Information Net for February 27

Ridgetop Tennessee History


The topography and climate of Ridgetop Tennessee have defined its history. Located at the edge of Highland Rim, Ridgetop is more than 800 feet above sea level. In the 1800’s, Sebert Warren and Dave Smiley settled in the area. Smiley was a farmer, a schoolmaster and is believed to have constructed the first house in Ridgetop. One of the town’s most prominent men was Theodore Chancy Woodruff. Woodruff owned a store, served as railroad ticket agent and was the town’s postmaster. Ridgetop, originally known as Nunley and then as Chancy, took its name from the train stop which was known as Ridgetop Station.

Construction of the L&N Railroad tunnel began in 1902. The tunnel took four years to complete. In 1905 it was hailed as one of the longest self-supporting tunnels in the world. It was approximately 4700 feet long and 22 1/2 feet high. The advent of the tunnel attracted wealthy Nashville residents to Ridgetop.

They came during the summer months to escape the summer heat.


In 1891, a wealthy Nashville dentist purchased land in Ridgetop. Soon expensive homes were being built in an exclusive area known as The Enclosure. In 1913, Dr. Charles A. Robertson founded a 25-bed sanitarium in Ridgetop. Known as the Watauga Sanitarium, this private hospital treated patients suffering from tuberculosis. During the time Ridgetop was known as a summer haven for Nashville’s elite, there were no churches in the area. These summer visitors founded an interdenominational church in 1899. The church was known as the Oak Dell Church. After the church was destroyed by fire, Highland Chapel Independent Union Church was erected.

Ridgetop continues to thrive today. It is often referred to as a bedroom community of Nashville. Ridgetop continues to be the small community that its founding fathers had envisioned and although easily assessable by the interstate, Ridgetop continues to hold the charm of a relaxed lifestyle.

NASA Selects AMSAT Fox Satellite to Join Program

Read by: ADAM W8IFG

NASA’s “Educational Launch of NanoSat” managed by the Launch Services Program at the Kennedy Space Center, announced on February 10 that the AMSAT Fox-1 CubeSat has been selected to join the program.

NASA will work with AMSAT in a collaborative agreement where NASA will cover the integration and launch costs of satellites deemed to have merit in support of their strategic and educational goals.

AMSAT teamed with the ARRL to write and deliver the 159 page educational proposal to NASA. Letters documenting the importance of AMSAT’s satellites in the education programs at the ARRL and also at the Clay Center for Science and Technology at the Dexter and Southfield schools in Brookline, MA, were important parts of the proposal.

AMSAT President Barry Baines, WD4ASW said, “The ELaNA Launch opportunity marks AMSAT’s return to space after the conclusion of the successful ARISSat-1/KEDR flight. We need to get the flight Fox-1, along with an operational flight backup satellite, built, integrated, tested, and delivered. Our ability to provide a spacecraft and get it launched is dependent upon the active support of our donors who wish to see Fox-1 fly.”

Read by: PAUL KJ4WQN

English: AMSAT ECHO (AO-51) Amateur Radio Sate...

AMSAT Vice-President of Engineering, Tony Monteiro, AA2TX noted this will provide a launch opportunity for AMSAT’s next generation of FM repeater satellites with features and operation beyond the experience of AO-51. AMSAT’s Fox-1 Engineering Team is making progress developing the advanced satellite that will provide these features:

  1. Fox-1 is designed to operate in sunlight without batteries once the battery system fails. This applies lessons learned from AO-51 and ARISSat-1 operations.
  2. In case of IHU failure Fox-1 will continue to operate its FM repeater in a basic, ‘zombie sat’ mode, so that the repeater remains on-the-air.
  3. Fox-1 is designed as the immediate replacement for AO-51. Its UHF/VHF transponder will make it even easier to work with modest equipment.
  4. From the ground user’s perspective, the same FM amateur radio equipment used for AO-51 may be used for Fox-1.
  5. Extending the design, Fox-2 will benefit from the development work of Fox-1 by adding more sophisticated power management and Software Defined Transponder (SDX) communications systems.
Source: AMSAT News Service

Astronaut Janice Voss, KC5BTK (SK)

Read by: RICK N9GRW

portrait astronaut Janice Voss

NASA astronaut Janice Voss, KC5BTK, of Houston, Texas, passed away on February 7 from cancer. She was 55. One of only six women who have flown in space five times, Voss’ career was highlighted by her work and dedication to scientific payloads and exploration. Voss participated in making ham radio contacts from space via the Space Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX), the precursor to the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program.

“As the payload commander of two space shuttle missions, Janice was responsible for paving the way for experiments that we now perform on a daily basis on the International Space Station,” said Peggy Whitson, Chief of the Astronaut Office. “By improving the way scientists are able to analyze their data and establishing the experimental methods and hardware necessary to perform these unique experiments, Janice and her crew ensured that our space station would be the site of discoveries that we haven’t even imagined. During the last few years, Janice continued to lead our office’s efforts to provide the best possible procedures to crews operating experiments on the station today. Even more than Janice’s professional contributions, we will miss her positive outlook on the world and her determination to make all things better.”

Voss began her career with NASA in 1973 while a student at Purdue University. She returned to NASA in 1977 to work as an instructor, teaching entry guidance and navigation to space shuttle crews. After completing her PhD in 1987, she worked within the aerospace industry until she was selected as an astronaut in 1990.

Voss’ first spaceflight mission was STS-57 in 1993, the first flight of the SPACEHAB module. She next flew on STS-63 in 1995, a mission to the Mir space station and third flight of SPACEHAB. She also flew as a payload commander on STS-83 in 1997 with the Microgravity Science Laboratory (MSL), but the mission was cut short due to problems with one of the orbiter’s three fuel power generation units. Voss, the crew and MSL flew again as the STS-94 MSL-1 Spacelab mission, which focused on materials and combustion science research in microgravity.

Her last mission was STS-99 in 2000, a flight to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, which mapped more than 47 million square miles of the Earth’s land surface. In total, Voss spent more than 49 days in space, traveling 18.8 million miles in 779 Earth orbits.

From 2004-2007, Voss served as the science director for the Kepler spacecraft at NASA’s Ames Research Center. Designed to search for Earth-size planets orbiting distant stars, Kepler was launched in March 2009; to date, it has confirmed 61 exoplanets and identified more than 2000 planetary candidates. Voss most recently served as the payloads lead of the Astronaut Office’s Station Branch.

Source: NASA and AMSAT

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