Dave Jordan, AA4KN
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ARISS’s James Anthony “Tony” Hutchison
Bestowed the Member of the Order of Australia Medal
June 20, 2020—Well-known ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) team member James Anthony (Tony) Hutchison, VK5ZAI, has been awarded the prestigious Member of the Order of Australia medal.
Tony was named on June 8 in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours List. In speaking with Queen Elizabeth II about the recipients receiving medals, Australia’s Governor-General said,
“This list recognises a group of outstanding Australians who have made a contribution to their community, to Australia globally or domestically.”
Tony’s official citation called out his dedicated service to amateur radio, particularly in amateur satellites and amateur radio space communication. Years back, Tony developed and installed a telebridge radio ground station to support scheduled ham radio communications between astronauts in space and students in schools. His telebridge ground station consists of an amateur (ham) radio satellite station with special equipment and tracking antennas. To speak with astronauts who have amateur radio licenses, the students connect via a Verizon conference line from their school to the telebridge station, and then with the astronaut using ham radio. The astronauts supporting scheduled ARISS contacts use the ARISS radios on the International Space Station (ISS).
Tony leads all ARISS educational contact initiatives performed in Australia, also. People all over the world regard him very highly for his efforts to give students the opportunity to be inspired in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) by talking to an astronaut in space. Tony’s engaging personality, infectious enthusiasm and outstanding professionalism are also highly praised by the many astronauts who have employed Tony and his station over the years. A number of news outlets have written stories featuring Tony’s ham radio volunteering, including the Australian Broadcast Corporation. His response to the multitude of congratulatory notes he received reflected his typical modesty. He wrote,
“Although I received the honour, I would like to share it with all team members I work with. If it wasn’t for the work that all the ARISS-International volunteers do, this award would never have been given.”
Tony initially got involved in human spaceflight ham radio contacts with crew members on the Russian space station Mir. Mir operations included international cosmonauts and NASA astronauts as part of the Mir-ISS collaboration effort. As the international space agencies transitioned to operations on ISS, Tony focused his efforts on ARISS. He has helped 65 ARISS schools prepare for ARISS contacts and used his ham radio telebridge station for 58 ARISS education contacts throughout the world.
The investiture ceremony for Tony and others bestowed the Order of Australia medal will be at Government House in Adelaide in the fall, after gatherings are safer to hold.
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is a cooperative venture of international amateur radio societies and the space agencies that support the International Space Station (ISS). In the United States, sponsors are the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT), the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the ISS National Lab and NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation program (SCaN). The primary goal of ARISS is to promote exploration of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics topics by organizing scheduled contacts via amateur radio between crew members aboard the ISS and students. Before and during these radio contacts, students, educators, parents, and communities learn about space, space technologies, and amateur radio. For more information, see www.ariss.org.
Dave Jordan, AA4KN
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