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ARISS Logs Several Successful Ham Radio Contacts with ISS Crew

08/05/2013

The International Space Station crew has been answering a lot of questions lately — all as part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) educational outreach. European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano, KF5KDP, of Italy, was at the helm of NA1SS aboard the ISS for a successful contact July 30 with students at the Italian Bilingual School in New South Wales, Australia. The contact via VK4KHZ lasted just under 10 minutes. After English, Italian is the most widely spoken language in Australia, with more than 500,000 speakers there using the language on a daily basis.

Parmitano continued his roll of successful ham radio contacts with Earth on August 1, when he was interviewed by budding pilots and aircraft enthusiasts attending the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Contact was established between NA1SS and AH6NM, with audio telebridged to the AirVenture site. (Telebridges make contacts possible when the ISS is not in a favorable orbit for a direct contact.)

Welcoming some 500,000 AirVenture visitors each year and with a student membership of more than 20,000, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EEA) “is a gateway to aerospace for many young people,” the association says. “The young people present for the contact with the space station were very diverse and reflect the range of people who are active in our organization.” That included some 125 young women and their mentors who are part of WomenSoar, a program to promote aerospace opportunities for women. Also on hand were groups from aviation high schools in Florida and California.

ARISS VIPs also were there for the occasion, including ARISS International Chair and AMSAT Vice President for Human Spaceflight Frank Bauer, KA3HDO — who was the ARISS mentor for the event — and ARISS US ARRL Delegate Rosalie White, K1STO. Both are private pilots and had already planned to attend AirVenture before the ARISS contact was arranged. The Several former astronauts also planned to be there for the contact. They included Charlie Precourt, KB5YSQ, Jim Voss, and Kent Rominger, all of whom conducted ham radio contacts from space with students on Earth.

Parmitano’s colleague in space, NASA Astronaut Christopher Cassidy, KF5KDR, concluded yet another successful contact August 3 with students attending Space Jam 7 at the Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum, Rantoul, Illinois. The contact was between NA1SS and LU8YY, with audio telebridged to the museum.

Space Jam 7 is a Scouting activity aimed at completing the requirements of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) merit badges well as promoting the skills required by aspiring astronauts. The event included a ham radio licensing class. Space Jam 7 was attending by some 2000 Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and leaders from 20 states. The theme this year was the Future of Space Exploration.

 The ISS crew also enjoyed a successful contact August 6 with students attending the Escuela Provincial de Educación Técnica No. 2 (Provincial School of Technical Education No. 2) in General Pico la Pampa, Argentina. The contact was between NA1SS and LU8YY, with audio telebridged to the school. In addition the crew spoke August 7 with youngsters at Ecole Primaire Pasteur (Pasteur Elementary School), Fleurance, France, via an audio telebridge with LU1CGB.

ARISS is an international educational outreach with participation from ARRL, NASA, ESA, the Russian Space Agency (ROSCOSMOS), CNES, JAXA, CSA and AMSAT. — ARISS, AMSAT News Service



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