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10 July 2011

Radio Amateur (Ham) on last shuttle flight

Image: Sandra Magnus KE5FYE

Radio Amateur Sandra Magnus KE5FYE blasted off from Cape Canaveral at 1529 GMT, Friday, on the final mission of the space shuttle Atlantis.

Sandy has a a PhD in materials science and engineering as well as degrees in physics and electrical engineering and she worked on stealth aircraft design for McDonnell Douglas.

During previous space missions she has operated the ISS ham radio station NA1SS to talk to school pupils around the world including in 2009 the Pilton Bluecoat Primary School in Barnstable, UK.

Atlantis' STS-135 mission will deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module filled with supplies and spare parts to sustain space station operations after the shuttles are retired.

The mission also will fly the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM), an experiment designed to demonstrate and test the tools, technologies and techniques needed to robotically refuel satellites in space - even satellites not designed to be serviced. The crew also will return an ammonia pump that recently failed on the station. Engineers want to understand why the pump failed and improve designs for future spacecraft.

Onboard Atlantis with Sandy KE5FYE are Chris Ferguson, Doug Hurley and Rex Walheim.

- Southgate Amateur Radio News