March 17: Members of the Kids Star Club in Sayama, Japan had a chance to talk with Mark Vande Hei during an ARISS contact; he answered 17 students’ questions. Prior to the contact, elementary school students in the Sayama area had been recruited for their interest in learning about space and earning an amateur radio license. They took part in virtual lessons on space exploration, electricity, radio waves, and operating the club’s amateur radio ground station. The youth who passed their ham radio license exams got to generate the questions that all the students asked during the radio contact. The club livestreamed the action and streamed it also over YouTube with a reported 170 viewers watching. A TV and FM radio station covered the event.

March 11: ARISS technical team volunteer Kerry Banke was chosen to receive the prestigious 2022 Hamvention Special Achievement Award for his outstanding dedication and talents devoted to the Multi-Voltage Power Supply, part of the ARISS InterOperable Radio System (IORS). For several years, he spent hours nearly every day on ARISS’ custom-built power supply (needed because ISS modules don’t operate on the same voltages) that was launched in March 2020 on SpaceX-20. Astronauts utilize the IORS for all Columbus module ARISS radio operations. Banke volunteered for a number of ARISS activities over the years and also as a SAREX Technical Mentor (Shuttle Amateur Radio EXperiment, ARISS’ predecessor) for schools. Award ceremonies will be at the 2022 Hamvention (usually over 30,000 attendees come from around the globe to this convention) held May 20-22 in Xenia, Ohio. Hamvention produced a news video about Banke and his award (730 viewers). The American Radio Relay League posted a story about the award for its web pages and its e-letter, The ARRL Letter, which goes to 107,000 subscribers.

March 16: ARISS educator Micol Ivancic reported that a young lady in the region of Rome, Italy, is earning her engineering degree this week and that two ARISS Italian volunteers assisted her. The young lady did her thesis on analyzing ARISS packet radio transmissions using different types of radio antennas, including a yagi antenna, which she built. Her thesis acknowledged Micol and Fabrizio Fava for their guidance, but Micol says she was the one who was honored to assist.

February 20: The ARISS SSTV (Slow Scan TV) Team made up of 10 volunteers performed an experiment in an effort to expand ARISS capabilities by testing a variety of different SSTV modes to download images downlinked from the ISS. The team utilized ARISS-Europe approved ground stations, and then downloaded 32 images. This first in a series of SSTV experiments to be carried out using the ARISS InterOperable Radio System in the Columbus module, this test used voice repeater mode. Images were downlinked while the ISS was over Europe, Australia, and Indonesia. All interested ham operators and other radio enthusiasts in the ISS footprint during the transmissions were encouraged to try receiving and decoding the special downlinked signals and email reports to ARISS. Over 570 participants, some in Hawaii and North American, sent reports! Each person received an acknowledgement message with a thank you.

March 18: ARISS Mentor Gordon Scannell learned that Snow Elementary School teachers in Dearborn, MI, wanted recommendations for cool books to read to students during Reading Month. Gordon, one of the school district’s IT staff members, shared the URL for Story Time from Space, including Emily Calandrelli’s “Ada Lace, Take Me to Your Leader” with its ties to ARISS, read by Anne McClain. When he saw one of the teachers a few days later she reported that her 20 students enjoyed Story Time from Space. She added that some of the girls in her class were very excited to learn that girls can be astronauts, too!  She said: “Apparently I have some girls interested in becoming astronauts when they get older!”

March 21: The Toyonaka High School ARISS contact was successful and more details will be available for next week’s report.

ARISS Upcoming Events 

March 22  Aznakayevo city youth, Republic of Tatarstan, Russia ARISS contact, ARISS Russia team

TBD for April  Axiom Canada & Israel school contacts, ARISS-Canada & ARISS-Europe teams