Category Archives: space flight

Operating our Orion Special Event Station Saturday Morning

Orion EFT-1 Special Event Station snapshot (December 5th).

Rob KB5EZ and Dave KK4IKR operated for our Orion Special Event on Saturday morning on 20 meter SSB.

Rob KB5EZ and Dave KK4IKR operated for our Orion Special Event on Saturday morning on 20 meter SSB. John N4CNY and Gary WA2JQZ (not pictured) operated during the afternoon.

Thank you for contacting us for our Orion Test Flight Special Event

Thank you for contacting us for our Orion Special Event Station, yesterday, Saturday December 6, 2014.  We commemorated the successful EFT-1 test flight of the Orion spacecraft, flown the previous day. Thank you also for sharing your thoughts about the United States Space Program, and for expressing your support and pride.

We operated with our club call sign WA4NZD. We logged about 230 QSOs, most on 20 meters SSB. We tried 10 and 15 meters, but didn’t get much traffic.  We tried a few digital QSOs, most on 40 meters RTTY. Our operators were KB5EZ, KK4IKR, N4CNY, and WA2JQZ.

If you contacted us, QSL via Logbook of the World and eQSL. Paper QSL cards are available with a business sized SASE to WA4NZD MSFC Amateur Radio Club, c/o Donald Hediger, ES35, NASA MSFC, Huntsville, AL 35812, USA. Our email contact address is wa4nzd/at/gmail/dot/com..

Check our speical event page https://wa4nzd.wordpress.com/special-events/test-flight-of-the-orion-spacecraft-eft-1/ for additional information.

The Orion completed a successful test flight on Friday December 5, 2014, with a splashdown at 10:29 Central Time. The Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) was designed to test the Orion spacecraft and its systems, especially its heatshield for re-entry. The flight lasted four hours, and made two Earth orbits. The second orbit was highly eccentric, which enabled a high speed re-entry comparable to returning from deep space missions. EFT-1 is the opening test flight that will eventually lead to operational missions with the new Space Launch System (SLS) heavy lift launch vehicle.  The Space Launch System is now being developed and built at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.  Some components of the Orion test vehicle were designed and tested at NASA Marshall. The next flight of Orion will be aboard the Space Launch System, at this time scheduled for about 2018.  The Orion spacecraft is managed by the NASA Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston, Texas.

More information about the Orion spacecraft and program: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/orion/index.html

Orion_emblem_white

Special Event Station planned for the Test Flight of the Orion Spacecraft

We are planning to run a brief Special Event Station to commemorate the first test flight of the Orion spacecraft. As of this writing, the scheduled launch date is December 4, 2014. It is possible the flight could be delayed. We plan to operate our special event on the first full Saturday, central time, following a successful flight.  (That is, if a successful flight occurs on a Saturday morning or afternoon, central time, we will operate the following weekend on Saturday.) We will post future announcements and details about our special event on our QRZ page http://www.qrz.com/db/WA4NZD, and on our website here, once we are ready to proceed. We will operate with our club call sign, WA4NZD.

This flight is designed to test the Orion spacecraft and its systems, especially for high speed atmospheric re-entry from interplanetary space missions. The flight will last four hours, and make two Earth orbits. The flight is officially named Exploration Flight Test 1. It is the opening test flight that will eventually lead to test and operational missions with the new Space Launch System (SLS) heavy lift launch vehicle.  Some components of the Orion test vehicle were designed and tested at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

More information:

Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Special Event Station N4A

The Apollo 11 Saturn V, as it rolled out from the Vehicle Assembly Building at Launch Complex 39 at the Kennedy Space Center.

The Apollo 11 Saturn V, as it rolled out from the Vehicle Assembly Building at Launch Complex 39 at the Kennedy Space Center in 1969.

Our Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Special Event Station N4A was an outstanding success! Thank you for contacting us, and thank you for commemorating this special anniversary with us.

Rob KB5EZ starts the Apollo 11 anniversary special event during lunch break on Thursday July 17.

Rob KB5EZ started the Apollo 11 anniversary special event during lunch break on Thursday July 17, operating 17 and 20 meter SSB.

45 years ago Apollo 11 landed on the Moon, and astronauts first walked on the lunar surface.  President Kennedy was probably right, that no other single space project of that time was more impressive to mankind, nor more important for the long range exploration of space.  The space programs of the 1960s with the Apollo lunar landings deeply influenced several generations, including us here.  Our special event was intended to help all of us reconnect with that heritage.

