Space Station orbit live on Channel 4 TV

International Space Station ISS 2011

International Space Station – Image credit NASA

BBC News reports that Channel 4 TV is to screen a live broadcast featuring a complete orbit of the International Space Station (ISS), later this year.

Luca Parmitano KF5KDP / IR0ISS  on Expedition 36 EVA July 9, 2013 - Image credit ESA

Luca Parmitano KF5KDP / IR0ISS
on Expedition 36 EVA July 9, 2013 – Image credit ESA

The show, hosted by Dermot O’Leary, will link live to the astronauts from mission control in Houston as they make a 90-minute circuit of the Earth.

The ISS, which orbits 400 km above the Earth, will send back High Definition live images of the planet.

The show Lap of the Planet screens in March as part of a space season.

It will also feature contributions from Professor Stephen Hawking and UK astronaut Tim Peake, who is due to join the crew of the ISS next year.

Read the full BBC story at

Channel 4 TV streams its shows live to the web but overseas viewers may need to use a Proxy Server / VPN to get around geographic blocking. Watch Channel 4 at


Our thanks to Peter M0PWW for spotting this item.

ISS Ham Video Commissioning

Front panel of the HamTV transmitter

Front panel of the HamTV transmitter

As announced August 21,  2013 the Ham Video transmitter is onboard the International Space Station and stored in the Columbus module.

September 10, 2013 we informed about the Experiment Sequences Test (EST) and the Simulations performed by the European Space Agency in collaboration with ARISS.

September 20, 2013 we announced the Ham Video Launch Campaign and described a simple station for Ham Video reception.

New HamTV Antennas for ARISS Telebridge Station IK1SLD at Casale Monferrato, Italy

New HamTV Antennas for ARISS Telebridge Station IK1SLD at Casale Monferrato, Italy

The Commissioning of the Ham Video transmitter needs to cover different configurations involving 2 antennas, 4 frequencies and 2 symbol rates. As announced earlier, the signals transmitted during the Commissioning steps will be received by the Matera ground station, located in south Italy (see HamTV Bulletin #2).

Moreover, during the Commissioning period, the Ham Video transmitter will transmit permanently for several days (weeks). This will allow ground stations to test their equipment and to provide useful information concerning the efficiency of the transmitter.

For these transmissions, no camera will be used. The so-called “blank” transmissions will nevertheless provide a complete DVB-S signal, as described hereafter.

We hoped that the Commissioning of the Ham Video transmitter would be planned October 2013. It appeared that the “Flight Rules” regarding ARISS activities, which cover VHF and UHF transmissions, needed to be updated for S-band.

One of the Columbus Module  2.4 / 1.2 GHz Antennas

One of the Columbus Module 2.4 / 1.2 GHz Antennas

Writing Flight Rules and having them verified, accepted and signed by all parties involved is a process that takes time. ARISS matters have low priority among the countless activities that populate the International Space Station. Unforeseen events, such as the recent failing of a cooling system, evidently cause further delay.

Finally, the January – February 2014 time frame seems a reasonable guess for the Ham Video Commissioning.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !


Gaston Bertels, ON4WF
ARISS-Europe chairman
December 22, 2013


HamTV Bulletins are available at
See left side column : HamTV Bulletin 4 (with annexes)

Young radio hams at Fontana school anticipate ISS link

International Space Station ISS with shuttle Endeavour 2011-05-23

Ten year-old radio amateurs Maribel Laguna KK6IGY and Laisha Vergara KK6HZH hope to link up with the International Space Station next year.

The San Bernardino Sun newspaper reports both are students at the Dorothy Grant Elementary School in Fontana. The school has a popular amateur radio club with nearly 50 members which was founded by teacher Beverly Matheson KJ6RSX.

Beverly said originally she looked at the club as a platform to get students interested in cultures in other lands.

Using the club’s high frequency radio and portable antenna, students set up outside the classroom and take down after their weekly meetings — students have made contact with amateur radio operators such diverse places as Hungary, Maldovia, Japan and the Falkland Islands.

But now Beverly said she wants to personally, and with her students, delve more into science with ham radio as a platform for a STEM program at the school.

