First Ham in Space, AMSAT Life Member, Owen Garriott, W5LFL, SK

It is with great sadness that the ARISS team recognizes the passing of our great friend and colleague Astronaut Owen Garriott, W5LFL (SK). Owen Garriott died at his home in Huntsville, Alabama on April 15, 2019.

A passionate amateur radio operator and ionospheric physics researcher, Owen inspired the amateur radio community to reach for the stars. His multi-decade vision to bring amateur radio with him as part of his journey in space was realized in 1983 on the STS-9 Space Shuttle Columbia mission, where hams the world over for the first time heard a fellow ham call CQ from space. As the first to operate ham radio in space, Owen blazed a trail that has enabled countless people from around the world to experience what it is like to journey into space and explore our universe. As a result, he inspired the international amateur radio community to extend his modest ham station on STS-9 into an international human spaceflight ham radio program that has spanned the Space Shuttle, Mir Space Station, and International Space Station.

Owen Garriott, W5LFL, aboard Columbia

A member of the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, Owen Garriott was a pioneer and innovator in all his endeavors…including amateur radio. Selected as a NASA scientist-astronaut in 1965, Garriott was the science-pilot for Skylab 3, the second crewed Skylab mission. Skylab was the first U.S. space station, housing 3 different crew expeditions from May 1973-February 1974. Owen spent approximately 60 days on Skylab, doing solar physics research, human physiological research and conducting 3 spacewalks to repair Skylab and extend its research capabilities.

Owen’s next flight into space, as part of an international crew on the STS-9 Space Shuttle Columbia mission, cemented amateur radio’s future as part of the human spaceflight experience. STS-9 was launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida on November 28, 1983. Onboard Columbia was an internationally developed space laboratory, Spacelab-1, which pioneered international spaceflight research with over 70 separate experiments—a precursor to the research currently being accomplished on the International Space Station (ISS). Onboard also was a Motorola 2-meter handheld radio with a window mounted antenna to facilitate ham radio contacts between W5LFL and hams on the ground. On December 1, the third day of his mission, Owen donned his headset and made history by communicating with Lance Collister, WA1JXN, in Frenchtown, Montana. In W5LFL’s own words, here is an excerpt of his first contact: “W5LFL in Columbia is calling CQ and standing by. Go ahead. Hello WA1JXN, WA1 Juliet X‐ray November, this is W5LFL. I picked up your signals fairly weakly. I think our attitude is not really the best as yet, but you’re our first contact from orbit. WA1 Juliet X‐ray November, how do you read? Over.”

STS-9 Launch – From the cover of AMSAT’s Orbit magazine No. 17, January/February 1984

Owen’s ham contacts on STS-9 were trailblazing for many reasons. They represented the first ham radio contact from a human in space to someone on Earth. They allowed the general public to directly listen and communicate with an on-orbit crew where, prior to this, only NASA mission control personnel or heads of State (U.S. Presidents, etc.) could talk to astronauts from space. And the mission also demonstrated that a group of volunteers could successfully build a ham radio station for a human spaceflight vehicle and get it formally approved by a space agency.

The first draft of the W5LFL Log (from AMSAT’s Amateur Satellite Report, No. 69, Jan. 9, 1984)

Owen spent decades attempting to carry out ham radio on one of his missions, employing gentle assertiveness and steadfast patience to realize his dream. In 1965, when NASA was considering Owen for a planned lunar flight on Apollo 18, 19 or 20, Project MOONRAY was proposed by the Project OSCAR team. Project MOONRAY would support amateur radio operations from the surface of the moon. This initiative was scuttled when Apollo lunar expeditions ended at Apollo 17. Prior to his flight on Skylab, AMSAT submitted a proposal to NASA called SKYLARC (Skylab Amateur Radio Communications). Unfortunately, this proposal was turned down. But, as they say, the 3rd time was a charm on STS-9 and ham radio is now a human spaceflight reality. Also, it should be noted that an AMSAT/ARISS International team is pursuing Owen’s plans to fly ham radio to the moon via several lunar proposal initiatives, including the Lunar Gateway.

Owen inspired legions of amateur radio operators, world-wide, to support human spaceflight amateur radio endeavors and for countless individuals to become ham radio operators. This includes his son, Richard, W5KWQ, who together with Owen became the first multi-generational American ham radio operators to communicate from space.

On behalf of the ARISS International Team, we would like to extend our sincere condolences to the Garriott family, including Owen’s son Richard, W5KWQ and Owen’s wife Eve. As Owen has inspired the amateur radio community to reach for the stars may we wish Owen Garriott Godspeed and a wonderful journey amongst the stars.

Ad Astra!

73, Frank Bauer, KA3HDO
ARISS International Chair
AMSAT V.P. for Human Spaceflight Programs

Owen Garriott, W5LFL, AMSAT Life Member #2030, SK

Diwata-2 Designated Philippines-OSCAR 101 (PO-101)

On October 29, 2018, the Diwata-2 microsatellite was launched on a H-IIA launch vehicle from the Tanegashima Space Center, Tanegashima, Japan. Diwata-2 was developed by the University of the Philippines Dillman (UPD) and the Advanced Science and Technology Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-ASTI) under the PHL-Microsat program (now succeeded by the STAMINA4Space program), and in cooperation with Tohoku University and Hokkaido University.  The project was funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and monitored by the DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD). The satellite carries an amateur radio payload that has been tested and is now ready for service.

At the request of the STAMINA4Space program, AMSAT hereby designates Diwata-2 as Philippines-OSCAR 101 (PO-101). We congratulate the owners and operators of PO-101, thank them for their contribution to the amateur satellite community, and wish them continued success on this and future projects.

73,

Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA
AMSAT VP Operations / OSCAR Number Administrator

PO-101

AMSAT Announces 50th Anniversary Space Symposium in Washington, DC

The 2019 AMSAT 50th Anniversary Symposium will be held at The Hilton Arlington in Arlington, VA, in the Washington, DC Metro Area on October 18, 19, and 20, 2019.

The Hilton Arlington is located in the heart of the Ballston neighborhood of Arlington, VA. Connected to the Ballston Metro Station, the hotel offers easy and effortless access to Washington, DC’s top tourist destinations like the National Mall, Smithsonian museums and historic monuments. The hotel is six miles from Reagan National Airport and the National Mall.

The AMSAT Board of Directors Meeting will be held at the hotel on  October 16th and 17th. Tours of the Washington DC / Baltimore area will be held Sunday and Monday, October 20th and 21st. The banquet speakers will celebrate AMSAT’s long history, so please plan on attending the 50th Anniversary Symposium. You will be glad you did!

Keep checking ANS and the AMSAT Website for further updates and information, including hotel reservation details.

Es’hail-2/P4A Designated Qatar-OSCAR 100 (QO-100)

On November 15, 2018, Es’hail-2/P4A was launched on a Falcon 9 launch vehicle from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida. Es’hail-2/P4A was developed jointly by QARS (Qatar Amateur Radio Society) and Es’hailSat (the Qatar Satellite Company), with AMSAT-DL as the technical lead, and is the first geostationary amateur radio payload. The satellite has reached its final position at 25.9 °E, and the narrow and wideband transponders were successfully tested on December 23rd. The transponders are expected to be opened for general use in February 2019.

At the request of AMSAT Deutschland e.V., QARS, and Es’hailSat, AMSAT hereby designates Es’hail-2/P4A as Qatar-OSCAR 100 (QO-100). May the
100th OSCAR satellite be the guide star to future amateur radio satellites and payloads to geostationary orbit and beyond.

73,

Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA
AMSAT VP Operations / OSCAR Number Administrator