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ARISS Selects 15 Possible ISS Amateur Radio Contact Hosts for 2015 Events


Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) has selected 15 semifinalists to host ham radio contacts with ISS crew members during 2015. ARISS anticipates that NASA will provide 12 scheduling opportunities for US hosts between May and December. The 15 semifinalists, representing schools and educational organizations as well as one event, now must submit acceptable equipment plans that demonstrate their ability to carry out the Amateur Radio event. Once the ARISS technical team approves an equipment plan, ARISS will attempt to schedule applicants as their availability and flexibility match up with the opportunities offered by NASA. ARISS does not expect to be able to schedule all 15 schools on the list.

“This is a significant step in ARISS’s continuing effort to engage young people in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math activities and raise their awareness of human spaceflight,” an ARISS news release said. “ARISS was encouraged by the high level of interest in the education community, evidenced by the significant number of submitted proposals and the quality of the submissions.”

The 15 finalists are Bay View Elementary School, Burlington, Washington; Corpus Christi Catholic School, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; Daggett Montessori School K-8, Fort Worth, Texas; Dearborn Public Schools, Dearborn, Michigan; Grady High School Robotics Team, Atlanta, Georgia; Kopernik Observatory & Science Center, Vestal, New York; Maconaquah School Corporation, Bunker Hill, Indiana; Moon Day/Frontiers of Flight Museum, Dallas, Texas; New Mexico Military Institute, Roswell, New Mexico; Pima County 4H/Vail Vaqueros 4-H Club, Tucson, Arizona; Space Jam 9, Rantoul, Illinois; Ste Genevieve du Bois Catholic Elementary School, Warson Woods, Missouri; Tulsa Community College, NE Campus, Tulsa, Oklahoma; United Space School, Seabrook, Texas, and West Michigan Aviation Academy, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

2016 ARISS Contact Proposal Window Opens February 15

The next US ARISS contact proposal window will be open between February 15 and April 15. ARISS is seeking formal and informal educational institutions and organizations, individually or working together, to host an Amateur Radio contact with an ISS crew member between January 1 and June 30, 2016. Crew scheduling and ISS orbits determine the exact contact dates.

ARISS is looking for organizations that have the potential to draw large numbers of participants and can integrate the contact into a well-developed educational plan.

FM voice contacts with ISS crew members last about 10 minutes — the average length of an orbital pass — and allow students and educators to interact with the astronauts in a question-and-answer format. ARISS contacts afford an opportunity to learn firsthand from astronauts and cosmonauts what it is like to live and work in space and about ISS research. Students also will have an opportunity to learn about satellite communication, wireless technology, and radio science.

Because of the nature of human spaceflight and scheduling complexity, schools and 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 this educational opportunity by providing the equipment and operational support to enable direct communication between crew on the ISS and students around the world via Amateur Radio.

In the US, ARISS is managed by the ARRL and AMSAT, in partnership with NASA. Details on expectations, audience, proposal guidelines, and proposal form, and dates and times of information sessions are on the ARRL website. E-mail ARISS with any questions.