The malfunctioning Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) “HamTV” transmitter now is back on Earth for repair or replacement, and it likely won’t be until sometime in 2020 at the earliest that Amateur Radio TV (DATV) capability will be restored to the orbiting laboratory. Onboard repair was not possible.
Also known as “Ham Video,” the DATV system transmissions were not seen by ARISS ground stations as of last April, and a subsequent test using a second L/S band patch antenna on the ISS Columbus module failed. The DATV transmitter since February 2016 has served to provide a visual dimension to ARISS school and group ham radio events.
Late last year, the ISS crew packed the HamTV unit and stowed it on the SpaceX-16 Dragon vehicle, which undocked and departed from the ISS on January 13. The HamTV unit returned to Earth when Dragon successfully splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, the first nighttime splashdown and recovery of a Dragon vehicle.