Amateur Radio on International Space Station (ARISS)
The "International Space Station" (ISS) is continuously manned by astronauts and cosmonauts. Most have an amateur radio licence.
Radio amateur associations from ISS partner countries, in the United States of America, Canada, Russia, Europe and Japan, have formed ARISS, "Amateur Radio on the International Space Station".
ARISS is a working group of volunteers who build and maintain the amateur radio station. The station is housed in the Russian segment, in the "Service Module", the Swesda. It is a multiband and multimode station.
The ARISS on-board station provides the global ham radio community with a permanent space platform. Several operating modes are automated and used by ground stations without crew intervention (packet radio, VHF/UHF crossband repeater, SSTV downlink). Cosmonauts and astronauts also use the station to work amateur ground stations in their spare time.
ARISS School Contacts
The space agencies have assigned ARISS the task of establishing ARISS School Contacts. These radio contacts are inserted into the astronauts' day job or 'timeline' by the planners. When a contact is scheduled, volunteer satellite radio amateurs set up a ground station at the school. During transit of the ISS (ten minutes), an astronaut answers questions prepared by the students.
When it is impossible to set up a satellite station at the school, radio contact with the ISS is established by a "telebridge" amateur radio station and signals are sent to the school by phone. ARISS has ten "telebridge" ground stations, located in the USA, Argentina, Europe, Australia, South Africa and Hawaii. These are well-equipped satellite stations run by amateurs who volunteer their time, knowledge and station. The European "telebridge" station ON4ISS is located in Belgium and manned by Philippe Van Houte ON5PV. Whenever possible, the audio of ARISS School contacts worldwide is broadcast live over EchoLink and IRLP.