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  • Canadian soldier killed by IED [UPDATE]

    One Canadian Forces soldier was killed and four others were injured outside of Kandahar Sunday shortly after leaving a military outpost.

    The highway-bomb attack occurred as a light armoured vehicle was bringing the soldiers away from the front lines for a long-awaited New Year's break, and even as a large group of soldiers were sweeping on foot through Taliban territory and emerged completely unscathed.

    Gunner Jonathan Dion, from of the 5th light artillery regiment in Valcartier, was killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) shortly after 9 a.m., as his LAV left a forward operating base in the Zhari district for the Kandahar Air Field. KAF, as it is called, is the NATO stronghold in southern Afghanistan, where soldiers suffering privations of forward operating bases go for a few days of rest and relaxation. As of last night the injured, who had not had any breaks this holiday season, were said to be in stable condition.

    UPDATE: Our fallen soldier, Gunner Jonathan Dion, a member of 5e régiment d'artillerie légère du Canada, based in Valcartier, Quebec, is scheduled to return home to 8 Wing Trenton, at 2PM, Wednesday January 2nd.

  • Comet 8P/Tuttle Returns

    After a 13.6 year absence, Comet 8P/Tuttle is once again traveling through the inner solar system. On Jan. 1 and 2, 2008, it makes its closest approach to Earth--only 24 million miles away. The emerald-colored comet will brighten to a predicted magnitude of 5.8, visible to the unaided eye from dark-sky sites and a fine target for backyard telescopes anywhere.

    Two nights before closest approach, on Dec. 30th and 31st, something extraordinary will happen: Comet 8P/Tuttle has a beautiful close encounter with spiral galaxy M33. The comet and the galaxy may even overlap!

    This is a can't-miss opportunity for astrophotographers around the world.

    Visit http://spaceweather.com for sky maps, photos and more information.

  • NASA Awards Contract for Space Shuttle Robotics Support

    NASA has awarded a potential five-year, $75.8 million contract to Canadian Commercial Corporation of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, for support of hardware and software associated with the Space Shuttle Remote Manipulator System robotic arm, inspection boom assembly and robotic work station.

    The cost plus no fee contract will provide support for activities related to both the Space Shuttle Program and International Space Station Program. The contract includes a base period from Jan. 1, 2008, to Sept. 30, 2010, followed by two one-year extension options.

  • CF Snowbirds Announce 2008 Season

    The Canadian Forces Snowbirds were delighted to announce their 2008 show season schedule December11 in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States of America, during the International Council of Air Shows Convention.

    "We are looking forward to a fantastic 2008 Season and to flying Canada’s colours across North America,” said Major Robert Mitchell, Commanding Officer, Canadian Forces Snowbirds.  “Both in the air and on the ground, we remain committed to strive and represent the best of the Canadian Forces and to preserve our tradition of excellence.

  • New Prefix for Bosnia-Herzegovina Officially Announced

    ARLX008 New Prefix for Bosnia-Herzegovina Officially Announced 

    In response to a request from the Ministry of Communications and Transport of Bosnia and Herzegovina in August, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) withdrew the call sign prefix allocation T9A-T9Z for Bosnia and Herzegovina and made a new allocation, E7A-E7Z. The change was made initially on a provisional basis under authority of the ITU Secretary-General and was confirmed by the 2007 World Radiocommunication Conference to be effective November 17, 2007.

  • Progress Docks to Space Station

    A new Progress cargo carrier docked to the International Space Station's Pirs docking compartment at 3:14 a.m. EST Wednesday with almost 2.5 tons of fuel, air, water and other supplies and equipment aboard.

    The station's 27th Progress unpiloted spacecraft brings to the orbiting laboratory more than 1,900 pounds of propellant, more than 100 pounds of oxygen and 2,921 pounds of dry cargo. Total cargo weight is 4,949 pounds.

