Amateur Radio on the International Space Station

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Welcome on board


The International Space Station, still under construction, is permanently manned by teams of astronauts, many of whom have an amateur radio licence.

Radioamateur societies from the ISS partner countries, in the USA, Canada, Russia, Europe and Japan, have set up ARISS, a volunteering working group devoted to develop and put into operation the on-board amateur radio station. ARISS-Europe is the European branch of ARISS..


The amateur radio station onboard the ISS comprises several units. The initial unit, a handheld VHF transceiver, is located in the Functional Cargo Block, the Zarya. The phase 2 unit is located in the Service Module, the Zvesda. This is a multiband and multimode station.

The onboard ARISS station offers a permanent space platform to the worldwide amateur radio community. Several operational modes are automated and used by groundstations without crew care. Cosmonauts and astronauts also use the station to contact groundbound amateur radio stations in their free time.

The Space Agencies have entrusted ARISS with the task to organise ARISS School Contacts. When a contact is scheduled, volunteering amateur satellite operators set up a groundstation in the selected school. During the ten minutes pass of the ISS, an astronaut answers the questions prepared by the students. See the School Contacts page for more details.

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