First aspect of the ARISS Subsequent-Era radio system put in and operated on the ISS

09/02/2020

The first element of amateur radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) A next generation radio system has been installed on board the ISS and amateur radio operations with the new equipment are now underway. The first element, called the InterOperable Radio System (IORS), was installed in the ISS Columbus module. The IORS replaces the Ericsson radio system and the package module, which were originally certified for space travel in mid-2000.

“Finally! In the last few days it was a mystery with the coordination over the weekend and yesterday with the astronaut Chris Cassidy, KF5KDR”, said ARISS-US delegate for ARRL Rosalie White, K1STO. “The new ARISS radio system is now installed , set up and working. What a long way we have come in the last 5 years! “

The first operation of the new radio system is in the FM cross-band repeater mode with an uplink of 145.99 MHz (CTCSS 67 Hz) and a downlink of 437.800 MHz. System activation was first observed on September 2nd at 01:02 UTC. Special operations will continue to be announced, said ARISS.

The IORS was launched from the Kennedy Space Center on board the SpaceX CRS-20 replenishment mission last March. It consists of a special “room-modified” JVC-Kenwood D710GA transceiver, a multi-voltage power supply unit developed by ARISS, and connecting cables. The design, development, manufacture, testing and introduction of the first IORS were the culmination of 5 years of development work by the ARISS hardware team of volunteers.

According to ARISS, the system will “enable new, exciting functions for amateur radio operators, students and the general public”. Features include a higher powered radio, voice repeater, APRS (Digital Packet Radio) functions and an SSTV (Kenwood VC-H1 Slow-Scan Television) system.

A second IORS is subject to flight certification for later launch and installation in the Russian service module. The second system enables two simultaneous operations such as voice repeater and APRS packet. It also provides in-orbit redundancy to ensure continued operation in the event of an IORS component failure.

“The next generation’s development efforts will continue,” said ARISS. “Parts will be procured for the IORS and a total of 10 systems will be manufactured to support the flight, additional flight spare parts, ground tests and astronaut training.” The next generation of radio system elements that follow include the L-band repeater uplink function, which is currently under development, and a flight Raspberry Pi called “ARISS-Pi”, which is currently in the design phase. The ARISS-Pi promises operational autonomy and improved SSTV operations, explained ARISS.

This year, ARISS marks 20 years of uninterrupted amateur radio operations on the ISS. The largely voluntary organization welcomed donate in the ARISS program for hardware development, operation, training and management of the next generation.

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