Status Report

ISSCOM.020 – 9 Oct 2001

By SpaceRef Editor
October 9, 2001
Filed under , ,

Dear Friends!

So at last but not least again a ‘com-report’. The long period of silence had some simple causes, among which a vacation in Slovenia. In that period the Progress-M with the Russian docking
compartment Pirs (SO-1) flew to the ISS and docked at the Zvezda. There had been a lot of publicity about the ISS and so there was no need for me to draft a report about that operation after my
return in the Netherlands. And also the passes within range of my position took place during my night hours (with the ISS-crew asleep.)

During the last days I monitored the communications of the Russians now and then. (the American commander Frank Culbertson uses other channels on which I have no grip at all.) The
Russians discussed the preparations for the 1st Spacewalk (EVA) on 8.10.01. But a short communication session in the evening of 7.10.01 was special. Just when we returned home after some
joyful hours with our very active new granddaughter Ytske, the first pass of ISS just started (at 1718UTC) and I heard Dezhurov reporting to TsUP-M that the attack against Afghanistan just
began. He asked TsUP-M to uplink eventual images, but TsUP told him that they would not do that and that the cosmonauts had to go on with their normal work. Dezhurov said that he
understood this, but added that they would fly over Afghanistan a few times that night.

1st EVA 3rd crew ISS (and 100th Russian EVA on 8.10.01:

This EVA was made via the Pirs, the docking compartment of the Zvezda, by Dezhurov and Tyurin. Opening of the hatch took place at 14.23.41UTC. After returning to the air-lock they closed
the hatch at 19.22.37UTC. The cosmonauts almost fully accomplished their tasks. Main issue was the installation of the Russian crane Strela, connecting cables and testing the functioning of
the Strela. The tests were put back until a next EVA, but some tentative tests after the installation were positive. (In January 2000 during a visit at Spacehab in Florida I had the opportunity to
caress this Strela).

Communications during the EVA and thereafter:

After such a long period with a very scarce harvest this time it was bingo! Already during the 1st pass (orbit 16479, 1623-1628UTC), immediately after AOS a lot of very clear radio traffic
between the cosmonauts as well as with TsUP- M. During Russian EVA’s radio traffic always begins with AOS and not like regular communications somewhat earlier than TCA. The space
walkers reported what they were doing, where they were and they executed orders from TsUP-M, for instance the check of the removable valve nr. 1. This valve had to be fixed properly and so
they did.

Contrary to the radio traffic during EVA’s from the MIR-station TsUP-M could be heard loud and clear in the background. During ISS EVA’s (and other operations) obviously an S-band
channel is in use for uplink voice communications.

During the 2nd pass in orb. 16480, 1757-1805UTC monitoring was worthwhile. Just before the ISS entered the shadow zone, the cosmonauts got orders to take photographs, but they had some
problems. The sight of the camera was blinded by the sunlight. The American commander Frank Culbertson gave answer to the problem: he reported that he had activated the video recorder and
that he would Ôdownlink’ the images later on.

During the 3rd pass in orbit 16481, 1930-1941UTC, the joy of listening was strongly tempered by the well known cross modulation, causing a strong interference on the downlink 143.625 mc.
This interference exists already for many years and was active also during the many EVA’s from the MIR-station. The cross modulation is caused by one or more air traffic control centres. This
time there seemed to be another station announcing somewhat for Tuesday morning at 8 o’clock in English as well as in French. During this pass the cosmonauts already were back in the
air-lock to equalize the air-pressures, to do air-seal checks and to take off their space-suits. Obviously the cosmonauts did not hear the interference, but TsUP-M now and then complained about
bad reception. I just picked up some fragments of conversation, for instance the opening of the KVD (valve for equalisation of the air-pressure) and air-seal checks.

Next EVA’s:

Now on schedule for 15.10 and 7.11.01.

Chris van den Berg, NL-9165/A-UK3202

SpaceRef staff editor.