October 2: An ARISS radio contact took place between Thomas Pesquet and two French schools’ students—Lycée Pierre Paul Riquet in St Orens De Gameville and CSUT University Space Center of Toulouse. The schools’ students took turns and got 13 questions answered. They were masked when not speaking and staff limited crowd size on site to 180.  The contact was streamed with 460 live viewers and 6 days later garnered 2,086 viewers; the URL is:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sgl8lELDcgA. Media representatives present included Regional TV France-3, Radio station France-Bleu Occitanie and the newspaper La Depeche de Midi, which livestreamed the event. Students featured many of the hands-on STEM activities and projects they were proud of.

October 5: The Prescott (AZ) Unified School District sponsored an ARISS contact for 5 district elementary through middle schools with Mark Vande Hei; he answered 22 questions. The event featured talks by the superintendent, staff, and students followed by the ARRL video with youth describing how the radio contact occurs between the ISS and schools. The district livestreamed the action from the Mile High Middle School (MHMS)—the URL (begin at 16 minutes) is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hESAlh7Wkg4—to the following: 3,000 district students, 200 staff, 70 parents, and 70 area citizens.   98 others saw (live) a second YouTube video and afterwards, another 999 viewed it. The Daily Courier newspaper published a great story and a livestream. A boy expressed his excitement to the reporter, saying, “It was really cool seeing kids get to talk to an astronaut.” The superintendent described Assistant Superintendent Mardi Read as “Mission Commander” and admitted to the reporter that they both got tears in their eyes listening to the contact. World Genesis Foundation President Heather Anderson, whose group, along with the Yavapai County Amateur Radio Club, assisted with STEM activities, was quoted: “It was absolutely incredible to watch these kids ask their questions, sparking curiosity that will last a lifetime.” Pre-publicity stories came from AZ-TV.com, Newsbreak.com, and The Prometheism. Students engaged in many space science and radio lessons beginning in summer school and then throughout the quarter. MHMS sponsors a student amateur radio club.

September 30: The ARISS-US Education Committee distributed a news release to media outlets and a short piece to NASA EXPRESS about opening a window October 1 to accept the ARISS Education and Contact Proposal forms from US education groups. NASA EXPRESS’s e-newsletter went to 55,039 subscribers and was shared through NASA Office of STEM Engagement’s social media with: 335,974 @NASASTEM Twitter followers, 93567 NASA STEM Engagement Facebook followers, and 410,387 NASA STEM Pinterest followers. The committee will consider proposals and select the best for ARISS contacts that education groups would host in second-half 2022.

August & September: ARISS volunteer Fred Kemmerer gave 14 presentations on ARISS youth radio activities for ham radio clubs and education groups in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.  A total of 245 people, including ham operators and educators heard him describe how he uses his ARISS radio ground station for school contacts. He spoke how he, his wife, and their ham club (Nashua Area Radio Society) helped two area schools the past several years with hosting ARISS school contacts. His talk included details on more activities and programs his club supports to interest youth and adults in STEM.  

August 15: ARISS educator Neil Rapp and two young ham operators gave a presentation at the QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo (QTVHE). Their forum featured the ARISS contact and STEM activities at the Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) summer camp for the Americas in July; Neil was camp director. 8000 people registered for QTVHE and they could choose between several simultaneous forums. All presentations were recorded and now open to the public to view.

September 27: ARISS student officers called to order the first meeting of the school year for Dennis J. O’Connell School Amateur Radio Club in Arlington, VA. Club members took part in an ARISS contact previously, and do satellite communications activities. These make the club a popular group to join; 89 students showed up. Student officers described last spring’s STEAM activities undertaken, and discussed plans for this semester.

August 30: University Institute of Technology (IUT Nantes) students in Carquefou, France enjoy mentoring Carquefou’s Louis Armand Elementary School and Collège les Sables d’Or Junior High in Thouaré sur Loire students. The three schools have been collaborating for their upcoming ARISS contact. During the past year, IUT Nantes mechanical engineering students designed and built the required azimuth-elevation mount and telescopic tilting support that is now on the IUT Nantes building’s roof. Electrical engineering students designed and built the control system and position servo-control. They tested the system before holding an IUT Nantes Radio Demo Day where they helped elementary and junior high students download ARISS SSTV images. Undergrads described to students all the design and finalization stages of the antenna mount, making it a common tie they all share–the link allowing them to communicate with Thomas Pesquet. An IUT professor said, “During the contact, all students will see the mount tracking the ISS while hearing Pesquet answer their questions, creating wonder and curiosity, revealing the magic of the radio link from the ISS to students without wire support.”

ARISS Social Media

Facebook September 2021

ARISS Twitter:  As of September 30, 2021, Twitter followers totaled 15,354, a 1% gain over August.

ARISS Instagram: As of September 30, 2021, Instagram Followers totaled 354.

ARISS YouTube: As of September 30, 2021, YouTube subscribers totaled 1.56k, a slight gain over August.

Top Performing September Tweet and Facebook Posts
Both platforms’ top performing posts described upcoming ARISS school contacts and featured a photo of astronauts Walker and Noguchi at the ARISS mike. Results garnered:
1,953 Facebook Reaches, 100 Engagements
13.7k Tweet Impressions

ARISS Upcoming Events

Oct 12: Mary Hare School, Newbury UK, ARISS contact, ARISS-Europe team

Oct 13:  3 French schools in/near Carquefou: Ecole Louis Armand, Collège Les Sables D’Or, Institut Universitaire de Technologie, ARISS contact, ARISS-Europe team