[sarex] Don't Send SuitSat2 to ISS

MM ka1rrw at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 20 12:40:33 PDT 2009

Don’t Fly Suit-Sat to the 
International Space Station

The International Space Station will be retired in 20015-2016.
We do not have much time left, before NASA pulls the plug!
We need your help to convince NASA, ESA and RSA to send more Long term educational projects to ISS and to not send short term disposable Toss-Satellites projects such as the Suit-Sat-2 to ISS.

In this document I will go over several reasons why Suit-Sat-2 is the wrong project for the International Space Station (ISS) and offer suggestions on how to best use Suit-Sat-2.


Introduction:	3
What is Suit-Sat-2:	4
Reason #1: The Orbit:	5
Reason #2:  Access Window Time:	5
Reason #3:  Satellite Footprints:	6
Reason #4:  Suit-Sat-2 needs a new container:	7
Batteries:	7
Solar Panels:	7
Battery Charging System:	7
Antenna System:	7
Satellite flight container:	7
Reason #5: Launch Date January 2010:	8
Reason #6: The ISS is the wrong place for Suit-Sat-2 :	9
What can we do with Suit-Sat-2 ?	10
Long Term Project Suggestions:	11
SpaceCam1 meets our Long term goals:	12
SpaceCam1, Best Bang for the Buck:	13
Current ISS Amateur Radio hardware Status:	15
November 2000 Ericsson System:	15
February 2003 Packcom Modem:	15
January 2002 Antenna Systems:	16
December 2003 Kenwood TM-D700:	17
October 2005 SpaceCam1 and Suit-Sat1:	17
February 2008 Columbus Antennas:	18
Unused Amateur Radio hardware on ISS:	19
Unused Coax Cables:	19
Unused Antennas:	19
Unused Radios (Ericsson UHF Transceiver):	20
Suit-Sat-1 Burns up:	20
Summary:	20
VHF Society Meeting July 24, 2009	21

This is an open letter to representatives of the organizations and technical communities, including:
NASA, European Space Agency, Russian Space Agency, AMSAT, ARISS, ARRL, Amateur Radio community and the Short Wave Listener community.

Do you want to see more Education Amateur Radio activity from ISS?

If so, then we need to take decisive action now before we lose International Space Station completely.

In this memo I am going to discuss the reasons we should change the launch vehicle for the Suit-Stat-2 project from the low orbiting International Space Station (ISS) to different unmanned rocket launch vehicle and how we can all benefit from the changes.

What is Suit-Sat-2:

Suit-Sat-2 is a small satellite radio about the size of a toaster.  It will allow amateur radio operators and Short waver listeners to monitor the signals from the satellite while it’s in orbit.
The exact specifications of Suit-Sat-2 have not been published.  
Suit-Sat-2 may contain the following features:

Slow Scan Image Transmitter.
FM Cross band transponder.
SSB mode U/V transponder.

Suit-Sat-2 will run on batters and a solar panel while in orbit.  This will extend the life of the operational satellite.  The original Suit-Sat-1 satellite only had batteries, no solar panel and was only operational for 3 weeks.

The original plan was to send the Suit-Sat-2 hardware to the International Space Station and then stuff the hardware into Space suite that is scheduled for disposal.  The satellite radio, plus the space suit is how Suit-Sat got its name.

Unfortunately Suit-Sat-2 missed its original planed hardware completed date for the fall of 2007 and also missed a rocket launch opportunity in 2008.  As of July 2009 the hardware for Suit-Sat-2 is still being developed.

In the summer of 2009 ARISS was informed that ISS could not wait any longer and disposed of the extra empty space suit.  Now the ARISS hardware team needs to redesign Suit-Sat-2 to fly in its own satellite container, which has not been designed.



