Friday, April 29, 2011

Endeavour Launch Scrubbed for APU Problem

Fri, 29 Apr 2011 09:18:33 AM PDT

Shuttle Launch Director Mike Leinbach has scrubbed today's STS-134 launch attempt because of an issue associated with Auxiliary Power Unit 1 heaters. There will be at least a 48-hour scrub turnaround while engineers assess the issue. NASA Television will air a news conference later this afternoon.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

STS-134 Count Underway

NASA:

Preparations for space shuttle Endeavour's launch are continuing as planned at NASA Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A. STS-134 Commander Mark Kelly and his crew also are continuing their prelaunch activities. Liftoff to the International Space Station is scheduled for 3:47 p.m. EDT Friday.

The weather forecast calls for a 70 percent chance of favorable conditions at launch time, according to Shuttle Weather Officer Kathy Winters. The only concerns for launch may be the crosswinds at the Shuttle Landing Facility and a low cloud ceiling associated with a front moving into Central Florida.

The rotating service structure (RSS) is scheduled to be retracted at 7 p.m. today but may be delayed because of possible storm activity over the center. Teams will have about a four-hour leeway for the storms to clear out with no affect on Friday morning's external tank fueling, now planned for 6:22 a.m.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is in the process of performing an aerial survey of yesterday's brush fire, which was southeast of the Turn Basin and about three miles from the launch pad. The brush fire now is fully contained, and the plan is to burn off the remaining fuel within the fire area to help eliminate any smoke on launch day.


Links:

For NASA's launch blog and continuous
mission updates, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle

Detailed lists of countdown milestones, news briefing times and participants, and hours of operation for Kennedy's news center and media credentialing office are available at:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/news

The NASA News Twitter feed will be updated throughout the shuttle launch countdown, mission and landing. Four of Endeavour's crew members -- Johnson, Chamitoff, Fincke and Kelly -- may post updates from the mission to their Twitter accounts. To follow, visit:

http://www.twitter.com/NASA

http://www.twitter.com/Astro_Box

http://www.twitter.com/Astro_Taz

http://www.twitter.com/AstroIronMike

http://www.twitter.com/ShuttleCDRKelly

For NASA TV streaming video, scheduling and downlink information, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

WWV Geoalert to Cease in September!

The US NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center has issued the following bulletin pertaining to the WWV "Geoalert" at 18 minutes after the hour:

On 06 September 2011 the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) will discontinue the broadcast of its synoptic Geo-Alert products on the WWV and WWVH radio stations starting with the 12 UTC products. These products are operationally available via the following two other mechanisms:

*SWPC's Product Subscription Service at https://pss.swpc.noaa.gov.
The WWV product can be found under the "Forecast and Summaries" section.

* SWPC's Web page - http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/latest/wwv.txt

Customer comments and questions related to the cessation of this service can be directed to SWPC by sending email to swpc.wwv@noaa.gov by 30 June 2011.


I would imagine that this decision was made for the usual government budget reasons, since practically everyone, myself included, gets the numbers over the Internet. Still, it's kind of sad to watch everything on the radio go away one piece at a time.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Amateur High-Altitude Balloon DOES NOT Launch Tonight

The launch is postponed per ARRL:

The Project Blue Horizon 5 high-altitude transatlantic balloon flight originally scheduled for Friday, April 22 [UTC, tonight in Pacific time], has been postponed to April 27 - 29.

The Project Blue Horizon team is attempting to break current Amateur Radio high-altitude balloon records for distance (3361.81 miles) and duration (49 hours, 45 minutes). The payload will be carried beneath a 54,000 cubic foot capacity helium-filled balloon cruising between 85,000 and 100,000 feet.

During the flight amateurs worldwide are encouraged to monitor the N2XE CW telemetry beacons at 7.1023 and 10.1466 MHz. The balloon is also equipped with an APRS beacon at 144.39 MHz using the call sign KC2ZJH. Amateurs can send reports via e-mail to PBH15.data@gmail.com. More information about the program is at the Project Blue Horizon website. Launch and flight updates will also be available on Twitter.