    P27 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sunday, Dec. 23, at 2:12 a.m. EST. It replaces the trash-filled P26 which was undocked from Pirs Friday. P26 will be deorbited for destruction on re-entry in mid-January, after conducting Earth observation experiments.

  • Launch Notification: PROGRESS-M 62

    "A Russian cargo spacecraft, Progress M-62, has lifted off for the International Space Station (ISS) from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, Russia's mission control said on Sunday.

    "The spacecraft was launched in the nominal regime at the designated time (10:12 a.m. Moscow time [07:12 a.m. GMT])," mission control said.

    The Progress vehicle's flight to the station will last three instead of two days to prepare the spacecraft's systems for docking with the ISS more carefully, mission control said.

    The Progress cargo spacecraft is expected to dock with the world's sole orbiter in the automatic mode on Wednesday at about 11:30 a.m. Moscow time (08:30 a.m. GMT), mission control said.

  • Progress to Dock on Wednesday

    A new Progress cargo carrier is scheduled to dock to the International Space Station's Pirs docking compartment at 3:25 a.m. EST Wednesday after a launch just after 2:10 a.m. Sunday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

    The station's 27th unpiloted Progress spacecraft brings to the orbiting laboratory almost 2.5 tons of propellant, oxygen and dry cargo.

    While the Expedition 16 crew members wait for the Progress, they have received more than 6,000 greetings from Earth through a link on the nasa.gov home page.

  • SEVERE WEATHER BULLETIN 12:48:24

    NORTH INTENSE DISTURBANCE TREKKING ACROSS THE CENTRAL GREAT LAKES TODAY WILL GENERATE A VARIETY OF ROLLER COASTER WEATHER. A DRENCHING RAIN WILL GIVE WAY TO A SHARP COLD FRONT CROSSING SOUTHERN ONTARIO. STRONG GUSTY WINDS HAVE ALREADY DEVELOPED OVER SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO AND WILL SPREAD NORTHEASTWARD DURING THE AFTERNOON HOURS. AREAS UNDER THE WARNING CAN EXPECT TO SEE A FEW GUSTS TO 90 KM/H WITH EVEN THE ODD GUST TO 100 KM/H NEAR THE LOWER LAKES. 

    AS COLDER AIR QUICKLY SETTLES BACK IN ACROSS THE PROVINCE THIS EVENING..FLURRIES AND LOCALIZED SNOW SQUALLS WILL DEVELOP TO THE LEE OF MOST OF THE GREAT LAKES. ALTHOUGH 15 CENTIMETRES ARE LIKELY IN SOME LOCALES BY MONDAY MORNING..THE BLOWING SNOW CAUSED BY STRONG WINDS WILL BE THE MAIN CONCERN. VISIBILITIES WILL BE NEAR ZERO AT TIMES MAKING FOR HAZARDOUS TRAVEL IN PARTS OF SKI COUNTRY IN ADDITION TO THE MAIN TRAVEL ROUTES IN NIAGARA AS WELL AS HIGHWAY 401 BETWEEN COBOURG AND KINGSTON.

    PLEASE REFER TO THE LATEST PUBLIC FORECASTS FOR FURTHER DETAILS.

    END/ASHTON/GR

  • ARLP053 Propagation de K7RA

    Sunspot 978 faded this week, with Tuesday, December 18 its last day visible. The average daily sunspot number dropped nearly 13 points from last week to 24.1, and average daily solar flux was down over three points to 83.9. Geomagnetic indicators were up, with the average daily planetary A index up three points to 7.4, and the mid-latitude A index up two points to 5.4.

    Sunspot 978 held no indication for the next sunspot cycle, because the magnetic polarity was the same as spots from Cycle 23, which is now ending. It was also at mid-latitude, and spots from a new cycle tend to be high latitude. But there was quite an interest this week in a high-latitude area of reverse magnetic polarity. So far this has not turned into an actual sunspot, so we wait. You can read about it at, http://sidc.oma.be/news/100/welcome.html.