Some information about its predecessor Suit Sat-1

Reason #1: The Orbit:
The Orbit of the International Space Station is approximately 250 miles (350 kilometers).  This is actually a very low orbit.  Any satellite launched into this type of orbit will re-enter the earth’s atmosphere and burn-up in less than 1 year.  The only reason the ISS has not burnt up is because NASA keeps sending more fuel to the space station and they use that to keep boosting the Station back up to 250 mile orbit.

If the Suit-Sat-2 satellite is launched from the ISS orbit, it will simply burn up in 6-12 months.  
Suit-Sat-2 needs to be in a high orbit such as the common 700-800 kilometer orbit, which will allow the satellite to orbit for decades.
Reason #2:  Access Window Time:
The Access Windows Time, is how many minutes can you use Suit-Sat-2 transceivers when it is in range of you location.  At an altitude of 250 miles your maximum access window will be 10 minutes per orbit.  Depending on where you live you will have orbit access 4-6 times per day.  Only a few of these orbits will approach the maximum 10 minute access window time.  Most of the orbits will be very low on the horizon and your access window time will be shorter.

If Suit-Sat-2 was paced a more common higher orbit such as the commonly used 700-800 kilometer orbit, your maximum access window time will be in the 15-18 minute range.

Reason #3:  Satellite Footprints:
The higher the altitude of the satellite, the greater the Radio link coverage will be.  From ISS, the maximum footprint size is approximately 1500 mile radius or a diameter of 3000 miles across.  
In simple terms this means that two radio stations 2000 – 3000 miles apart can communication via the satellite when it is in-between them.  Suit-Sat-2 will have a smaller foot print at 250 miles then it will at 800 km.   The Suit-Sat-2 project will not have enough altitude to support communications links between the USA and Europe.  

During the short 6-12 month life of Suit-Stat2, the orbit will decrease in altitude daily.  After a few months the size of the Satellite footprint will be noticeably smaller.  The Radio link coverage will also decreases daily.  The Satellite Access Window time will decrease daily as Suit-Sat-2 gets closer to the ground.

Reason #4:  Suit-Sat-2 needs a new container:
Suit-Sat-2 was designed to be stuffed into a used space suit.  The Ariss Hardware team now needs to completely redesign the Suit-Sat-2 project to fit into a yet-to-be-designed satellite container box.  This will not be a simple task.

Areas that need to be redesigned for Suit-Sat2:
The original design called for large 24 volt batteries located inside the space suite.  New smaller Space flight qualified batteries will need to located that will fit into the smaller satellite container. A completely new power budget will need to be calculated.  
The old batteries cannot be reused.
Solar Panels:
The old panels were going to be tied to the back of the space suit.  The new panels will need to be custom designed to fit onto the exterior of the new 6 sided satellite box. 
The old panels cannot be reused.
Battery Charging System:
Since we now have to use New Batteries and a new yet-to-be-designed Solar panel system, we will now have to redesign the existing SuitSat-2 charging system to accommodate the new changes.  
The whole power budget has just changed.
Antenna System:
The Suit-Sat-2 antennas system was designed to be tied to the space suit.  It seems to make sense since you have to build a new satellite box, new batteries, new solar panels, you may as well build a better antenna system, rather than bungee cording the antenna to the box.  
This means a new Antenna system designed from scratch.
Satellite flight container:
Suit-Sat-2 was originally designed to be stuffed into an old space suit that has reached the end of useful life.  RSA could not wait any longer for Suit-Sat-2 so they have made plans to stuff the suits into a Russian Progress cargo rocket and let the Progress trash truck burn up on re-entry.

The ARISS Hardware team now needs to design a new box to hold their satellite transceiver board, etc.
The box will need to be strong enough to be placed inside a Russian Progress rocket for its flight to ISS.  The unmanned cargo rocket will exceed 5-9 G’s of force.  Remember the satellite A0-40?  The AO-40 Satellite frame had to be completely re-designed after the G-Force load numbers changed.  If you make the frame too light, components could break loose during the launching phase.

