January 28, 2006


SuitSat to be launched Friday February 3


A Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA)—or Spacewalk will be conducted on the International Space Station (ISS) Friday 3 February 2006. During this spacewalk, the ISS crew will push a discarded Russian spacesuit overboard - with no humans in it, of course!


The “Orlan” spacesuit has been modified to carry an amateur radio station and has been dubbed Suitsat-1 (also called Radioskaf or Radio Sputnik in Russian).




The image above shows SuitSat in it's flight configuration. You can see the electronics control panel on the top of the helmet along with the SuitSat antenna. A new handle has been added around the midsection of the suit (black stripes). The handle is an important addition that will allow the astro/cosmonaut launching the suit to move it safely.


SuitSat-1 carries an amateur radio transmitter but no receiver. It will broadcast a 1 watt signal on 145.990 MHz FM.

One of the reasons the Russian ARISS branch, conducted by Sergei Samburov  RV3DR, were interested in developping SuitSat was an on-orbit commemoration of the 175st anniversary of the Bauman Moscow State Technical university. This university is where many of the engineers in the Russian Space Agency graduated. As a result, the Russian generated messages include congratulatory comments to the Bauman Moscow State Technical University.


In addition to the messages from Russia, there are voice messages from students in Japan, Europe (Spanish and German), Canada (French) and the USA. Several of the student messages include a special word. One student project for SuitSat is 

to copy all the special words (in different languages) and submit them to the ARISS team for special educational award recognition.


Moreover, telemetry data will also be included in the transmit cycle. Battery voltage, onboard temperature and elapsed time since launch will be generated in English by an integrated voice synthetizer.  Finally, an SSTV (Slow Scan Television) image is also provided.


The total transmit cycle is about 8 minutes. Messages are separated by no-transmit periodes to aleviate the duty cycle. The batteries will probably be empty after only a few days. SuitSat-1 will deorbit in several weeks, but will become silent within a week or so.     


Launch is expected to occur Tuesday 3 February at about 22:20 UTC. The transmitter will become active 15 minutes later. This delay has been provided to protect the astro/cosmonauts.


SuitSat-1 will slowly depart from the ISS orbit. Its is hoped that special SuitSat Kepler data will become available soon.


The signals can be picked up with VHF radio receivers tuned to 145.990 MHz. Moreover, the ISS onboard station NA1SS will relay SuitSat-1 signals on 437.800 MHz FM.


Those who hear SuitSat transmissions are asked to enter their data on the SuitSat website, http://www.suitsat.org so that participants around the world can track the satellite.


Educational Outreach reports (at schools or informal education sites) as well as Slow Scan TV images can be sent to mailto:suitsat@comcast.net . This information will be compiled by the ARISS team.




Gaston Bertels, ON4WF

ARISS-Europe Chairman