Amateur Radio Digital Communications Announces Grant to ARISS

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09/13/2019

[UPDATED: 2019-09-17 @ 1450 UTC to provide additional detail and clarity.] Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) announced what is called “a very generous grant” to amateur radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) to help fund its Next Generation Interoperable Radio System (IORS) and associated infrastructure upgrades and upgrades. ARISS said the IORS will replace aging amateur stations on the ISS to ensure the continuation of its core program that allows students to talk to ISS crew members via amateur radio. The ARDC said it believes ARISS helps engage students in amateur radio and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in general “by providing exciting capabilities that don’t exist. ” on mobile phones or on the Internet. A dollar amount has not been made public.

“That was fantastic news!” said ARISS International President Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, who expressed his gratitude for the generosity of the ARDC. Bauer said the ARDC donation would go a long way towards covering the considerable cost of carrying out the IORS.

ARISS said its next-generation IORS “will enable exciting new capabilities for radio amateurs, students and the general public.” It also provides additional enhancements, including:

New amateur radio communication and experimentation capabilities, including an improved voice repeater and updated digital packet radio

+ AFRS capability

+ Two-Way Slow Scan Television (SSTV) in US and Russian ISS segments

+ HamTV-2

+ A new multi-voltage power supply that will support current and future amateur radio capabilities and enable wireless experimentation

The ARISS International team has already begun planning an amateur radio role for NASA’s Lunar Gateway initiative. Some members of the ARDC board have expressed interest in future ARISS projects involving the Lunar Gateway program, ARISS said.

At the end of July, the ARDC announced the sale of some 4 million AMPRNet Internet addresses to establish a grant and scholarship program in support of communications and networking research with a particular focus on amateur radio. ARDC, which operates AMPRNet, said it plans to provide monetary grants to organizations, groups, projects and scholarships that have significant potential to advance the state of the art in amateur radio and digital communications.

ARISS stressed that it will build 10 next-generation radio systems to ensure interoperability in any ISS module. Two systems will be installed on the ISS, two will serve as backup flights and one will undergo flight certification testing. The remaining systems will be used for astronaut and cosmonaut training and for the engineering team to perform other station enhancement development and firmware testing.

ARISS said the IORS has successfully completed a battery of rigorous testing that NASA requires as part of final certification of pre-launch and operational hardware. Final flight safety certification in preparation for launch is underway and ARISS expects the IORS to be ready to be sent to station by the end of the year.

The donation to ARISS is the first since ARDC announced its grant program earlier this summer. ARISS invite contributions through its website.

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