K6HPH & KSM On-Air for International Marconi Day

K6KPH, the amateur station of the Maritime Radio Historical Society, will be on the air for this year's International Marconi Day on Saturday 30 April.

K6KPH will use the transmitters of ex-Marconi, ex-RCA coast station KPH at the 1913 Marconi site in Bolinas, California. Operators will be at the 1929 ex-RCA receive site at Point Reyes, California.

Several volunteer operators, will be manning the K6KPH operating positions. Among these will be ace operator Rick Wahl, ex-NMC, ex-KPH.

Hours of operation:

1700 - 2359GMT

Frequencies:

3550.0
7050.0
14050.0
21050.0

Transmitters will be Henry commercial HF5000D units except for 7050.0 which will be using a 1950s vintage RCA transmitter. TPO for all transmitters will be 1.5kW.

Visitors are welcome. The receive site is located at 17400 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Inverness, California (the station is actually well past Inverness but that's the town name that works with most on-line mapping programs).

Coast station KSM will also be on the air with the usual press and weather service on all Morse and RTTY frequencies.

For details on IMD see:

http://www.gb4imd.org.uk/

For details on K6KPH and KSM see:

http://www.radiomarine.org

International Marconi Day is April 30!

This year's International Marconi Day is Saturday, April 30, beginning at 0000 UTC and going until 2359. Details are at http://www.gb4imd.org.uk/ .

IMD is held annually on the Saturday closest to the birthday of Guglielmo Marconi. It provides an opportunity for amateurs around the world to make point-to-point direct contact with historic Marconi sites. An award is given for working these.

Stations operate on or near these sites. These are all around the world. Here's the organizers' list (not all are confirmed):

CW1GM Punta Del Este City, Uruguay
DA0IMD Borkum Island
EI0IMD County Cork - Mizen Head
EI0MAR Martello Tower, Co Dublin
EI4MFT Clifden, County Galway
F5JYD/IMD Wimereux, France
GB0CMS Caister, Norfolk
GB0MBS Dorchester, Dorset
GB0MGY Harlow, Essex
GB100MWT Sandford Mill Chelmsford
GB1PBL Portland Bill, Dorset
GB2GM Poldhu Cove, Cornwall
GB2M Lochboisdale Marconi Wireless Station
GB2MB Haldon Hill, Exeter, Devon
GB2MD Radio Society of Great Britain
GB2MT Writtle, Essex
GB2OWM Orkney Wireless Museum
GB2SFL South Foreland Lighthouse
GB2SJ Souter Point Lighthouse
GB4FPR Fort Perch Rock.NB (On 500 KHz CW also)
GB4HMD Holyhead, North Wales
GB4IMD Nr. Falmouth, Cornwall [CRAC Station]
GB4M Daventry
GB4MBC Flatholm Island
GB4MBP Bass Point, The Lizard, Cornwall
GB4MD Waunfawr, Wales
GB4MDI Lavernock Point
GB4MHS Oxford
GB4MIW Alum Bay, Isle of Wight
GB4MPC Marconi Point, Cullercoats
GB5FHC Fraserburgh, Scotland
GB5LT Calshot, Nr. Southampton
GB6MD Brean Down, Somerset
GB8IMD Netheravon Camp, Salisbury Plain
GB8MD Tywyn, Wales
I0KHP/IMD Villa Dei Principi, Civitavecchia
I4CDH/IMD Bologna
II4SM Sasso Marconi
IY0GA Capo Figari, Golfo Aranci, Sardinia
IY0IMD Forte Michelangelo, Civitavecchia
IY0ORP Rocca di Papa, Rome
IY0TC Torre Chiaruccia, Santa Marinella, Rome
IY1MR Rapallo, Genova
IY1SP La Spezia
IY1TTM Sestri Levante
IY4FGM Villa Griffone, Pontecchio, Bologna
IY5PIS Coltano, Pisa, Italy
K2NJ Somerville, New Jersey
K6KPH Bolinas, Point Reyes,Ca
KM1CC Wellfleet, Cape Cod, Mass.
MN0MRG Ballycastle, Northern Ireland
N2MO Wall, New Jersey
OE11M Vienna, Austria
PA6IMD Gouda, The Netherlands
TF3IMD Hofdi, Reykjavik, Iceland
VE1IMD Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada
VE2CRD Drummondville, Quebec, Canada
VK2IMD Wahroonga, NSW, Australia
VO1AA Signal Hill,St Johns,Newfoundland
VO1BZM Newfoundland, Canada
W1AA/MSC Nantucket Island, Mass.
W2LIS Long Island
W2MRC Somerset, New Jersey
W2RC/IMD Rocky Point, NY
W8K Elberta/Frankfort, Michigan
WA1WCC Chatham, Mass

