Monday, March 10, 2014

"HamTV" on the Air From ISS

One of the early digital ATV images downlinked from the
International Space Station as commissioning of the new
HamTV system got under way in March. (NASA photo)

The "HamTV" digital amateur television (DATV) transmitter aboard the International Space Station was installed on March 6, and initial transmissions on March 8 were successfully received on the ground and streamed over the Internet by the British Amateur Television Club (BATC). According to the AMSAT News Service, the project has been ten years in the making and its main mission is to allow space station crew members to include live video as well as audio in their contacts with school groups through the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program.

This is not the first time amateur television pictures have been transmitted from orbit. Back in 1985, Tony England, W0ORE, the second astronaut to operate from space, transmitted slow-scan TV pictures on his 2-meter downlink from the shuttle Challenger.

Here are some links for additional information and photos, courtesy of the AMSAT News Service:
Webstream of the TV transmissions
HamTV overview by Gaston Bertels ON4WF
ARISS-EU HamTV Bulletins