Along those lines, next year — before the end of school — the Grant Elementary School Amateur Radio Club will be talking with astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

Read the full San Bernardino Sun story at

48 students sat their amateur license exam on November 7, 2013

Live Video Streaming from the ISS

International Space Station ISS with shuttle Endeavour 2011-05-23 - Credit NASA

The N2YO satellite tracking website provides live video streaming from the International Space Station (ISS) alongside a track showing the position of the ISS over the Earth.

The Ustream video from the station is available only when the complex is in contact with the ground through its high-speed communications antenna and NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System. During “loss of signal” periods, you will see a blue screen. Since the station orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, it sees a sunrise or a sunset every 45 minutes. When the station is in darkness, external camera video may appear black, but also may provide spectacular views of city lights below.

Live streaming from the ISS

HD Video Cameras sent to ISS November 25, 2013

The US segment of the ISS uses a data link in Ku band to connect to a NASA server. The link provides a data rate of 10 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload available about half the time through a network of ground stations.

In October 2012 the first laser communication link with the Russian segment of the ISS was established paving the way for higher speed broadband links to the ISS in the future. Read the RIA Novosti article in Google English.

ISS CubeSats Deploy Tuesday and Wednesday

Pico Dragon CubeSat - Image credit VNSC

Pico Dragon CubeSat – Image credit VNSC

Four CubeSats carrying amateur radio payloads will be deployed from the International Space Station (ISS) by the JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD). Three of them, Pico Dragon, ArduSat-1 and ArduSat-2 will be deployed on Tuesday, November 19, and the fourth Cubesat, TechEdSat-3p, will be deployed Wednesday.

The CubeSats:
Pico Dragon developed by the Việt Nam National Satellite Center (VNSC), University of Tokyo and IHI aerospace. 437.250 MHz CW beacon and 437.365 MHz 1200 bps AFSK AX.25 telemetry.
ArduSat-1 developed by NanoSatisfi. 437.000 MHz 9k6 MSK CCSDS downlink.
ArduSat-X developed by NanoSatisfi. 437.345 MHz 9k6 MSK CCSDS downlink .
TechEdSat-3 developed by interns at the NASA Ames Research Center. 437.465 MHz 1200 bps packet radio beacon transmitting 1 watt to 1/4 wave monopole. It plans to test an Iridium Satphone modem and has a deployment mechanism to de-orbit in 10 days.

They are 1U in size (10*10*10 cm) except for TechEdSat-3 which is 3U (30*10*10 cm).

As well as the ISS deployment next week also sees two mass launches of satellites on Minotaur-1 and Dnepr rockets. In total 37 satellites carrying amateur radio payloads are expected to be deployed next week. The frequencies of these satellites can be seen at


Australian Foundation licensee Jonathan Oxer VK3FADO talks about the ArduSat satellites that he helped develop in this video

Teenage radio ham takes lead on ISS school contact

International Space Station ISS with shuttle Endeavour 2011-05-2316 year-old Rebecca Rubsamen KJ6TWM led the amateur radio contact between students at Rancho Romero Elementary School and astronaut Mike Hopkins KF5LJG on the International Space Station.

The Contra Costa Times newspaper reports:

“This is going to be the biggest science experiment we’ve done with the school — and my career as principal,” proclaimed Skye Larsh, principal of Rancho Romero Elementary School.

The lead engineer in the whole grand experiment: 16 year-old Rebecca Rubsamen of Alamo, a sophomore at Bentley School in Lafayette who built her own VHF radio and crafted two large antennas in her backyard.

A licensed amateur radio operator, Rebecca wanted to return to her elementary alma mater to let students talk to astronauts in space. She applied for permission to do the direct contact through NASA’s Amateur Radio on the International Space Station program. Since 1983, the program has connected schools and universities with astronauts in space to encourage interest in math and science — and youth to become future astronauts.

NASA grants about 50 such permissions a year for amateur radio enthusiasts to make contact with the International Space Station. This year, there have been about 68 granted internationally. Rancho Romero’s is one of 20 in the United States this year and just the third in California, said Ashle Harris, a NASA spokeswoman.

Tim Bosma W6MU, a NASA volunteer who helps to mentor amateur radio buffs through the program, said Rebecca was among the youngest people to act as a lead operator for such a radio communication for a school.

Read the full story at

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS)