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ISS News

Christmas Greetings From Space

By Keith Cowing
December 15, 2005


NASA Space Station Crew Timeline 14 December 2005 (times shown are GMT)

15:05-15:15 PAO crew prep
15:15-15:35 Downlink of Merry Christmas greetings and for NASA Explorer Schools (Ku + S-band)
15:35-15:55 CDR EPO: procedure review

Editor’s note: 50 minutes just to say “Merry Christmas”? Or are they going to do the whole Happy Hanukkah, Kwanza, Winter Solstice, etc. roll call – in English and Russian?

Editor’s note: I stand corrected – by JSC – but still, 20 minutes to say “Merry Christmas”? I once did a lengthy interview with an ISS crew on-orbit in the same (actually 25 minute) window — “Your posting on the Christmas greeting downlink is incorrect. The PAO prep is time to setup the camera(s), voice comm checks etc. The downlink itself, which is not just the Christmas greeting, is only 20 minutes (1515-1535).The EPO procedure review (1535-1555) is totally unrelated, EPO standing for Education Payload Operations, a series of activities performed by many crewmembers over the years to explain various aspects of space flight and living on ISS.”

Editor’s note: The following was provided by and shows the complexity of this event:

Wednesday, December 14, GMT Day 348, 1515 – 1529: Downlink Messages for A) Holiday greetings & food demo and B) NASA Explorer Schools Event


Date: Wednesday, December 14 / GMT Day 348
Event Window: 1515 – 1529 GMT (9:15am – 9:29am CST)
Comm: Ku-Band video and S-Band audio on Space-to-Ground 2.
Duration: 14 minutes
ISS Location: U.S. “Destiny” Laboratory Station Participants: Bill and Valeri
Message Backgrounds:

A) Holiday Greetings

We would like for you to downlink a holiday greeting that will later air on NASA-TV as Christmas and New Years approach.

Event Plan:

For this message, please set up all Christmas decorations in the background and wear any festive items available. The items are stowed in NOD1D4_A2. There you should find a Christmas banner and a Christmas tree, and possibly some scarves and Santa hats.

The message bullet points are at the end of this document in large-text format. After Ku and S-band communications are established with the ground and you receive a GO from Capcom, you are clear to start delivering the messages. The messages will not go out to NASA TV, and multiple takes are acceptable in the time available, if necessary.

This will be in the same format as your Thanksgiving message, where instead of providing you with a script, we would like for you to ad lib as best you can using the bullets in large-format at the end of this message. We would also like for you to offer a short standalone

“Happy New Year” message — this will extend the air-time of your message for playability after Christmas is over. Once your holiday messages are complete, please provide us with a brief “show and tell” of the food items you plan on enjoying this Christmas holiday, if they are available to you as opposed to items that may be arriving on the Progress 20.

B) NASA Explorer Schools

NASA Headquarters has requested a message from the Expedition 12 crew to greet newly-accepted schools into the NASA Explorer Schools program.

Schools from across the country are eligible to apply online for an opportunity to partner with NASA in a program designed to bring engaging mathematics, science, and technology learning to educators, students, and families.

Each spring, a three-year partnership is established between NASA and 50 new NASA Explorer School teams, consisting of teachers and education administrators from diverse communities across the country.

NASA invites the selected teams to work with education specialists from NASA Centers in an effort to spark innovative science and mathematics instruction for students in grades 4 through 9. While partnered with NASA, Explorer School teams will acquire new teaching resources and technology tools using NASA’s unique content, experts and other resources.

Event Plan:

After the holiday messages are complete and once you’ve stowed the Christmas dcor and apparel, you are go to deliver this message.

We will not uplink an Event Summary / Voice Calls message for the downlink messages; all the required information is in this PAO Weekly Look-Ahead.

That summarizes your PAO activity for this week. If there’s any opportunity for you to send us some downlink video of Progress 19 packing operations, we’d love to see you both at work!

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.