International Amateur Radio Union - Region 1


Gaston Bertels, ON4WF - ARSPEX WG Chairman

Avenue Paul Hymans 117/29  -  B-1200 Brussels - Belgium

Tel  : +32.2.771.67.74     E-Mail :





February 11, 2009




  1. ARISS working group

IARU Region 1 societies and AMSAT societies are invited to join the ARISS-Europe working group. Presently ARISS-Europe’s  member societies are:



AMSAT France
















  1. ARISS mentors

ARISS has arrangements with the Space Agencies NASA, ESA, CSA, JAXA and Roscosmos, offering educational outreach, allowing students to talk with astronauts onboard the ISS over amateur radio.

When a waiting school is selected for an upcoming ARISS School Contact, the Operations Committee nominates a "mentor", in charge of preparing the school for the event. This takes about two months. The mentor interfaces with the school and the local radio amateurs. His work is done by phone and e-mail.

      Presently, ARISS-Europe mentors are:  

Peter Kofler, IN3GHZ

Christophe Candebat, F1MOJ

Howard Long, G6LVB

Francesco de Paolis, IK0WGF

Marco Pernic, 9A8MM  

Eskil van Loosdrecht, SM5SRR




  1. ARISS School Contacts

In 2008, nine ARISS School Contacts were performed in Region 1:

-          3 in France

-          1  in Croatia

-          1 in Netherlands

-          1 in Kuwait

-          1 Hungary

-          1 in UK

-          1 in Italy


            January - February 2009, 7 ARISS School Contacts were performed in Region 1:

-          1 in Belgium

-          2 in France

-          1 in UK

-          1 in Germany

-          1 in Italy

-          1 in Greece



In 2009, the permanent ISS crew will grow from 3 to 9 members. For the first time, a European astronaut will serve as ISS Commander: the Belgian Frank De Winne, ON1DWN. ESA Educational Service has set up an astronaut T-shirt drawing competition for 9-12 year old children. The three winners are an Italian, a Portuguese and a Belgian. The prize is an ARISS School Contact for their school.


Frank De Winne is also UNICEF ambassador and we were asked to set up an ARISS School Contact with a school in Gao, Mali. Another central African ARISS School Contact with ON1DWN is in the pipeline for a school in Mbour, Senegal.



  1. ESA educational project submitted to the European Commission

'Framework programmes' (FPs) are the main financial tools through which the European Union supports research and development activities covering almost all scientific disciplines.

ESA's Manned Spaceflight Educational Service has submitted a project to the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The aim of this proposal is to develop an educational project in a collaborative effort between researchers, teachers, didactic experts and the local communities, by integrating and sharing knowledge on inquiry based teaching methods and applying it to and testing it on concrete, appealing events: radiocommunication with astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS).

The ESA project, called Space Talks, is based on ARISS School Contacts.

The evaluation summary reports will be published by the European Commission in the 3rd week of April 2009.


  1. GENSO (Global Educational Network for Satellite Operations)

GENSO is a project initiated under the auspices of the International Space Education Board (ISEB).  This board consists of the Education Departments of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales) , the European Space Agency (ESA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the National Aeronatics and Space Administration (NASA).

The project is managed by the Education Projects Division of ESA.

GENSO aims to increase the return from educational space missions by forming a worldwide network of ground stations and spacecraft which can interact via a software standard. This will fundamentally change the way that these missions are managed, dramatically increasing the level of access to orbital educational spacecraft.

Educational space missions are often hampered by the relatively small communication windows offered by their typically low orbits and local ground stations.

GENSO is a software standard which allows each ground station on the network to communicate with non-local spacecraft and share data with the spacecraft controllers via the internet. This will allow for a near global coverage in communication for every educational satellite launched, greatly increasing the return from educational space missions and the opportunities for sending commands to the spacecraft.

The design and implementation work is being carried out by a distributed set of student and radio amateur teams worldwide and with over 80 educational spacecraft currently planned there is a very large demand for such a project. 

All student groundstation teams already include one or more radio amateurs and many students are obtaining their licences as a result of this activity.


A definition of a reference ground station has been undertaken by a team from AMSAT UK members :

- Graham Shirville, G3VZV, coordinator

- John Rivett, M3RRX

- David Johnson, G4DPZ

- Jim  Heck, G3WGM

This team has already implemented the installation of a ground station at the ISU (International Space University) and further stations are planned for installation at the ESA ESTEC and ESOC facilities

Close cooperation of the Amateur Radio Service with the Educational Services of the Space Agencies paves the way to a new generation of highly qualified radio amateurs or at the very least ensures that the next generation of space engineers and managers will be “amateur friendly”. Additionally it also opens an interesting field of activity for all hams with a passion for Space Exploration.



Respectfully submitted


Gaston Bertels, ON4WF

ARSPEX WG chairman