“Students Talk to Astronauts in Space”, WCVB-TV

Nashua, N.H.–Four years ago, an organization of ham radio operators in New Hampshire teamed up with a local high school so the students could learn more about the power of connecting people through the airwaves. Now that connection led the students all the way to outer space. It was an out-of-this-world experience for students at Bishop Gurtin High School in Nashua. On Friday, they make contact with the International Space Station. For members of the school’s STEM Club, it was a chance for them to chat directly with Astronaut Shannon Walker onboard the International Space Station. “It was really quite something to be able to speak to an astronaut that far away in space,” one of the club members said. [Full story]

screenshot of Nashua ARS ARISS school contact, WCVB.com

ARISS SuitSat-1 Experiment is the Star in this Haunting New Sci-Fi Video, “Decommissioned”

screenshot from the short sci-fi movie "Decommissioned"Most of you will remember SuitSat. In 2006, the ARISS team managed to acquire a Russian spacesuit with an expired expiration date that would have just been thrown overboard to burn up. ARISS designed and built an antenna and radio gear that was approved for installation into the suit and the whole shebang got deployed by a cosmonaut and Commander Bill McArthur, KC5ACR at the start of a spacewalk.
It transmitted a lot during its short life. After the ARISS engineers figured SuitSat-1’s orbit and spin characteristics, they knew the legs and arms would have to be filled with something, so they asked the crew to stuff dirty laundry inside. That’s just what they did.
Here’s a small part of what Rick Lindquist’s ARRL story said about SuitSat-1  (http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter?issue=2006-02-03):  

“The Amateur Radio community, students, scanner enthusiasts, space fans and others have been eagerly awaiting the launch of the most novel satellite ever to orbit Earth. SuitSat-1 will transmit its voice message “This is SuitSat-1 RS0RS!” in several languages plus telemetry and an SSTV image on an eight-minute cycle as it orbits Earth. The three batteries powering the satellite are expected to last about a week, and SuitSat-1 should re-enter Earth’s atmosphere after several weeks of circling the globe. and  SuitSat-1 has piqued the imagination of the news media over the past couple of weeks. In addition to articles in The New York Times, the Houston Chronicle and Associated Press, National Public Radio, Fox News, CNN, Readers Digest, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, MSNBC and others also produced broadcast or cable news reports. A magazine article is set to appear in Aviation Week and Space Technology.”

Well, SuitSat is back! It’s featured in an eerie, six-minute sci-fi short, “Decommissioned.” The  video can be viewed at


-Thanks, Rosalie White, K1STO, ARRL ARISS US Delegate

International Space Station Passes; New 2-Meter/440 MHz Repeater

John Salmi, KB1MGI, writes on the PART of Westford mailing list:
See the following Space Station passes chart:
Tuesday evening at 2100 hrs or 9 PM should be very active.
Initial operation of the new radio system is in FM cross band repeater mode using an uplink frequency of 145.990 MHz with an access tone [CTCSS] of 67 Hz and a downlink frequency of 437.800 MHz. System activation was first observed at 01:02 UTC on September 2. Special operations will continue to be announced.

ARISS to Experiment with School Contacts Using “Multipoint Telebridge” Approach

ARISS logoFrom ARRL Web:

04/29/2020 – Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is hoping to adopt a concept it’s calling the “multipoint telebridge contact via amateur radio” that will allow stay-at-home students to take part in amateur radio contacts with members of the space station crew. ARISS has used telebridge stations in the past to enable contacts at times when the ISS orbit does not pass overhead to permit a direct radio contact with the school or other location. In a conventional ARISS telebridge contact, an amateur station ground station in a favorable location for an ISS pass on the scheduled day makes the contact and handles two-way audio between the station and the contact site. ARISS said its new multipoint telebridge approach will permit simultaneous reception by families, school faculty, and the public.

“During the last several weeks, efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus have resulted in massive school closures worldwide,” ARISS said this week in a news release. “In addition, the stay-at-home policies invoked by authorities initially shut down opportunities for ARISS school contacts for the near future.”

