Synthesis and Transmission of Cosmic Call 2003
Interstellar Radio Message


Foreword: On July 6, 2003, an international science team, led by Dr. Alexander Zaitsev of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Richard Braastad of Team Encounter, LLC, broadcast scientific and personal messages in “Cosmic Call 2003” to five, sun-like stars. Below is a brief description of the preparation and implementation of CC-2003.

Charles M. Chafer

President, Team Encounter, LLC.


Richard Braastad, Team Encounter, USA

Alexander Zaitsev, IRE RAS, Russia


The team used the National Space Agency of Ukraine’s Evpatoria Planetary Radar (EPR) in Crimea. The broadcast was a follow-on to Team Encounter’s Cosmic Call 1999, also broadcast from the EPR. The Cosmic Call is the brainchild of Team Encounter President Charles M. Chafer. While Cosmic Call 1999 broadcast the names and short text messages of Team Encounter members, Cosmic Call 2003 also included photos, drawings, audio and video files submitted by Team Encounter members worldwide.

Team Encounter represents a unique way of conducting space missions, such as Cosmic Call 2003.  Whereas most space missions have historically been financed through national space programs underwritten by taxes, Cosmic Calls are financed through Team Encounter’s customers: everyday people from around the world who join Team Encounter, primarily through the Internet.  This innovative financial arrangement makes possible a “people’s space program” and, we believe, represents the wave of the future.  The successful promotion of Team Encounter’s space missions – including Humanity’s First Starship – is testimony to this space mission financial model, [1].

The transmitting system of the EPR has not been changed since 1999. Its main characteristics are as follows: the central frequency is 5.01 GHz, and the effective area of the transmitting antenna is about 2500 square meters. The work is conducted from a highly stable hydrogen generator in a mode of continuous coherent radiation with average capacity up to 150 kW.  The digital information is transmitted using carrying frequency manipulation with a deviation of 48 kHz: The nominal shift of +24 kHz corresponds to the symbol “1,” and the shift of –24 kHz corresponds to the symbol "0."  The message transmission rate was determined by known radio communication formulas, assuming that "THERE" — at the reception end of a space radio link — the antenna with a quality factor (the ratio of the effective area to receiving system total noise temperature) equals 20000 m2/K is used, which meets SKA terrestrial aerial lattice: We assume the technology THERE is only ten years more advanced than our own.  For a distance of 50 light-years, corresponding calculations give the value of 400 bits per second as the appropriate transmission rate for broadcast of Cosmic Call 2003’s scientific messages. Three basic messages of the scientific message — the Interstellar Rosetta Stone, the 1974 Arecibo Message, and the Bilingual Image Glossary — were transmitted thrice to avoid message fading.


Inside the 70-m Dish, from bottom to up: Richard Braastad, Olga Smyk, Viktor, Alexander Zaitsev, and Sergey.


Five neighboring, sun-like stars were chosen from the SETI star catalogue "HabCat” as Cosmic Call 2003’s target stars, some of which have recently been shown to have planets. The names and some parameters of these stars are shown in Table 1.


Table 1. Target Stars of Cosmic Call 2003


## Star Type Constellation Distance (LY)
1 Hip 07918 G2V Andromeda 41.2
2 Hip 26335 K7 Orion 37.1
3 Hip 43587 G8V A Cancer 40.9
4 Hip 53721 G0V Ursa Major 45.9
5 Hip 04872 K5V Cassiopeia 32.8


For purposes of accurately tracking the future position of the Target Stars, corrections by azimuth and elevation were applied, taking into account the stars’ proper motion PM, equal to double the product of PM on distance.  Stars in Table 1 are ordered by the beginning of sessions transmission began to star # 1 on July, 6 at 02:00 Moscow Standard Time (UT + 3h); and transmission to the star # 5 began at 16:00. Transmission of the Scientific Messages took 53 minutes.  Duration of the Public Message transmissions varied with each session – each target star – because different Public Messages were transmitted to the various stars.

The Scientific Messages consisted of five messages:

1.     ISR

2.     Braastad

3.     Arecibo

4.     BIG

5.     TE Staff



The Interstellar Rosetta Stone (ISR) is a message created by Canadian scientists Yvan Dutil and Stephane Dumás, authors of a similar Scientific Message in Cosmic Call 1999. The size of the ISR is 263906 bits with 127 symbols in each of 2078 lines. Unlike their message of 1999 which consisted of 23 ‘pages’ where each page was 127 X 127 binary elements, the ISR uses a slightly different approach: Different ‘pages’ have different numbers of ‘lines’. The contents of the ISR, representing an attempt to create an elementary encyclopedia of terrestrial knowledge, was not significantly changed from the Dutil-Dumás message of Cosmic Call 1999.  More details about the ISR and the principles underlying it are described in Dutil and Dumas’s IAA paper, “Error Correction Scheme in Active SETI”, [2], and at Dutil and Dumas’s Web site,

The Braastad and TE Staff messages were prepared by Team Encounter, The Braastad Message uses the ‘mathematical language’ of the ISR to describe Team Encounter’s premiere spacecraft, Humanity’s First Starship, including its dimensions, payload, trajectory, and projected time of launch.  The TE Staff messages include various messages submitted by Team Encounter personnel.  The Braastad Message represents 88687 bits, and the Team Encounter Staff Message represents 24899 bits, for a total of 113586 bits.

