NA1ISS calling - and the band played on
The organisers of the highly successful ARISS contact with the Australian Jamboree had strong competition for a loud rock music playing non-stop during the pre-arranged contact with the international space station.
Robert Broomhead - VK3KRB
Their response after 'Evermore', a popular band of three New Zealand brothers who seemingly declined a request to pause their performance during the ARISS link-up, was to apply Aussie ingenuity and rapidly create an insulating bunker out of hay bales.
This did the trick and the 20 scouts who won a "What would you ask an Astronaut?" competition were able to ask their question of Astronaut Suni Williams KD5PLB.
Click here to hear an mp3 recording of the contact
Organiser Philip Adams VK3JNI told the crowd of 200 hundred inside and outside the radio shack "I apologise that we have not been able to silence the rock band."
3db Noise Reduction - click for larger image The ISS was being tracked on a display screen with signs of obvious anxious anticipation on the faces of the organisers and participants in the ARISS event.
Less than 24 hours earlier, Philip VK3JNI held a briefing session for the scouts on how the contact was to be made through the VK4KHZ telebridge, the operating procedures and especially the need to say "over" after asking their questions.
Right on time, the voice of Suni Williams KD5PLB was heard loud and clear and the question and answer session began - everyone listened intently.
A crowd had gathered outside the VI3JAM radio shack to listen on loud speakers, while 150 were inside a tent to watch the proceedings on a large video screen.
Many more through the Jamboree camp, at Elmore in north-central Victoria (VK3) being attended by 13,000 scouts, tuned into their local FM radio station to hear what was happening. Worldwide the ARISS contact went live on IRLP and Echolink.
Among the questions asked of Suni were whether she had seen an alien, and she replied not yet but she had only just begun her stay on the space station as part of Expedition 14.
Among other questions were those about weightlessness, the daily routine and if the Australian bushfires could be seen from space. Suni only just beginning her mission in space was not experiencing difficulties with weightlessness. She provided details of 'a day life of an orbiting astronaut' and said that if the space station was over the bushfires or hurricanes, they will be visible.
Suni was asked "Are you confident that you will be able to safely travel to and from the ISS. Do you consider it a risk?"
Her response was reassuring that there were evacuation plans in place should something occur and the crew would enter an escape vehicle.
In just over 10 minutes the session concluded, with all questions having been asked and aswered, with Suni wishing all at the Australian Jamboree her best wishes, and a responding cheer initially in the radio shack but throughout the assembled crowd.
Well done to the Scout Radio and Electronics Services Unit (Victoria), the Australian ARISS Coordinator Tony Hutchison VK5ZAI, Bill Lynd VK4KHZ providing the Telebridge and NASA for making it all possible.
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