• NASA Gives 'Go' for Space Shuttle Launch

    NASA senior managers completed a review Wednesday of space shuttle Atlantis' readiness for flight. Pending closure of an issue with a shuttle radiator hose, the STS-122 mission will launch Feb. 7 at 2:45 p.m. EST.

    During an inspection of Atlantis Tuesday, one of four hoses that carry Freon to the shuttle radiators in the payload bay was found bent and not properly retracted in its storage box. The others were fully retracted into their storage boxes, as expected. Teams are continuing to gather data and assess any potential forward work. Managers will convene Saturday to further review and analyze what, if any, remaining work is required before launch.

    During the 11-day mission, Commander Steve Frick and his six crewmates will install the European Space Agency's new Columbus laboratory on the International Space Station. Columbus will expand the research facilities of the station and provide scientists around the world with the ability to conduct a variety of life, physical and materials science experiments. The mission will include three spacewalks, delivery of a new crew member to the station and the return of another astronaut after nearly four months aboard the complex.

  • A Fallen Soldier Returns Home

    Our fallen soldier Corporal Etienne Gonthier, 21, of 5e Régiment Génie de Combat based at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier, Quebec, is scheduled to return home to Canada on Sunday.

    Where: 8 Wing Trenton, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario.
    When: Sunday January 27, 2:00 p.m.
    What: Media are invited to view the arrival; however no interviews will be given.

    Present to pay their respects will be Her Excellency, the Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, the Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and other dignitaries.

    Cpl Gonthier was killed at approximately 1:40 p.m. Kandahar time on January 23, when the armoured vehicle he was in struck a suspected Improvised Explosive Device (IED), 35 km south-west of Kandahar City.

  • Canadian Soldier Killed - Two Others Wounded

    At approximately 1:40 p.m. local time (in Kandahar) today, one Canadian soldier who was part of a convoy was killed when the armoured vehicle he was in struck a suspected Improvised Explosive Device (IED), 35 km South-West of Kandahar City. Two Canadian soldiers were also injured.

    The family of the deceased soldier have been advised but at their request, the name of the soldier is being temporarily withheld.

    The injured soldiers were evacuated by helicopter to the Multinational Medical Unit at Kandahar Airfield. They are in good condition and have returned to duty. They have completed next of kin self-notification.

  • bcTool - Official Release Date!

    After 6 months of fairly solid work, many, many (too many!) late nights and a huge number of beta releases, I am finally announcing that bcTool 'release one' will be publically available as of Friday, 5th January 2008, assuming nothing major crops up between now and then (fingers crossed, things look good so far!).

    There are still little enhancements to the RadioReference code required, and these are currently ongoing and I will be sending out a new build tomorrow evening to those of you who have been testing RR import features for me (things over the past two days have been unbelievably hectic in my real job which has slowed me down a little).

  • Report Paves Way for Highway Tolls

    Ontario drivers should pay a range of new taxes to help governments fund their road and public transit systems, reduce congestion and cut greenhouse gas emissions, a new report says.

    The Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario study, authored by Trent University professor Harry Kitchen, recommends the 400 series highways, the Queen Elizabeth Way, the Don Valley Parkway, the Gardiner Expressway and both the Red Hill Creek and Lincoln Alexander Parkways should have tolls applied. The report says other major arterial highways could also be included.

    Mr. Kitchen's says tolls would not only reduce gridlock in the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton (GTAH), it would also raise badly-needed revenue to fund the massive operating and capital requirements of public transit and roads.

  • Canadian Tactical Airlift Contract Awarded

    The Government of Canada has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin Corporation for the acquisition of the Canadian Forces new tactical lift aircraft.

    Tactical airlift is the lifeline of the Canadian Forces, providing reliable aircraft to quickly and safely carry passengers, heavy equipment and supplies over long distances in support of operations, or in response to crises, such as natural disasters.

    The purchase contract for 17 C-130J Hercules aircraft is valued at approximately $1.4 billion U.S., with an additional amount to be added in 2009 for 20 years of in-service support.

  • Trooper Richard Renaud Returns Home

    Our fallen soldier, Trooper Richard Renaud, 26, of the 12e Régiment blindé du Canada, based at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier, Quebec, is scheduled to return home to Canada tomorrow.

    Where: 8 Wing Trenton, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario.
    When: Friday January 18, 2:00 p.m.
    What: At the wishes of the families, there will be no media permitted on the tarmac and no interviews will be given.

  • Bomb Blast Kills Canadian Trooper

    Trooper Richard Renaud died Tuesday when explosive devices planted by insurgents hit Canadian troops in Afghanistan for the third time in as many days in an escalation of violence seen across the country.

    While the first two explosions had resulted in relatively minor injuries and vehicle damage to the Canadians, the latest blast killed Renaud, 26, of Alma, Que., of 12e Regiment blinde du Canada.

    Renaud's death, in the Arghandab district about 10 kilometres north of Kandahar city, marks the 77th time a Canadian soldier has died in Afghanistan since their mission in the country began in 2002.

  • Lindsay Police New Radio System

    A new radio system will provide municipal police officers with up to date technology and enhance their safety on the front line, according to the chief of police.

    Some $42,500 was allocated in the 2007 capital budget for City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service to replace the 30-year-old radios officers in Lindsay and the former Ops Township currently use.

