February 14: FH Aachen, University of Applied Sciences in Aachen (FHAUAS) Germany hosted an ARISS contact with Matthias Maurer (who earned his doctorate there); he answered 19 questions. The livestream of the contact garnered 512 views and the recording saw 2,008 views four days later. Many European hams listened to the contact using their own hand-held radios. Engineering students organized the ARISS project with help from these FHAUAS partners: Yuri´s Night Deutschland e.V., Deutscher Amateur Radio Club e.V., and Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt (DLR). Undergrads had set up a competition for the region’s young students to submit questions; the youth whose questions were selected felt quite honored to speak to Maurer.  FHAUAS offers a bachelor’s and master’s education in computer engineering, civil engineering, aerospace engineering, electrical engineering, bioengineering, power engineering. The school’s permanent Space Operations Facility helps students learn fundamentals of satellite communications by operating an amateur radio station including a radio ground station and mission control center—mostly built and programmed by students. They capture and decode data from weather satellites and ham satellites such as CubeSats.

February 10: Students at Gewerbliche Schulen Donaueschingen in Donaueschingen, Germany had an ARISS contact with Matthias Maurer who answered 18 questions. Following Covid protocols, 18 students and 8 staff and radio volunteers were on site. Other students watched the livestream, and over 440 listened to the audio at several area schools. Media coverage was by Südkurier, SWR Radio, SWR Aktuell TV, Radio 7 and KMZ-Stream. The school provides its 1,200 students a two-year STEM vocational training program, including in technology, the natural sciences, and an introduction to mechanical and electrical engineering. The senior class took on the ARISS contact as their final graduating project with support from the staff and the area amateur radio club that many students belong to and are licensed hams. Preparation for the ARISS contact included communications studies on radio wave properties and electrical engineering, such as radio components for filtering, and antenna construction projects. 

February 11-13: ARISS supported a full set of activities in Florida at one of the largest annual US ham radio conventions, Orlando HamCation, with an estimated 25,000 attendees. ARISS set up an exhibit in two booths that showcased three new education programs; ARISS volunteers talked with approximately 400 radio enthusiasts, educators, and students. Frank Bauer took part in an interview video initiated by ARISS-sponsor ARRL; he spoke about new ARISS educational programs; viewer count a week later totaled 4,630.  Four ARISS team members presented a forum featuring a panel discussion on the new ARISS education programs and new equipment initiatives; panel members answered questions from an audience of 35. Another ARISS team member presented a forum on ham radio satellites and ARISS activities.

February 7-8: Cosmonauts on the ISS supported another popular Moscow Aviation Institute SSTV session. This event attracted 545 unique participants who downloaded and posted 1,560 images to the ARISS SSTV Gallery at: https://www.spaceflightsoftware.com/ARISS_SSTV/index.php.

January: ARISS educator Gina Kwid, a K-5 engineering teacher at Galileo STEM Academy in Eagle, ID, led several hands-on STEM activities recently that students particularly enjoyed. They learned about flying a drone and its use of radio communication, added a motor to Legos projects, and created cardboard models of Mars landers.

January 10-14: ARISS educator Melissa Pore attended the week-long Vatican Observatory‘s science workshop, “Astronomy for Catholic Ministry & Education” in Tucson, AZ. She had the opportunity to hold discussions about ARISS and how she uses amateur radio and ARISS in her high school classes to teach radio waves, frequency, and various aspects of wireless communications.

February 20: ARISS is performing the first of its series of official experiments from the Columbus Module with the hope of expanding its ARISS SSTV (picture downlink) capabilities. The ARISS-Europe and ARISS-US teams are running the special SSTV experiments using a new digital coding scheme. The first experiment will utilize ARISS-Europe approved ground stations to transmit digital SSTV signals. Members of the ham radio community, young and old, students and the public who are in the ISS footprint are invited to receive and decode these special signals, and email reports to ARISS.

February 17:  A Russian Progress re-supply ship delivered an additional Kenwood D710GA ARISS radio to the ISS, this one for the Service Module. The radio will allow ARISS to broaden its activities and will aid ARISS by having identical radios in both the Service Module and Columbus Module.

ARISS Upcoming Events 

February 22 Erasmus Gymnasium, Denzligen, Germany ARISS contact, ARISS-Europe Team
February 23 Sussex County Charter School for Technology, Sparta NJ ARISS contact, ARISS-US Team
February 28 Carter Woodson Middle School, Hopewell VA  ARISS contact, ARISS-US Team