  • KSC Airspace Advisory: Santa

    NASA has granted permission to Santa Claus to access Kennedy Space Center's airspace on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.

     

    The jolly fellow, in his reindeer-propelled sleigh, is expected to fly over the center sometime between 10 p.m. and midnight to take a close look at the ongoing construction at Launch Pad 39B. Workers are installing a new lightning protection system as part of the efforts to transition the pad from a space shuttle facility into the launch site for the Constellation Program's Ares I crew launcher.

     

  • The Future of the CP-140 Aurora

    The Department of National Defence today confirmed its commitment to the Aurora fleet through continued modernization and structural upgrades, keeping the aircraft flying until 2020. As part of the Government of Canada’s pledge to ensure the Canadian Forces have the equipment they need and provide value for taxpayers’ dollars, the Aurora modernization will ensure that the CF continues to protect Canada’s maritime and northern sovereignty.

    “The Department will capitalize on these investments by upgrading the structure on the majority of the fleet,” said the Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. “The investment will keep the aircraft safe and operationally viable until 2020.”  

  • Canadian Satellite Reaches Orbit

    ImageCanada's Radarsat-2 Earth observation satellite, which has been almost a decade in design and construction, launched successfully Friday aboard a Russian Soyuz-Fregat rocket from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, according to launch-services provider Starsem S.A. of France.

     

    The 4,850-pound (2,200-kilogram) Radarsat-2 is expected to operate for seven years in a 495-mile (798-kilometer), sun-synchronous low Earth orbit and provide radar images with a ground resolution as sharp as 10 feet (three meters) and as wide as 328 feet (100 meters).

     

    Despite being delayed by a host of technical and policy issues over the years, Radarsat-2 arrived in orbit in time to assure continuous radar Earth observation for Canadian authorities before Radarsat-1 is retired.

     

  • See Mars Now

    See Mars Now: Red Planet Shines Bright

    Mars will be closer to Earth this month than any time until the year 2016. 

    The red planet is now the brightest "star" in the evening sky and is already above the horizon as evening twilight fades away. But give it at least two more hours – until about 8 p.m. – for it to climb above the poor atmospheric seeing that's near the horizon. By then, this brilliant yellow-orange world will be at an altitude of around 30 degrees as seen from mid-northern latitudes.

  • SEVERE WEATHER BULLETIN 11:16:18

    AT MID MORNING A MASSIVE WINTER STORM WAS GIVING SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW TO ALL OF SOUTHERN AND EASTERN ONTARIO. SOME PLACES SUCH AS TORONTO WERE ALSO REPORTING THUNDER AND LIGHTNING. 

    THE LOW RESPONSIBLE FOR THE STORM NOW LIES OVER LAKE ERIE. IT WILL TRACK SLOWLY EASTWARD ACROSS NEW YORK STATE TODAY THEN ACCELERATE OFF THE NORTHEAST TONIGHT.

  • SEVERE WEATHER BULLETIN 5:49:31

    A MASSIVE WINTER STORM HAS BEGUN OVER SOUTHERN ONTARIO AND THE STAGE IS SET FOR THIS DANGEROUS STORM TO KICK INTO HIGH GEAR OVER THE ENTIRE FORECAST DISTRICT TODAY WITH NEAR RECORD SNOWFALL AMOUNTS. 

    LATEST ANALYSES SHOW A RAPIDLY DEEPENING LOW PRESSURE CENTRE NOW OVER NORTHERN OHIO JUST SOUTHWEST OF CLEVELAND THIS MORNING. THIS LOW IS PRECEEDED BY AN EXPANDING AREA OF HEAVY SNOW WITH SOME FREEZING RAIN AND ICE PELLETS HAVING MIXED IN AT TIMES AS FAR NORTH AS THE WINDSOR LONDON KITCHENER AND TORONTO AREAS.

