The first ham radio operator in space was a NASA astronaut by the name of Owen Garriott. His callsign was W5LFL, he used a 2-meter radio to chat with King Hussein of Jordan, senator Barry Goldwater and also his mother. This occurred on November 28, 1983. Owen SK’ed April 15th, 2019.
On November 15th, 2020 SpaceX launched four astronauts into space from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral which is in Brevard County, Florida. These four extraordinary individuals are also ham radio operators. Perhaps the largest group of licensed hams to lift off from America and head into space. Last night on TheBig94 (146.940) I was driving to pick up some pizza at a world famous pizza shop located in Schenectady, NY. George W2XBS (a Big94 regular) was talking about the astronauts in space and the fact they were ham radio operators. So I keyed up the repeater and asked a question. Do their call signs come back to their physical mailing address in QRZ or do they go back to a NASA address? To my surprise three out of the four go to a NASA address. While one of them has their real mailing address. That is very surprising given the gravity and nature of their work. I wonder if this was overlooked by officials at NASA or the astronaut? Nope! It turns out that it was not an oversight at all. But rather the astronaut’s own preference.
The Amateur Radio Astronauts
Victor Glover KI5BKC
Mike Hopkins KF5LJG
Shannon Walker KD5DXB
Soichi Noguchi, KD5TVP
The callsigns of the astronauts do not appear to be vanity calls. I wonder if any of them are interested in applying for a vanity call? Has an astronaut every applied for a vanity call? Does NASA allow them to choose a vanity callsign? It makes me wonder because all the astronaut callsigns I ever saw had the “5” district in them. I just looked up some combinations and this is what I found immediately available. Any of these would be suitable for our fellow astronauts now and in the future.
NA2SA, NA5ATX (NASA TX), N2SPX (SPaceX), NA2AS (NASA’S), NA1SAS and N2ISS.