ARSPEX WG 2007 ACTIVITY REPORT
Presently the main activity of the ARSPEX working group is related to ARISS, Amateur Radio on the International Space Station.
IARU Region 1 societies and AMSAT societies are invited to join the ARISS-Europe working group. Presently ARISS-Europe’s member societies are:
ARISS has developed a privileged relationship with the Space Agencies: NASA, ESA and Roscosmos/Energia.
Astronauts and cosmonauts – most have an amateur radio licence – use the amateur radio VHF station on board the Russian Service Module for contacts with amateur radio ground stations worldwide.
The main activity is educational outreach, which is most appreciated by the Space Agencies. ARISS international has developed an efficient system for organizing school contacts: students prepare questions and have the possibility to put their question to an astronaut onboard the ISS over amateur radio, and get his/her answer from space real time. These ARISS contacts are integrated in the workload of the astronauts. ARISS has no access to their free time.
Every year ESA sets up two educational events in primary schools. ARISS-Europe has an arrangement with ESA for providing an ARISS School Contact for such events.
Moreover, when ESA astronauts perform a space mission on the ISS, ESA asks ARISS-Europe to provide radio contacts with the astronaut for schools in the country of the astronaut. These events are highlighted in the media and the educational role of the amateur radio service is officially recognized.
ARISS mentors work
with local amateur radio clubs (mostly by e-mail and phone) to set up an
efficient satellite type station in the schools selected for a contact. In
Region 1, ARISS-Europe has mentors in
When a direct radio contact cannot be set up, the radio contact with the ISS is established by one of the ARISS dedicated ground stations and from there, the signals are relayed by phone to the school. This solution is called a “telebridge”. The phone link generally involves up to ten hams: the astronaut, the ground station operator, the operator in the school, the coordinator, a moderator and the hams in charge of broadcasting the audio of the space talk over EchoLink and IRLP.
In 2007, sixteen ARISS School Contacts were performed in Region 1:
1 in the
November 2002, I
submitted a request to ESA's Directorate for Manned Space Flight and
Microgravity, asking for ham radio facilities on the European Space Laboratory
Columbus. In 2003, ESA's
I took five years
to solve the many issues related to the installation of amateur radio antennas
The patch antennas have been developed by the Technical University of Wroclaw, Poland.
antennas have been fixed on the nadir of
ARISS-Europe has collected 72.000€ for the construction of the antennas. All donations are published on ARISS-Europe’s website. See http://www.ariss-eu.org/donations.htm
The initially estimated cost was 80.000€, but the total bill amounts to 86.000€.
The UBA has paid the final bill to the Technical University of Wroclaw. This means that the UBA has advanced 14.000€ cash.
A contribution from the Region to alleviate UBA’s financial burden would be most welcome.
ESA also contributed to this project, supporting the installation cost (installation of feedthroughs, coax cables, fixation on the module). From an inside source, I was told that ESA’s financial involvement in ARISS antennas is about 1 million Euro.
Presently, I have
set up weekly teleconferences for the ARCOL technical working group which is
planning the onboard equipment for Amateur Radio on
This will be the first ever amateur radio station on European territory in Space.
An ARSPEX website has been installed. See http://www.arspex.org/
Gaston Bertels, ON4WF
ARSPEX WG chairman a.i.