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ARISS Moves One Step Closer to Flying New Ham Radio Equipment to the ISS:

from The ARRL Letter on October 5, 2017
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ARISS Moves One Step Closer to Flying New Amateur Radio Equipment to the ISS:

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS International Chair Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, announced this week that the program has submitted its Interoperable Radio System (IORS) flight-safety data package to NASA for review. ARISS has been developing the IORS to replace most of the Amateur Radio hardware now on the space station. It is called "interoperable" because it's designed to operate anywhere on the ISS. A NASA flight-safety review in about a month is the next step. Bauer said he was highlighting the accomplishment, because all work on the safety data submission was developed exclusively by ARISS volunteers, rather than NASA or other contractors, as had been done in the past. It also meant a substantial saving to ARISS, which has become more reliant on donations in recent years.

"This is a very major IORS milestone," Bauer said. "We cannot get [the new equipment] to orbit without successfully completing the safety review process and getting our hardware certified for flight."

Bauer said having the work done by volunteers will shorten the timeline involved in getting the new Amateur Radio hardware to the ISS.

A key development: The ARISS multi-voltage power supply.

He explained that the material turned in for NASA Human Spaceflight Safety Certification covers the first three phases of a four-phase process. The initial steps in the process are aimed at ensuring that NASA understands the design, demonstrating that ARISS understands the potential hazards that the new hardware systems could introduce, and how it has mitigated or prevented them. The final phase will be complete when ARISS has finished all testing and NASA deems the hardware flight worthy. ARISS is hoping that will happen next spring.

"We will remove the 3 W Ericsson handheld radio system, initially certified for flight in 1999, and the packet module -- both of which have recently had issues," Bauer said, and install a brand-new, specially modified 25 W JVC Kenwood TM-D710GA radio to enable a multitude of new or improved capabilities on the ISS, including voice repeater and better APRS operations."

A key development, Bauer explained, is the multi-voltage power supply (MVPS), which interfaces with multiple electrical outlet connector types on the station and provides a range of power-output capabilities for current and future ARISS operations and Amateur Radio experiments.

ARISS invites contributions to help cover the expenses of its work. All donations go directly to ARISS. Read more


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