    The change will mean police scanners in area homes and newsrooms will fall silent as the new digitally-encrypted system cannot be monitored on a consumer scanner like the analog frequency the force currently uses.

  • Blue Angel Pilot Became Disoriented

    A Navy Blue Angels pilot became disoriented and crashed after failing to properly tense his abdominal muscles to counter the gravitational forces of a high-speed turn last year, military investigators said Monday.

    The report obtained by The Associated Press blamed the April crash on an error by Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Davis, who died when his F/A 18 Hornet went down in a residential area near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C. Davis was in his first season flying in formation with the Navy’s elite aerial demonstration team.

  • Atlantis to Launch February 7th

    NASA Friday announced Feb. 7 as the target launch date for shuttle Atlantis' STS-122 mission to the International Space Station and mid-March for the launch of Endeavour on STS-123. Liftoff of Atlantis from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., will be at 2:47 p.m. EST.

    A decision by the Russian Federal Space Agency to move up its Progress launch from Feb. 7 to Feb. 5 enables both STS-122 and STS-123 to launch before the next Russian Soyuz mission in early April. This allows astronauts assigned to the space station's Expedition 16 crew to complete the tasks they have trained for, including support of the launch and docking of Jules Verne, the first European Space Agency Automated Transfer Vehicle. Targeting Feb. 7 also allows time to complete modifications to the engine cutoff sensor system that postponed two shuttle launch attempts in December.

  • Two Fallen Soldiers Returning Home

    Our fallen soldiers, Warrant Officer Hani Massouh, 41, and Corporal Éric Labbé, age 31, both of the 2nd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment, based at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier, Quebec, are scheduled to return home to Canada tomorrow.

    Where:  8 Wing Trenton, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario.
    When:   Wednesday January 9, 3:30 p.m.
    What:    Media are invited to view the arrival; however the families do not wish to interact with the media and no interviews will be given.

  • More Delays for Shuttle Atlantis

    NASA on Thursday delayed the flight of space shuttle Atlantis until late January or, more likely, February to replace a suspect connector in the fuel tank.

    The connector is believed to be responsible for back-to-back launch postponements last month.

    Deputy shuttle program manager John Shannon said the mission to the international space station is off until at least January 24.

    "Everything has to go exactly right for us to make the 24th," he said.

  • Two Soldiers Killed in Afghan Accident

    Two Canadian soldiers died Sunday after their armoured vehicle rolled over in rough terrain near Kandahar City. Military officials said the incident was "unrelated to enemy fire."

    The two dead  soldiers are Cpl. Eric Labbe, 31, of the Royal 22nd Regiment, born in Rimouski, Que.; and 41-year-old Warrant Officer Hani Massouh, also of the Royal 22nd Regiment, born in Alexandria, Egypt.

    "We're saddened by this tragic loss. They will be missed and we will honour their sacrifice to the service of Canada and their contribution to bring peace to the people of Afghanistan," Brig.-Gen Guy Laroche told reporters in Afghanistan.

  • AO-51 Entering Eclipse Free Period

    AO-51 is about to enter a three month period of no eclipse. The command team will be determining the best operating modes and power levels during the first two weeks of January 2008.

    There will be no published schedule. The current modes of V/U FM repeater and L/U digital bulletin board may be common, but unpublished mode changes can occur at anytime. Please check the AMSAT BB or the Control Team News area of the web site for the latest information: .

  • ARLP001 Propagation de K7RA

    It's a new year, and now time to review 2007 sunspot cycle progression. In 2006 there was a consensus that solar minimum would occur in early 2007, but we actually may not be there still. The latest projection in the Weekly Preliminary Report and forecast (see and page 8 in the January 2 issue) shows the bottom of the cycle between December 2007 and April 2008. Note the two predictions for the next cycle, a high estimate and a low estimate, reflecting the split consensus for the Cycle 24 prediction.

    Also note the monthly (even though the URL says weekly) forecast issued on January 2 at, shows a cycle minimum for February 2008.

  • Space Shuttle Work Out Sensor System Plan

    NASA flight control teams and ground operations teams have been requested to protect for a Jan. 24th launch date for Space Shuttle Atlantis. As work progresses, that date will be modified as required, says John Shannon, deputy manager for the Space Shuttle Program. The schedule depends on test results and modifications to a fuel sensor system connector on the external fuel tank Atlantis will use for launch on its STS-122 mission to the International Space Station. Other launch opportunities could come between Jan. 24th and the first week of February.

    The connector suspected of prompting false readings during two previous launch attempts is undergoing intensive testing at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Engineers also will test potential modifications to the connector to certify it for flight. Marshall has a test facility that allows the connector to be subjected to the same conditions it saw during the earlier launch attempts.

  • Shuttle Managers to Discuss STS-122 Mission

    Space shuttle managers will meet Thursday to evaluate test results to date from analysis of the electrical connector suspected of causing issues in space shuttle Atlantis' fuel sensor system. The managers will also discuss plans to prepare the tank and Atlantis for launch.

    The sensor system in Atlantis' external tank prompted two postponements during launch attempts last month for the STS-122 mission to the International Space Station.

    Technicians at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida removed the suspect electrical connector from space shuttle Atlantis' external tank early Sunday and shipped it to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., for testing.

    A replacement connector is being modified, and approval for its installation will be discussed at tomorrow's meeting. If approval is received, the installation will take place over the next few days.

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