ZL3PN on Radio New Zealand (and Mars)

Curiosity – Image Credit NASA

George Boorer ZL3PN has been interviewed on Radio New Zealand because his name and amateur radio callsign is encoded on a chip aboard the Mars Rover Curiosity.

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VK1ALR Interview – Mission to make Curiosity count

Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex 70m Dish – Image Credit NASA

Prior to the Curiosity Mars landing this morning Aug 6, The Canberra Times interviewed radio amateur Len Ricardo VK1ALR, operations manager at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, who will be providing a communications link for the Mars Curiosity Rover.

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NASA lands car-size Rover beside Martian mountain

Curiosity – Image Credit NASA

NASA’s most advanced Mars rover Curiosity has landed on the Red Planet. The one-ton rover, hanging by ropes from a  rocket backpack, touched down onto Mars Monday, August 6 UT to end a 36-week flight and begin a two-year investigation.

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Radio Amateurs Receive Mars Science Laboratory

Mars Science Laboratory

Mars Science Laboratory

Radio Amateurs have received signals from the NASA Mars Science Laboratory using the AMSAT-DL amateur radio facility at Bochum in Germany.

On November 26, 2011 at 15:02 UTC the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) successfully launched on an Atlas V 541 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 41. It is carrying Curiosity, a 900 kg rover about the size of a small car.

It is expected to arrive at the “Red Planet” in August 2012 after a nine month flight.

Just over 7 hours after launch at 21:45 UTC the X-band telemetry signal from the MSL was received using the Bochum amateur radio facility. The signal, received at a distance of 112,000 km, had a spin-modulation of +/- 3.5 Hz with 2 revolutions / minute.

This is believed to be the first reception of the MSL outside the official NASA Deep Space Network (DSN) and the USN tracking station at Dongara, Australia (under contract to JPL for the MSL launch).

Bochum Amateur Radio Facility

Amateur Radio Facility at Bochum

For reception of MSL James Miller G3RUH remotely reconfigured the Bochum tracking and receiving system. The MSL X-Band telemetry signal was received automatically in Bochum, no-one had to be physically on-site. This shows how flexible and reliable the system at Bochum is, ready for the planned AMSAT-DL P5-A mission to Mars.

The 20m dish at Bochum is also used by AMSAT-DL to automatically receive real-time solar data from the NASA STEREO A / B satellites. The data is transmitted to a NOAA server in the USA via the Internet.

Congratulations to the AMSAT-DL team on a remarkable acheivement.

Control Software for the Bochum Radio Telescope by James Miller G3RUH

Stereo A/B Spacecraft Telemetry Reception at Bochum by James Miller G3RUH

AMSAT-DL in Google English http://tinyurl.com/AMSAT-DL

AMSAT-UK publishes a newsletter, OSCAR News, full of Amateur Satellite information. Sample issue at http://www.uk.amsat.org/on_193_final.pdf  Join online at http://alturl.com/avuca