Posted: Monday, May 7, 2001
The Russian cosmonauts who ferried up a fresh lifeboat to the International Space Station are delivering surprise Father's Day gifts for American astronaut James Voss and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Usachev. RadioShack is sending them talking picture frames with photos and 10-second voice messages from their daughters.
LunaCorp of Fairfax, VA, set up the picture frame project for RadioShack by collaborating with MirCorp and NASA's multimedia partner, Dreamtime. The companies jointly earned the approvals required from Rosviakosmos (the Russian space agency), NASA, and RSC Energia, which is the Russian company that builds the Soyuz vehicles.
Today's Soyuz docking is the last opportunity to have a crew deliver Father's Day gifts before Sunday, June 17. The visiting Soyuz cosmonaut crew of Talgat Musabayev and Yuri Baturin, who blasted off from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on April 28, carried both frames up to the International Space Station.
Each talking picture frame is a pocket-sized black square that opens like a book to reveal a photograph on one side and a microphone and speaker on the other. The frame records a message up to 10 seconds in length with the simple press of a button.
Kristie Voss, a 21-year-old student at the University of Texas at Austin, sent her dad, James Voss, a recent photo with voice greetings from her and her dog.
The other gift was personalized by 12-year-old Evgenia Usachev for her father, Yuri Usachev. She recorded her greeting at her parents' apartment in Korolev, Russia: "Hey dad, we are wishing you good fortune and success in your job, and good relationships with the crew."
The frames underwent extensive safety analyses and vacuum chamber tests before being certified for flight last week. The tests confirmed the picture frames weren't an electrical hazard and would not give off any dangerous fumes in the recycled atmosphere of the space station.
RadioShack also is working on a way to honor Susan Helms, the third member of the Expedition Two crew who is now on the station. Helms plays keyboard in the astronaut band "Max Q" when she's on Earth, and RadioShack would like to send Max Q music to the space station via the MP3 players the retailer sells.
"Our MP3 players are the next perfect gift for the space station," said Jim McDonald, senior vice president of marketing and advertising for RadioShack. "MP3 players take up virtually no room since they're smaller than a deck of cards, and you can always get new music delivered instantly by computer link even when you are very, very far away from home. Plus, no matter what acrobatics the astronauts do in zero gravity, the MP3 players will not skip."
LunaCorp and RadioShack will work with NASA and Rosviakosmos over the next few months to ensure that the MP3 players are "space qualified" - able to fly to the International Space Station without posing any danger to the crew or environment.
RadioShack Corporation (NYSE: RSH) is the nation's largest and most trusted consumer electronics retailer and offers both on- and off-line shopping convenience. With more than 7,200 stores and dealers, RadioShack sells more wireless telephones, telecommunications products and electronics parts and accessories than any other retailer. Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin is RadioShack's space ambassador. For more information, visit the RadioShack corporate Web site at www.radioshackcorporation.com.
LunaCorp is developing a series of space initiatives including landing a remotely controlled high-bandwidth robot on the Moon in late 2003. RadioShack became the Moon robot's first corporate sponsor last year. A prototype lunar robot, built by LunaCorp's technical partners at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University, will carry out field trials this July in the Canadian Arctic at Houghton Crater. For more information, contact LunaCorp President David Gump at 1-703-207-4500 or visit the Web site: www.lunacorp.com.
MirCorp is the leading manned commercial space exploration company, working with customers in the media and in private tourism. It is developing a man-tended module capable of being docked to the International Space Station. Corporate headquarters are in Amsterdam, Netherlands (telephone : +31 20 520 68 40); the media contact is Jeffrey Lenorovitz of the InfoWEST Group (U.S. telephone: +1-703-448-5669, European cellular: +33 6 80 85 86 25).
DREAMTiME, a privately held Silicon Valley-based new media company, is focused on increasing awareness of space through education and multimedia technology. Under the terms of a multi-year agreement with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), DREAMTiME is digitizing existing NASA archives and providing new content for a variety of outlets including broadcast, film and the Web. This collaboration was made possible by The Commercial Space Act of 1998.
MirCorp press/media contact:
Jeffrey M. Lenorovitz
The InfoWEST Group
Telephone (U.S.): +1 (703) 448-5669
Telephone (U.S. mobile): +1 (703) 615-3646
Telephone (France): +33 6 80-85-86-25
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