Reason #5: Launch Date January 2010:

The Suit-Sat-2 project was first presented to the ARISS team in January 2006.  The project was headed by AMSAT Director and ARISS Hardware Project manager Lou McFadin.  In October 2006 ARISS publicly present the project at the ARISS International meeting in San Francisco.
At the ARISS Team meeting in 2006, Lou McFadin said we could be ready to launch Suit-Sat-2 in the fall (2007).

Comments from McFadin at the ARISS meeting in 2006
An ISS crew could launch SuitSat-2 during a spacewalk as early as next fall. "We're talking about October of next year [2007], in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Sputnik-1,"

Here were are in July 2009 and the 18 month project is now into its 30+ month of development.  The Suit-Sat-2 project has missed 2 launch opportunities and is ready to miss it’s third. As of July 2009 status of the Suit-Sat-2 hardware still seems to be at the prototype level, with a considerable amount of work to be done before the transceiver becomes flight ready.  See the attached memo from the July 24-25 the Central States VHF Society meeting.

In order to meet the January 2010 launch date, you need to deliver a few flight qualified versions of your project to the Russian space agency a few Months BEFORE flight.

In my professional opinion, the Suit-Sat-2 transceiver system will require 6-9 more months of development time.  In my estimate the earliest time we could expect to see a pair of electronics modules of “Flight Quality” would be the end of 2010.

The Satellite box does not exist and would required 18-24 months to design and build a container that will survive Proton Rocket G-forces of 5-9g’s.  All Amateur Radio hardware is set to the ISS via the Russian unmanned Proton Cargo rocket.  The cargo rockets are exposed to much higher G-forces than the manned rocket launches.

If the Ariss Hardware team did not have to build the Satellite container for Suit-Sat-2, they would still miss the January 2010 Progress rocket launch by a full year.

Reason #6: The ISS is the wrong place for Suit-Sat-2 :

The ISS will be retired in 5-6 years. 
We only get approximately 1 launch opportunity per year for Amateur Radio projects, and we have missed a few since we did not have any ARISS approved projects ready for flight.  Short term projects such as Suit-Sat-1 and Suit-Sat-2 have caused long term projects to get bumped off the project consideration lists.

We need more "Longer" term projects on ISS that reach a greater audience.  There are over 2 million licensed Amateur Radio users worldwide and there are over 10 million Short Wave Listeners (SWL).  We need projects that can reach the majority of the people with the ability to listen to our educational projects.  Projects should not be designed just for the Amateur Radio operators; we also need to take into consideration the educational opportunity to show the Short Wave Listeners public what we can do.

Short term projects such as Toss-Satellites (Suit-Sat-2 ) are a waist of a very valuable ISS resource.  
With the few launch opportunity remaining we need to focus all of our attention on longer term project that will cover the largest possible number of users.

The number of users and the short duration of the Suit-Sat-2 mission do not justify the amount resources required for such a short run project.  Instead we need to use the ISS launch opportunity to fly project that will last for years and proved easy access to millions of users.

Toss-Satellite projects have no real benefit to the ISS crew.  Once the project is tossed out the door the crew has nothing more to do with the project.


What can we do with Suit-Sat-2 ?

The long term plan for Suit-Sat-2 was to use it as a Free flying micro satellite that is part of other unmanned launches into higher orbits.  Let’s go for the long term Plan.  The AMSAT Corporation said they were looking for projects that can fly quickly when a launch opportunity arrives.  I believe that the Suit-Sat-2 project can be boxed up and made viable for launches in the 2013 time frame.  The AMSAT Corporation and ARISS should start looking for higher altitude unmanned rockets in that time frame to place Suit-Sat-2 in a more functional orbit.

The flights in the 2013 time frame will also provide ARISS/AMSAT with the time they require to redesign Suit-Sat-2 to fit into its own satellite box.


Long Term Project Suggestions:
Here are a few long term project suggestions, which have been reject by the ARISS-Project and Selection committee.

