Amateur Radio on the International Space Station
On Nov. 28, 1983, space shuttle mission STS-9 was launched carrying Mission Specialist Owen Garriott, amateur radio call sign W5LFL, and his ham radio into orbit for 10 days on the space shuttle Columbia. For seven of those days, hams around the world heard Dr. Garriott’s voice calling earthbound ham radio stations. The calls reached from classrooms of children to world leaders. Thanks to a ham radio station on-board the International Space Station -- the conversation continues.
Using amateur radio, students from around the world can ask astronauts questions about life in space and other space-related topics. Students fully engage in the ARISS contact by helping set up an amateur radio ground station at the school and then using that station to talk directly with the on-board crew member for approximately 10 minutes, the time of an International Space Station overhead pass.
ARISS is offered through the partnership of AMSAT, the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation, the American Radio Relay League Inc., the National Association for Amateur Radio, and NASA. For information about how to apply for an ARISS contact visit
Listen to STS-118 crew member Barbara Morgan’s ARISS contact with Idaho students
> Get audio and view transcript
Students attending Space Camp at the Euro Space Center in Belgium are gathered in an auditorium to speak with astronaut Ed Lu, on board the International Space Station during Expedition 7 in July 2003. > View Larger Image
Astronaut Sunita L. Williams, Expeditions 14 and 15 flight engineer, talks with students at the International School of Brussels in Belgium during an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, or ARISS, in the Zvezda Service Module. NASA Image: ISS014E18307> View Larger Image