ISS Russian crewmembers to manually launch micro-satellite

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Moscow, Feb 14 (Itar-Tass) Russian crewmembers of theInternational Space Station (ISS) will manually launch anamateur radio satellite during a spacewalk planned forFebruary 16.

The satellite is named after the call sign of the world''sfirst astronaut, Yuri Gagarin.

The satellite will carry on the RadioScaf experimentstarted in 2005 with the launch of a spent spacesuit filledwith instruments made at the Moscow Bauman TechnicalUniversity and the Moscow Aviation Institute. Kedr is a metalframe with the size of 55x55x40 centimeters that weighs 30kilograms and carries equipment and solar batteries.

"The instruments as the same as the RadioScaf vehicleused, but this time the satellite will have solar batteries,"RadioScaf project technical director Sergei Samburov toldItar-Tass. "In addition, the satellite will have four videocameras."

The main payload is a sensor developed at the KurskUniversity to measure the density of charged particles at thealtitude of 35 meters and beneath.

Kedr will be transmitting 25 greetings in 17 languages,Earth photographs and telemetric information from scientificand auxiliary systems. The data will be received at amateurradio stations. The communication sessions will last for 20seconds at an interval of two minutes. Voice messages recordedby children from 20 states will be transmitted together withtelemetric information and pictures, Samburov said. Apart fromthe children''s wishes of friendship and peace, thesatellite will be transmitting voices of Soviet cosmonauticsfathers, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and Sergei Korolyov.

"This experiment is the first step towards thedevelopment and use of micro-satellites, which weigh less than100 kilograms," the Russian Federal Space Agency said.

The satellite designers expect it to work for no lessthan two months or, at best, until November. "Everything willdepend on the solar activity. If it intensifies, the satellitewill be operational only until the middle of April," Samburovsaid. (Itar-Tass)

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