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ISS/Space Shuttle Pass

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trace1

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Last night (8 July 2006) I had the wonderful pleasure of observing the International Space Station with the Space Shuttle docked to it pass over my location.

We were holding our normal Saturday Night Simplex net and Net Control made the announcement for everyone to go out side at about 8:30PM local time to see this amazing event.

My wife, two sons and myself went outside and I had told two neighbors about what was going on. We saw the ISS/Space Shuttle come into view and watched it till it was no longer visible. After it was gone we were all on the local repeater sharing our experience. Later that night on the 10 o’ clock news there was a story of the Astronauts doing the Space walk and I told my 7 year old son that those were the people that just flew over our house, he thought that was just so cool...

So did I!!!

Anyone else witness this last night?
 

KC8JPZ

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I have witnessed it several times myself. It is amazing to see when it is 500km away. If you get the chance take your scanner out next time. You can hear the Packet machine running. Good job on getting the neighbors and youngsters involved and interested. What they do up there is very important to the world and it's great to see the space program continuing science up there.
 

rdale

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It's done so there's no radio interference when the astronauts are outside...
 

pathalogical

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trace1 said:
Last night (8 July 2006) I had the wonderful pleasure of observing the International Space Station with the Space Shuttle docked to it pass over my location.

We were holding our normal Saturday Night Simplex net and Net Control made the announcement for everyone to go out side at about 8:30PM local time to see this amazing event.

My wife, two sons and myself went outside and I had told two neighbors about what was going on. We saw the ISS/Space Shuttle come into view and watched it till it was no longer visible. After it was gone we were all on the local repeater sharing our experience. Later that night on the 10 o’ clock news there was a story of the Astronauts doing the Space walk and I told my 7 year old son that those were the people that just flew over our house, he thought that was just so cool...

So did I!!!

Anyone else witness this last night?
Excellent story !!! I have wondered if it was visible, but thought I heard it was only visible in the southern hemisphere. Did you use binoculars or naked eye ? How long does it take to go once around the Earth ?
 

ka3jjz

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It depends on the exact orbit the station takes - if memory serves, it goes around the earth several times in a standard 'day'. Northerners have as much chance to see it as Southerners - in fact, now is a better time, since the addition of the Shuttle means more mass to reflect sunlight. You can see it even without the shuttle docked, however.

A quick comms note - last I heard from the ARISS webpage, the Kenwood will be turned off several times during this mission, so you may not hear it, even on the best of passes.

73s Mike
 
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jimlawrence

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Is the ISS still working its voice downlink freq of 143.625? Last report I saw for this freq being in use was back in January of this year.
 

rdale

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The only ISS downlink is ham comms, they haven't used that frequency in many years.

It takes about 90 minutes to orbit the Earth, but due to lighting / elevation the farther north (or south) of the equator you are - the fewer opportunities you have.
 

pnw0411

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Packet Machine??

I'm new to all this and saw references to a packet machine. Can someone tell me what that is and what it is used for. Thanks
 

ka3jjz

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Let's kill 2 birds with one stone...

Luis - an earlier note on the ARISS website said that the Kenwood would be powered down several times during this mission while STS121 is docked - probably as a safety issue, particularly during spacewalks - so I wouldn't be surprised if things were kinda quiet from the ISS insofar as ham activity is concerned.

pnw - The ISS has a Kenwood dual band ham transceiver that has a built in packet TNC. It's basically used to allow folks to connect to it and sometimes leave short messages for the astronauts.

73s Mike
 

trainman111

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Can I see it?

I live in Richmond, VA and I track the ISS but I was wondering, how close to my location does it have to get before I can see it?

Nick
 

ka3jjz

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Well it better not get too close to your location otherwise it's in serious trouble. It orbits somewhere around 250 nautical miles up - but because of it's orbit, it won't appear in the same place in the sky each time it comes around. The higher the inclination - which the programs folks have mentioned above will tell you - the chances are better. And although I've heard of folks seeing it during the day (likely when the Shuttle is docked - the extra mass reflects more sunlight), I think that a night viewing is probably easier.

73s Mike
 
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