You'll need to an amateur radio license (or work with someone who has one) to complete this project.
Details on getting a license can be found at the
American Radio Relay League's website.
This project requires access to HAM radio equipment and a amateur radio license.
Very High (over $150)
Amy Cowen, Science Buddies
Sandra Slutz, PhD, Science Buddies
For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.
If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk (*) at the end of the title.
Have you ever wished you could talk to an astronaut on board the International Space Station? You're probably
thinking "yeah, like NASA would ever let you do that!" Actually, they will! The International Space Station (ISS)
is equipped with its own HAM radio station. The
ISS HAM radio station allows astronauts,
cosmonauts, and space mission specialists from different nations who are on board the space station to talk
to people back home on Earth. Anyone with an amateur radio license is welcome to try contacting the astronauts
there. If they aren't busy with other activities, they'll answer!
Figure 1. The International Space Station (top) is equipped with a HAM radio station (bottom) where
astronauts, cosmonauts, and other space mission specialists can communicate with people back on Earth.
(Photo on top NASA, May 2006; photo on bottom: NASA, June 2009.)
Making contact with the ISS requires some careful planning and logistics, though. The ISS is traveling
approximately 240 miles above the surface of the Earth at a speed of nearly 17,000 miles per hour! To
make contact, you'll need to carefully monitor the space station's trajectory and calculate your window
of opportunity. The good news is, the ISS's high speed means it orbits Earth approximately 16 times a
day, which gives you plenty of tries to get it right.
With a little bit of reading about the space station, you'll be ready to get your radio equipment in
order and talk to the astronauts. For more suggestions on getting started, read the Science Buddies
blog entry Making Contact with the Space Station
and consult some of the resources in the Bibliography, below. Just make sure you document it all so your friends
and your teacher don't think your project is just a piece of science fiction!
Do you have specific questions about your science project? Our team of volunteer scientists can help. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions, offer guidance, and help you troubleshoot.
Radio frequency engineers help make sure that information gets from one place to another. This information is transmitted wirelessly as radio waves between electronic devices. Anything you can wirelessly send from one computer to another, listen to on the radio, download on a mobile phone, or see on the television (not connected to cable) is sent wirelessly using radio waves, and the transmission and devices were designed by a radio frequency engineer. Radio frequency engineers are typically…
Any time you hear music at a concert, a live speech, the police sirens in a TV show, or the six o'clock news you're hearing the work of a sound engineering technician. Sound engineering technicians operate machines and equipment to record, synchronize, mix, or reproduce music, voices, or sound effects in recording studios, sporting arenas, theater productions, or movie and video productions.
Mathematicians are part of an ancient tradition of searching for patterns, conjecturing, and figuring out truths based on rigorous deduction. Some mathematicians focus on purely theoretical problems, with no obvious or immediate applications, except to advance our understanding of mathematics, while others focus on applied mathematics, where they try to solve problems in economics, business, science, physics, or engineering.
Just as a potter forms clay, or a steel worker molds molten steel, electrical and electronics engineers gather and shape electricity and use it to make products that transmit power or transmit information. Electrical and electronics engineers may specialize in one of the millions of products that make or use electricity, like cell phones, electric motors, microwaves, medical instruments, airline navigation system, or handheld games.
General citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.
Science Buddies Staff.
"HAMing It Up with the Astronauts." Science Buddies,
11 Sep. 2020,
Accessed 30 May 2023.
Science Buddies Staff.
(2020, September 11).
HAMing It Up with the Astronauts.