The Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) contact with Paltamo High School

Markku Korhonen

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OH8UV "If you wish upon a star..." 73´s de Markku)

SAREX STS-59 Endeavour N5QWL - OH8AK, Paltamo, Finland

STS-59 Space Radar Laboratory-1 mission lasted 11 days 5 hours and 49 minutes (Apr 9 - Apr 20, 1994). The launch was postponed twice 24 hours first because of some technical inspections and second time there was bad weather. The launch occured on April 9, 1994 at 11:05 UTC (7:05 a.m. EDT), 14:05 local time in Finland. Also there was 2 extra days on orbit because of bad weather on the landing site. Endeavour and its crew of six landed safely at Edwards Air Force Base in Mojave Desert, California at 11:54 a.m. CDT Apr 20, 1994.

The mission was studying how the Earth's global environment is changing. As Endeavour was making its 183 orbits and travelling a total of 4.7 million statute miles, the SRL-1 instruments recorded a total of 133 hour of data on 165 data tapes, mapping the equivalent of 20 percent of the Earth's surface. Endeavour made a record 412 maneuvers while in orbit. The data recorded during the STS-59 mission could fill the equivalent of 20.000 encyclopedia volumes and scientists report that more than 70 million square kilometers of the Eart's surface has been mapped on this flight. This represents about 12 percent of Earth's total surface and 25 percent of the planets's land surfaces.

There were 2 hams on the mission: Linda M. Godwin, N5RAX, payload commander, and Jay Apt, N5QWL, mission specialist, who has been also very active on ham radio during his previous flights. This was Linda's second space flight and Jay's third. They both were on Atlantis STS-37 all-ham-crew on 1991. Jay's second flight was on the crew of Endeavour STS-47 on 1992. Before this flight Linda was logged over 143 hours and Jay 334 hours in space, including his 10 hours and 49 minutes on two space walks. The commander of STS-59 flight was Sidney M. Gutierrez, pilot Kevin P. Chilton and mission specialists M.R."Rich" Clifford and Thomas B. Jones.

There was made hundreds of FM-qsos and about 5000 packet radio contacts. There was 9 scheduled SAREX-school contacts and two of them were outside the USA: one in Australia and one in Paltamo, Finland. School group success rate was 89 % which is one of the best ever. Only one of the skeds was cancelled because of the thunderstorm in Texas. Radio signals from the flight were well received in Finland.



The first amateur radio operator (W5LFL) on the air from the space. The Paltamo Junior/High School (OH8UV) was QRV and listening every available orbit and finally the shuttle was heard while supervising a detension in a class room.

1985 - 1992 working, studying...

SAREX - that´s it!


Sarex application was sent. We were waiting for schedule...


So we´re gonna to have a qso...

How about an audio file? Prelaunch of Columbia. (, 182 k)

Summary of the contact.

We are ready to rock!

The Rest

It was a success.


Famous words.