First Element of ARISS Next Generation Radio System Readied for Launch on SpaceX CRS-20

During this Holiday Season, when the spirit of giving and receiving gifts reigns high, ARISS received a special gift and delivered a phenomenal gift to the international community.  This occurred on Thursday December 19, 2019.

Our international gift to all—students, STEM education, the public and the amateur radio community—was the historic transfer of the first Interoperable Radio System (IORS) flight unit, serial number 1001, to NASA Johnson Space Center for launch on SpaceX CRS-20.  The special gift received by ARISS was the approval from NASA Safety to launch the IORS on SpaceX CRS-20 and stow the radio system on the International Space Station.  December 19, 2019 was truly a banner day for ARISS!

The IORS is a foundational element of the ARISS next generation radio system and is an incredible engineering achievement by the ARISS hardware team. This first element delivery will support easier radio mode transitions and enable new, exciting capabilities for hams, students and the general public.  The IORS will include a higher power radio, an enhanced voice repeater, updated digital packet radio (APRS) capabilities and slow scan television (SSTV) capabilities for both the US and Russian segments. The IORS consists of a special, modified JVCKenwood TM-D710GA transceiver, an AMSAT-developed multi voltage power supply and interconnecting cables.

This first flight IORS will be installed in the ISS Columbus module.  A second flight unit is expected to be launched sometime in 2020 for installation in the Russian Service module.  A total of 4 flight units and 10 total units will be built by the ARISS hardware team to support on-board flight operations, training, operations planning and hardware testing.  Future upgrades and enhancements to the next generation system are in various stages of design & development.  These include a repaired Ham Video system (currently planned for launch in mid-to-late 2020), L-band (uplink) repeater, ground command operations capability, LimeSDR signal reception, a microwave “Ham Communicator” and Lunar Gateway prototype experiment.

While yesterday was truly an historic milestone, it should be noted that there is still much “heavy lifting” work to be done to prepare the IORS for Operations on ISS.  ARISS has 92 engineering requirements and our operations Phase III safety review to complete.  The space agencies take a position of “Trust but Verify.”  Thus, these engineering and safety “verifications” all need to be closed out before the IORS can be unstowed and turned on.  This will be the ARISS hardware team’s focus over the next few months.

Also, please remember that ARISS is almost entirely run by volunteers.  So donations to the ARISS program for next generation hardware developments, operations, education and administrative functions are always welcome.  Please go to https://www.ariss.org/donate.html  if you want to contribute to our efforts!

In closing, ARISS would like to thank the outstanding contributions of the IORS hardware development team on an incredible radio system.  ARISS would like to thank our sponsors and donors for helping us realize the IORS hardware systems.  On behalf of the ARISS team, we would like to wish you all a joyful and prosperous Holiday Season—Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year!!

Ad Astra!  To the Stars!

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

IORS

Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) Awards Generous Grant to ARISS

Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) has awarded a very generous grant to ARISS for the Next Generation radio system. ARDC is  the owner and manager of the Internet network known as the AMPRNet. In June of 2019, ARDC initiated a philanthropic endeavor to provide monetary grants to organizations, groups, projects, and scholarships which have significant potential to advance the state of the art of Amateur Radio, and digital communications in general.

The ARISS Next Generation radio system (or Inter Operable Radio System – IORS) will support easier radio mode transition, to enable new, exciting capabilities for hams, students and the general public including:

  • New amateur radio communication and experimentation capabilities, including an enhanced voice repeater and updated digital packet radio (APRS) capabilities.
  • Slow Scan TV (picture up and downlinks) in both the US and Russian segments of ISS.
  • New multi-voltage power supply will support present and future radio capabilities and allow wireless experiments to be conducted.

In July, the Inter Operable Radio System successfully completed a battery of stressful tests required as part of the final certification of the hardware for launch to and operation on the International Space Station. Final assembly of the flight safety certification in preparation for launch is now underway and ARISS is working towards launch ready status by the end of the year.

For more information on the award please see: https://www.ampr.org/g2019-09-01a/

To contribute to ARISS and the IORS please see: https://www.ariss.org/donate.html

ARISS and AMSAT thank ARDC for their generosity in supporting this important project.

[ANS thanks ARISS, the AMSAT office, and ARDC for the above information.]

IORS testing
IORS testing at Johnson Space Center (L to R) Lou McFadin and Kerry Banke

 

ARISS Next Generation Radio System Completes Critical Flight Certification Tests

The Interoperable Radio System (IORS), ARISS’ next generation radio system successfully completed a battery of stressful tests required as part of the final certification of the hardware for launch to and operation on the International Space Station.