ARISS will put its multipoint telebridge scheme to the test during a contact with a group of Northern Virginia students on April 30. For the event, an ARISS telebridge ground station will link with an ISS crew member via radio, and homebound students and their teacher will be linked individually via the telebridge station. Under the teacher’s direction, each at-home student will take a turn to ask the astronaut one question on a prepared list. [Full story]

Message to US Educators: Amateur Radio on the International Space Station Contact Opportunity

ARISS logoThe Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) Program is seeking formal and informal US education institutions and organizations, individually or working together, to host an Amateur Radio contact with a crew member on board the ISS. ARISS will open a proposal window February 1, 2020 for ham radio contacts that would be held between January 2021 and June 2021. Crew scheduling and ISS orbits will determine the exact contact dates. To maximize these radio contact opportunities, ARISS is looking for organizations whose proposal features a way to draw large numbers of participants and integrate the contact into a well-developed education plan. The window for accepting proposals closes March 31, 2020.

Proposal information and documents are at www.ariss.org.

The Opportunity

Crew members aboard the International Space Station will support scheduled Amateur Radio contacts for students and their communities. These radio contacts are voice-only, approximately 10 minutes in length and allow students to interact with the astronauts in a question-and-answer session. ARISS radio contacts and plans in submitted proposals can afford education audiences the opportunity to learn firsthand from astronauts about space research conducted on the ISS and what it is like to live and work in space, and to learn about ham satellite communication, wireless technology, and radio science. Because of the nature of spaceflight and complexity of scheduling on-board ISS activities, education organizations must demonstrate flexibility to accommodate changes in dates and times of a radio contact. Local ham radio groups volunteer to provide educational radio activities and the equipment and operational support to enable communication between the ISS crew and students using Amateur Radio.

More Information

For proposal information and more details, i.e., expectations, proposal guidelines and proposal form, go to www.ariss.org.  Please direct any questions to ariss.us.education@gmail.com .

About ARISS:

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is a cooperative venture of international amateur radio societies and the space agencies that support the International Space Station (ISS).  In the United States, sponsors are the American Radio Relay League (ARRL, the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT), the ISS National Lab, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The primary goal of ARISS is to promote exploration of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) topics by organizing scheduled contacts via amateur radio between crew members aboard the ISS and students in classrooms or large public forums. Before, during and after these radio contacts, students, educators, parents, and communities learn about amateur radio. For more information, see www.ariss.org.



ARISS Seeks Hosts for Ham Radio Contacts with Space Station Crew Members

ARISS logoStarting on April 1, 2019, Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) will accept applications from US schools, museums, science centers, and community youth organizations (working individually or together) interested in hosting contacts with orbiting crew members on the International Space Station (ISS). Contacts will be scheduled between January 1 and June 30, 2020. [Full story]

Western MA ARISS School Contact Draws ARRL Staffers, State, Local Officials

ARISS logoARRL Teachers Institute on Wireless Technology alumnus Mariusz Zielinski, KB1MDS, invited ARRL Lifelong Learning Manager Kris Bickell, K1BIC, Lifelong Learning Administrator Ally Riedel, KM3ALF, and ARRL Communications Content Producer Michelle Patnode, W3MVP, to witness an exciting November 2 Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact with students at Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School in Palmer, Massachusetts, where Zielinski teaches. [Full story]

ARISS Contact From Fenway Park A Huge Success

The Red Sox 2017 STEM Day at Fenway Park in Boston, MA drew over 2,500 students from schools in every New England state, including schools in low-income areas. Some students traveled a day early to ensure they’d be there on time.  The Red Sox had been sending various STEM education materials to all schools.

A tweet from the Italian Space Agency / ISS crew member and amateur radio operator Paolo Nespoli, IZ0JPA: “One astronaut and 2000 future ones! Had fun talking with you all!”  Fenway Park also tweeted, resulting in 26.5K tweets, 305 following, and 514 followers. Dan Barstow from CASIS was at Fenway and moderated the ARISS radio contact.

[See also: “Boston Red Sox Promote STEM Education By Hosting STEM Days At Fenway Park“]


Townsend Middle School Makes ARISS Contact!

