Next ISS 'space tourist' gets amateur radio ticket

Discussion in 'Contests, DXpeditions and Special Events' started by M5AKA, Aug 21, 2005.

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  1. M5AKA

    M5AKA Ham Member QRZ Page

    From:

    http://www.southgatearc.org/news/aug2005/space_tourist_ticket.htm

    73 Trevor M5AKA
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    Next ISS 'space tourist' gets amateur radio ticket

    Greg Olsen - now KC2ONX
    The next 'space tourist' to visit the International Space Station is, once again, an Amateur Radio licensee.

    The FCC issued the call sign KC2ONX to Greg Olsen of Princeton, New Jersey, on August 16.

    Thanks to three volunteer examiners from the 10-70 Repeater Association in Northern New Jersey, Olsen - who held a ham ticket many years ago - was able to take and pass his Technician examination during a brief vacation window in his busy pre-flight training schedule.

    VE team member (and ARRL Hudson Division Vice Director)
    Joyce Birmingham, KA2ANF, says extra-heavy summertime traffic slowed the team's journey to Princeton, and the August 12 exam session almost didn't happen.

    "Dr. Olsen suggested that due to the volume of traffic we were in, that we move the location of the meeting," she said, recounting a desperate cell phone conversation with Olsen as the traffic jam tightened further. With cell coverage crashing, however, the team members, traveling in two vehicles, regrouped via a local ham radio repeater, arranged to meet Olsen at a Princeton hotel that was closer, and announced the location change to comply with FCC regulations. The test would take place in the hotel's lobby.

    Birmingham reports that Olsen zipped through the examination in about 10 minutes. Set to head to the ISS October 1, Olsen has indicated he'd like to conduct some Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school group contacts from NA1SS while he's there. Having his ham radio license was the first step in making that happen. The ARRL VEC orchestrated the last-minute examination session for Olsen.

    The day Olsen took his test was his last in the US until after his space mission. He took off the next day for Russia to undergo further cosmonaut training for his approximately 10-day ISS visit, which is being arranged with the Federal Space Agency of the Russian Federation (FSA) by Space
    Adventures. Like Dennis Tito and Mark Shuttleworth before him, Olsen is believed to have paid in the vicinity of $20 million for the privilege of being the third civilian "space explorer," as Space Adventures called Olsen in late July when it announced his pending voyage of a lifetime.

    Olsen, who's co-founder and chairman of the board of Sensors Unlimited Inc in Princeton, said he's looking forward to finalizing the remote sensing and astronomy research projects he plans to conduct while in space.

    He is scheduled to fly from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the ISS aboard a Soyuz spacecraft with Expedition 12 crew members Bill McArthur, KC5ACR, and Valery Tokarev. A third expedition 12 crew member, Thomas Reiter, DF4TR, was to have launched aboard the shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-121 on September 22. NASA announced this week, however, the shuttle fleet will remain grounded at least until next March.

    Olsen was accepted as a space explorer candidate in 2004, but several weeks into his training, a routine medical evaluation turned up a health issue - since remedied - that kept him from continuing his training, Space Adventures says. Following a re-evaluation, Olsen got clearance last May to resume his training.

    According to Space Adventures, Olsen, 60, is a native of Brooklyn, New York and holds a PhD in materials science. He founded Sensors Unlimited in 1991 and sold it five years ago for $700 million.

    Headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, Space Adventures is the only company to have launched private space explorers to the ISS. Several former NASA astronauts serve on the company's advisory board.

    Source: ARRL Letter - courtesy of The American Radio Relay League

    Image credit: Space Adventures
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