VOX Box Replacement to enable continuous Slow Scan TV (SpaceCam1).
Kantronics KPC-9612 Mail box (supports 8+ simultaneous users)
Icom ID-800 D-Star Analog/digital radio system.

Out of all of these projects the SpaceCam1 project has the ability to reach Millions of listeners around the world.  The reason we do not see much SSTV from the International Space Station is because the VOX box that connects between the Laptop computer and Kenwood TM-D700 radio is defective.  

The VOX box gets its 12 volt power from wires coming out of a modified TM-D700.  When the VOX box hears Audio coming from the Laptop, it sends a signal to tell the TM-D700 to transmit (which it does).  Unfortunately, the stray RF energy coming through the power wires from the TM-D700  into the VOX Box, jam the transmitting Op-amp inside the VOX box which caused the radio to get stuck in the transmitting mode.  

The defective VOX box is preventing us from seeing an SSTV from the Laptop SpaceCam1 application.  The SpaceCam1 application has the ability to send over 300 SSTV images per day (Live or from Disk).

The ISS crew does have a backup system called the VCH1-Communicator.  This is a big microphone with a built-in SSTV coded/decoder (just like your camera on a cell phone).  For safety reason the ISS crew is only allowed to run the VCH1 on batteries (4 x AA batteries).  Spare batteries are in very short supply.  The VCH1 is power hungry and will eat a good set of AA batteries in a few hours.

SpaceCam1 meets our Long term goals:

What is SpaceCam1?
SpaceCam1 is a very simple software application that runs on a typical windows laptop computer.  The software will convert any JPG or BMP image into a format that can be sent over a simple radio voice channel.  The images in SSTV format, can be easily decoded with free /shareware software and a laptop.  The only other hardware you need is a simple scanner (Police Scanners or any radio receiver that can receive FM signals on the 145.800 MHz radio frequency)

The MarexMG team installed a hardware version of SpaceCam1 on the Russian Space Satiation Mir in 1998-2000.  The Mir system took 20,000 images and sent them Earth during the projects 2 years of activity.  The MarexMG SSTV project only required 18 months from Theory to Switch On, from the Russian Space Station.  The project was so successful that the RSA asked the MarexMG team to build a new system for the International Space Station.

MarexMG Currently has SpaceCam1 already installed in tested on board the International Space Station.  We have received a few hundred images from SpaceCam1 already.  Please check out the links below.

Here are some Images from the MarexMG SpaceCam1 project, taken on board the International Space Station.

The SpaceCam1 project has had some success on the International Space Station.  However, the interface cable that connects between the laptop computer and the Kenwood TM-D700 radio has a flawed design that is preventing us from using any computer-to-radio applications for more than a few minutes at a time.  The interface cable is called a Vox Box.  The Vox Box is responsible for turning radio transmitter On and OFF.   Due to a problem with RF interference the Vox Box only turns the transmitter ON and will not turn the transmitter OFF.

Vox Box link

The MarexMG team has proposed a replacement VOX Box system that should resolve all of the RF interference problems.  The Vox Box we have chosen is an Off-The-Shelf produce in which over 5000 units have been sold.  The manufacture claims there have been no reported problems of RF interference causing their VOX Box to get stuck in the transmitting mode.

SpaceCam1, Best Bang for the Buck:

The SpaceCam1 project will provide the greatest benefit to the Amateur Radio Satellite community and the Short Wave Listener community of all of the currently suggested Amateur Radio projects planned for ISS.

The hardware required to hear SpaceCam1 and decode the SSTV images is readily available.  Most Short Wave Listener's already have a basic FM receiver  and antenna that can receive the SSTV downlink frequency 145.800 Mhz.

The Image decoding software is available from multiple web sites as Share Ware and Free Ware.

SpaceCam1 can be left running unattended on board ISS for weeks at a time.  This will allow the word to spread and encourage more people to tune in and see the crew selected and live images coming down from ISS.

