Monday, March 9, 2020

New Ham Gear Heads to Space Station

(NASA photo)
As the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program approaches its 20th anniversary later this year, the first major upgrade to ARISS equipment was scheduled to be launched March 7 on a SpaceX supply mission. The ARRL Letter reports that the first of two Interoperable Radio System (IORS) flight units was listed as a primary payload aboard the flight. It is set to replace the current equipment in the station's Columbus module. A second, identical, unit destined for the Russian Service Module is scheduled for launch later this year. 

The new equipment includes a higher-power transceiver (a modified Kenwood TM-D710GA), an enhanced voice repeater and updated capabilities for both packet radio and slow-scan TV. Once aboard the station, the new equipment will be stored until NASA gives its final approval for flight operations.