[amsat-bb] Richard Garriott on ISS

Frank H. Bauer ka3hdo at comcast.net
Fri Sep 19 00:28:15 PDT 2008

September 18, 2008
Silver Spring, Maryland

Richard Garriott, W5KWQ, to communicate with Students and Ham Radio
Operators World-wide through the Amateur Radio Station on-board the
International Space Station (ISS) 

Through multiple agreements with NASA, the Russian Space Agency, RSC
Energia, Space Adventures Ltd, and ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International
Space Station), Richard Garriott will fly to ISS and will communicate with
students, ham radio operators, friends, and family world-wide using the
ARISS amateur radio station on-board the ISS.  
Richard Garriott, with the amateur radio callsign, W5KWQ is the sixth
private citizen to be flown by the Russian space agency to the ISS.  A
legendary video game programmer and designer, Garriott will be traveling to
orbit this October and will speak with hundreds of students while thousands
more listen in during a series of ten-minute ham radio contacts.  His
on-orbit stay on Soyuz and ISS is planned for October 12 – 22, 2008.  
The locales for the worldwide student contacts include eight Challenger
Learning Centers in the U.S., the Austin Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy
in Austin, Texas, the Pinehurst School in Ashland, Oregon, the Budbrooke
School in the U.K., and the National Space Challenge in Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia.  Garriott also plans to have random chats with scouts world-wide
as part of the amateur radio “Jamboree on the Air” which is planned for
October 18-19.
 “An important aspect of Richard Garriott’s mission is to encourage
students’ interest in science and technology through the amateur radio
contacts,” said Rosalie White, ARISS International Secretary-Treasurer and
ARISS Program Manager for ARRL (American Radio Relay League).  “ARISS team
members from all over the world volunteer their time every day so that
students receive opportunities that we hope will cause them to study harder
and learn more about any educational subject.” 
The connection from the ISS to individual student locations will be
established through an amateur radio station set up directly at the school
or through the ARISS network of worldwide amateur radio ground stations
utilized to link Garriott directly with students.  The amateur radio system
works similar to the way mission control centers in the United States and
Russia talk to their space explorers.
To date, the ARISS international working group volunteer team has conducted
over 360 school contacts with crew members using ham radio on the ISS.  The
team has also set up radio contacts for family members of space explorers
via ham radio.  And have enabled countless contacts between the ISS crew
members and hams on the ground.  All previous Space Adventures private
citizens who have flown to ISS have used the ARISS equipment to talk to
school students, ham radio operators and friends and family.
As part of Richard Garriott’s science investigations, he will be taking high
definition photographs of many parts of the Earth and comparing them to
photos taken on previous space missions.  In conjunction with his Earth
science investigation, Mr. Garriott is flying special amateur radio
electronics that will enable him to send and receive low resolution images
from space, comparable to cell phone images.  Through this ham radio system,
called Slow-Scan Television (SSTV), Garriott will beam down images of the
Earth to schools and ham radio operators on the ground so that they can
actively participate in his mission.   
Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, ARISS International Chairman and AMSAT Vice President
for Human Spaceflight Programs, states: “The ARISS team is quite excited
about Richard’s flight.  He is very interested in bringing the wonders of
space to those of us on Earth and he sees amateur radio as a great mechanism
to make that happen.  Through his school and scout voice contacts, his SSTV
image downlinks and his communications with the world-wide amateur radio
community, we see his mission as being “action packed” from an amateur radio
perspective.”  Bauer continues, “What is extra special is that Richard
Garriott’s flight coincides almost 25 years from when his father, Owen
Garriott, made history as the first ham radio operator to communicate with
radio amateurs from space on the STS-9 Space Shuttle mission.”  Owen
Garriott’s call sign is W5LFL.  Richard also hopes to link up with his
father via amateur radio during his flight.   
Currently, Mr. Garriott is finishing his final spaceflight preparations at
the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre (GCTC) located in Star City, Russia.
His launch date is scheduled for October 12, 2008, with ISS docking planned
for October 14 and undocking planned for October 22.  Mr. Garriott was
trained thoroughly to be a member of the Soyuz TMA-13/17S crew.  
Since its first flight with Owen Garriott, in November 1983, Ham Radio has
flown on more than two-dozen space shuttle missions, on the Mir Space
Station and on the ISS.  ARISS is the first and longest continuous operating
educational outreach program to fly on the ISS.  ARISS is an
internationally-based working group, sponsored by the national amateur radio
organizations and the international AMSAT (Radio Amateur Satellite
Corporation) organizations from each country as well as the ISS space agency
partners.  In the United States, ARISS is sponsored by the American Radio
Relay League (ARRL), the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation-North America
(AMSAT-NA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
NASA’s education office provides support to ARISS and guidance in the
development of ARISS educational objectives.  

The primary purpose of ARISS is to allow students engaged in a science and
technology curriculum to speak with an astronaut orbiting the Earth on the
International Space Station.  Using amateur radio, students ask questions
about life in space or other space-related topics. Students fully
participate in the ARISS contact by helping set up an amateur radio ground
station at the school and then using that station to talk directly with the
on-board crew member.    Preparation for the experience motivates the
children to learn about radio waves, space technology, science, geography
and the space environment.  In many cases, the students help write press
releases and give presentations on the contact to their fellow students and
to the local community.  Through this hands-on experience, students are
engaged and educated in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
(STEM) fields, and are inspired to pursue STEM-related careers. 
For more information about amateur radio on the ISS and Richard Garriott’s
flight, go to:


Scout Jamboree on the Air:


Frank H. Bauer, KA3HDO
AMSAT-NA V.P. for Human Spaceflight Programs
ARISS International Chairman

More information about the AMSAT-BB mailing list