Hey Buddy, Nice Suit

Call it orbital recycling:

Thanks to an innovative Russian recycling program, amateur radio fans expect to be hearing from a new recruit in orbit when an old spacesuit gets a new life as a satellite this week.

Beginning on Friday, SuitSat should be on the air, broadcasting on FM 145.990 MHz.

Rather than being launched, this satellite will just get tossed into orbit by the International Space Station crew during a spacewalk slated to begin on Friday evening…..

The old suit was destined for the trash bin until it came to the notice of an international team of amateur radio buffs, said Orlando, Florida, resident Lou McFadin of the Radio Amateur Satellite Corp., or AMSAT.

A Russian colleague attending an AMSAT meeting in 2004 came up with the idea of putting a radio inside a soon-to-be decommissioned spacesuit and having astronauts boot it out the hatch. The all-volunteer effort, aided by corporate donations of equipment and by Moscow, is largely educational.

Space station flight engineer Valery Tokarev will do the honors, with assistance from U.S. astronaut and current space station commander Bill McArthur….

The suit is expected to drift away from the station and begin its short life as a radio satellite.

It will not take calls, but only relay prerecorded messages and transmit an as-yet mysterious digital picture. Batteries will power SuitSat’s radio and electronic gear for up to 90 hours, McFadin said.

Eventually, the suit will be pulled into Earth’s atmosphere and be incinerated.

Satsuit! Now that’s pretty cool.

I myself have got a couple of suits that should be incinerated. They transmit a not-so-secret message of tackiness.