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West Point Graduate Responds to “Royal Military College” in Outer Space!

RMCC Communicates with International Space Station

Submitted by: Thomas J. RACEY, PhD (Two photos below by: 24487 OCdt Dan Fleming

RMCC has a very strong undergraduate and graduate Space Science program. The Physics Department has been working very hard to improve the “hands-on” component of the Undergraduate Program for the students. We recently were able to get the communication antenna installed on the roof that could be used to communicate with nano-satellites. RMCC is in the process of working on developing a nano-satellite which could be launched. As part of testing the system I would like to share an email description from LCol(ret’d) Phil Somers who is very active in the Surveillance of Space program at RMC. This occurred on Monday 20 September, 2010.

“While waiting for the sun to go down to start the satellite tracking for tonight, I had some time to do a bit of satellite communications. We have just recently gotten our new RMC amateur radio satellite ground station completed, but up until now, we have just been listening. This afternoon at 5:30 PM, I waited for the International Space Station to come above the south western horizon, and made contact with it at a range of 850 km. Our callsign is VE3RMC which I gave as Royal Military College instead of the normal Romeo Mike Charley. I suppose that callsign stood out a bit amidst the many others who were calling because the ISS, using callsign NA1SS, answered right away. It was Colonel Doug Wheelock, the current commander of the space station, who is a West Point graduate. The contact was very short because many other people wanted to talk to the ISS as well, but it was great that our first contact using the new VE3RMC station was such an interesting one. As a cadet back in 1966-1971, I operated both VE2CMR at Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean and VE3RMC in Kingston. But there was of course no ISS in those days. The station was in the basement of the barracks. Now our station is on the fifth floor of the academic buildings and the satellite antennas are on the roof beside the telescope domes. The main reason for this new station is to support the nanosatellite design program in the Department of Physics. And making this first contact with the space station was a great way to begin.”

It is with thanks to the efforts and dedication like this that RMCC makes progress.

Two proud Ex cadets. (L) 23996 Alex Cushley and 8761 Phil Somers. Alex is a Space Science program and current graduate student in the Department of Physics. He assembled the VE3RMC satellite station and the antenna system. Phil recently made contact with the Space Station. Long-time e-Veritas readers may recognize Alex from a couple of summers ago when he worked with e-Veritas and produced a number of high quality articles covering a number of ranges.  He was also married late this summer!

One Comment

  • Alex Cushley

    September 27, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Bill, thanks for the inclusion in the article. Very exciting news indeed. If you receive any interest from current cadets feel free to pass on my contact info. I will be looking into when the next HAM course will be run on base.