Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is an international program that lets students use amateur (ham) radio to talk directly with crew members living and working on the International Space Station. ARISS supports hands-on learning about radio and electronics and has organized over 1100 live events, called contacts, that connect students to the Space Station. Talking with an astronaut is an exciting and memorable way for students to apply the science and skills they learn through this program. These experiences inspire engagement in STEM studies and interest in STEM careers.
In preparation for a contact, students choose their questions and practice using proper protocol and enunciation for clear communication over ham radio. Recent contacts took place at schools in France, Greece, India, and Russia. In 2016-17, a few contacts have even used digital amateur television (HamTV).
Schools can submit proposals to ARISS to arrange direct contacts, where a ham radio at the school connects to the ISS, or telebridge contacts, where the school connects through telephone to a ham radio ground station linked to the ISS.