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ARISS Volunteers

Our Horizons are Widening-- Join Us!

The ARISS program is a cooperative venture of NASA, the ARRL and AMSAT and other international space agencies. ARISS organizes and schedules contacts via Amateur Radio between ISS crew members and educational organizations. With the help of experienced Amateur Radio volunteers, and coordination from the ARISS partnership team, crew members speak directly with large youth audiences in a variety of public forums --school assemblies, science museums, Scout camporees and jamborees and space camps—where students, teachers, parents, and communities learn about space, space technologies and  Amateur Radio.

Public awareness of the ARISS program is growing as a result of a new proposal process, and promotion by NASA through its broad outreach to schools and teachers. This presents the Amateur Radio community with an opportunity to reach out to even more schools in locations across the US through the ARISS program. 

Two Ways to Get Involved!

Option 1

  • Volunteer with a Ground Support Team

    We are recruiting clubs and individuals throughout the US who are able and willing to support the ARISS program in their local communities. Optimally, this means setting up direct Amateur Radio contacts with the ISS.  Direct contacts provide the best opportunity to showcase Amateur Radio and offer students a firsthand experience. An ARISS event can open the door for an ongoing relationship between local ham radio clubs and schools, providing students with continuing opportunities to explore radio science, satellite communications and wireless technology with Amateur Radio.


  • Responsibilities

    • Develop a relationship with representatives of local organizations, e.g. Rotary clubs, Scout organizations, parent organizations, etc., as well as local Amateur Radio clubs, to coordinate the local arrangements for the event. 
    • Coordinate with an ARISS Technical Mentor who will be your advisor to assure that the logistical details of the contact are integrated and viable.
    • Be responsible for ensuring that all of the required equipment for the contact is on site, working, and properly interfaced for the scheduled ARISS event.
    • Provide instruction to ARISS contact participants on operating procedure. 

    Time commitments for an ARISS contact can vary widely depending on the needs of the school, site logistics, and the number of partners involved.  The school may invite you to provide ham radio demonstrations and instruction in radio science concepts, basic electronics, or other related technology topics before or after the ARISS event, or on an extended basis.  If you have the time and the capability to provide this extended outreach, you will need to decide how much time you can commit.

  • Qualifications

    • Amateur Radio license and on-the-air experience operating on Amateur Radio satellites with automatic antenna tracking and Doppler correction.  
    • VHF and UHF experience with station setup as it relates to choice of antennas, feedlines, and connectors. 
    •  Access to equipment needed for the ARISS contact. 

    You’ll need strong interpersonal skills, and willingness to work as a team. You’ll need to be able to adapt to sudden changes in schedule and respond to the needs of the school or organization hosting the event.  Your motivation to share the experience of ham radio and encourage interest in radio, the science of radio, and science, technology and space exploration is vitally important.  Experience as a teacher or trainer is certainly a plus. 


    To download a full description and qualifications , click here.

    Contact us at for more information or to get involved.

  • Ground Station Equipment Requirements

    Two complete ground stations are required to stage a direct contact with the ISS in the ARISS program.  The requirements are based on an assessment of the many variables that affect the success of a contact with the ISS station, and also a requirement for redundancy in the event of unexpected equipment failure.  An ARISS contact involves a large audience and weeks of preparation and planning so no one wants to be involved in a disappointing experience. For these one-time stations at a school or other institution we try to balance the desire for a successful contact (more capable equipment) against the increased cost (what's the minimum we can have and still be successful). 


    Click here to review the ground station equipment configuration currently recommended to ensure a successful contact with the ISS. 


    Please note:  The recommended configuration has worked well in the past, but we are trying to encourage more people to volunteer and get involved in providing ground stations. To that end, an ARISS team of experts is revisiting our recommendation to see if there are any areas that could be made more flexible while still being comfortable that we will not put the success of the contact at risk.

Option 2

  • Volunteer as an ARISS Technical Mentor

    ARISS is also seeking additional volunteers to train to support the program in the liaison capacity as US ARISS Technical Mentor.

  • Responsibilities and Qualifications

    Technical Mentors serve as the coordinators between NASA operations and the local on-site support teams at the event site. They serve as advisors to the local Ground Support Volunteers and need the same skills as well as hands-on satellite communications experience. Technical Mentors communicate with the other mentors on the ARISS international operations team to coordinate ARISS contacts via telebridge stations around the world. They assimilate and transfer this information to the local Ground Support Volunteers who complete all of the arrangements for a scheduled ARISS contact.  In this capacity, your involvement is mostly e-mail correspondence, telephone calls, and participation in ARISS Operations telecons. However, Technical Mentors do find it rewarding to visit the contact site when possible!


    Mentoring for a single contact may require on average about 24 hours over a period of 12 weeks. An apprenticeship is provided for qualified candidates.  


    For a full description of the position and qualifications, click here.  

    For more information, or to get involved, contact us at:


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