ARISS-Europe News Bulletin – 27.05.2006
ROUND AND ROUND IT GOES, WHEN IT'LL DROP, NOBODY KNOWS
The sky is falling! Well, not really, but the now-silent SuitSat-1--the Russian Orlan spacesuit cum Amateur Radio satellite—is likely to fall into Earth's atmosphere and burn up in a few weeks. Launched February 3 from the International Space Station, SuitSat-1 was a project of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program.
Identifying as RS0RS and transmitting voice greetings and an SSTV picture, SuitSat-1 remained operational for more than two weeks, easily outlasting initial predictions that it would transmit for about one week. The only rub was that its signal was far less robust than its sponsors had expected.
"The orbit life is dependent on the atmospheric drag that the satellite experiences," ARISS international Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, explained when SuitSat-1 was launched. An analysis done prior to its deployment predicted a 70 to 120-day orbital life for SuitSat-1, meaning the end should come sometime in early June on the outside.
The mission continues to capture imaginations around the world as well as attention in the popular press. To keep the momentum going a bit longer, ARISS and AMSAT are sponsoring a "Chicken Little Contest" where participants enter the date on which they believe SuitSat-1 will drop out of orbit.
Any interested individual is invited to participate to the competition. On your web browser go to
http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/ariss/suitsatContest.php and learn more about this contest.
The winner will be the individual who picks the date closest to SuitSat-1's actual re-entry. Enter by filling out the online entry form on the AMSAT Web site
The SuitSat-1 "Chicken Little Contest" has three entry categories:
- Kindergarten through grade 8
- high school (grades 9-12)
Contest rules permit one entry per person. Certificates will go to winners of each group.
Gaston Bertels, ON4WF