Frank H. Bauer 
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
(Phone: 301-286-8496)

Nancy Neal
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
(Phone: 301-286-8955)

When astronauts, cosmonauts and payload specialists from many nations fly on
the International Space Station, they will have Amateur Radio as a constant

The first amateur radio station for the International Space Station (ISS)
will be carried into orbit on-board the Space Shuttle Atlantis on mission
STS-106 this week. The flight will prepare the ISS for its first resident crew
and begin the outfitting of the newly arrived Zvezda Service Module (the space
station unit that provides living quarters for the astronauts and cosmonauts).
The seven-member crew will perform support tasks on orbit, transfer supplies and
prepare the Zvezda living quarters for the Expedition One crew, due to arrive
later this year.

Among the items to be on board ISS will be the ham radio gear for future use
by the Expedition 1 crew, the first crew that will live and work aboard the ISS.
The ham radio gear will not be set up by the STS-106 crew, but stored in the FGB
(Zarya) module until the Expedition 1 crew arrives.

The Expedition 1 crew – Astronaut William M. Shepherd (Capt., USN),
Expedition commander; Cosmonaut Yuri Gidzenko (Col., Russian Air Force), Soyuz
vehicle commander; and Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, Flight engineer – will be
launched to the ISS in October and will spend four months on the station,
ushering in a new era of permanent human presence in space.

Planning for the deployment and use of the ham system aboard ISS has been an
international effort coordinated by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in
Greenbelt, Md. It began in 1996 with the formation of an organization called
ARISS (Amateur Radio International Space Station) to design, build and operate
the equipment.

ARISS is made up of delegates from major national amateur radio organizations
and from AMSAT (The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation) in eight nations
involved in ISS. Frank Bauer, chief of the Guidance, Navigation and Control
Center at Goddard, and AMSAT’s vice president for human spaceflight spearheaded
the initial ISS development effort.

"In the United States, the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and AMSAT
provide leadership and consultation," said Bauer. "They donate and
build hardware and make sure safety and qualification tests are successfully
completed so the equipment can fly." Bauer said about a dozen Goddard
employees and hundreds of amateur radio enthusiasts around the world volunteered
their time and expertise to the project.

The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the
Russian space organization Energia have signed agreements outlining how amateur
radio will be used on the station, while a Technical Team, called ISS Ham, has
been established to serve as the interface to support hardware development, crew
training and on-orbit operations.

Bauer said the Russians provided ports so that antennas can be mounted on the
Zvezda Service Module. The Italian team designed and built antennas, and the
German team built sophisticated repeater stations that will allow crews to make
recorded reports on their daily activity and permit hams on earth better
contacts with the men and women aboard the station. U.S. and Russian teams have
trained the astronauts and cosmonauts to operate the equipment.

Since its first flight, in 1983, Ham Radio has flown on more than two-dozen
Space Shuttle missions. Dozens of astronauts have used SAREX (The Space Amateur
Radio Experiment) to talk to thousands of kids in school and to their families
on Earth while they were in orbit. They have pioneered space radio
experimentation, including television and text messaging as well as voice

The Russians have had a similar program for the cosmonauts aboard the Russian
space station "Mir." When US astronauts were aboard Mir in preparation
for the long duration missions of the International Space Station, they used
amateur radio for communication, including emergency messaging.

Hams, as amateur radio operators are often called, use radio transmitters and
receivers to talk to other hams all over the globe, as well as to those in
space. There are more than 1.5 million licensed hams worldwide, including more
than 660,000 Americans.

Every radio amateur must be licensed by the Federal Communications Commission
(FCC). In order to obtain a license, a ham must pass an examination, which
includes questions about radio theory, rules and regulations, and International
Morse Code.

There are three grades of licenses, each at progressively higher levels of
proficiency: Technician, General and Amateur Extra. Any licensed ham can chat
with the Shuttle when SAREX is onboard. Soon, they will be able to talk to
members of the Expedition 1 crew.

The ham station to be flown on the upcoming Shuttle mission for installation
aboard the ISS is just the beginning. ARISS is working on even more
sophisticated stations, and hopes to have some Slow Scan Television capability
in place by 2001.

Space Shuttle Mission STS-106 is scheduled to launch from the Kennedy Space
Center in Florida on Sept. 8 during a five minute "window" that opens
at 8:45 a.m. Eastern Time. The STS-106 astronauts and cosmonauts will spend 11
days in orbit and will open the doors to the International Space Station’s
newest component, the Zvezda Service Module. Atlantis is scheduled to land at
KSC on Sept. 19 at 3:54 a.m. EDT.

For more information about amateur radio on the ISS and SAREX, go to:

For more information on the STS-106 mission and the International Space
Station, go to: