ARISS Chair Frank Bauer via AMSAT-bb replies to various email concerning SSTV event of the weekend and why getting a solution for low audio issue was not so immediate:
Please remember that ARISS is not the prime activity on ISS. There are over
300 international experiments currently operational on ISS on this
expedition. I just heard in a teleconference last week that that number
will go to about 500 experiments in the next 1-2 years.
Because of the vast number of experiments going on at the same time, we can
only occasionally get suggestions to the crew to make changes to our
payload. Any work arounds on any experiment/payload will compete with the
crew’s already fully booked schedule. Several ARISS team members,
particularly our teammate in Russia, were out of pocket this past weekend.
Our Russian colleague was informed of the issue early-on and acknowledged
the issue. But he also needs to get tied into Mission Control. That is
difficult from afar. And even if we ask for a change, it is challenging to
get the crew time to make this happen. Especially if it is outside the
flight planning stage.
Once we have the Interoperable Radio System on ISS, we plan to augment our
radio system with a ground commandable capability. We have already
developed a concept for this capability. Once in place, we will be able to
do many things with our radio without crew intervention, including mode
changes to support SSTV, APRS, Voice Repeater, etc.. This capability will
also be important if we fly ham radio on the Lunar Gateway, which will not
have crew on it 24/7.
Please note that to keep ARISS alive and implementing new capabilities
requires a great deal of funding. As an example, ARISS currently has two
individuals on travel to NASA Johnson running tests for the interoperable
radio system. This is one of three travel trips required to get the radio
system ready for flight. Each one of these trips will cost ARISS about
$3000 in travel—nearly $10,000 for these three testing events. Also, this
past week, we spent $1,100 to transport the HamTV that was returned from ISS
back to Italy to undergo troubleshooting to potentially repair the anomaly
we experienced on ISS. We have a Fundrazr activity right now to prepare the
Interoperable Radio System for Launch. We need $150,000 by the end of this
year and are well short of our goal right now. If you really want to see
improvements in the ISS radio system from where it is today, please strongly
consider donating to ARISS. Push the donate button at www.ariss.org. You
can donate at several levels and even a little at a time on a monthly basis.
At some donation levels, your callsign and name will be included on the
interoperable radio system that will fly to ISS!
Thanks for all your interest and support to ARISS. I hope this helps
explain a little about what is happening on ISS.
73, Frank Bauer, KA3HDO
ARISS International Chair
AMSAT VP for Human Spaceflight Programs