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White Paper



A WHITE PAPER TO ARISS ON:
 
AMATEUR RADIO AND THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
 
 
                Society can function only if it has some general rules
to govern the conduct of the humans on our world.  Otherwise there would
be chaos as a few people take over, insistent on doing anything they
want to do whenever they want to do it.

                Amateur Radio mirrors that concept. It has international
rules, set up and kept in place by individual national authorities and
supported by the individual societies of the International Amateur Radio
Union.  We have lived under that system since radio began. The intent
was not to restrict activity but to channel it, to maintain some
semblance of sanity.

                The International Space Station (ISS) will be a separate
world, 200 miles from earth, requiring organization to keep peace among
the nations that build it and live aboard it.  If hams from eight
nations all tried to go on the air from the ISS at the same time, using
eight different radio stations, can you imagine the QRM?!

                Until now, in space we have seen each nation as a
separate entity.The MIR Space Station is Russian.  So are the Vostoks.
The space shuttles are American, as was the Space Lab some years ago.
French and Chinese booster rockets have orbited unmanned satellites.  
But the ISS is a  multi-national operation.

                NASA realized this and asked SAREX to go to the Amateur
Radio fraternity to develop an international governing body; a group to
set up rules and regulations, and to determine and procure equipment
that will work compatibly with other technology in space.

                Complying with that NASA request, representatives from
the IARU and national organizations of eight nations met in Houston.
They came from Germany, England, Canada, Italy, Japan, Russia, France
and the United States. These countries are directly involved with
building the space station.  They agreed with the concept, and their
elected officials signed a Memorandum Of Understanding to that effect.
They named the new, international organization ARISS, Amateur Radio
International Space Station (ARISS).

               

        Since that time, the amateur radio representatives from these
nations have again met together, planned together, and proceeded in good
faith to design a master station complete with SSTV, compressed ATV,
packet and plenty of voice hardware.  The results thus far have been
outstanding.  Each country,  is contributing in its own way, toward
making the station a reality.  For example, the Italians have agreed to
develop and build antennas, the Germans have already built and
demonstrated a voice repeater, the Russians have agreed to provide and
have installed antenna feedthroughs on the Service Module and the
United States has flight-ready voice and packet hardware made and
tested.  The groups are also working on frequencies and general rules
of operation.  When the first crews arrive, to inhabit the space 
station, amateur radio will be there!

                I am chairman of the Space Amateur Radio Experiment
(SAREX) here in the United States. We coordinate the efforts of AMSAT,
ARRL and NASA for Human Amateur Radio in space.  We first flew in 1983,
when W5LFL, Owen Garriott, talked to the world, and the world listened
and talked back! Since that time, SAREX has flown dozens of flights in
space shuttles, and coordinated school contacts for astronauts on Mir.
Currently, more than 80 astronauts have Amateur Radio licenses and they
have made contact with thousands of people all over the world.

                At this time we are at an impasse:  for the next few
years the astronauts and cosmonauts will be assembling the space station
in orbit, and will be too busy to do much hamming.  We have a working
arrangement with NASA so that when there are even a few minutes to
spare, ham radio will be kept in the schedule.

                I have been distressed by the recent actions taken by
some individuals. They are waging a war on our international
cooperation. They have sought to destroy the international effort and
discredit members of the ARISS team.

                They have sought to fragment the amateur radio community
and circumvent the rules of conduct by which we all operate.

                They have preyed upon the situation of some of the ARISS
partners to their own benefit.

                And their recent projects disregard the tremendous
efforts put forth by well-respected explorers in the amateur space
community.

                Their recent SSTV experiment has enjoyed success (and no
one disputes that), but it should not be at the expense of the amateur
community or the reputation of others.  SAREX believes that their
actions are endangering the future of ham radio in manned space flight.

                Recently, the German ARISS team members, SAFEX, sent out
an e-mail, expressing their indignation at some of these  recent actions
and statements. Germany is one of the most loyal supporters of Amateur
Radio in space, including a major role with Phase 3-D.  SAREX joins
SAFEX in being distressed at the contention these people have caused.

                NASA and its partners have enough problems putting
together an international space station. NASA does not want or need
problems with Amateur Radio.  These individuals have written  messages
saying they plan to create such problems if they don't get their way.  I
write in the hope that they stop before it is too late.  More important,
I write in the hope that you, the Amateur Radio operators of the world,
will support a more mature approach.

                Do not trade the future for a few slow scan images
today.  Enjoy the SSTV, but do not be misled. These people know what
ARISS has planned. They were even given a  seat at the table, as
consultants during the first ARISS meetings. Unfortunately, they
apparently have little appreciation for the complexity, level of detail,
and effort required to ensure a permanent Amateur Radio presence in
space.  In addition, they ignore the fact that frequencies are
coordinated on an international basis to minimize interference to other
operations and to onboard equipment.  These people have demonstrated
their willingness to flout the coordination program by announcing that
the SSTV system will continue to operate on 145.985 MHz instead of the
70-cm frequency coordinated for that purpose.

                ARISS organizations include the many IARU and AMSAT
worldwide chapters, such as AMSAT-NA, ARRL, DARC, ARI, JARL,JAMSAT, 
RSGB, RAC and many more.  We intend to live by the rules.  They want to 
go their own way, and not follow the rules.  These other people's 
expressed intent is to do whatever they want to do whenever they choose 
to do it.

                We are nations of laws, and appreciate the dangers of
such anarchy, when a cooperative multinational effort is needed.  And
squabbling, rather than cooperating, will cause NASA to eliminate
amateur radio from its plans.

                In the near future, ARISS plans to start a series of
news releases. We will not indulge in a war of words.  Indeed, this is
the last time I intend to "go public" on this matter.  I believe the
time has come to turn off the nonsense and turn on the common sense. I
do not plan to get into a contest of words which no one can win.
Shortly, NASA and ARISS plan to hold some important meetings at the
Johnson Space Center, in Houston.  They are intended to establish
approval of station planning and give us a timetable to the future.
That will be the basis for our releases.  We plan to make a series of
major reports on our plans at that time.
        
                The ARISS team welcomes participation by all.  ARISS was
established to enable all to participate.  Your contributions  will be
valued and appreciated. Good ideas will not be rejected.  There is a
process established to coordinate the international effort.
Suggestions, proposals, and experiments should be submitted through your
national amateur radio organizations to the ARISS team.  Once evaluated
and assessed for the level of effort required, your ideas can become a
reality and be flown.  The station, as planned, will provide a platform
for participation by all amateurs. It will truly be a station of, by,
and for the amateur community.

 
           73 de Roy Neal, K6DUE, Chairman SAREX Working Group
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