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ARISS Meetings in Houston

ISS Amateur Radio Accommodations meeting held at the NASA Johnson Space
Center in Houston

A series of extremely successful International Space Station (ISS) Amateur
Radio accommodation meetings were held at the NASA Johnson Space Center in
Houston from January 22-27.  These pivotal meetings were sponsored by NASA
and by Energia, the Russian space company that is building portions of ISS.
 The primary objectives of these meetings were to finalize the design
development of the "Initial Station" amateur radio hardware for ISS and to
develop a more effective understanding and advocacy of the Amateur Radio on
the International Space Station (ARISS) program within NASA and Energia.
In addition to representatives from NASA and Energia, the ARISS "Initial
Station" hardware development teams from the US, Russia, Germany and Italy
were invited to participate in the meetings.  The Initial Station design,
solidified during the July 1998 ARISS meeting in Surrey, England, consists
of 2 meter and 70 cm handheld radios, a packet radio system and power
supplies, provided by the US team, a Digitalker, provided by the German
team, antenna feedthroughs and power and space accommodations provided by
the Russian team and the development of an antenna system which is led by
the Italian delegation.  NASA will be providing a Space Shuttle launch to
transport the Initial Station hardware to the ISS and has financially
supported the flight qualification of the Initial Station Hardware. Some of
the testing required by NASA and Energia to flight qualify this hardware
includes the development of a safety analysis package, hardware performance
testing, ISS interface testing, electromagnetic interference testing, and
toxic chemical offgassing testing.  Both NASA and Energia are intimately
involved in the external outfitting of the planned antennas systems through
special astronaut spacewalks or EVAs.   

The following ARISS team members from various IARU and AMSAT organizations
were invited to attend and participate in these meetings:

Sergej Samburov, RV3DR, Representing Energia, AMSAT-Russia and ARISS-Russia
Ron Parise, WA4SIR, Representing the ARISS-US Hardware Delegation
Lou McFadin, W5DID, Representing the ARISS-US Hardware Delegation
Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, Representing NASA, AMSAT-NA, and ARISS-US
Matt Bordelon, KC5BTL, Representing NASA and ARISS-US
Thomas Kieselbach, DL2MDE, Representing the ARISS-German Hardware Delegation
Alberto Zagni, I2KBD, Representing the ARISS-Italian Hardware Delegation
Fabrizio Bernardini, I0QIT, Representing the ARISS-Italian Hardware Delegation
Luca Bertagnolio, IK2OVV, Representing the ARISS-Italian Hardware Delegation 

During the meeting, Sergej Samburov, RV3DR, the President of AMSAT-Russia
in Moscow and the Chief of the Cosmonaut Amateur Radio Department at
Energia, confirmed that 4 dual-use antenna feedthroughs have been installed
on the Russian Service Module.  These dual-use feedthroughs are expected to
support amateur radio operations and ISS proximity video capability during
Russian and US spacewalks.   He also confirmed his strong desire to work
with the ARISS international partners to develop a single, coordinated
amateur radio station on ISS.   

Key NASA officials stated that they, too, need a single, international
focal point to coordinate amateur radio development and operations on ISS
if amateur radio on ISS is to have a future.  During the meeting, these
NASA officials were extremely pleased with the high level of flight
hardware expertise and on-orbit operations knowledge that the ARISS
international partners are providing to NASA and Energia.  The ARISS
international team was formed over two years ago to provide this single
focal point to the space officials at NASA (US), Energia (Russia), NASDA
(Japan) and ESA (Europe).  Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, AMSAT-NA's Vice President
for Human Spaceflight Programs, commented, "I was extremely impressed with
the tremendous teamwork, camaraderie and cooperation that the ARISS
International Partners exhibited during these pivotal meetings with NASA
and Energia.  Together we share a common vision to develop and operate a
multifaceted amateur radio station on ISS that will be a great recreational
outlet for the on-orbit crews, an exciting DXpedition station for hams on
the ground and an outstanding educational outreach tool for students."

In the near future, additional information from these meetings will be
provided including discussions on: 

ARISS Initial Configuration & Delivery Schedule to ISS
Antenna System Design
Antenna Locations on Service Module and initial plans for ARISS EVAs
Meetings with NASA Senior Managers
Digitalker design
ARISS Frequencies
Future installation of an SSTV system
Express Pallet opportunities

The ARISS hardware team discussed and reaffirmed their long planned
commitment to solicit proposals from the amateur radio community to develop
follow-on amateur radio hardware for ISS.  Proposals chosen to proceed
forward would then be coordinated through a NASA/Energia employee-based
radio working group that would negotiate power, volume and operations
scenarios for the proposed equipment.  The ARISS international team is
composed of representatives from the IARU and AMSAT societies in Russia,
Italy, Germany, England, France, Canada, Japan and the US.  The Space
Amateur Radio EXperiment (SAREX) Working Group provides the US hardware and
administrative representation to the ARISS international team.  Within the
US, they coordinate the US hardware development, operations and educational
outreach activities for the ARRL, AMSAT-NA and NASA.

Via the sarex mailing list at AMSAT.ORG courtesy of AMSAT-NA.
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