IORS test bench

During the week of July 8, the IORS, consisting of the JVC Kenwood D-710GA Radio and the AMSAT developed Multi-Voltage Power Supply, successfully completed a series of Electro-magnetic Interference (EMI)/Electro-Magnetic Compatibility (EMC) tests to ensure that the ARISS hardware will not interfere with the ISS systems or other payloads. Testing continued into the following week, where the IORS successfully passed power quality and acoustics testing. These tests verified that the ARISS IORS will not introduce harmful signals back into the ISS power system and is quiet enough to meet ISS acoustic requirements. ARISS Hardware Team members Lou McFadin, W5DID and Kerry Banke, N6IZW were at the NASA Johnson Space Centersupporting this two week battery of tests in concert with the NASA test and certification team.

IORS testing at Johnson Space Center (L to R) Lou McFadin and Kerry Banke

Kerry Banke states, “Since the IORS is being qualified to operate on 120VDC, 28VDC and Russian 28VDC as well as transmitting on VHF or UHF, a lot of test combinations were required to cover all cases. Each input voltage type was also tested at low,medium and high line voltage. Moreover, additional permutations were required to test the IORS under no load, medium load and full load at each voltage level. So it should not be surprising why the tests took two weeks to complete.”

Successful completion of these tests represents a key milestone in preparing the IORS for launch. ARISS can now begin final assembly of the flight safety certification in preparation for launch. ARISS is working towards launch ready status by the end of the year.

About ARISS:

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is a cooperative venture of international amateur radio societies and the space agencies that support the International Space Station (ISS).  In the United States, sponsors are the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT), the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the ISS National Lab and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The primary goal of ARISS is to promote exploration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) topics by organizing scheduled contacts via amateur radio between crew members aboard the ISS and students in classrooms or public forms. Before and during these radio contacts, students, educators, parents, and communities learn about space, space technologies, and amateur radio. For more information, see www.ariss.org.

Media Contact:

Dave Jordan, AA4KN
ARISS PR
aa4kn@amsat.org

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Longtime AMSAT Area Coordinator, Net Control Operator, and ARISS Mentor Keith Pugh, W5IU, SK

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of ARISS team member Keith Pugh, W5IU. Keith spent his life on Earth as a true gentlemen…serving others, enjoying friendship and relationships, and supporting his passions…amateur radio, flying and most importantly his love of God and all the great things on this Earth.

Those that knew Keith considered him a Texan through and through. But truth be told, he was born and raised in Dodge City, Kansas. After college, he left Kansas and settled permanently in the Fort Worth, Texas area where picked up that Texas accent and welcomed us into his world. And it is in Texas where he passed away on May 24, 2019.

Active with AMSAT and Amateur Radio satellites since the 1980’s, Keith jump-started his passion for amateur radio on human spaceflight missions in 1991, when the Space Station Mir was in orbit and Soviet ham radio operators were talking to the world-wide amateur radio community. Keith helped install a Soviet Space Exhibit in Fort Worth in 1991 and he hosted Musa Manarov U2MIR’s visit to the USA. Ultimately, Keith joined the ARISS team in 2004, where he has provided support as one of our operations leaders, technical mentoring numerous schools and ARISS contact organizations and providing his warm friendship and guidance to all in our team. Keith also attended several of our ARISS International meetings, including our 2008 ARISS-I meeting in Moscow and Kaluga.

Keith Pugh. W5IU, conducting a satellite demo

Many of us were aware of Keith’s cancer. But, Keith being Keith, he kept most of his pain and suffering to himself. He remained joyful and humble until his death. In fact, just a few days before his death–this past Tuesday, Keith signed into the ARISS International teleconference, apologizing that he came in late. None of us knew this would be our last dialog with such a close friend and outstanding member of our team.

As I stated, one of Keith’s passions was flying as a private pilot. In fact for one of his vacations he flew a Cessna aircraft around Australia. As a fellow pilot, I know that Keith must have been an avid fan of the poem “High Flight” written by John Gillespie Magee Jr. Paraphrasing this poem:

While we mourn the loss of our good friend, Keith Pugh, let us joyfully reflect on the fact that Keith has

Slipped the surly bonds of Earth

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Topped the windswept heights with easy grace

And, while with silent lifting mind, Keith has trod

The high unsurpassed sanctity of Space,

Put out his hand and touched the face of God.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Keith Pugh, W5IU SK as he touches the face of God.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, in the Sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church with a reception following. First Presbyterian Church is located at 1000 Penn St, Fort Worth, TX 76102.

Keith operating the AMSAT demo station at the Dayton Hamvention

 

Keith manning an AMSAT booth at a hamfest
Keith with AMSAT Vice President of Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY