Amateur Radio on the International Space Station

Proposal Window Opens September 1

The next proposal window for US schools and eduational organizations to host an Amateur Radio contact with a crew member on board the ISS will open September 1 – November 1, 2015, for contacts to be scheduled July – December 2016. 

Click here for more information about the proposal requirements.

What is ARISS?

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is a cooperative venture of the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT), the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States, and other international space agencies and international amateur radio organizations around the world. The primary purpose of ARISS is to organize scheduled contacts via amateur radio between crew members aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and classrooms or informal education venues. With the help of experienced amateur radio volunteers from amateur radio clubs and coordination from the ARISS team, the ISS crew members speak directly with large group audiences in a variety of public forums such as school assemblies, science centers and museums, Scout camporees, jamborees and space camps, where students, teachers, parents, and communities learn about space, space technologies and Amateur Radio.

Goals of the ARISS program include:

  • Inspire an interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects and in STEM careers among young people
  • Provide an educational opportunity for students, teachers and the general public to learn about space exploration, space technologies and satellite communications
  • Provide an educational opportunity for students, teachers and the general public to learn about wireless technology and radio science through Amateur Radio
  • Provide an opportunity for Amateur Radio experimentation and evaluation of new technologies.
  • Provide a contingency communications system for NASA and the ISS crew.
  • Provide crew with another means to directly interact with a larger community outside the ISS, including friends and family.

Scheduled ARISS Amateur Radio contacts with the ISS are conducted either by direct contact, or by telebridge contact. The method used will depend on the radio station equipment and experienced radio amateur volunteers available to support the contact as well as technical issues related to the orbit of the ISS over the contact location.

Because the ARISS program supports the testing and installation of Amateur Radio stations aboard the ISS, astronauts have the equipment available to also make unscheduled ham radio contacts with radio amateurs all around the world on a one-to-one basis during their personal time. With a very limited investment in amateur radio equipment, licensed hams, including students who have access to Amateur Radio stations in a classroom, can make iindividual contact with astronauts aboard the ISS by learning to follow the published orbital schedule and practice some basic Amateur Radio contact techniques. JaceeNikole.jpg

See the short video below for some background on the ARISS program and how Boulder Hill Elementary School with guidance from the Fox River Radio League prepared for their contact.


7th Grade Students "Fly" on ARISSat-1

Dowagiac Middle School students were thrilled to contact ARISSat-1, and using Amateur Radio, download satellite telemetry data as well as their photo flown in space.

For more information, click here.



A short video providing some background on the ARISS program and how Boulder Hill Elementary School prepared for their contact with the guidance of members of the Fox River Radio League.