Schools from around the world will setup radio receiving stations at their homes and schools to be the first to receive the new batch of images transmitted that day.

In order to Re-Active SpaceCam1 we will need your help.  We need to replace the old Vox box with the new USB Vox Box.

The new USB Vox Box will allows the Amateur Radio community and the Short-wave-listeners community to be able to receive up to 250+ images per day from the International Space Station.
Amateur Radio stations will also be allowed to Send images to ISS.  SpaceCam1 also included a built-in image Repeater, which can retransmit from orbit.


ISS is in orbit 250 miles over the city of Chicago.  An Amateur Radio station in Boston MA sends an image to SpaceCam1-Image-Repeater on board ISS.  The Image Repeater then retransmits the image.  Most of the Amateur Radio stations and Short Wave listeners on that frequency within 1000  miles (1600 kilometers) of Chicago will be able to see the Repeated image from Boston.

Add USB link here


Current ISS Amateur Radio hardware Status:

November 2000 Ericsson System:
The First Crew arrives in ISS.  A few months later Sergei K. Krikalev, call sign U5MIR was on the air using an Ericsson HT radio system.  Krikalev was allowed to use and existing Un-used antenna for the Amateur Radio system.
The first packet mail modem for the Ericsson system failed due to a bad battery.  The ROM chip was never configured with the correct boot up settings.

Ericcson HT link

February 2003 Packcom Modem:
A backup packet mail modem arrived on ISS.  The ISS crew used the Packet mailbox to send mail to Amateur Radio stations worldwide.  The system was used for approximately 9 months.  The last 2 months the modem began to lock up frequently.  The system was replaced by the Kenwood TM-D700 in December 2003.

The Ericsson HTs were retired in December 2003 and have since been discarded.

January 2002 Antenna Systems:
The ARISS designed antenna systems are installed on ISS
Now we have the ability to run more projects at the same time.

Current antennas systems: 
(1) Mono band 2-meter (147 mc) 
The Sirrus antenna system mounted on the Zarya module.  This antenna was connected to the Amateur Radio Ericsson 2-meter Voice/Packet station (2000 - 2003)
This antenna is not currently being used, however it may be reassigned to a commercial telemetry system in the near future.

ARISS Multi Band antenna project.
This project includes 4 new coax cable runs through the hull of the Service module, with 4 antenna systems attached.  The 4 new antenna systems provided us with the equivalent of 11 new antennas.

One of the cables is connected to the Amateur Radio project (Kenwood TM-D700).  The antennas WA-2 and WA-4 are not used and are available for future Amateur Radio projects.
The antenna WA-3 was assigned to some type of TV system for monitoring signals from remote RF cameras.  I do not have any more details on this hardware.

Antenna WA-1 supports (145 MHz, 438 MHz, 1296 MHz and 2400 MHz) (TM-D700)
Antenna WA-2 supports (145 MHz, 438 MHz, 1296 MHz and 2400 MHz) Unused
Antenna WA-3 supports (145 MHz, 438 MHz, 1296 MHz and 2400 MHz) RSA TV System
Antenna WA-4 supports (28 MHz, 1296 MHz and 2400 MHz) Unused

Antenna link

December 2003 Kenwood TM-D700:
Kenwood TM-D700 project arrives.

Due to user configurable software setting error, the Packet Mailbox feature was rendered unusable.  The Digital Repeater mode called Digi-peating was still functional.  The user configurable software changes to correct the Packet Mailbox problem were never implemented.

While Testing SpaceCam1 SSTV with the Kenwood TM-D700 radio overheated in August 2006.  It was determined the VOX Box caused the radio to repeatedly get stuck in the transmitting mode over night.  The next day, the ISS crew reported the radio was hot and would not respond to button or microphone commands until after the power cord was disconnected and reconnected.