STS-134 Countdown Events

NASA ANNOUNCES STS-134 PRELAUNCH EVENTS AND COUNTDOWN DETAILS

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- News conferences, events and operating hours for the news center at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., are set for the final scheduled launch of space shuttle Endeavour. Liftoff is targeted for 3:47 p.m. EDT on Friday, April 29, to begin the STS-134 mission to the International Space Station.

Endeavour's crew members are Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Greg H. Johnson and NASA Mission Specialists Mike Fincke, Drew Feustel and Greg Chamitoff and European Space Agency Mission Specialist Roberto Vittori.

A NASA blog will provide countdown updates beginning at 10:30 a.m. April 29. Originating from Kennedy's Launch Control Center, the blog is the definitive Internet source for information leading up to liftoff.

During the mission, visitors to NASA's shuttle website can read about the crew's progress and watch the mission's four spacewalks live. As Endeavour's flight concludes, the NASA blog will detail the spacecraft's return to Earth. For NASA's launch blog and continuous mission updates, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle

Detailed lists of countdown milestones, news briefing times and participants, and hours of operation for Kennedy's news center and media credentialing office are available at:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/news

The NASA News Twitter feed will be updated throughout the shuttle launch countdown, mission and landing. Four of Endeavour's crew members -- Johnson, Chamitoff, Fincke and Kelly -- may post updates from the mission to their Twitter accounts. To follow, visit:

http://www.twitter.com/NASA

http://www.twitter.com/Astro_Box

http://www.twitter.com/Astro_Taz

http://www.twitter.com/AstroIronMike

http://www.twitter.com/ShuttleCDRKelly

For NASA TV streaming video, scheduling and downlink information, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

-end-

Amateur High-Altitude Radio Balloon Launches Tonight (Maybe)

ZCZC
The Project Blue Horizon 5 high-altitude transatlantic balloon is scheduled for launch, weather permitting, at 0400 UTC (midnight EDST) Friday, April 22, from Oswego, New York. The weather forecast for launch time calls for clear to partly cloudy conditions.

The Project Blue Horizon team is attempting to break current Amateur Radio high-altitude balloon records for distance (3361.81 miles) and duration (49 hours, 45 minutes). The payload will be carried beneath a 54,000 cubic foot capacity helium-filled balloon cruising between 85,000 and 100,000 feet.

Amateurs worldwide are encouraged to monitor the N2XE CW telemetry beacons at 7.1023 and 10.1466 MHz. The balloon is also equipped with an APRS beacon at 144.39 MHz using the call sign KC2ZJH. Amateurs can send reports via e-mail to PBH15.data@gmail.com.

More information about the program, including the latest projected flight path, is at the Project Blue Horizon website at, http://www.projectbluehorizon.com. Launch and flight updates will also be available on Twitter at, http://twitter.com/#!/PBH5 .
NNNN

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

NASA Announces Prospective Shuttle Locations

April 12, 2011

David Weaver
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1600
david.s.weaver@nasa.gov

Allard Beutel
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
321-867-2468
allard.beutel@nasa.gov

RELEASE: 11-107

NASA ANNOUNCES NEW HOMES FOR SHUTTLE ORBITERS AFTER RETIREMENT

WASHINGTON -- After 30 years of spaceflight, more than 130 missions, and numerous science and technology firsts, NASA's space shuttle fleet will retire and be on display at institutions across the country to inspire the next generation of explorers and engineers.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on Tuesday announced the facilities where four shuttle orbiters will be displayed permanently at the conclusion of the Space Shuttle Program. Shuttle Enterprise, the first orbiter built, will move from the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York. The Udvar-Hazy Center will become the new home for shuttle Discovery, which retired after completing its 39th mission in March. Shuttle Endeavour, which is preparing for its final flight at the end of the month, will go to
the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Atlantis, which will fly the last planned shuttle mission in June, will be displayed at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida.