  • SEVERE WEATHER BULLETIN 10:53:29

    A MAJOR WINTER STORM WILL MOVE INTO SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO WITH SNOW BEGINNING THIS AFTERNOON THEN SPREADING NORTHEAST INTO THE REMAINDER OF SOUTHERN AND EASTERN ONTARIO TONIGHT. COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF SNOW AS WELL AS STRONG WINDS CAUSING BLOWING SNOW ARE EXPECTED. FREEZING RAIN IS ALSO POSSIBLE NEAR LAKE ERIE. 

    LATEST ANALYSES INDICATED THAT THE DEVELOPING LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM HAS MOVED OVER NORTHERN LOUISIANA ACCOMPANIED BY A RAPIDLY EXPANDING AREA OF SNOW WITH SOME FREEZING PRECIPITATION ALREADY DEVELOPING ACROSS THE UPPER OHIO VALLEY TOWARDS LAKE ERIE.

  • ARLP052 Propagation de K7RA

    Sunspot 978 made a strong showing this week, and daily sunspot numbers are up as a result. The average daily sunspot number for this week rose over 25 points to 36.7, and average daily solar flux rose over 14 points to 87.2. The sunspot numbers on December 9-11 were 42, 43 and 44. Sunspot numbers haven't been nearly this high since July 14-15 of 2007, when it was 41 both days. The daily sunspot number hasn't been higher since June 2 to June 8 of this year, when it was 45, 58, 58, 63, 47, 59 and 51. 

  • NASA Targets Atlantis Launch On Jan. 10

    NASA's Space Shuttle Program managers have targeted Jan. 10 for the launch of shuttle Atlantis' STS-122 mission to the International Space Station.

    "The workforce has stepped up to and met every challenge this year," said Wayne Hale, Space Shuttle Program manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center. "Moving the next launch attempt of Atlantis to Jan. 10 will allow as many people as possible to have time with family and friends at the time of year when it means the most. A lot has been asked of them this year and a lot will be asked of them in 2008."

  • Boeing Selected for Ares I Avionics

    NASA has selected The Boeing Company of Huntsville, Ala., as the prime contractor to produce, deliver and install avionics systems for the Ares I rocket that will launch the Orion crew exploration vehicle into orbit. The selection is the final major contract award for Ares I. The award resulted from a full and open competition.

    The Ares I launch vehicle is a key component of the Constellation Program, which will send humans to the moon by 2020 to set up a lunar outpost. Boeing will support the NASA design team leading the development of the Ares I avionics components. The company also will develop and acquire avionics hardware for the rocket and assemble, inspect and integrate the avionics system components on the upper stage. Components will be manufactured by the prime contractor's suppliers across the country. Final integration and checkout will take place at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana.

  • US Federal UHF Band Changes

    Some recent changes and new frequencies for several UHF US federal and military systems have prompted Chris Parris, of MT Fed Files, to remind everyone of the upcoming deadline for narrowbanding the US federal UHF band.

    The January 1st 2008 deadline for the 406.1-420 MHz band to narrowband channels from 25 KHz channels spacing up to 12.5 kHz. Some US agencies will be changing frequencies and some trunked systems may move off of their current UHF channels. Expect to see many changes between now and the end of the year, and even after the deadline has passed.

  • STS-122 Rescheduled

    The launch of space shuttle Atlantis has been rescheduled for no earlier than Jan. 2, 2008. The postponement will give engineers time to evaluate false readings from the engine cutoff sensor system that measures liquid hydrogen in the external tank.

    Of the four engine cutoff sensors, ECO sensor number three gave false readings during Sunday's launch attempt. The sensor system is one of several that protect the shuttle's main engines by triggering their shut down if fuel runs unexpectedly low.

  • Atlantis Launch Scrubbed Again

    Dashing hopes of finally launching shuttle Atlantis on a critical space station assembly mission today, one of the four low-level engine cutoff - ECO - sensors in the hydrogen section of the shuttle Atlantis' external tank failed to perform properly during initial tests after being submerged in supercold propellant. NASA managers said Saturday they would proceed with launch today if and only if all four sensors and associated instrumentation worked flawlessly and at 7:25 a.m., today's launch attempt was officially called off. 

