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Wireless Networking NASA Space Hardware

Wi-Fi, Now Available On the ISS 142

Posted by timothy
from the shipping-not-included dept.
Grant Henninger writes "Rejoice! The next time you have an extra $20 million and decide to visit the International Space Station you won't need to leave the window to tell all your friends how cool it is. The ISS now has a new Wi-Fi network, so all you'll need to do is fire up Twitterrific and announce how much better you are than your Earth-based friends."
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Wi-Fi, Now Available On the ISS

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  • by davidwr (791652) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @08:30PM (#24906217) Homepage Journal

    You just know that NASA will probably cooperate with a stunt like this. Heck, they may even hold a contest for engineering students: "Who can be the first to ping our wifi network from a ground station and hold the signal from horizon to horizon?"

    Winning team gets a photo-op with NASA engineers, bragging rights, and job interviews when they graduate.

    Runners-up have to be content with $250 cash prize and a promise NASA will actually read their resumes.

  • by zappepcs (820751) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @08:48PM (#24906355) Journal

    Actually, you might be wrong. As contests go, this would be fairly cool. There is some gear you can buy for telescopes that might do the trick. The ISS won't track across the sky in quite the same manner as a distant galaxy, but I'm sure it can be adapted to work. One cantenna might not be enough given the normal anomalies that plague people trying to communicate wirelessly through the atmosphere but then again, if you had several of them, spaced appropriately, all tracking the ISS you might be able to pull enough sig-2-noise to pull it off. I'm also reasonably certain that such arrays already exist, if configured slightly differently for different uses. It would be a good RF engineering project for colleges. 'more' is better, not bigger is better, in this case. I'd like to see this contest happen.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @09:25PM (#24906595) Journal
    It looks like it might actually be possible to connect to ISS wifi from earth. The ISS is around 350km above the surface, and current records for surface to surface links are a little bit larger than that [cnet.com].

    The surface to surface number is for two custom endpoints, not one standard, one custom, doesn't have to deal with the ionosphere, and was between two stationary locations; but it suggests that the challenge isn't insurmountable. A radio astronomer could probably eat this one for breakfast.
  • by Ellis D. Tripp (755736) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @10:05PM (#24906849) Homepage

    , which hosts an onboard amateur station using the callsign NA1SS:

    http://www.arrl.org/ARISS/ [arrl.org]

    Many of the astronauts have ham radio licenses.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Saturday September 06, 2008 @11:46PM (#24907475) Homepage

    you already can... get a ham license and a 2 meter radio and packet TNC.

    I send message to the astronauts on the ISS on a regular basis. you can leave a message in their TNC if they are not live chatting.

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