Take off every suit
February 3, 2006 2:25 PM   Subscribe

Suitsat is ready to launch. Know it (wmv). Watch it. Track it. (previously)
posted by pantsrobot (13 comments total)
posted by pantsrobot

I can see how this would be of particular interest to you.
posted by davejay at 2:50 PM on February 3, 2006

"Launch" is perhaps not the right word.
posted by smackfu at 3:01 PM on February 3, 2006

And there it goes....!
posted by Thorzdad at 3:03 PM on February 3, 2006

Planet earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do...
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posted by pantsrobot at 3:33 PM on February 3, 2006

I'm going to assume that SuitSat will be flying in the same orbit as the ISS -- there's only so much ΔV that one man can generate by tossing something, even if he's Kerry Wood. We're not going to see anything like a massive plane change.

For those wanting to try and grab the signal, I'd suggest Heavens Above. You'll want to choose your location, and then select the "Radio Amateur Satellites", rather than just the ISS link. (The ISS link give you visible passes -- fine at night, but for listening, daylight passes are acceptable.

For those of us in St. Louis, St. Paul, or St. Whatever, the database is looking for Saint Louis, Saint Paul, etc.

I won't get a useful pass, it appears, until 0300CST, then 0430, then 0930. Anyone in the River Midwest, these times are approximately useful to you.
posted by eriko at 5:43 PM on February 3, 2006

So if we tune to FM 145.990 what will we hear exactly? I would try it actually, if I had a decent tuner.
posted by snsranch at 5:59 PM on February 3, 2006

Godspeed to you, empty suit.
posted by mwhybark at 6:12 PM on February 3, 2006

So if we tune to FM 145.990 what will we hear exactly?

A voice beacon, and warbling tones from the SSTV (Slow Scan TV) transmission.

However, things are looking bad for SuitSat -- very little contact has been made, even by stations with large antenna arrays with preamplifiers. It's likely that it is, at best, transmitting with much less effective power than designed, if it hasn't failed outright.
posted by eriko at 7:23 PM on February 3, 2006

NASA-TV is reporting that SuitSat 1's batteries have failed.

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horitio: a fellow
of inifite jest, of most excellent fancy...

posted by eriko at 8:08 PM on February 3, 2006

posted by mwhybark at 8:12 PM on February 3, 2006

SuitSat's payload will also include a CD containing hundreds of school pictures, artwork, poems, and student signatures from schools all over the world--Japan/Asia, Europe, Russia, Canada, US, South America and Africa.

Frank continues, "Two identical CDs were flown into space. One will go in the suit, and the other will be for the crew to review.

So they're taking the CD full of student work and putting it in a suit that's going to burn up in a few weeks? Cold.
posted by Jawn at 8:34 PM on February 3, 2006

The atmosphere-skimming aliens they don't tell us about just might grab it. And play the CD mix. And groove to it.
posted by dhartung at 9:13 PM on February 3, 2006

This one was launched by:
1) Carrying it outside the ISS
2) Pushing it away so that it wouldn't hit the ISS.
It did spin really lazily, but I don't think accuracy was very important since, being a part of the space station, it had the same velocity as the space station, and therefore the same orbit. Satellites are usually more precisely launched, but with the same general rule. They're usually released (via shuttle or rocket), then corrected (with onboard propulsion or fantastic release accuracy) into a stable orbit.

Educated Guesses:
The baseball would have a rapidly decaying orbit. It's horizontal vector is not zero, and it wouldn't fall straight down. But yeah, eventually burnination. It wouldn't become a meteorite; the materials its made of definitely wouldn't survive being heated to thousands of C as it falls through the atmosphere (meteorites are the meteors that make it to the surface).

I'm not sure if a washing machine would survive reentry. It would break up, and some components would eventually vaporize. The angle of impact is important here, the more atmosphere it goes through, the hotter it gets. But! The smaller it is, the more likely it is to get slowed down. Maybe someone would get a motor surprise in their backyard.
posted by pantsrobot at 11:46 PM on February 3, 2006

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