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SAREX Comments From the Crew of STS-37 (from the Post-Landing Crew Press Conference)
Ken Cameron explained to us about the STS-37 attempts to contact Mir:1'We had a couple of tries at contacting Mir. The ground had sent up messages letting us know when we had close passes, or what we call conjunctions. The closest was about 190 km. We called them repeatedly. There were arrangements for them to listen on a certain frequency, Unfortunately, there was stiil a lot of interference, probably due to other folks using their radios for other reasons on that frequency. We called them and we heard them calling us back. So. depending on your definition of real contact, I felt we contacted them, Certainly there were two small spacecraft up there orbiting the Earth, which were calling out for each other. That in itself is fairly significant—even if we didn't exchange words of great diplomatic importance. We were both up there, little points of light, and we tried to reach each other and share the view and share our thoughts. I really couldn't get an RST in the conventional sense—it was almost a one or a zero the way the radio was working. I heard Musa speaking English. I also heard over that area of the South Pacific what I thought at first was Russian, but I think it was just some other language that someone was transmitting in the area. I really couldn't tell. I tried Russian myseff on Musa, but it probably didn't sound so red hot if they heard it. But I did my best after some college Russian classes, Bui Musa was speaking English."
Jerry Ross added: "We also did see Mir go across the sky just as the ground called up to us to look at the Big Dipper, and we poked our heads in alt different windows and I was the first to spot it. Everybody else got a chance to see it, also.11
Jay Apt said: "For ail of us, it was a pretty profound experience to look up there and see the only other folks orbiting the planet, pretty close. I guess we were about 60 miles apart at the time. Just knowing that each spacecraft carrying its own world of oxygen and food was orbiting nearby and thinking to ourselves that that was pretty neat. And, there's probably never again going to be a time when men and women aren't continuously in orbit above our planet/'
We asked Ken's crewmates how they fett about SAREX, and whether they would like to fly with it again,
Steve Nagel said: "Well. Ken was the 'primary ham/ as t called him. But I sure enjoyed the contacts I established, I had one where we talked to the students at Clear Lake here and I found that extremely enjoyable. I enjoyed having it on board. And Ken actually did manage the cables very well."
Linda Godwin said: "I think that all of us wish we had another day up there just to do more SAREX so we could have more time on the radio, i had one pass across Australia where I made some contacts, and one in New Zealand. It's kind of amazing that you're talking to the people down on the ground and you have a direct link with the folks down there you're seeing out through the windows. It's great/'
Jerry Ross said, with achuckte: "This was my first and ONLY two-way tinkon ham radio. So I have a very unique situation in the ham world."
Jay Apt said:J11 fett privileged to be able to have di rect contact with folks we were flying over, Jerry and I were talking one night about how neat it was to look down and think of all the cultures who were spread out below you and what those people were like, and I thought it was pretty neat to just have a way to talk to those people and learn about their cultures. I did talk to some folks in Australia and some folks in Hawaii, in addition to some of the school contacts we made, I think it's good for us to maintain some awareness that there's people on the ground different from you/T
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