The ARISS (Amateur Radio on the ISS)  activities were highlighted during the ISS Research & Development Conference held last week in Chicago: Amateur Radio Role on Space Station Featured at ISS Research and Development Conference – ARRL

ARISS is the first and longest continuously running educational outreach program involving the International Space Station. The first ARISS school contact took place in late 2000, and nearly 900 such Amateur Radio contacts have taken place since then. ARISS functions with participation from the ARRL, NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Russian Space Agency (ROSCOSMOS), CNESJAXA,CSA and AMSAT. It allows students, as part of a science and technology curriculum, to speak with a member of the ISS crew and ask questions about life in space or other space-related topics.

ARISS conducts about 100 such school contacts per year, each about 10 minutes long — the time of a typical ISS pass — with students in the US and around the world. Preparation for the ARISS experience motivates both students and teachers to further their educations. Educators involved in an ARISS event can learn about electronics and wireless technology through the hands-on training provided in an ARRL Teachers Institute on Wireless Technology session — several are held each year. In similar fashion, youngsters preparing for a contact with an ISS crew member may learn about radio waves, space technology, science experiments onboard the ISS, geography, and the space environment. Some 15,000 students are touched directly by an ARISS contact each year, and many more become aware the program and its benefits either directly or via news media coverage resulting from an event.

See also the  ISS Fan Club for more about amateur radio on the ISS.