Spacesuit Satellite

SuitSat: Suitsat-1 will use a Russian Orlan space suit like the one pictured here. Image courtesy NASA.

Starting February 3 an empty spacesuit will prototype the idea that an old spacesuit can find new life as a satellite. "SuitSat" is the original name they've dubbed the prototype, and equipped with batteries, sensors and a radio it will transmit its condition to Earth as it spins the globe. The radio signal will last 30 seconds, once per minute, on 145.990 MHz FM. Radio enthusiasts will be able to listen in on the suit's broadcast using an FM receiver and an antenna. The message will start by saying, "This is SuitSat-1, RS0RS," followed by greetings in multiple languages. The transmission will then state the suit's temperature, battery power and elapsed mission time. You can track SuitSat moving over the Earth by using NASA'S online J-Track program. The online program will ask for your zip code, and then it will tell you when the SuitSat is going to be over your area.

The transmissions will only last for 2-4 days, so if you're interested in this, act fast! Eventually, SuitSat will burn up in Earth's atmosphere.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Just a note from a local Amateur Radio operator:

This frequency is in the Amateur Radio (or Ham) bands 2M allocation and many of us are going to listen for SuitSat, but many other people and kids can too!

You don't need expensive, special or hard-to-find equipment. Most common "police" scanners are also capable of receiving the signal. Just program it to listen on 145.990 and you should be able to hear some of the signal when the SuitSat is overhead (see the web sites in the article to find out what times those will be).

For best results (to hear more of each pass) an outside antenna is suggested, but you should be able to hear at least some of it even with a hand-held scanner with a small antenna if you can also receive other signals in that location using the attached antenna. Moving outside or closer to a window should help, however.


posted on Sat, 01/28/2006 - 11:31am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I think that it would be quite dangerous to send actual people in just suits out into space.If they get hurt or the suit breaks they will die with no way to have help.At least if you have a ship to go back to you have some safty.

posted on Sun, 01/29/2006 - 1:59pm
Joe's picture
Joe says:

I guess I didn't say it in the original article, but the suits are unmanned, so no worries there.

posted on Sun, 01/29/2006 - 5:40pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

life is enteresting

posted on Sun, 01/29/2006 - 2:23pm
Joe's picture
Joe says:

The message SuitSat sends out will contain special words in English, French, Japanese, Russian, German and Spanish for students to record and decipher. Certificate awards will be given to students who do this. From the NASA site:

Students and teachers: How do you get your Suitsat awards? Frank Bauer explains: "Those that hear SuitSat should send their signal reports with a large (9x12 inch) self-addressed stamped envelope to one of the addresses listed below."

* USA: ARRL Headquarters SuitSat QSL 225 Main Street Newington, CT 06111-1494 USA
* Canada: Radio Amateurs of Canada SuitSat QSL 720 Belfast Road, Suite 217 Ottawa Ontario K1G 0Z5
* Europe: F1MOJ - Mr CANDEBAT Christophe SuitSat Europe QSL Manager 7 Rue Roger Bernard 30470 AIMARGUES FRANCE
* Japan: SuitSat Japan QSL JARL International Section Tokyo 170-8073 JAPAN
* Russia: Alexander Davydov, RN3DK Novo - Mytishchinsky prospekt 52 - 111 Mytishchi 18, Moskovskaya obl. 141018, RUSSIA
* Other countries, please use the US or Canadian address above.

"Students will get a certificate commemorating their reception. Those that receive the picture or copy the special words will get a special endorsement on their certificate."

posted on Thu, 02/02/2006 - 3:21pm
Joe's picture
Joe says:

The spacewalk (Expedition 12)is scheduled to begin at 4:20pm Central Time.

There is a SuitSat Tracking site listed on Google - SuitSat.org - but I have not yet been able to access it. Likely it will be active soon.

posted on Fri, 02/03/2006 - 11:18am
Joe's picture
Joe says:

The SuitSat Tracking Site is really cool - check it out!

posted on Fri, 02/03/2006 - 4:57pm
N2YO's picture
N2YO says:

If you want to live track SUITSAT (and other satellites) just go on this web site www.n2yo.com


posted on Sun, 02/05/2006 - 1:30pm
Joe's picture
Joe says:

This blog has reports and audio recordings that are submitted by amateur radio operators. Pretty cool to hear the audio!

The SuitSat program was sponsored by ARISS (Amateur Radio on the ISS), which is an international working group of volunteers from amateur radio organizations. ARISS is an important part of education activities on human spaceflight missions with the goal of developing kid's interest in space and science.

posted on Mon, 02/06/2006 - 9:20am
bryan kennedy's picture

Looks like SuitSat is finally dead. The batteries that were broadcasting the signal all all out of juice. But you can still track where it did travel while it was braodcasting.

posted on Thu, 10/19/2006 - 1:49pm

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