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ARISS: Your Students Could Be Among the Next to Speak with the Space Station Crew via Ham Radio


The deadline is December 15 for schools and educational institutions and organizations — formal and informal — to submit proposals to host an Amateur Radio contact with a member of the International Space Station crew. The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program recently announced the opening of the application window. ARISS is especially interested in arranging contact events that will draw large numbers of participants and integrate the radio contact into a well-developed educational plan. Schools and educational organizations may apply individually or with other institutions or organizations. ARISS anticipates that the ham radio contacts between students and the space station will take place between May 1 and December 31, 2015.

“ARISS provides an exciting outreach opportunity for the ham radio community to connect with local schools,” ARRL Educational Services Manager Debra Johnson, K1DMJ, said. “A scheduled ARISS contact is a voice-only communication via Amateur Radio between the ISS crew and classrooms and communities. ARISS contacts allow education audiences to learn firsthand from astronauts what it is like to work and live in space.”

By and large, at least one member of an ISS crew complement is licensed, and NASA makes Amateur Radio licensing available to ISS-bound astronauts. Contacts have a question-and-answer format and typically run up to 10 minutes. Crew scheduling and ISS orbits will determine the contact schedule. Educational organizations are encouraged to partner with a local Amateur Radio club or group to handle the technical aspects of the contact. 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.

ISS crew members have taken part in scheduled Amateur Radio contacts with students on Earth since December 2000.

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 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.





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