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

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