"We want to thank all of the locations that expressed an interest in one of these national treasures," Bolden said. "This was a very difficult decision, but one that was made with the American public in mind. In the end, these choices provide the greatest number of people with the best opportunity to share in the history and accomplishments of NASA's remarkable Space Shuttle Program. These facilities we've chosen have a noteworthy legacy of preserving space artifacts and providing outstanding access to U.S. and international visitors."

NASA also announced that hundreds of shuttle artifacts have been allocated to museums and education institutions:

Various shuttle simulators for the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum of McMinnville, Ore., and Texas A&M's Aerospace Engineering Department

Full fuselage trainer for the Museum of Flight in Seattle

Nose cap assembly and crew compartment trainer for the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio

Flight deck pilot and commander seats for NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston

Orbital maneuvering system engines for the U.S. Space and Rocket Center of Huntsville, Ala., National Air and Space Museum in Washington, and Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum.

For more information about other shuttle program artifacts that are available to museums and libraries, visit:

http://gsaxcess.gov/htm/nasa/userguide/NASA_SSPA_Pamphlet.pdf

NASA also is offering shuttle heat shield tiles to schools and universities that want to share technology and a piece of space history with their students. Schools can request a tile at:

http://gsaxcess.gov/NASAWel.htm

For a map of the future locations for the orbiters and shuttle artifacts and for more information on visiting the facilities, visit:


http://www.nasa.gov/topics/shuttle_station/features/shuttle_map.html

For more information about NASA's placement of the space shuttle orbiters, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/transition

For information about the Space Shuttle Program, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle


-end-

Friday, April 01, 2011

E10 Still QRT

As April begins (and this is no April Fool), the presumed Israeli Phonetic Alphabet Station (ENIGMA E10) still has not been heard since 0130 UTC on March first. A month later, it would appear that an operation which once used at least 100 frequencies and 22 call signs is still off the air.

While the timing remains interesting, there is still nothing known on why this happened, or whether the broadcasts will ever come back. There may never be.

Much more in the June column.

UK Ofcom Caught Lying on BPL/PLT (No April Fool)

Ofcom, the UK "FCC," has been caught in a lie, or at least a strong political spin, regarding the legality of a popular device used widely in that country for in-home Broadband over Power Lines/ Power Line Telecomm (BPL/PLT).

On the record, Ofcom has long maintained the position that the equipment operates within the law as it exists in that country. However, a legal request for documents has recently turned up a test result commissioned by Ofcom, which was apparently suppressed when it came back showing the units well in excess of electromagnetic compatibility standards.

At present, it strongly appears that a major UK regulatory agency developed a policy for political rather than engineering reasons, and then spent years intentionally covering up data in conflict with this policy. There, as here, the word for this is corruption.

Here's the first part of a story in The Register UK:

Ofcom forced to publish tests on dodgy radio kit
FOI request prompts action
By Bill Ray
Posted in Wireless, 31st March 2011 12:07 GMT

Ofcom has been forced to disclose its own tests showing that powerline networking kit does breach the European EMC Directive, but still won't do anything to enforce compliance.

Despite claiming there was no evidence that PLT kit built by Comtrend and supplied by BT was breaching EU rules on electromagnetic emissions, the regulator has now been forced by a Freedom of Information request to publish independent research, commissioned by them, which shows exactly that.

The request was pursued by Peter Walker, a radio amateur who eventually had to take Ofcom to an ICO Tribunal to get the regulator to hand over the study - which appears to contradict Ofcom's line in stating that the equipment tested, which was supplied by Ofcom, does not comply with the standards required by EU legislation.

...