Proposals by school and educational organizations to host Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contacts with an International Space Station crew member next year will be accepted starting on Monday, October 1. Completed proposals are due by Thursday, November 15. ARISS anticipates that the contacts will be scheduled between July 1 and December 31, 2019, although crew schedules and ISS orbits determine exact contact dates. A committee of educators evaluate and approve proposals.
“ARISS contacts allow education audiences to learn firsthand from astronauts what it is like to work and live in space,” ARISS said. “These scheduled contact opportunities are offered to formal and informal education institutions and organizations, individually or working together.”
To maximize these radio contact opportunities, ARISS is looking for organizations that will a draw large number of participants and integrate the contact into a well-developed education plan. Because of the nature of human spaceflight and the complexity of scheduling activities aboard the ISS, organizations must demonstrate flexibility to accommodate changes in contact dates and times.
Educational proposals should include plans for students to study topics related to space technology, space exploration, or space research, and, to learn about communication, wireless technology, and radio science. The more advanced preparation educators make with educational plans, the more learning and value the ARISS event will have for students, ARISS said. A Proposal Guide can help in planning and identifying necessary to host an ARISS scheduled contact.
An ARISS Technical Mentor is assigned to assist educational organizations with technical preparations and logistical coordination of the contact. With the assistance of the ARISS team, ARRL and AMSAT can help in locating a local Amateur Radio group to provide equipment and expertise. In many cases, local ham radio club volunteers may also be able to assist with lessons on communication, wireless technology, or radio science.
ARRL ARISS-US Delegate Rosalie White, K1STO, quoted one educator who wrote, “Many of our middle school students who participated in and attended our ARISS contact have selected science courses in high school as a result of that contact.” Many teachers report setting up ham radio clubs in schools and learning centers because of students’ interest prior to an ARISS contact.
Full information on hosting an ARISS contact is available on the ARISS website.
Amateur Radio organizations around the world, NASA, and space agencies in Russia, Canada, Japan, and Europe sponsor this educational opportunity by providing equipment on the space station and operational support to enable direct communication between crew on the ISS and students around the world via Amateur Radio. In the US, the program is managed by ARRL and AMSAT in partnership with NASA.