    "Confirmation now that we have scrubbed for the day," NASA commentator George Diller said about a half-hour after the sensor problem became apparent. "That direction coming from LeRoy Cain, chairman of the Mission Management Team, and Doug Lyons, the STS-122 launch director."

  • ARLP051 Propagation de K7RA

    More sunspots emerged this week, with every December day so far showing spots. In addition to the sunspot numbers listed through Wednesday at the end of this bulletin, Thursday, December 6 had a sunspot number of 29. The daily sunspot number has not been this high since mid-July. Two spots are now visible, 977 and 978, and the total coverage of the solar surface by sunspots on Thursday is four times Wednesday's coverage. Average daily sunspot number for this report is over twice last week's, rising from 5.4 to 11.1. Sunspots will probably continue until at least December 13.

  • ARLP050 Propagation de K7RA

    ARLP050 Propagation de K7RA Sunspots appeared over several days in the past week. November 24-27 had daily sunspot numbers of 15, 12 and 11. Otherwise, the Sun has been blank. In the previous reporting period, November 15-21, there were only two days with sunspots, and the daily sunspot numbers on both days were 13. The result is the average daily sunspot number from the previous reporting period to the current (November 22-28) reporting period rose from 3.7 to 5.4. 

    There were no days with geomagnetic storms, and geomagnetic conditions should be quiet over the near term. The next recurring solar wind stream is expected December 17. Expect more weeks of no sunspots, with occasional appearances for a few days at a time. The U.S. Air Force predicts a planetary A index of 5 for the next ten days. For the week, Geophysical Institute Prague predicts quiet geomagnetic conditions for today, November 30, quiet to unsettled December 1, and back to quiet conditions for December 2-6.

  • CPR Holiday Train

    The Canadian Holiday Train will embark on its two-week journey on Saturday, December 1 from Beaconsfield, Quebec, finishing up in Port Moody, B.C., on Tuesday, December 18. 

    This train's artists include Canadian Blues rockers Wide Mouth Mason and Canadian pop sensation Melanie Doane.

    In Southern Ontario, the Holiday Train will embark on its journey December 4 in Hamilton finishing December 6 in Windsor, Ontario where it continues on to the U.S. Midwest.

     

    Check out my Railway page for the channel assignments.
     

  • AO-16 PACSAT Update

    After several months of silence, Amsat Oscar 16 (PACSAT) was commanded back ON on November 8, 2007. The satellite is transmitting on TX A at 437.024 MHz (+/- Doppler). Please note this transmitter is LHCP (left hand circular polarity).

    Recent attempts to reload the AO-16 satellite operating system and housekeeping tasks have thus far been unsuccessful. Harold Price, NK6K, Jim White, WD0E, Bruce Rahn, WB9ANQ, and Mark Hammond, N8MH are analyzing dumps of the spacecraft memory. This analysis and additional testing will continue for the next week or two before additional attempts to reload the spacecraft are attempted.

  • NASA Prepares for Launch Week

    Space shuttle Atlantis is set to begin its launch countdown for the STS-122 mission with a flurry of activities at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Atlantis is scheduled to launch at 4:31 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 6. 

    A green light from senior NASA managers on Friday cleared the way for the last stages of launch preparations.

  • China Refuses Access Again!

    China, which denied the USS Kitty Hawk and her Carrier Strike Group permission to dock in Hong Kong for Thanksgiving, also recently refused access to two minesweeping ships seeking refuge from a storm, the commander of U.S. Forces Pacific said yesterday in a Pentagon video conference.

    The USS Patriot and USS Guardian were forced to refuel at sea and return to their homeport of Sasebo in Japan when China refused their request for shelter in Hong Kong, Admiral Timothy Keating told reporters in Washington yesterday. 

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