I meant Amateur Radio Operators that are Astronauts. Ever since Owen Garriot, W5LFL, flew aboard STS-9 in 1983, there have been a series of Ham Operators aboard the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. There were also Russian Hams aboard the MIR space station and Hams from a number of countries have been up in space on the various flights.
You may have been aware of this fact, or this might be the first time you have heard of it. It was a publicity coup for Ham Radio and NASA was fully in support of it. In fact, it couldn’t have happened without their support.
Having Ham Radio represented and operated from space is a great publicity tool for NASA. It also could be used as a backup communications system in the event of serious malfunction aboard the spacecraft. I’d hate to see things go that wrong – I’m sure they have other backup systems, so it would have to be the third or fourth or fifth resort – but it really could be used in that capacity.
So this is a good thing, right? A win-win for Hams and NASA alike, right? Well, maybe. Continue Reading…