Our operation was timed to coincide with the actual dates of the Apollo 11 mission, which was launched July 16, 1969, reached lunar orbit July 19, landed on the moon July 20 with the EVA walk that evening, and splashed down on July 24 (CDT).  We operated from July 17 to 22 (CDT).  On the 20th and 21st we played short audio clips of the landing and EVA moonwalk communications.

We were one of several NASA amateur radio clubs commemorating the anniversary; the others were WA3NAN at Goddard in Maryland and NA8SA at Glenn in Ohio.  Also participating were the Huntsville Amateur Radio Club operating at the US Space & Rocket Center museum using W4A and W4R, the Cradle of Aviation Museum K2CAM on Long Island (not far from where Grumman built the Lunar Modules) and the actual Grumman Amateur Radio Club WA2LQO.

We logged 1225 QSOs.  Most QSOs were on SSB, but some were CW, RTTY, and FM as well. Most of our operations were on the 17, 20, and 40 meter bands. Our contacts were from most of the US states (including HI and AK) and several territories,  6 Canadian provinces, and more than 30 countries.  Our longest-distance contacts were with Japan on 17 meters. We also contacted 3 of the other special event stations (WA3NAN, W4A, and K2CAM).  The NASA Johnson station in Texas W5RRR contacted us. Some of our contacts had worked with the Apollo Program or other aspects of the space program. When we had time and there was interest, we and our contacts shared memories from that period.  Our operators were KA0S, WA2JQZ, KK4IBB, N4CNY, N4MSN, KB5EZ, and WA8U.  We also had invaluable logging help from Jenny McCollum and Joe Randolph. Our QSL card was designed by KK4IBB and KA0S, with help from Jenny, and additional help from club members This was our most successful event since we reactivated the club a few years ago.

We QSL with Logbook of the World and eQSL. Paper QSL cards are available with an SASE to WA4NZD MSFC Amateur Radio Club, c/o Donald Hediger, ES32, NASA MSFC, Huntsville, AL 35812, USA. Our email contact address is wa4nzd/at/gmail/dot/com.

Jenny logging, Matt KA0S operating RTTY and SSB, and John N4CNY.

Matt KA0S operated RTTY and SSB Friday evening, with Jenny logging, and with John N4CNY.

Rob KB5EZ operating RTTY on Saturday with Stephen KK4IBB. Rob also tried 2 meter FM and Internet Radio Linking Project (IRLP) to Alaska and West Coast reflectors.

Rob KB5EZ on Saturday, with Stephen KK4IBB. Rob operated RTTY, and also tried 2 meter FM and the Internet Radio Linking Project (IRLP) to Alaska and West Coast reflectors. Stephen operated SSB Saturday and Monday afternoons.

Gary WA2JQZ operated Saturday afternoon on 17 and 20m SSB. Band conditions were poor, but sufficiently to the western US and Pacific.  That enabled contacts to Hawaii and Japan, and also to a few QRP stations in the US southwest.  Gary also operated CW.

Gary WA2JQZ operated Saturday afternoon on 17 and 20m SSB. Band conditions were poor, but opened sufficiently to the western US and Pacific. That enabled contacts to Hawaii and Japan, and even to a few QRP stations in the US southwest. Gary operated CW and SSB on several days.

Don N4MSN at the mike Sunday evening, with Tina WA8U logging.

Don N4MSN at the mike Sunday evening, with Tina WA8U logging. Don operated or logged several of the late night shifts, on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday.

Joe, who is studying for his ticket, logged late night Sunday with Don N4MSN

Joe, who is studying for his ticket, logged late night Sunday with Don N4MSN

US Space & Rocket Center

You can learn more about the space program and the heritage from Apollo by visiting the US Space & Rocket Center — the visitor center for the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and Redstone Arsenal — located on I-565 in Huntsville, AL. Its outdoor Rocket Park tells the story of U.S. rocket development during the 1950s and 60s. The Saturn V replica is a prominent landmark, visible from many miles away. Inside the Davidson Center building you can get close with a real Saturn V, plus many more items of Apollo and American space program hardware. The US Space & Rocket Center is the home of Space Camp.
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The NASA Marshall Space Flight Center developed the Apollo Saturn launch vehicles, and continues to serve a major role for the country. Its work supports all the major NASA directorates. Marshall is now developing the heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS), which will give the country again the ability to send heavy payloads to deep space.