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ARISS School Photos Needed

Greetings Fellow Amateurs and Space Enthusiasts, 

I'm writing an article for a wireless industry trade magazine about the
ARISS program.  Some of you have been helpful by providing me with
information.  The article is complete and is pasted in below in text form.
If any of you find corrections which should be made, please let me know by
emailing me directly.  I'm wanting to verify accuracy by asking some
"experts"--that's you.  

Most of all, I still need good high resolution photos of students operating
radios.  (I have two really good ones of astronauts aboard the station.)
Photos need to be really clear, and need to show a good view of both the
students and radios.  I currently have no photos like this.    

Since the photos are going in a "real" print magazine and not on an internet
site, the higher the resolution, the better.  I have a plenty large enough
mailbox here at the office, so either a link to the photos, or the photos
themselves will be fine.  

My deadline is the end of this week.  Please respond to me directly here at

Thanks to all, 73, 

James Alderman, KF5WT

M/A-Com Wireless
4757 Irving Blvd.  Suite 108
Dallas, TX  75247
214-267-6911 direct phone


M/A-Com Wireless Lets Astronauts
"Phone Home" and Chat With School Students

By James G. Alderman, KF5WT
M/A-Com Wireless, Dallas, Texas

When astronauts aboard the International Space Station want to  "phone home"
they reach for an M/A-Com radio.  As part of the Amateur Radio Experiment on
the International Space Station, or ARISS, Ericsson (now M/A-Com Wireless)
donated several custom-built MPA handheld radios to the project.  Astronauts
routinely use the radios to speak with their families and with school
students all over the world.
The Amateur Radio system aboard the ISS serves an important function as a
back-up communications system in case the main system goes down, and as
means of keeping crew moral up during long duration space missions.  The
system truly represents the "fun and adventure" side of space-to-earth
communications, allowing astronauts to speak with their families and to
excited school students on a regular basis-all this without burdening NASA's
"official" communications system.   


The primary purpose of the ARISS program is to stimulate interest in space,
technology, and science among school students.  For a few lucky science
teachers around the world, the ham radio system aboard the ISS is a dream
come true.  
Several times per month, astronauts make pre-scheduled radio contact with
school classrooms.  Excited students get to "interview" astronauts over the
radio during these 10-minute contacts while the station orbits some 230
miles overhead.  These events always attract media attention and create
lasting memories for all involved.   One Texas school contact even landed a
scene in the IMAX-3D movie "SPACE  STATION."  
Since the M/A-Com radios have been aboard the ISS, some 40 school contacts
have been conducted, and over 1000 students have asked astronauts questions
on every subject from what it feels like to be weightless to how trash is
recycled in space.    
Students, teachers, and parents all go away from an ISS contact changed;
forever awed by their wondrous experience made possible by the ARISS
program.  It's not uncommon for teachers to tell of marginal students who
developed a love of science and technology after an ARISS contact.  And
that's the whole purpose of ARISS-to inspire young minds!  


	The presence of Amateur Radio in space is nothing new.  In 1983,
shuttle ham-astronaut Owen Garriott (W5LFL) made history when he became the
first human to operate Amateur Radio from space.  For that momentous first
contact, Garriott placed a special antenna against the window of shuttle
Columbia and used a handheld radio to make contacts with amateurs on earth.
History was made and ham radio has been a frequently space traveler ever
since.  Thus began the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX).  
	Numerous SAREX experiments were conducted on shuttle flights over
the next fifteen years.  In the beginning, astronauts simply made voice
contacts with hams on earth using that same original 2.5-watt handheld
Motorola radio and window-mounted antenna.  Later, packet data, and
television experiments were successfully flown aboard shuttle flights. 
	Although hundreds of hams all over the world enjoyed the thrill of
talking to astronauts in space, the ultimate goal of the SAREX program was
to allow astronauts to communicate with school students for the purpose of
stimulating interest in science.  During the 1980s and 1990s, dozens of
schools on every continent participated in the program, and thousands of
excited students got to take their turn at the microphone and speak directly
to an astronaut.  Because these early experimental school contacts were so
successful, the spirit of the SAREX program was carried over to the ARISS
program when Space Station Alpha was built.  Amateur Radio now had a
permanent home in space. 


Today, NASA considers Amateur Radio to be so important that a permanent ham
radio station has been planned for the new International Space
Station-complete with its own special storage space for the radios and
outdoor antennas for improved performance.  For the ISS, a totally new
Amateur Radio system has been designed for greater versatility. 
The new M/A-Com radios are the workhorses of the system.  The ARISS hardware
team selected the MPA radio because of its rugged design, long track record
of reliability, and ability to meet stringent emission purity standards.  
A total of 12 MPA radios were built for the ARISS program-6 VHF and 6 UHF
radios.  One VHF and one UHF radio, along with their support hardware,
constitutes a "set."  One set is presently located aboard the ISS while the
others are used for astronaut training here on earth.  
In addition to the radios, several pieces of critical support hardware had
to be built to make the whole system work.  One of the most important items
is the custom-built Packet Module which allows astronauts to connect a
laptop computer to the radio and operate a sort of "wireless email" system.
In this state, the orbiting packet station can even be left unattended.  An
astronaut may return to find an e-mail from home, or a greeting from a ham
on a remote Pacific island.  Hams on earth who contact the ISS on packet or
voice can receive a special postcard to commemorate the event.    


Educational activities are heart and soul of ARISS, and plans are now
underway to expand the capabilities of the ISS ham radio station.  ISS has
recently been equipped with new multi-band antennas which allow additional
operations on two microwave bands (1296 MHz and 2400 MHz), and at least one
high-frequency (HF), or "short-wave" band.  The HF antenna may soon allow
astronauts to communicate with stations on the other side of the world using
short-wave signals, which bounce around the earth on upper layers of
atmosphere.  Additional radio gear is being developed now to do all this,
and more.  The future of Amateur Radio in space is bright indeed!  
The International Space Station is mankind's first step towards exploration
of other planets and deep space.  Perhaps moon colonies will be established
in the coming decades.  Many great minds will be needed to make it these
dreams a reality.  Amateur Radio stands ready to inspire them at a young
Perhaps one of these students who spoke to an astronaut via ham radio may
grow up to be the first human to set foot on mars.  Whatever the future
holds for mankind, you can be sure that Amateur Radio, and M/A-Com Wireless,
will be there, bringing the wonders of space exploration down to earth for
all to share.  


ARISS Home Page: <http://ariss.gsfc.nasa.gov/> or
ISS Operating Frequencies:  www.amsat.org/amsat/news/wsr.html
MAREX Home Page: www.marex-na.org <http://www.marex-na.org/>
Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT):  www.amsat.org
National Association For Amateur Radio (ARRL):  www.arrl.org
Heavens Above - ISS Visual Sighting opportunities:  www.heavens-above.com
NASA Spacelink - On-line educational and curriculum material 
including "Amateur Radio in Space - An Educator's Guide": 
Via the sarex mailing list at AMSAT.ORG courtesy of AMSAT-NA.
To unsubscribe, send "unsubscribe sarex" to Majordomo@amsat.org