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Shuttle Mission Carries First Ham Radio for International SpaceStation

Frank H. Bauer
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.	September 5, 2000
(Phone: 301-286-8496)

Nancy Neal
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
(Phone: 301-286-8955)

Release No. 00-107

Shuttle Mission Carries First Ham Radio for International Space Station

When astronauts, cosmonauts and payload specialists from many nations
fly on the International Space Station, they will have Amateur Radio as a
constant companion.

The first amateur radio station for the International Space Station (ISS)
will be carried into orbit on-board the Space Shuttle Atlantis on mission
STS-106 this week. The flight will prepare the ISS for its first resident
crew and begin the outfitting of the newly arrived Zvezda Service Module
(the space station unit that provides living quarters for the astronauts
and cosmonauts). The seven-member crew will perform support tasks on
orbit, transfer supplies and prepare the Zvezda living quarters for the
Expedition One crew, due to arrive later this year.

Among the items to be on board ISS will be the ham radio gear for future
use by the Expedition 1 crew, the first crew that will live and work aboard
the ISS. The ham radio gear will not be set up by the STS-106 crew, but
stored in the FGB (Zarya) module until the Expedition 1 crew arrives.

The Expedition 1 crew -- Astronaut William M. Shepherd (Capt., USN),
Expedition commander; Cosmonaut Yuri Gidzenko (Col., Russian Air Force),
Soyuz vehicle commander; and Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, Flight engineer --
will be launched to the ISS in October and will spend four months on the
station, ushering in a new era of permanent human presence in space.

Planning for the deployment and use of the ham system aboard ISS has been
an international effort coordinated by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
in Greenbelt, Md. It began in 1996 with the formation of an organization
called ARISS (Amateur Radio International Space Station) to design, build
and operate the equipment.

ARISS is made up of delegates from major national amateur radio
organizations and from AMSAT (The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation)
in eight nations involved in ISS. Frank Bauer, chief of the Guidance,
Navigation and Control Center at Goddard, and AMSAT's vice president for
human spaceflight spearheaded the initial ISS development effort.

"In the United States, the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and AMSAT
provide leadership and consultation," said Bauer. "They donate and build
hardware and make sure safety and qualification tests are successfully
completed so the equipment can fly." Bauer said about a dozen Goddard
employees and hundreds of amateur radio enthusiasts around the world
volunteered their time and expertise to the project.

The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the
Russian space organization Energia have signed agreements outlining how
amateur radio will be used on the station, while a Technical Team, called
ISS Ham, has been established to serve as the interface to support hardware
development, crew training and on-orbit operations.

Bauer said the Russians provided ports so that antennas can be mounted on
the Zvezda Service Module. The Italian team designed and built antennas,
and the German team built sophisticated repeater stations that will allow
crews to make recorded reports on their daily activity and permit hams on
earth better contacts with the men and women aboard the station. U.S. and
Russian teams have trained the astronauts and cosmonauts to operate the

Since its first flight, in 1983, Ham Radio has flown on more than two-dozen
Space Shuttle missions. Dozens of astronauts have used SAREX (The Space
Amateur Radio Experiment) to talk to thousands of kids in school and to
their families on Earth while they were in orbit. They have pioneered space
radio experimentation, including television and text messaging as well as
voice communication.

The Russians have had a similar program for the cosmonauts aboard the
Russian space station "Mir." When US astronauts were aboard Mir in
preparation for the long duration missions of the International Space
Station, they used amateur radio for communication, including emergency

Hams, as amateur radio operators are often called, use radio transmitters
and receivers to talk to other hams all over the globe, as well as to those
in space. There are more than 1.5 million licensed hams worldwide,
including more than 660,000 Americans.

Every radio amateur must be licensed by the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC). In order to obtain a license, a ham must pass an
examination, which includes questions about radio theory, rules and
regulations, and International Morse Code.

There are three grades of licenses, each at progressively higher levels of
proficiency: Technician, General and Amateur Extra. Any licensed ham can
chat with the Shuttle when SAREX is onboard. Soon, they will be able to
talk to members of the Expedition 1 crew.

The ham station to be flown on the upcoming Shuttle mission for installation
aboard the ISS is just the beginning. ARISS is working on even more
sophisticated stations, and hopes to have some Slow Scan Television
capability in place by 2001.

Space Shuttle Mission STS-106 is scheduled to launch from the Kennedy
Space Center in Florida on Sept. 8 during a five minute "window" that
opens at 8:45 a.m. Eastern Time. The STS-106 astronauts and cosmonauts
will spend 11 days in orbit and will open the doors to the International
Space Station's newest component, the Zvezda Service Module. Atlantis is
scheduled to land at KSC on Sept. 19 at 3:54 a.m. EDT.

For more information about amateur radio on the ISS and SAREX, go to:



For more information on the STS-106 mission and the International Space
Station, go to:


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