Sunday, January 25, 2009

NASA Seeks Ham Operators For Sun Data Capture


I just saw a link to this article come across the HAMRADIOHELPGROUP. NASA will be collecting data from two observer satellites on either side of the sun and would like the help of ham radio operators to collect the data on 10m. Anyone with a 10m dish antenna is welcome.



"St. Cyr notes that experienced ham radio operators can participate in this historic mission by helping NASA capture STEREO's images. The busy Deep Space Network downloads data from STEREO only three hours a day. That's plenty of time to capture all of the previous day's data, but NASA would like to monitor the transmissions around the clock.

"So we're putting together a 'mini-Deep Space Network' to stay in constant contact with STEREO," says Bill Thompson, director of the STEREO Science Center at Goddard.

The two spacecraft beam their data back to Earth via an X-band radio beacon. Anyone with a 10-meter dish antenna and a suitable receiver can pick up the signals. The data rate is low, 500 bits per second, and it takes 3 to 5 minutes to download a complete image.

So far, the mini-Network includes stations in the United Kingdom, France and Japan—and Thompson is looking for more: "NASA encourages people with X-band antennas to contact the STEREO team. We would gladly work with them and figure out how they can join our network."

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