The Proposal Window is Closed
The proposal window for US sponsors to host an Amateur Radio contact with a crew member on board the ISS is now closed. The next proposal window will open in September 2017, for contacts to be scheduled July - December 2018.
Scroll down this page to find a Proposal Guide, the Proposal Form and other information you'll need to apply. Information sessions are offered. Scroll down for dates and times.
Hosting an ARISS Contact
A scheduled ARISS contact is a voice-only communication via Amateur Radio between the International Space Station (ISS) crew and classrooms and communities. ARISS contacts allow education audiences to learn firsthand from astronauts what it is like to work and live in space. These scheduled contact opportunities are offered to formal and informal education institutions and organizations, individually or working together. The radio contacts are approximately 10 minutes in length due to the radio communication window permitted by the logistics of orbital passes of the ISS. During the contact, students interact directly with astronauts and cosmonauts during this communication window using a question and answer format.
To maximize these radio contacts, the ARISS program looks for organizations that will draw large numbers of participants and integrate the radio contact into a well-developed education plan. Because of the nature of human spaceflight and the complexity of scheduling activities aboard the ISS, organizations must demonstrate flexibility to accommodate changes in contact dates and times.
Students at Winfree Bryant Middle School in Lebanon, TN take their turn stepping up to the microphone to interview astronaut Gregory Wiseman, KF5LKT on August 26, 2014.
ARISS Proposal Requirements
U.S. education organizations interested in hosting an ARISS scheduled contact will find information about submitting a proposal below. (International schools should submit applications following instructions provided on the international ARISS Program website.)
Educational proposals should include plans for students to:
- study topics related to space technology, space exploration, or space research, and,
- learn about communication, wireless technology, and radio science
The more advance preparation educators make with educational plans, the more learning and value the ARISS event will have for students. Imagine your students interviewing an astronaut in space, maybe even using an antenna your students have assembled!
ARRL's Education & Technology Program and NASA offer valuable resources to help you and your students learn about wireless technology and satellite communications and space exploration. Go to ARRL’s web page: Preparation for an ARISS Contact for links to those resources.
An ARISS Technical Mentor is assigned to assist educational organizations with technical preparations and logistical coordination of the contact. With the assistance of your ARISS Technical Mentor, ARRL and AMSAT can help you find a local Amateur Radio group to provide equipment and expertise. In some cases, local ham radio club volunteers may also be able to assist with lessons on communication, wireless technology, or radio science.
Submitting a Proposal
Proposals from schools and organizations in the US are accepted during two proposal windows each year.
The Fall 2017 proposal window will open September 1 - November 15, 2017 for contacts to be scheduled July - December 2018.
Following is the sequence of steps involved in the proposal and selection process.
- Interested organizations in the US should obtain a planning guide with information about expectations and preparations for a proposal.
- Organizations participate in an online Information Session.
- Organizations reach out to local educational partners and local Radio Amateurs to develop and submit a proposal using the current proposal form.
- A committee of representatives from NASA, ARRL and AMSAT evaluate and approve proposals.
- 6 to 8 weeks after the close of the proposal window, organizations with approved proposals are sent a congratulatory email. Declination emails are also sent out at that time. Organizations are given the opportunity to request proposal feedback.
- Selected organizations participate in an ARISS Orientation Session and are paired with an ARISS Technical Mentor who will help them develop an Equipment Plan.
- After the Equipment Plan is approved, the organization initiates their Education Plan and preparations for the contact get underway
If you have questions regarding the proposal process, please send an email to email@example.com.
In order to help organizations prepare proposals, the ARISS program offers online Information Sessions. These sessions are an hour in length and are designed to provide more information regarding US ARISS contacts and the proposal process, as well as provide an avenue for interested organizations to ask questions. Attending an online Information Session is not required but is strongly encouraged.
Online Information Sessions for the Fall 2017 proposal window will be offered. Check back in September for an annoucement of those dates/times.
A Proposal Guide is offered to help you plan and identify the resources you will need to host an ARISS scheduled contact.
After reading the Guide and developing your plan, you can complete the ARISS Proposal Form and submit it during the proposal window.
