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Program Activities and Outcomes. ARISS Program Visibility 15,000 students, educators, family & community members per year touched by program Exhibited to thousands of teachers at the NSTA, NCTM and ITEA national conferences

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program activities and outcomes
Program Activities and Outcomes

ARISS Program Visibility

  • 15,000 students, educators, family & community members per year touched by program
  • Exhibited to thousands of teachers at the NSTA, NCTM and ITEA national conferences
  • Since its premiere, approximately 10 million people have seen the IMAX Space Station 3D movie and have witnessed an ISS Ham radio contact between astronaut Bill Shepherd on ISS and school students on the ground.
  • Web site has received hundreds of thousands of unique IP address hits
  • ARRL consistently covers ARISS school contacts and other ARISS related items in their monthly journal (150,000 circulation), posted on the ARRL website (100,000 regular readers), and in their e-newsletter (circulation 115,000).
  • ARISS presentations were given at the AMSAT Space Symposium, & Dayton Hamvention, 2004
  • An ARISS paper was published in CQ and CQ Japan magazines.
  • Several school contacts received tremendous media coverage: The School of Back in Scotland reached an audience of 10 million, The Long Nightofthe Stars event in Darmstadt, Germany, and Kilburn Primary School in Australia reached 1 million people each.
  • ARISS representatives participated in 2004 Wheels and Wings Airshow in Millville, New Jersey and Japan’s largest amateur radio festival, JAIA Ham Fair (attended by 30,000).
program activities and outcomes1
Program Activities and Outcomes


  • Current communications conducted using voice and e-mail/instant messenger-type computer radio links; future capabilities will include picture exchange with crew, television, and student experiments
  • ARISS international team of volunteers has developed an on-board hardware infrastructure to support crew tended & autonomous communications via amateur radio
  • Kenwood Radio installed in the Service Module in 2003 provides repeater mode which allows two amateur stations on the ground to communicate via the ISS when the crew is not operating the radio. Pre-scheduled school-to-school contacts using this mode are being considered.
  • Heart of on-board hardware system is a 5 antenna system complement installed in FGB and Service Module. Service module antennas (4) were developed by team and installed in 2002 during 3 Russian EVAs
  • School and local ham radio team install ground station at school and communicate directly with crew; worldwide network of volunteer ground stations can support contacts if ground station cannot be installed at school
  • Voice over the Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology which links the ISS to amateur radio over the internet is currently being tested for expanding the outreach of this program.
  • The ARISS team is pursuing the inclusion of ARISS educational payloads on future Exploration missions.
budget partnerships
Budget & Partnerships


  • U.S. Partnerships: Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT), American Radio Relay League (ARRL), MSNBC, MCI, Santa Rosa Junior College, Sacred Hearts Academy
  • International Partnerships: Numerous amateur radio organizations in Canada, Europe, Russia, and Japan
  • Russians contributed ~$3M worth of antenna feedthroughs and 3 EVAs to enable installation of antenna systems in exchange for the use of the antennas to support an EVA video capability
  • Worked with IMAX to encompass ARISS in IMAX 3D film; developed ARISS display that has supported several, worldwide, IMAX premieres, including the World Premiere at the National Air and Space Museum
  • This real-time communications program between students and space crews could not exist without NASA personnel (from astronauts to support crew)
    • Partnership of amateur radio & NASA empowers students to pursue STEM careers by experiencing the excitement of space.
  • NASA Facilities used: GSFC--ARISS Ground Station and development laboratory
  • NASA civil servant involved: 2 GSFC volunteers
  • NASA materials distributed: SAREX/ARISS Lesson Plans, Ham Radio Litho, ISS Lithos and posters


  • FY 04 $80 K Code FE, $83 K Code M
  • Substantial real-dollar and in-kind, volunteer partnership with AMSAT & ARRL in the U.S. AMSAT FY03 Budget--$34K; ARRL FY03 Budget—32K
  • Combined $5M in-kind support per year from AMSAT, ARRL and International Participants
    • Primarily volunteer support and hardware development
  • Other in-kind support includes ground station teleconferencing during school group contacts by MCI and real-time internet simulcasting of school group contacts by
accomplishments outcomes tangible results
Accomplishments—Outcomes & Tangible Results
  • ARISS is a powerful motivator for young people
    • Kenji Madden, a fourth grader at Bentley School in Oakland, California, said of her ARISS experience, “It’s just one step further…to knowing much more.”
    • "It was one of the greatest days of my life. I think when I grow up, I'll be in aeronautics, maybe with the Navy, maybe building jets and flying them." - Colin Yee, 5th grader, Flory Academy of Science, NASA Explorer School
    • After his ARISS contact at the Challenger Learning Center, Chase Southwood, a sixth grader from Bloomington, Illinois, said he wants to fly in space or teach when he grows up. “Space exploration is important because the more we know the better off we are."
    • Inspired by their January, 2004 ARISS contact, two Gilmour Academy students and a parent studied for their amateur radio exams, took the tests and passed.
    • SAREX student, Melissa Mladnic, from Jerling Jr. High, is attending Purdue University school of Aerospace Engineering with aspirations of becoming an astronaut.
    • Student SAREX volunteer Mike Sufana, received his Aerospace Engineering degree and is now working at Northrop Grumman
accomplishments outcomes tangible results1
Accomplishments—Outcomes & Tangible Results
  • ARISS is to be a tremendous science/math motivation tool for teachers and school districts
    • Rita Wright, KC9CDL, coordinating teacher of the first ARISS contact remarked, “Our ARISS contact awakened our community to the adventures and thrills found in space exploration. The contact sparked an interest in careers in space-related subjects and a sharper interest in the study of astronomy and the design and building of the tools of exploration. The event did bring this K-8 school together as no other event ever did. We participated in an interdisciplinary learning experience for all grades across a variety of academic concentrations.”
    • After the Sonoran Sky Elementary School contact in Scottsdale, Arizona, the school made their contact available to all other schools in their district through a video, reaching a total of 44 schools, 30 elementary schools and 35,000 students. Carrie Cunningham, coordinating teacher, wrote, “Sonoran Sky Elementary School is beginning their very own after school Amateur Radio Club. Sparked by the excitement of the ARISS contact, many students have shown an interest in pursuing their own Amateur Radio experience. There will be continued linking of the student experience to their classroom instruction for cultural sharing, geography, math, science and the general excitement space communication brings to their imagination.”
    • “Statistics show that learning and retention of knowledge improves when children are personally involved. The ARISS contact provided an opportunity not only to broaden the horizons of youngsters but those of the adults who listened in. With this knowledge, teachers and parents can further assist children in their understanding of the relationship of life on earth and how it relates to life in space, expanding this experience by relating it to science, geography, history, and physics." - Katheryn Pennington, Executive Director, Tulsa Air and Space Museum
    • "This was the best experience I have had since I started teaching." - Alene Wilkins, KG4NKD, 8th grade science teacher, DuBose Middle School, Summerville, SC.