[sarex] Re: FW: AMSAT-BB Digest, Vol 4, Issue 401

Dave Taylor dave.w8aas at verizon.net
Sun Aug 16 05:22:23 PDT 2009

ARISS an abject failure?  Nonsense!

ARISS is primarily an educational program.  Since the program began,  
we've had over 460 successful educational contacts.  That's over 5000  
kids all over the world who have been able to talk directly to an  
astronaut in space via ham radio.  And 10's of thousands others who  
have witnessed it.  Add to that the educational programs the schools  
run that are tied to the contact, training contacts between schools  
and astronauts on the ground, and more.  Hardly a failure.

As a side effect, we get the opportunity to talk to astronauts in  
their spare time.  This is entirely up to the crew.  Guys like Richard  
Garriott, Mike Fincke, and Bill MacArthur have given us thousands of  
contacts, because they love ham radio.  Others don't, and that is  
their option.  ARISS encourages operation; for example, we've had crew  
members who don't ordinarily use the radios outside school contacts  
get on for field day and other special events.  But we can't make  
them.  I've worked on ARISS since before the first crew went up, and  
I've never been lucky enough to contact a crew member in his spare  
time.  I don't consider ARISS (or my ham license) a failure because of  

The difficulties getting hardware aboard are too many to detail here.   
Just remember that it takes a long time to get anything approved,  
there is little up-mass available (especially when the shuttle isn't  
flying, as has too-often been the case), and volume on ISS is limited  
(they recently threw out the spacesuit we planned to use for Suitsat-2  
because there wasn't enough room to store it).  Even so, we've got  
three radios aboard, many ham radio antennas, and more on the way.

ARISS is always looking for ways to do more and do better.  If you  
think it can be improved, volunteer and help make that happen.  We are  
limited by available time, as are all volunteer programs.

Dave Taylor, W8AAS
ARISS team member
AMSAT #8974

On Aug 15, 2009, at 10:42 PM, Norm, VK3XCI wrote:

> Frank et al
> Please let us not degenerate into a flame war or
> battle of egos. Don't take this personally, and
> understand that it comes from a long time space
> enthusiast who wants only to be part of this
> frontier but is effectively denied.
> Whilst ARISS may be a diplomatic and
> administrative success, in terms of delivering
> results it has been an abject failure. From a
> users point of view the only project that works as
> advertised is the schools contact project.
> If that is to be ARISS' focus, then it's time to
> let someone else take up some challenges. Whatever
> Miles' fractured relationship is with the rest of
> ARISS, I and most others care little. He has
> raised some specific points that I for one would
> like answered.
> One of the strengths of the human spirit is to be
> able to examine our failures as well as our
> successes. Only then can there be improvement.
> 73 de Norm, VK3XCI
> Mildura, Australia
> The Wintersun City
> QF15bt.
> Frank H. Bauer wrote:
>> Miles,
>> I find it really sad that you have stooped this low.....character
>> assassination and the like.  This e-mail is filled with so many  
>> inaccuracies
>> and wrong statements that it would be a disservice to the amateur  
>> community
>> to go through this and challenge each of your statements.
>> While I am no longer part of the ARISS team, I think it would be  
>> best for me
>> to respond to this e-mail as I think some clarifications are worthy  
>> of a
>> response.  And given the fact that I led the ARISS team for 13 years.
>> Your main gripe was that you were not invited to the ARISS meeting  
>> at ESA
>> Estec a few months ago.  It should be noted that AMSAT did not make  
>> this
>> final decision.  Specifically, it was your (Miles) actions that  
>> caused you
>> to be not invited.  Not some  "closed" organization as you (Miles)
>> stipulate.  The crux of the issue is that if one disregards verbal or
>> written direction from space agencies and, as a result, you violate  
>> space
>> agency policy or company/agency proprietary rules, then a significant
>> element of distrust is built up.  ARISS cannot let this happen.   
>> And Miles,
>> through your actions, you did this.  And as a result, you did this to
>> yourself.
>> Let me also be clear that MAREX as a team was not singled out.   
>> Only Miles.
>> So if MAREX had thoughts or proposals, they were and are welcome to  
>> share
>> them with the ARISS team.  And, if there are other members of  
>> MAREX, besides
>> Miles, that wanted to attend future meetings, I would expect that  
>> they
>> probably would be allowed to attend.  As long as they abide by the  
>> space
>> agency rules.  (But remember, I don't make those decisions)
>> ARISS is an international working group consisting of National  
>> Amateur Radio
>> Societies, AMSAT organizations and the international space agencies  
>> from the
>> 5 ISS regions (Europe, Japan, Russia, Canada and the USA).  This  
>> working
>> group works hand-in-hand to develop and operate the amateur radio  
>> system on
>> ISS.  ARISS cannot do this without the space agencies and the crew  
>> on-board.
>> ARISS has and continues to do its best to be as transparent (open) as
>> possible.  International meetings are open to the public, as long  
>> as an
>> element of trust is not violated.  While the ARISS model is not  
>> perfect,
>> nothing is.  But I must say that the international participation  
>> and support
>> that comes from the ARISS team is some of the best I have ever seen
>> anywhere.  To say that ARISS is a failure is ludicrous.
>> It is my personal opinion that the national radio society model  
>> (e.g. in the
>> US ARRL and AMSAT) is the right model for ARISS.  It has worked  
>> well and
>> provides an outstanding educational outreach program that gives  
>> students and
>> communities a very positive view of ham radio.  ARISS has not  
>> excluded
>> universities from participating.  For example, the Kursk University  
>> in
>> Russia is currently building an experiment for SuitSat-2.  The  
>> Santa Rosa
>> Junior College in the US is an ARISS telebridge station.  Students  
>> at the
>> College of New Jersey in the US participated in the testing of the  
>> SuitSat-2
>> SDX.  And the Wroclaw University of Technology in Poland built the  
>> L/S band
>> ARISS antennas that are installed on the Columbus module.
>> In summary, I think we should stop the whining.  And recognize that  
>> we need
>> to work hand-in-glove with the international space agencies if we  
>> want to
>> sustain a ham radio program on human spaceflight vehicles.  This  
>> may mean
>> that our pet project might not fly now (or ever).  That there will  
>> be times
>> when the crew does not get on the ham radio.  And that there will  
>> be give
>> and take within the international ARISS and international space  
>> agency team
>> on how hardware gets developed, who develops it and when it gets  
>> tested,
>> repaired or operated.
>> With sincere interest in ARISS Program Success,
>> Frank H. Bauer, KA3HDO
> ----
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