Hardware and Humans ready to support the World Cup from space

by Chris Bergin

As billions of people prepare to cheer on their countries in the World Cup, which kicked off in Brazil on Thursday, the crew of the International Space Station sent down messages of support, while enjoying an impromptu kickabout on the orbital outpost. By far the world’s biggest sporting event, Intelsat noted its fleet of satellites have over 500 MHz of capacity reserved on seven satellites for full-time services during the tournament.

World Cup – Satellites:

The month-long World Championships will be beamed into homes across the planet, with Intelsat noting they stand ready to provide services to news and sports programmers that will be using their global satellite services and IntelsatOne terrestrial network.

The company noted they have committed to approximately 500 MHz of capacity, reserved on seven satellites, for full-time services for the duration of the games – which will be used to distribute the World Cup matches throughout the Americas and Europe.

Z4The seven satellites include: Galaxy 19, located at 97.0 degrees West; Intelsat 1R, located, at 310 degrees East; Intelsat 11, located at 317 degrees East; Intelsat 805, located at 304.5 degrees East; Intelsat 901, located at 342 degrees East; Intelsat 23, at 307 degrees East and Intelsat 21, at 302 degrees East.

Television and media organizations using Intelsat birds during the World Cup include the BBC.

“These satellites offer optimal coverage and power to meet the diverse requirements of media customers from around the world who are covering this event,” Intelsat added.

In total, Intelsat expects to transmit approximately 50,000 plus hours of live coverage during the duration of the World Cup, making it one of the largest events in history in terms of coverage hours.

“Intelsat excels at bringing the world together to share in some of the most exciting moments in modern history,” added Peter Ostapiuk, Intelsat’s Vice President, Media Product Management. “As we mark our fiftieth anniversary in 2014, we are proud once again to support the world’s leading sports and news programmers as we connect billions of people from around the globe with what promises to be some of this summer’s most exciting television.”

ESA also added a feature on the use of satellites with the World Cup.

ISS Crew Support from Space:

Even NASA got in on the act with a series of tweets and videos. The sport is enjoying a large up-curve in popularity in the United States, via a growing domestic league (MLS) and an international team that has won 19 of its last 24 games.

Z9AThe ISS crew have been gearing up for the World Cup, providing photos of the Brazilian cities ready to host the games from their vantage point on the Station.

On Thursday morning, NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman tweeted a night time photo of a pass over São Paulo, which is set to kick off the World Championships with the opening game between host nation Brazil and Croatia.

The crew sent down a video of support on Wednesday, with European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst kitted out in his Germany jersey and Wiseman in his United States jersey.

“We’d like to wish all the teams and fans on the ground in Brazil a great World Cup. Have fun and may the best team win,” noted Gerst, likely with one eye on USA vs Germany, which is the third match in the incredibly tight Group G – set to take place on June 26 at Arena Pernambuco in Recife.

Z5“Have fun, play hard, and we’ll be watching on the International Space Station,” added Wiseman.

That was followed by footage of a kickabout in the US Section with a miniature soccer ball (football), with Expedition 40 Commander Steve Swanson showing surprising good ball skills in micro G.

However, he was denied a clear goal scoring opportunity late in the video, as Gerst flew in with a diving save to take the ball off the foot of the American.

ISS Status:

While the crew were enjoying an off duty period during their fun and games on the Station, a large amount of work is conducted during the Expedition 40 timeline.

This included the recent departure of the Russian resupply ship Progress (53P/M-12M).

The automated vehicle arrived in November of last year, aafter being manually docked by Oleg Kotov, following a failure of a more-efficient KURS automated rendezvous system.

Z7The test of the Kurs-NA system was successfully conducted in April, when the Progress was undocked for a short trip in space, prior to its redocking.

Departing for the final time on June 9, the vehicle bid farewell with a destructive re-entry, with photography of the death plunge captured by ESA’s Gerst from the ISS – a rare event.

Another rare event occurred on Station, after smoke was seen coming from a water and heating dispensing unit (СРВК БРП-М) in the Service Module a few days ago.

While the smoke detectors on the Station did not trip, the crew were directed to activate the manual fire alarm and take Compound Specific Analyzer-Combustion Products (CSA-CP) readings in the Lab and the SM.

“Readings were slightly elevated in the SM but below masking limits,” added L2 ISS Status surrounding the event. “After disconnecting the БРП-М, the unit cooled down and the smoke dissipated.  The crew replaced the unit with an onboard spare, performed a successful leak check and used the new БРП-М heater with no issues. “

“The removed БРП-М has been placed in a rubber lined bag and stowed in 55 Progress.”

Teams on the ground are also looking into a Remote Power Control Module (RPCM) trip on the 4B_A Remote Power Controller (RPC).

The RPC in question feeds the Early External Thermal Control System (EETCS) Loop A Pump Flow Control Subassembly (PFCS).

“The ground completed the second phase of troubleshooting by isolating RPC 4.  There were heater strings on another RPC that activated simultaneously with the initial trip of RPC 4 occurred,” added L2 ISS Status.

“The theory is that there could be a potential short between the PFCS power circuit and one of the heater circuits in the wire harness. The heater circuits RPCs were isolated, the ground commanded RPC 4 closed and it tripped immediately upon closure.”

Truss SystemsA Failure Investigation Team (FIT) was set up to evaluate the issue, which has already made some progress on the fault tree.

“The data revealed again, a true over current event in the PFCS or downstream system.  This exonerates the heater circuits.  The RPCs for the heater circuits were reclosed successfully.”

The ISS recently passed through a period of “positive high beta angle” passes, which places some thermal strains on the orbital outpost. However, the data appears to show the ISS was none the worse for her heated journey.

“Positive High Beta Pass Status – Ground teams continue to monitor thermal data, since sometimes the peak hardware temperatures occur after the peak beta is reached,” added L2 ISS Status.

“No thermal exceedances have been seen so far.  Night passes (have now) resumed.”

(Images: L2′s ISS Section and NASA)

(L2 Members: Click here for Updates, Images and Presentations relating to this situation on the ISS).

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