It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of a great friend, colleague and fellow ham radio operator. Dr. Ronald A. Parise, WA4SIR, left this Earth today, Friday May 9, 2008 after a very long and courageous battle with cancer.
Ron Parise was--and continues to be--an inspiration to countless students, ham radio operators, and friends the world over. His accomplishments were many, including: space explorer, pioneer, astrophysicist, pilot, ham radio operator, avionics and software expert, inspirational speaker and motivator, student satellite mentor, husband, father, and friend. While he certainly did some truly extraordinary things in his lifetime, Ron Parise is best known and cherished for keeping family and friends first and for this, we will miss him most.
Ron flew as a payload specialist on two Space Shuttle missions: STS-35 on the Space Shuttle Columbia in December 1990 and STS-67 on the Space Shuttle Endeavour in March 1995. These two missions, called ASTRO-1 & 2 respectively, carried out Ultraviolet and X-ray astronomy observations. He logged over 614 hours and 10.6 million miles in space. Ron and his crew members on ASTRO-1 became the first astronomers to operate a telescope from space, making hundreds of observations during the mission. His personal contributions to these two missions have provided scientists with an unprecedented view of our universe, expanding our understanding of the birth, life and death of stars and galaxies.
Ron was also the ultimate ham radio operatorin space and on the ground. First licensed when he was 11, Ron kept the amateur radio hobby at the forefront of everything he did including his operations from space. During his two Space Shuttle flights, he talked to hundreds of hams on the ground, giving new meaning to the phrase the ultimate DX-pedition. He was instrumental in guiding the development of a simple ham radio system that could be used in multiple configurations on the Space Shuttle. As a result, his first flight on STS-35 ushered in the frequent flyerera of the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) payload. He was the first ham in space to operate packet radio. And his flight pioneered the telebridge ground station concept to enable more schools to talk to Shuttle crew members despite time and orbit constraints. In his two shuttle flights, he inspired countless students to seek technical careers and he created memories at the schools and communities that will never be forgotten.
Rons love for the amateur radio hobby and his love of inspiring students continued well beyond his two Shuttle flights. During the formation of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program, Ron was a tremendous resource to the newly forming international team. I know of many instances where Rons wisdom and sage advice was instrumental in helping our international team resolve issues when we reached critical technical or political roadblocks. And he was a key volunteer in the development of the ham radio hardware systems that are now on-board ISS. The ARISS team is deeply indebted to WA4SIR for his leadership, technical advice and tremendous vision.
Ron worked hand-in-hand with the students at the Naval Academy and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University on the development of their student satellites. He helped develop Radio Jovea student educational project to listen to the radio signals emanating from Jupiter. And he spoke at numerous schools over the years, inspiring them to pursue careers in science, math and technology.
I feel blessed to have had Ron as a friend, colleague, ham buddy and mentor. He gave so much, cheerfully, to our collective hobby and was always there with the right answer no matter the topic. I will miss him dearly.
In an effort to continue Rons tireless work to inspire the next generation, the Parise family has set up a scholarship fund in Rons honor. The scholarship is for students pursuing technical degrees at Youngtown State University, where Ron received his Bachelors of Science degree. In lieu of flowers, those interested are welcome to send donations to the Dr. Ronald A. Parise Scholarship Fund, Youngstown State University, One University Plaza, Youngstown, Ohio 44555.
On behalf of AMSAT and the ARISS International team, I would like to extend our collective condolences to the Parise family and to all Rons friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
And to Ron Parise, WA4SIR SK: Our sincerest 73's and 88's, may your exploration spirit live on in us all!!
Frank H. Bauer, KA3HDO
PERSONAL DATA: Born May 24, 1951, in Warren, Ohio. Married to the former Cecelia M. Sokol of Youngstown, Ohio. They have two children. He enjoys amateur radio, flying, scuba diving, sailing, hiking, and camping. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Parise, reside in Warren, Ohio. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Sokol, reside in Youngstown, Ohio.
EDUCATION: Graduated from Western Reserve High School, Warren, Ohio, 1969; received his bachelor of science degree in physics, with minors in mathematics, astronomy, and geology, Youngstown State University, Ohio, 1973; and a master of science degree and a doctor of philosophy degree in astronomy, University of Florida, 1977 and 1979, respectively.
ORGANIZATIONS: American Astronomical Society, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Association of Space Explorers, International Astronomical Union, Sigma Xi, and Phi Kappa Phi.
SPECIAL HONORS: NASA Space Flight Medal, 1991, 1995; Distinguished member of Phi Kappa Phi, 1996; Honorary Doctor of Science degree, Youngstown State University, 1996; NASA/GSFC Special Act Award, 1995; Computer Sciences Corp., Space and Earth Technology Systems, Award for Technical Innovation, 1999; NASA Group Achievement Award, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998, 2000; NASA/GSFC Community Service Award, 1990; Allied Signal, Quest for Excellence Award, 1997.
EXPERIENCE: Upon graduation in 1979, Dr. Parise accepted a position at Operations Research Inc. (ORI) where he was involved in developing avionics requirements definitions and performing failure mode analyses for several NASA missions. In 1980 he began work at Computer Sciences Corp. in the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) operations center as a data management scientist and in 1981 became the section manager of the IUE hardcopy facility. In 1981 he began work on the development of a new Spacelab experiment called the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UIT). His responsibilities involved flight hardware and software development, electronic system design, and mission planning activities for the UIT project. In 1984 he was selected by NASA as a payload specialist in support of the newly formed Astro mission series. During his twelve years as a payload specialist he was involved in mission planning, simulator development, integration and test activities, flight procedure development, and scientific data analysis, in addition to his flight crew responsibilities for the Astro program. At the completion of the Astro program Dr. Parise assumed an advanced planning and communications engineering support role for a variety of human space flight projects including Mir, International Space Station (ISS), and the X-38. Dr. Parise has engaged in a number of astronomical research projects utilizing data from ground-based observatories, the Copernicus satellite (OAO-3), IUE, and the Astro observatory. His research topics, including circumsteller matter in binary star systems and the evolutionary status of stars in globular clusters, have resulted in several professional publications. A veteran of two space flights, Dr. Parise has logged more than 614 hours and 10.6 million miles in space. He served as a payload specialist aboard STS-35 in 1990 and STS-67 in 1995. Currently, Dr. Parise is supporting the Goddard Space Flight Center, Networks and Mission Services Project, in the area of advanced communications planning for human spaceflight missions. He is also involved with projects in the Advanced Architectures and Automation Branch that are developing the use of standard Internet Protocols (IP) in space data transmission applications.