Clarion's car device goes to space
During the Cold War the United Stated and the Soviet Union competed in many areas and in many places, while the "ultimate goal" was to be No1 in outer space. The space race started at the end of the Second World War and it culminated with Yuri Gagarin in the orbit around the Earth and with Armstrong/Aldrin on the Moon.
Through the years the East and the West tried to achieve more then "the other side", but while the scientist worked, the politicians worked too. The end of the Cold War was the end of the space race, too. Since Soviet Union had well known Salyut and Mir space station, NASA planned Freedom, an US space station. But, there was no need for that anymore. Not in conceived form, anyway. In early 1990s the official from Russia, US, Canada, Japan and Europe started talks about building international space station. The project known as Space Station Alpha was presented in 1993 and it consisted of US Freedom, Russia's Mir-2 and European Columbus. During tough times for Space Shuttle, Russian rockets kept the International Space Station (ISS) alive, transporting astronauts, cosmonauts, supplies and scientific instrument from the ground to ISS.
Now, the International Space Station is growing to become a first hard point, beside Earth, on our journey to stars. In that can seen from Earth with the naked eye and scientist in it work on vast range of scientific problems. However, they must rest from time to time. And scientists on the ground are (finally!) aware of the small devices for fun that we enjoy down here every day. For the first time, the car audio-video component will be used on the International Space Station. NASA official decided to install a DVD player on the ISS and they choose Clarion equipment. So, Clarion DVD Multimedia Station VRX935VD and 6-disc DVD Changer VCZ625 will go in space. The ISS's batteries provide 12 Volt current, same as in cars, so it was logical decision to use slightly modified car A/V system. Clarion was lucky (read: had better devices) than other manufacturers and NASA selected its DVD changer and Multimedia Station to go up. The astronauts and cosmonauts will be able to enjoy in DVD, CD, CD-R/RW, and MP3.
The "beautifully" named Clarion's models VRX935VD and VCZ625 were modified, and here are some of the technical data. Display is 7-inch TN LCD; there is FM/AM tuner, DVD and CD mechanism with good frequency response and CD Wow/Flutter below measurable limits.
As we are happy to see that astronauts and cosmonauts will have a really good entertainment device on their disposal, which should make them a little bit closer to us mortals, we have two questions. First, a CD/DVD device working in a car on a bumpy road works under tough conditions, but how will it perform in outer space? And second, and more important, who will chose what CD to ship them up? NASA officials? Astronauts themselves? Will music be from American, European, Russian or Japan? Who'll have the final word? Maybe will be witnesses of The First Fight Over CD in the Space :-) ■