JLG boom reaches space station

10 December 2008

JLG's Brisbane branch provided a 600AJ articulated boom to help a primary school link up with the In

JLG's Brisbane branch provided a 600AJ articulated boom to help a primary school link up with the International Space Station.

Children from an Australian primary school were able to speak to an astronaut on the International Space Station with the help of a JLG 600AJ articulating boom.

The boom's 18.3 m reach combined with an amateur radio aerial mounted on its platform were able to bridge the 350 km distance to the space station. During the event, which was part of a programme sponsored by NASA's educational division, twenty children had the opportunity to ask questions of Astronaut, Colonel Mike Fincke before the space station passed out of range.

The challenge to rig up the aerial was exacerbated because the space link-up coincided with a visit from Australia's Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, and everything had to look its best. The erection of temporary scaffolding was considered unsuitable but JLG's Brisbane branch was able to offer the 600AJ.

The booms up-and-over capability meant the machine could be placed out of sight but the antenna could be elevated to the necessary height. The ground level controls on the 600AJ enabled the amateur radio team to fine tune the antenna's position and assist with tracking the space station as it moved across the sky at 27000 km/h.

According to NASA, the chance to speak to children back on earth is good for the crew's morale as the International Space Station is a very isolated working environment.

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