NASA Astronauts and Astronaut Candidates Earn Amateur Radio Licenses
Every few years, NASA selects women and men to join its astronaut training program. Out of the hundreds who apply, only a select few are chosen to become Astronaut Candidates. Their training runs for at least two years, and when it is over, the Astronaut Candidates become full-fledged astronauts and are assigned to upcoming missions. Part of the training is an optional Amateur Radio licensing class. Once licensed and in space, these astronauts can use Amateur Radio to communicate with people here on Earth.
According to ARRL ARISS Program Manager Rosalie White, K1STO, the latest cycle of classes is almost over. “During the week of June 6-12, Nick Lance, KC5KBO, presented a series of Amateur Radio license class lessons to seven NASA Astronaut Candidates who elected to take part in future ARISS educational activities,” she said. “Following the classes, Nick conducted a license exam session on June 13 for those Astronaut Candidates who felt they were ready. On June 17, the FCC issued Technician class call signs to three Astronauts: Takuya Onishi, KF5LKS, Gregory Wiseman, KF5LKT, and Jeremy Hansen, KF5LKU. More Astronaut Candidates have expressed a desire to take the exam in the near future.”
White said that on June 9, Astronaut Michael Hopkins, who studied on his own, passed his Technician exam as well. The FCC issued his new call sign, KF5LJG, on June 14. His future NASA assignment is Expedition 37 in 2013 on the International Space Station. Additionally, Astronaut Kjell Lindgren, KO5MOS, upgraded from the Technician to General.
“The ARISS Team is thrilled to see such great interest on the part of the Astronauts and Astronaut Candidates who are looking forward to supporting Amateur Radio educational activities through the ARISS platform, White said. Kudos to the ARISS Houston contingent who continues to help increase the number of astronauts who are Amateur Radio operators!”