Educational Entities: Apply Now for Space Station Ham Radio Contact Opportunities
The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program has announced that the application window is open for proposals from formal and informal educational institutions and organizations to host an Amateur Radio contact with an ISS crew member. The deadline for proposals is December 15. Educational entities may apply individually or in concert with other institutions or organizations. ARISS anticipates that ham radio contacts with the space station will take place between May 1 and December 31, 2015.
“Crew scheduling and ISS orbits will determine the exact contact dates,” the ARISS announcement explained. “To maximize these radio contact opportunities, ARISS is looking for organizations that will draw large numbers of participants and integrate the contact into a well-developed education plan.”
Since December 2000, crew members aboard the International Space Station have taken part in scheduled Amateur Radio contacts with students on Earth. Contacts typically last about 10 minutes — depending upon the ISS orbit — and follow a question-and-answer format. Schools. Educational organizations are encouraged to partner with a local Amateur Radio club or group to handle the technical aspects of the contact.
“An ARISS contact is a voice-only communication opportunity via Amateur Radio between astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the space station and classrooms and communities,” the ARISS announcement continued. “ARISS contacts afford education audiences the opportunity to learn firsthand from astronauts what it is like to live and work in space and to learn about space research conducted on the ISS. Students also will have an opportunity to learn about satellite communication, wireless technology, and radio science.”
Given 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.
Amateur Radio organizations around the world, NASA, and space agencies in Russia, Canada, Japan, and Europe sponsor these educational opportunities by providing the equipment and operational support to enable direct communication between crew on the ISS and students around the world via Amateur Radio.
The ARRL website has more information about the ARISS program, including details on expectations, audience, proposal guidelines and application form, and the dates and times of informational sessions. Contact ARISS with any questions or for additional information.
ARISS is a cooperative educational initiative of the ARRL and AMSAT, in partnership with NASA and other international space agencies.