Download the current version of the Proposal Guide (Spring 2017)
US schools and educational organizations may download this form to submit a proposal to host an ARISS contact. Use this form to submit the details of your Education and Outreach Plan.
Check back to download the Proposal Form (US) for proposals to be submitted during the Fall 2017 proposal window.
The Technical Proposal
Once your Education Plan is approved, you must decide whether your contact will be executed direct, with a ground station on site, or by telebridge. You must develop an Equipment Plan that provides the information necessary to be sure you will be able to support the contact method you have chosen. Your Technical Mentor will assist you and your local ham radio team to help you work through the considerations. Your Equipment Plan must be completed and submitted as soon as possible, but no later than 3 months after your Education Plan is approved.
Use this form to provide the information needed by the ARISS Operations Team to be assured that you have the equipment in place to successfully support your contact. Submit this completed form to your assigned Technical Mentor as soon as possible, but no later than 3 months after your Education Plan is approved.
The recommendations for the ground station to support a scheduled ARISS school contact are considerably more robust than needed for a casual contact with the ISS. Because the scheduled contact is a one-time event involving a large audience every effort is taken to configure a ground station that will offer the maximum communications window possible within the constraints of orbital mechanics and line of sight considerations, and to provide redundancy in the event of unexpected equipment failure. If you are considering supporting an ARISS scheduled contact please review current Ground Station Recommendations.
Recommendations for equipment configurations to support a telebridge contact will be provided by your Technical Mentor.
Use this template to develop a news release to circulate to your local newspaper and television stations.
Provide this backgrounder to representatives from the media who show up for the ARISS event.
On the day of the ARISS contact there count on plenty of cameras and video cameras. You'll need to get signed releases from paraents of students who will be featured in the event in order to use the photos or video captured in publicaiton in advance of the event. The ARISS program needs signed releases that provide specific permission for the ARISS program partners to publish photos/video featuring minors.
Please use the ARISS Child Talent Release Form provided here. Scan and send the signed releases to firstname.lastname@example.org within 3 days after your contact. Please send a copy of your email with the scanned Talent Release forms to your ARISS Mentor.
Ideally you should obtain signed Talent Releases for students participating in the contact event well before the event so that any photos or media relating to educational activities before the day of the contact, or media released on the day of the contact, can be shared and published immediately. If this isn't possible, please do send the signed, scanned releases within 3 days.
As soon as possible, but certainly within 2 weeks following your contact, please send us any photos or video that can be shared to tell the story of your experience. We are also interested in receiving photos/video of educational activities you have engaged with students in preparation for the contact event and information about those activities. We also appreciate receiving any anecdotal comments about the experience from educators, parents and students that you receive.
Other Forms and Notices
24 Hour Notice Instructions: 24 hours before your ARISS contact, verify that you are ready by sending an e-mail to:
email@example.com and to your ARISS Technical Mentor. Use the template below to make sure you include all of the information necessary.
Organizations not adhering to this e-mail request will be deleted as an ARISS scheduled contact!
Activity Report Instructions: File this report within 3 days after your contact.
One to two weeks prior to your contact, download the pdf file and save it to your computer. Prior to the day of the contact, identify the person who will be responsible for filling in the requested information on the day of the contact, and make sure he or she understands the information the form requests. Once the form is completed, send it as an email attachment to: firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy to your ARISS Mentor.
Please include a subject line that includes a description as follows:
Subject: ARISS Activity Report (organization name)
Here’s the information we will need to provide QSL cards for students and mentors participating in a scheduled contact in the US:
- Names of all students and participants for which you are requesting a card
- What call sign was used to contact the ISS? Was one call sign used or were there also personal call signs used?
- What was the call sign used by the ISS for the contact?
Then add the remaining information below:
- Mode (voice, or SWL for bystanders)
- Day, month, year, time in UTC
- Frequency in MHz
Note: You can request QSL cards for students who have made packet and SSTV contacts too.
Send the list to:
225 Main Street
Newington, CT 06111-1494 USA
Please include a return envelope with postage.