The Arecibo message is a copy of the first interstellar radio message sent from Arecibo, Puerto Rico on November, 16, 1974 at 17:00 GMT.  Its size is 1679 bits, [3].

The Bilingual Image Glossary (BIG) message is synthesized by us on the basis of 12 binary images where each image is 101 elements by 101 lines.  The BIG served as the Image Dictionary of the Teen Age Message of 2001, [4].  Updating of the Dictionary consisted in its transformation from 12 separate pages into one page. Thus, each of the separate pages (except the last) was shortened by one line to exclude doubling the width of the horizontal frame lines.  As a result, the uniform BIG page contains (12 * 100 + 1) = 1201 lines, and the size of its binary file equals the product of two prime numbers — 101 and 1201, which makes 121301 bits. The BIG message image is given from the left.

The total volume of the five Scientific Messages is 500472 bits.  It took 53 minutes to transmit these messages.  The IRS, Arecibo and BIG messages were transmitted three times to each target star.  The Braastad and Team Encounter Staff messages were transmitted once to each star.  The Scientific Messages were transmitted to each target star in the following sequence:

IRS ® IRS ® IRS ® Arecibo ® Arecibo ® Arecibo ® BIG ® BIG ® BIG ® Braastad ® Team Encounter Staff

Thus, for the first time in the history of interstellar radio transmission, an international team of experts from the USA, Canada and Russia composed and transmitted scientific messages. We believe this is the way scientific messages from Earth should be created!

As mentioned above, personal messages from thousands of people in over 50 countries were included in Cosmic Call 2003.  These messages were submitted, primarily through e-mail, to Team Encounter’s offices in Houston, Texas where the messages were prepared for transmission.  The personal messages included text, still image, audio and video files.  Any analog messages submitted by Team Encounter members were transformed by Team Encounter into digital format. All told, the personal messages were organized into 24 electronic folders and, in total, represented 220 megabytes of information.  It was clear that for their radiation into space the transmission rate of 400 bauds would not be sufficient — bit-by-bit transmission of such a large amount of information would take more than 50 days of transmission time. Therefore, we transmitted the personal messages at a rate of 100 kbauds.  As a result, we spent a total of approximately 11 hours transmitting the Personal Messages in Cosmic Call 2003.

Future researchers should find the Personal Messages quite interesting.  We consider these messages as being a unique expression of creativity by Terrestrials from around the world at the boundary of the second and third millennia.  We shall mention only some of the 24 Personal Message folders:

Interested persons can learn more about these messages by contacting Richard Braastad at and/or Alexander Zaitsev at  Samples of these messages can be found on the Team Encounter Web site.


Press Conference, from left to right: Viktor Abrosimov, Deputy of the Chief of the National Center of Space Facilities Control and Tests (NCSFCT), Richard Braastad, Alexander Zaitsev, Andrey Danilenko, Mayor of Evpatoria, and Stanislav Malevinsky, Chief of the NCSFCT.



In conclusion, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone who helped to create and send the Cosmic Call 2003 interstellar radio message. Special thanks to:

Hugh Downs, a famous American television and radio broadcaster, for beginning Cosmic Call 2003 with a special greeting from planet Earth;

The National Space Agency of Ukraine (NSAU), especially to the NSAU’s Eugeny I. Makhonin;

The National Center of Space Facilities Control and Tests (NCSFCT) in Evpatoria, especially to the NCSFCT’s chief Stanislav V. Malevinsky;

All members of the staff of both NCSFCT and IRE RAS: Their unique experience and high level of professionalism provided precise and trouble-free operation of the 70-m antenna, a powerful radio transmitter with efficient control systems and electronic communications. Without their qualified and creative participation, Cosmic Call 2003 could not have taken place.



1.    Humanity's First Starship,”

2.     Yvan Dutil, Stephane Dumas. Error Correction Scheme in Active SETI. IAA Publication IAA-01-IAA.9.1.09.

3.     The Staff at the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center. “The Arecibo Message of November, 1974.” Icarus, vol. 26, 462-466, (1975).

4.    A Teen Age Message to the Stars,

5.     V. Krylov. Answer us, Brothers by Intellect. The newspaper “Evpatorijskaya Zdravnitsa,” number 127 (16413) from July, 9, 2003, page 1.