Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) International Chair Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, has announced that his 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 that’s 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 the 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 not only was “innovative and gutsy,” but will shorten the timeline involved to get the new Amateur Radio hardware on board the International Space Station. “Otherwise, we probably would have to slip launch 1 – 2 years while we acquired additional funding to get this done,” Bauer said.