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ARRL Satellite Bulletin ARLS005 (2020)

ARLS005 First Element of ARISS Next-Generation Radio System
Installed and Operating on ISS

QST de W1AW  
Space Bulletin 005  ARLS005
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington, CT  September 2, 2020
To all radio amateurs

ARLS005 First Element of ARISS Next-Generation Radio System
Installed and Operating on ISS

The initial element of the Amateur Radio on the International Space
Station (ARISS) next-generation radio system has been installed
onboard the ISS, and amateur radio operations using the new gear are
now under way.

The first element, dubbed the InterOperable Radio System (IORS), was
installed in the ISS Columbus module. The IORS replaces the Ericsson
radio system and packet module that were originally certified for
spaceflight in mid-2000.

"Finally! It's been a scramble the last few days with coordination
over the weekend and yesterday with astronaut Chris Cassidy,
KF5KDR," ARISS-US Delegate for ARRL Rosalie White, K1STO, said. "But
the new ARISS radio system is now installed, set up, and
functioning. What a long road we've traveled over the past 5 years!"

Initial operation of the new radio system is in FM cross-band
repeater mode using an uplink of 145.99 MHz (CTCSS 67 Hz) and a
downlink of 437.800 MHz. System activation was first observed at
01:02 UTC on September 2. Special operations will continue to be
announced, ARISS said.

The IORS was launched from Kennedy Space Center last March onboard
the SpaceX CRS-20 resupply mission. It consists of a special,
"space-modified" JVC-Kenwood D710GA transceiver, an ARISS-developed
multi-voltage power supply, and interconnecting cables. The design,
development, fabrication, testing, and launch of the first IORS was
the culmination of a 5-year engineering effort by the ARISS hardware
team of volunteers.

ARISS says the system "will enable new, exciting capabilities for
ham radio operators, students, and the general public." Capabilities
include a higher-power radio, voice repeater, digital packet radio
(APRS) capabilities, and a Kenwood VC-H1 slow-scan television (SSTV)

A second IORS will undergo flight certification for later launch and
installation in the Russian Service Module. The second system
enables dual, simultaneous operations, such as voice repeater and
APRS packet. It also provides on-orbit redundancy to ensure
continuous operations in the event of an IORS component failure.

"Next-gen development efforts continue," ARISS said. "For the IORS,
parts are being procured and a total of 10 systems are being
fabricated to support flight, additional flight spares, ground
testing, and astronaut training." Follow-on next-generation radio
system elements include L-band repeater uplink capability -
currently in development - and a flight Raspberry-Pi, dubbed
"ARISS-Pi," that is just in the design phase. The ARISS-Pi promises
operations autonomy and enhanced SSTV operations, ARISS explained.

ARISS this year marks 20 years of continuous amateur radio
operations on the ISS.


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