Wednesday, February 01, 2006

SuitSat: What the well-dressed cosmonaut won't be wearing this spring

We all know there are no Salvation Army donation boxes in space. But it would be environmentally irresponsible of the International Space Station's inhabitants to just open the door and toss out their unwanted junk, right? So what's a fashion-conscious Russian supposed to do with last season's spacesuit?

Why, simply fit it out with a radio transmitter and set it up to communicate its condition (battery strength, temperature) to the geeks on the ground as it tumbles toward earth. It's not littering, kids, it's an experiment!


One of the strangest satellites in the history of the space age is about to go into orbit. Launch date: Feb. 3. That's when astronauts onboard the International Space Station (ISS) will hurl an empty spacesuit overboard.
Pure genius.

SuitSat can be heard by anyone on the ground. "All you need is an antenna (the bigger the better) and a radio receiver that you can tune to 145.990 MHz FM," says [NASA's Frank] Bauer. "A police band scanner or a hand-talkie ham radio would work just fine." He encourages students, scouts, teachers and ham radio operators to tune in....

Bauer expects SuitSat's batteries to last 2 to 4 days. "Although longer is possible," he allows. After that, SuitSat will begin a slow silent spiral into Earth's atmosphere. Weeks or months later, no one knows exactly when, it will become a brilliant fireball over some part of Earth—a fitting end for a trailblazer.

Those of you who are comfortable with your inner geeks might want to click over to for all the juicy details.


Winter said...

LOL! What next? A box of space food!

I wonder if Mr. Winnie would be interested in this? He's always looking for the eclipses and the metor showers.

Bonnie Calhoun said... inner geek suscribes to Space.come and NASA, so I knew last week. Now for something unexpected to happen...(insert maniacal laughter here)!