Kenwood Link

October 2005 SpaceCam1 and Suit-Sat1:
Two projects were delivered to ISS this month.  The Laptop for the Amateur Radio station and SpaceCam, which was scheduled for 2001, did not arrive until 2008.  SpaceCam1 was activated for a few weeks in August 2006 and again in October 2008.

Suit-Sat-1 was tossed out the air lock in February 2006 for a 3-week mission.

February 2008 Columbus Antennas:
Two more antennas arrive via the Columbus module.  Antennas designed for L and S bands.
These two antennas can also be used for Amateur Radio projects.  However there are no “Viable” projects officially scheduled for these antennas.

September 2008
Progress M-65 cargo rocket delivers backup Kenwood TM-D700 to ISS.  It also brings the Kenwood VC-H1 Communicator (a SSTV microphone) and a backup VOX Box for SSTV to laptop operations.

It should be noted that a fixed version of TM-D700 Email software had been successfully tested on Earth, and a subset of the parameters were also tested on ISS.  The new TM-D700 Email software settings worked, however it was never loaded into the replacement Kenwood TM-D700.
The Packet Email on the TM-D700 is still not usable.

The Backup VOX box was sent to ISS to replace the defective VOX box. The Backup VOX box is identical to the VOX box that caused problems in 2006.  The New VOX box was never modified to resolve the RF locking problems reported in 2006.  When the New Laptop was connected to the New Kenwood TM-D700 with the New VOX Box in October 2008, there were no surprises when the TM-D700 got stuck in Transmitting mode Again.


Unused Amateur Radio hardware on ISS:

Unused Coax Cables:
Total Hull Feed through Coax Cables = 6

Only 1 coax cable, which is attached to the WA-1 antenna, is currently being used. It is currently connected to the Kenwood TM-D700 Project.  The other 5 coax cables are not being used.  
There are no long-term viable projects scheduled for these unused resources.
Unused Antennas:
Total Installed Antennas that can be used for Amateur Radio Projects = 6 to 14

Only the WA-1 Antenna is being used by an Amateur Radio project.  The WA-1 antenna supports (145 MHz, 438 MHz, 1296 MHz and 2400 MHz).  Only the 145 MHz and 438 MHz and 1296 MHz antennas are being used by the Kenwood TM-D700 project.
The remaining 13 antennas that could be used for Amateur Radio projects are not being used, and there are no long term viable  projects scheduled for these unused resources.

Have you heard the term “If you snooze, You loose”?
Since we only had 1 working transceiver on ISS, the other antennas are slowly being reassigned to other projects.

The Sirrus antenna is in the process of being assigned to a  new project.   The Amateur Radio Ericsson project was disconnected in December 2003.  No other amateur radio projects were available to use this port so it was reassigned.

The WA-3 Antennas has been reassigned to some type of Video system.
(Note some of the coax cables are attached to Multiple Band Radio antennas)

Unused Radios (Ericsson UHF Transceiver):
Ericsson UHF Transceivers System was actually two different radio systems.  The package contained a VHF transceiver systems and a UHF transceiver system.  Both systems arrived on ISS in 2000.  Only the VHF system was ever deployed.  The Ericsson UHF and VHF transceiver have since been discarded.

Suit-Sat-1 Burns up:

Suit-Sat-1 was launched on Feb 4, 2006.
The damaged radio was able to send out a weak audio and an SSTV image signal for approximately 3 weeks.  Only Amateur Radio stations with high gain antennas systems we able to detect the damaged transmitter (you needed an Antenna System with 12-dBd gain or more).

On the 7th of September, 2006 at 16:00 GMT, Suit-Sat-1 re-entered the Earth's atmosphere over the Southern Ocean at 110.4° East longitude and 46.3° South latitude. 

Total transmitter life 3 weeks.
Total flight time approximately 7 months

Short Term Satellites such Suit-Sat-2 are a waist of ISS Resources.
Our unused antennas are being reassigned to other Non-Amateur Radio projects.
The SpaceCam1 SSTV project can be reactivated with a minimal amount of effort and will provide a huge benefit to the Amateur Radio and Short Waver Listener community.

