Tune in to SuitSat
3 February 2006
Amateur radio buffs and students around the world are getting ready to tune in to signals from one of the most unusual satellites ever to circle the Earth - a Russian spacesuit (with no human inside it, of course!). Known as SuitSat-1, the satellite will be thrown overboard on 3 February, during a spacewalk by the two-man crew of the International Space Station (ISS).
The Russian “Orlan” spacesuit to be “launched” into orbit is equipped with a radio transmitter and sensors to measure temperature and battery power. Its signal can be picked up by anyone who has an antenna and a radio receiver that can be tuned to 145.990 MHz FM.
Transmissions will include recorded messages from students around the world, telemetry on its health and a commemorative picture. A certificate will be given to anyone who receives the messages and downloads the picture. Another special award will be given to anyone who recognises the special words (in different languages) included in some of the student messages. Also included in the spacesuit is a CD with images of over 300 items collected from schools and educational organisations in many countries.
Anyone hearing SuitSat transmissions is asked to enter their data on the SuitSat website, http://www.suitsat.org . The satellite’s batteries will probably last for about a week, after which it will deorbit, burning up in the atmosphere.
SuitSat is an extension of the ARISS (Amateur Radio on International Space Station) programme, which has enabled people to speak with astronauts on the ISS for many years.