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Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, Receives ARRL President's Award


On Saturday, May 16 during the forum featuring Richard Garriott, W5KWQ, at the Dayton Hamvention®, ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, presented former Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) International Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, with the ARRL President's Award. Bauer, who stepped down from ARISS and AMSAT duties this past March, served as ARISS Program Leader and ARISS International Working Group Chair. Since 1991, he served as the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation's (AMSAT) Vice President for Human Spaceflight Programs.

The ARRL Board of Directors voted to create the President's Award in 2003. The President's Award is to go to an ARRL member or members who "have shown long-term dedication to the goals and objectives of ARRL and Amateur Radio," and who have gone the extra mile to support individual League programs and goals. Nominations for the award come from directors and are approved by the ARRL President and the Executive Committee.

Under Bauer's leadership, Amateur Radio activities have been on human spaceflight vehicles, including NASA-sponsored ham radio activities on the shuttle, Space Station Mir and the ISS. Starting in 1983, Bauer led the Goddard Amateur Radio Club team that provided around-the clock space shuttle retransmissions from the WA3NAN club station. These retransmissions provided the international ham radio community up-to-the-minute information during the flight of Owen Garriott, W5LFL, on STS-9 and subsequent SAREX flights. In the days prior to the Internet, these real-time bulletins and frequent orbital element updates could only be obtained through Amateur Radio.

"For well over a decade, I have been fortunate to be part of a group that has been leading the effort to lead international teams together to focus on Amateur Radio on the ISS," Bauer told the ARRL. "As AMSAT Vice President for Human Spaceflight since 1991, I have really worked to get this international team to work as one, focusing on Amateur Radio. It is very critical to get all the space agency partners to have a vested interest in making sure we do Amateur Radio right on the ISS. We need to keep the partnership we have with our international team in good stead."

Bauer said that through the years, the AMSAT and ARISS teams have developed a substantial amount of hardware and software systems on the ISS. "We have trained astronauts and cosmonauts to use the equipment that we have on many modules," he said. "We have two systems on the Russian module with five antennas, and two L/S band antennas on Columbus, with new ones going up later this year -- all of this is being done by a volunteer team. Both AMSAT and ARISS have done a tremendous job promoting Amateur Radio, allowing hams to talk with astronauts and encouraging children to pursue technical careers."

Bauer said that when a new crew of astronauts comes on board at NASA, ARISS gives them a briefing, familiarizing them with the ARISS program and Amateur Radio in general. "We are very fortunate that all of the US astronauts of late have received their Amateur Radio licenses," he said. "We emphasize to them how important it is to get their license early in their training, because as their training progresses, they get caught up in everything and it is hard to find the time to study and take the exam. From an astronaut perspective, I think it's a little easier for them to pass the test, since they know most of the theory stuff, but they do need to be trained on the rules and regulations that govern the Amateur Radio Service."

ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, said he was very honored to present Bauer with his award. "I have had pleasurable opportunity first hand to see Frank work with the international community to ensure Amateur Radio became and remained a part of manned space flight. Frank's ability to organize all parties to consensus regarding key issues was vital to the program. The amateur community owes a great deal of gratitude to Frank for his many years of dedication to service and education."

Bauer told the ARRL that he was "proud and humbled" to receive the ARRL President's Award. "It was a total surprise, I did not expect any of this. I am even more humbled when I recognize how big of an award this is and so rarely given. I want to thank the ARRL leadership for this very prestigious award. And thanks to the entire ARISS volunteer team for their outstanding support and diligence in inspiring our next generation of explorers through Amateur Radio contacts between school students and crew members on the ISS."

ARRL ARISS Program Manager Rosalie White, K1STO, who, together with Bauer, served as the USA delegates to ARISS, told the ARRL she was "very happy" for her colleague and friend: "Over the years, Frank continuously gave more to the ARISS project than anyone could ever expect of one person. He put his heart and soul into ARISS because he believed in its objectives: To introduce teachers and youth to Amateur Radio and the foundation of radio science, plus provide students with a way via radio to get involved in science, technology, engineering and math."

Bauer is currently the Chief Engineer for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA. This directorate is developing the next generation human spaceflight vehicles that will take NASA to the International Space Station (ISS) and then to the Moon, Mars and beyond. He is also providing some backup support to the Space Operations Chief Engineer who supports the space shuttle and ISS programs.



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