, let's talk about "breaking" the antenna.  Well, we don't really know
that.  Isn't it flexible like the 2m antenna?  I think it was mentioned in
CDR slides.  And surely we would want it to be flexible.  After all there is
one of these sticking out on each of the two largest flat surfaces.  Chances
are good it's going to run into something sometime.

Second, suppose it was simply not installed.  I see lots of comments about
"duh, how could you miss it not being there?".  I've looked at a lot of
pictures of this bird both pre- and post-launch and a huge percentage of
them are taken at an angle where you can only see one antenna.  How would
anyone inherently know what this was supposed to look like?  I would also
add that these guys who are on the station for 6 months at a time don't get
to practice procedures in a tank up till a few days before the EVA.

As to the Apollo 13 mentality:  This was not life or death.  The guys inside
the station were limited as to where they could go.  Surely they could not
pass something out through the airlock even if they could move around.  And
does anyone remember on Apollo 12 (I think), one of the astronauts kicked a
TV camera cable so we had no live TV after the first few hours.  Should I
mention a certain cap not removed from a certain Oscar on the pad at KSC?
 That was not the Russians.   Working in space is HARD.  Mistakes are EASY.

Here's my completely speculative hypothesis:  You'll recall that the AMSAT
rep who went to Russia (Lou?) with the bird had to return before it was at
Star City because of a combo of a short visa and long customs hold.  Thus he
never got to work in person with bird AND the Russian guy working up
procedures, tests, etc.  On top of that, the various tests from within the
ISS were added.  All that could add up to procedures being written and
changed somewhat blindly.  I'll bet some checklist somewhere neglected to
mention the 70cm, and in the process of stowing and unstowing and connecting
to and disconnecting from the external antenna the 70cm was never (re)

Yes, I'm disappointed.  Yes there should be a root cause analysis.  But as
before, we have to wait till the details are in.   Speculations are fun;
throwing blame around is not (to me at least).

73, Burns W2BFJ

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