ARISS Radio Upgrade on ISS for Student Outreach
$38,275 raised
26% of $150k goal
134 contributors
3 Years running

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) inspires students, worldwide, to pursue interests and  careers in science, technology, engineering and math through amateur radio communications opportunities with the  International Space Station (ISS) on-orbit crew.  Students learn about life on board the ISS and explore Earth from space through science and math activities. ARISS provides opportunities for the school community (students, teachers, families and community members) to become more aware of the substantial benefits of human spaceflight and the exploration and discovery that occur on spaceflight journeys. Students have the opportunity to learn about space technologies and the technologies involved with space communications through exploration of amateur radio. ARISS is a cooperative venture of amateur radio societies and space agencies that support the ISS -- in the US, AMSAT, ARRL, CASIS, NASA.


First Element of ARISS Next Generation Radio System
Readied for Launch on SpaceX-20


During this Holiday Season, when the spirit of giving and receiving gifts reigns high, ARISS received a special gift and delivered a phenomenal gift to the international community.  This occurred on Thursday December 19, 2019. 

Our international gift to all—students, STEM education, the public and the amateur radio community—was the historic transfer of the first Interoperable Radio System (IORS) flight unit, serial number 1001, to NASA Johnson Space Center for launch on SpaceX-20.  The special gift received by ARISS was the approval from NASA Safety to launch the IORS on SpaceX-20 and stow the radio system on the International Space Station.  December 19, 2019 was truly a banner day for ARISS! 

The IORS is a foundational element of the ARISS next generation radio system and is an incredible engineering achievement by the ARISS hardware team. This first element delivery will support easier radio mode transitions and enable new, exciting capabilities for hams, students and the general public.  The IORS will include a higher power radio, an enhanced voice repeater, updated digital packet radio (APRS) capabilities and slow scan television (SSTV) capabilities for both the US and Russian segments. The IORS consists of a special, modified JVCKenwood D710GA transceiver, an AMSAT-developed multi voltage power supply and interconnecting cables.
This first flight IORS will be installed in the ISS Columbus module.  A second flight unit is expected to be launched sometime in 2020 for installation in the Russian Service module.  A total of 4 flight units and 10 total units will be built by the ARISS hardware team to support on-board flight operations, training, operations planning and hardware testing.  Future upgrades and enhancements to the next generation system are in various stages of design & development.  These include a repaired Ham Video system (currently planned for launch in mid-to-late 2020), L-band (uplink) repeater, ground command operations capability, LimeSDR signal reception, a microwave “Ham Communicator” and Lunar Gateway prototype experiment.

While yesterday was truly an historic milestone, it should be noted that there is still much “heavy lifting” work to be done to prepare the IORS for Operations on ISS.  ARISS has 92 engineering requirements and our operations Phase III safety review to complete.  The space agencies take a position of “Trust but Verify.”  Thus, these engineering and safety “verifications” all need to be closed out before the IORS can be unstowed and turned on.  This will be the ARISS hardware team’s focus over the next few months.

Also, please remember that ARISS is almost entirely run by volunteers.  So donations to the ARISS program for next generation hardware developments, operations, education and administrative functions are always welcome.  Please go to  if you want to contribute to our efforts!

In closing, ARISS would like to thank the outstanding contributions of the IORS hardware development team on an incredible radio system.  ARISS would like to thank our sponsors and donors for helping us realize the IORS hardware systems.  On behalf of the ARISS team, we would like to wish you all a joyful and prosperous Holiday Season—Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and Happy New Year!!

Ad Astra! To the Stars!

Frank Bauer, KA3HDO
ARISS International Chair
AMSAT V.P. for Human Spaceflight Programs




Giving Tuesday - November 27, 2018

Tuesday, Nov. 27 is #Giving Tuesday , when many people donate to a favorite cause. Gifts to ARISS on Tuesday or at any time of the year are a wonderful way make a difference to our youth, to our communities and to the amateur radio hobby.  All ARISS donations via AMSAT (including Fundrazr) are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. If donating directly to AMSAT, be sure to designate "ARISS" on your check, in the PayPal notes or in your letter.  Our readers can consider doing the same thing John Carobine, WB8RFB, did -- here is his letter.

I'm not one who considers myself influenced much by advertisements but I recently made a donation to AMSAT-NA to support the ARISS mission of bringing technology awareness to a whole new generation of young people because of one; namely, the Kenwood advertisement on the back page of the July 2018 edition of QST Magazine.  I "connected" with it and it made me want to support this program in whatever capacity I can
In part, the ad stated "The ARISS mission is to provide and operate Amateur radio systems in space aboard the International Space Station, helping inspire, educate and engage youth and communities worldwide in science, technology, engineering and mathematics."

The last 11 years of my working life were spent as an adjunct instructor of adult education in my local college's GED program.  I taught some of those subjects.  As I told my students "knowledge is power and power enables one to have many options."  The  mission statement struck a cord with me having worked in various capacities in each of those areas over the span of my entire working career.  I spent twenty years in the U.S. Navy working in various meteorological, oceanographic, electronic and computer maintenance and management capacities.  Those activities plus additional formal education opened future employment doors for me in the civilian sector for 30 additional years.  

Exposing school students via ARISS to the possibilities of careers in STEM is nothing short of positive.  As stated so many times before, we never know what lesson, activity, or casual statement will open a person's mind and inspire them to greatness.

As I celebrate 47 years in amateur radio, I encourage others to reflect upon what amateur radio has meant and done for them.  I hope that you too will be inspired to "pay it forward" and help preserve and promote an avocation that has meant so much to all of us.

John Carobine, WB8RFB
Life Member

Permission to post this letter, originally printed in December 2018 QST, was received from John Carobine, WB8RFB, and ARRL.



ARISS is in critical need of an infrastructure update to ensure that programs like students talking to astronauts in space via amateur radio can continue. Through your donations ARISS seeks the following upgrades:

  • Next Generation radio system will support easier radio mode transition, to enable new, exciting capabilities for hams, students and the general public including:
    • New amateur radio communication and experimentation capabilities, including an enhanced voice repeater and updated digital packet radio (APRS) capabilities
    • Slow Scan TV (picture up and downlinks) in both the US and Russian segments of ISS
  • New multi-voltage power supply will support present and future radio capabilities and allow wireless experiments to be conducted
  • ARISS needs to build 10 Next Generation Radio Systems to support our development, on-orbit operations, training and long-term maintenance. This includes units on-orbit (2 units--1 unit each in US and Russian segment), flight spares (2 units), training (3 units), testing (1 unit) and ground-based maintenance & troubleshooting (2 units)

Donations are fully tax deductible within the USA as ARISS-USA is a 501(c)(3) organization.



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