Can astronauts/cosmonauts performing spacewalks at the International Space Station communicate directly with radio stations on the ground (even if only as a back-up)? Or do they need to relay their signals through the ISS?

  • $\begingroup$ would Suit → TDRS → Ground be indirect, even though it bypassed the ISS? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Nov 9 '18 at 5:52
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh: I would count that as indirect, but an acceptable answer. $\endgroup$ – DrSheldon Nov 9 '18 at 7:35
  • $\begingroup$ Distance from suit to ground station (LEO to surface) is much smaller than from suit to a TDRS satellite (LEO to GEO). If transmission power budget is suitable for direct transmission to TDRS, suit to ground should be easy. But for the suit an omnidirectional antenna should be used. $\endgroup$ – Uwe Nov 9 '18 at 23:47
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh, Would you like to turn your comment into an answer that I can accept? $\endgroup$ – DrSheldon Nov 10 '18 at 23:11
  • $\begingroup$ @DrSheldon I don't know the answer to "could". I was just exploring non-ISS alternatives. A link-budget calculation (1, 2, 3) would probably show that the minimum dish size on Earth to pick up a modest signal of modest bandwidth to be reasonably sized, but the correspondingly narrow FOV means you'd have to know where to point ahead of time. If nobody writes an answer in the next few days ping me again, thanks! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Nov 11 '18 at 0:32

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