ARISS crew at Hawthorne Brook School in TownsendMembers of the Nashoba Valley Amateur Radio Club helped facilitate a contact between astronauts aboard the International Space Station and youths at the Hawthorne Brook Middle School in Townsend, Massachusetts on November 29.

Shown here: Marilyn Richardson, N1CSH (left) and her twenty student ARISS participants. KD1LE photo

[See also: ARRL Web, ARISS release, (archive.org copy of “ARISS release”),The Community Journal: “Hawthorne Brook Middle School makes contact”, Nashoba Valley ARC newsletter, ARISS contact at Hawthorne Brook Middle School]

Kuss Middle School Makes Successful ISS Contact!

Roland Daignault, N1JOY writes on BCRA-club list:

For those of you who did not hear yet, yesterday we had an absolutely perfect radio contact between the [International Space Station] and the Kuss Middle School (Fall River, MA) students. The entire pass was just under 10 minutes long, and the kids were able to ask 22 questions, and we lost signal right at the end of John Phillps’, the astronaut operating NA1SS, 22nd answer.

Ham Radio got plenty of local press too! TV channels 6, 10, & 12 were there, along with Comcast, and FRED TV (Fall River Educational TV), Fall River Heald News, and The Spirit weekly newspaper. The Herald News gave us front page coverage! We also had nice TV spots on channels 6 & 10. (Did anybody see a spot on TV 12 yet?)
We were set up in the Kuss library with about 50 people present, including Mayor Lambert, and Senator Menard who presented a citation to the Kuss students for their work. Frank Bauer, the ARISS coordinator, also flew into town to see our event. We had 12 students lined up with 2 questions each to ask, so almost every kid got 2 chances at the microphone. We also set up an ATV link to the church hall across the street where about 50 more people were watching our live video feed of the event projected onto a large screen.
Kuss Middle School ARISS contact, photo 1
Needless to say, there were plenty of smiling faces at the end of the event. To show how seriously the Kuss faculty took this event, our contact began at 2:24 PM, and school let out at 2:30, about half way through our ISS pass. You would never had known there was anybody else in the school at 2:30! The school bells did not ring, the kids were asked to be quiet, and were only let out of the exits at the opposite end of the school. Security guards kept the front of the school clear of kids, and the Fall River PD had Rock street closed down! It was definitely an effort in noise control that worked perfectly! No outside noise was heard even though we had most of the library windows open to let some cool air inside.

We used the schools equipment, which consisted of a Yaesu FT-847, Mirage 180 Watt brick amplifier, and an M-Squared 22 element 2 Meter cross Yagi. The antenna is turned by a Yeasu AZ/EL rotor, which we controlled with a laptop running Nova for Windows. There was also a backup station on hand, and luckily not needed. This consisted of an Icom IC-2100H 2 Meter mobile, my RF Concepts 170 Watt brick amplifier, and a Diamond X-500HNA vertical antenna. The school antenna is normally run into Joe Cote’s (KB1LJG) classroom on the 5th floor, but are easily extended to the library 2 floors down by attaching my portable satellite antenna umbilical cord as an extension for the coax cables and rotor control cables, which were conveniently wired with the same style connectors just for this reason.
Kuss Middle School ARISS contact, photo 2
I want to thank everybody who helped to make this event possible and gave me unconditional support. Of course W2DAN, who has been there every time for the last 2 years. N1RHS & WA1ESO who were there Thursday night until 9:30 PM helping to set up the equipment. Also KB1CNA and WB1HGA who were there to assist on Friday. Also I cannot forget N1DU who donated some very cool commerative patches that were designed by the school, and he was able to embroider on short notice.

(See also: Fall River ARC, Bristol Co. RA Featured in Herald News Story.)

Photos: Left: Senator Joan Menard and Mayor Ed Lambert present Shantae Martins (KB1LKW) a citation recognizing Kuss’s achievments. Right: Kathryn Cooper from Central Park Middle School in Schenectaty, NY, takes a turn asking her question. Next in line is Evan Darmondy, who was interviewed by TV Channel 6. Sitting are (left) Thalita Xavier (KB1MJP) and (right) Jennifer DeLeon (KB1MNK).