Friday, July 26, 2013

ARISS Adds Digital TV Downlink

If all goes according to plan, then by the end of this year, astronauts aboard the International Space Station making contact with school groups via ARISS - Amateur Radio on the International Space Station - will be able to supplement their voice transmissions with digital video and audio. Plans were under way to send the necessary equipment up to the station in August, according to the ARRL Letter. The program is being spearheaded by AMSAT-Italy.

Two potential difficulties are that receiving the video downlink will require a 4-foot dish antenna and that each location's "window" for video reception would be limited to three-to-four minutes. Program planners are working to develop a network of ground stations that could create a "chain" of receivers to pick up signals as the space station passes over them.