New Swiss Small Satellite Launch System

Swiss Space Systems S3

Swiss Space Systems S3

Swiss Space Systems – S3 a new Swiss aerospace company, was officially inaugurated in Payerne on Thursday, March 14, in the presence of representatives of the national authorities and of prestigious Swiss and international partners such as the ESA, Dassault Aviation, the Von Karman Institute, Sonaca, Meggitt and Stanford University. S3 aims to develop, build, certify and operate suborbital space shuttles dedicated to launching small satellites, enabling space access to be made more democratic thanks to an original system with launching costs reduced to a quarter of the present cost. The first test launches are planned to be carried out by the end of 2017.

The Swiss Space Systems launch model uses an Airbus A300, an aircraft already certified for zero gravity flights, to take the shuttle up to 10,000m on its back; the shuttle will then be launched from there. Combining the internal architecture developed by the French company Dassault for Hermes with the external architecture developed by the Belgian companies Sonaca and Space Application Services will develop the shuttle. Discussions are at an advanced stage concerning the engine supplier. The shuttle-drone will take care of the next part of the ascent up to an altitude of 80km, the height at which the upper stage will be launched in order to put the satellites into orbit. Once this operation has been completed, the shuttle will return to earth by gliding towards its launch airport, where it will be taken care of by the maintenance teams who will prepare it for a new launch.

S3 say agreements have already been signed for four launches for the Von Karman Institute.

How will the in-orbit delivery of small satellites work ? Video at

Swiss Space Systems – S3

Amateur Radio on BBC Show Between the Ears – Space Ham

Owen Garriott W5LFL operating amateur radio on space shuttle mission STS-9

Owen Garriott W5LFL operating amateur radio on space shuttle mission STS-9

Sound artist Caroline Devine sent the show Between the Ears into orbit in this celebration of amateur radio and space exploration that was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Saturday, January 19 at 2130 UT. A recording of the show is available until January 26 at It starts 3:15 into the recording.

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Video of Space Shuttle Discovery STS-56 mission

Ellen Ochoa KB5TZZ the first Hispanic woman in space

The crew of STS-56 made numerous amateur radio contacts to schools around the world using the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment II (SAREX II), including brief radio contact with the Russian Mir space station, the first such contact between Shuttle and Mir using amateur radio equipment.

STS-56 Mission Specialist Ellen Ochoa KB5TZZ plays the flute in space shuttle Discovery’s aft flight deck in April 1993. Credit: NASA

STS-56 was a Space Shuttle Discovery mission to perform special experiments. The mission launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on April 8, 1993.

There were four radio hams on STS-56, Kenneth D. Cameron KB5AWP, Mike Foale KB5UAC, Ellen Ochoa KB5TZZ, Kenneth Cockrell KB5UAH.

Ellen Ochoa KB5TZZ was the first Hispanic woman to go into space. She went on to complete four space shuttle flights and become Deputy Director of the Johnson Space Center.

The primary payload of the flight was the Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science-2 (ATLAS-2), designed to collect data on the relationship between the sun’s energy output and Earth’s middle atmosphere and how these factors affect the ozone layer. It included six instruments mounted on a Spacelab pallet in the cargo bay, with the seventh mounted on the wall of the bay in two Get Away Special canisters.

Narrated by the Commander and crew, this video contains footage selected by the astronauts, as well as their comments on the mission. Footage includes launch, onboard crew activities, and landing.

The amateur radio aspect of the mission features at 09:58 into the video.

Watch Space Shuttle STS-56 Discovery ATLAS-2 pt1-2 Post Flight Press 1993 NASA

Watch Space Shuttle STS-56 Discovery ATLAS-2 pt2-2 Post Flight Press 1993 NASA

Space Shuttle STS-47 Endeavour Spacelab-J and Ashford School


Girls from Ashford School in Kent with their Space Experiment

STS-47 was the 50th Space Shuttle mission of the program, as well as the second mission of Space Shuttle Endeavour. The mission mainly involved conducting experiments in life and material sciences.

Spacelab-J—a joint NASA and National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) mission using a manned Spacelab module—conducted microgravity investigations in materials and life sciences. The international crew, consisting of the first Japanese astronaut to fly aboard the Shuttle, the first African-American woman to fly in space and, contrary to normal NASA policy, the first married couple to fly on the same space mission (Lee and Davis), was divided into red and blue teams for around the clock operations. Spacelab-J included 24 materials science and 20 life sciences experiments, of which 35 were sponsored by NASDA, 7 by NASA and 2 collaborative efforts.

Materials science investigations covered such fields as biotechnology, electronic materials, fluid dynamics and transport phenomena, glasses and ceramics, metals and alloys, and acceleration measurements. Life sciences included experiments on human health, cell separation and biology, developmental biology, animal and human physiology and behavior, space radiation, and biological rhythms. Test subjects included the crew, Japanese koi fish (carp), cultured animal and plant cells, chicken embryos, fruit flies, fungi and plant seeds, and frogs and frog eggs.

Twelve Get Away Special (GAS) canisters (10 with experiments, 2 with ballast) were carried in the payload bay. Middeck experiments were: Israeli Space Agency Investigation About Hornets (ISAIAH), Solid Surface Combustion Experiment (SSCE), Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX II), Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS), and Ultraviolet Plume Imager (UVPI).

Amongst the GAS Cansisters was G-102 Sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America’s Exploring Division in cooperation with the TRW Systems Integration Group, Fairfax, Va. The project was named Project POSTAR which was the first space experiment created entirely by members of the Boy Scouts of America.

Also on board were two experiments prepared by Ashford School in Kent which, at the time, was a girls-only school. The school in the UK who had won a competition run by Independent Television News (ITN). The experiments were contained in G-520. The first one injected a few grams of cobalt nitrate crystals to a sodium silicate to create a chemical garden in weightless condition. The growths, which were photographed 66 times as they developed, spread out in random directions twisting and in some cases forming spiral shapes. A second experiment to investigate how Liesegang rings formed in space failed to operate correctly due to friction in parts of the mechanism. On its return the experiment was exhibited in the London Science Museum..

Watch Space Shuttle STS-47 Endeavour Spacelab-J pt1-2 Post Flight Press 1992 NASA

Watch Space Shuttle STS-47 Endeavour Spacelab-J pt2-2 Post Flight Press 1992 NASA

1985 Video – Ashford School for Girls win ITN Space Experiment Competition

1991 Video – ITN report on the Ashford School for Girls Space Experiment

1992 Video – ITN report on Ashford School Space Experiment exhibit at London Science Museum

Jay Leno – SAREX – Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment 1992

In 1992 Southern California Amateur Radio operators uplinked a video of  stand-up comedian Jay Leno, host of NBC’s The Tonight Show, to the Space Shuttle Columbia through Jim Steffen, KC6A’s station in Long Beach, California.

Watch Jay Leno – SAREX Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment 1992

Past SAREX Missions