Monday, August 12, 2019

Putting Ham Radio on the Lunar Gateway

Artist's conception of the NASA Lunar Gateway (right) with
an Orion transport capsule approaching from the left.
(NASA image)
If you're a classic sci-fi movie fan, or remember when "2001: A Space Odyssey" was in theaters, you will probably recall the opening scene, in which a variety of space travelers are waiting for their connections (while reading the news on their tablets) on a space station orbiting the Moon. Fifty years later, life is about to imitate art once again, and this time, ham radio will likely be part of the picture.

NASA is working on the Lunar Gateway, which, according to the AMSAT News Service, will be "a small spaceship in orbit around the Moon that will provide … living quarters for astronauts, a lab for science and research, ports for visiting spacecraft, and more." It is also expected to have a ham station. 

AMSAT organizations in the US and Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany, along with the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) organization, have formed the Amateur Radio Exploration team, or AREx, which is working with NASA and the Canadian Space Agency  to design a ham radio system for the Gateway craft. The first sections of the lunar space station are scheduled for launch in 2022.