We need your support to encourage NASA, ESA and RSA to cancel Suit-Sat-2


Miles Mann
Wf1f at marexmg.org

VHF Society Meeting July 24, 2009
>From the Amsat.org web page
Operational Suit-Sat-2 Prototype Hits the Road - Seen in Chicago
On July 24-25 the Central States VHF Society hosted their 43rd Conference in the Chicago area. The event attracted radio Amateurs interested in experimentation with weak signal VHF/UHF, microwave, terrestrial and space communications, and EME.

SuitSat-2 System Engineer Gould WA4SXM was at the Conference with a functioning prototype of the SuitSat-2 hardware, antennas, and initial software. The success of the Phoenix ARISS system integration meeting held July 10-12 was evident as SuitSat-2 transmitted live signals that everyone at the Conference could monitor on 145.920 (BPSK), 145.930 (Xponder), 145.939 (CW) and 145.950 MHz (FM audio and SSTV).

The SSTV subsystem was transmitting live pictures in Robot36 mode captured by the cameras. Reminder: if your computer SSTV capture software such as MMSSTV is functional viewing existing terrestrial SSTV transmissions you will be ready to receive SuitSat-2 video.

Earlier this month at the Phoenix integration meeting the command receiver boards were assembled and ready for testing. The command receiver and receiver boards were integrated for the first time this weekend. The team was able to report that the receiver is now providing good input to the SDX transponder and as a result the transponder became operational and produced a signal on the output with the CW, FM and BPSK signals. The transmitter was drawing 330mA and produced +25dBm output in the test configuration.

System engineering progress was also report on additional issues:
•	SPI communications between the IHU and SDX were debugged 
•	Battery charging circuit undergoing testing 
•	Space frame issues have started to be addressed to replace the missing suit. 
Due to storage considerations on the International Space Station, the two surplus Orlan space suits in storage on the International Space Station were discarded via the Progress Cargo Vessel. One of these suits was to be used to house the electronics for the upcoming SuitSat-2 mission where the batteries were to be mounted inside the suit, solar panels attached to the extremities with the electronics, video cameras and antenna mounted on the helmet by the ISS crew prior to deployment during an EVA. The Progress vehicle, with the suits included, has undocked from ISS.

The ARISS International Team has been informed that there is still space available for shipment of the SuitSat-2 electronics on the projected cargo flight to the Space Station in January 2010 and the EVA scheduled for April 2010 still has a 'SuitSat-2' deployment scheduled. 

Consequently, the AMSAT team developing SuitSat-2 electronics on behalf of ARISS International is focusing on completing development in anticipation that deployment will still take place in Spring 2010 using a new structure to house it. In addition, the experiment being developed by Russia's Kursk State University is still expected to be integrated into the electronics once the US produced equipment is delivered to Russia this fall. Discussions are currently taking place between Russian ARISS members and the AMSAT project managers concerning the design of the new structure and where it will be constructed with these decisions to be made in the next few weeks.

The removal of the Orlan space suits from ISS removes the 'Suit' component of this deployment and at some point a new project name will be used to reflect the change in configuration. However, the significant importance of this project to both ARISS and AMSAT is not diminished. 

ARISS sees this mission as an important component of education outreach as it will provide an opportunity for students around the world to listen for recorded greetings from space as well as learn about tracking spacecraft in orbit. 

Meanwhile, the deployment of SDX (Software Defined Transponder), the associated receiver and transmitter modules, and control electronics is a critical milestone for AMSAT as this upcoming flight provides an opportunity to flight test the next generation of spacecraft hardware. Lessons learned from this deployment will be applied to future flight opportunities as AMSAT moves towards a 'modularization approach' to spacecraft development with the expectation the future spacecraft missions will utilize a derivative of SDX and the associated hardware.


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