October 18: St Peter CE Junior School in Broadstairs, UK hosted an ARISS radio contact for students with Jasmin Moghbeli. 19 students asked her their questions and then their resounding thanks went up to Jasmin. 360 of the school’s students and 40 from several area schools sat in the audience as did 100 parents and faculty. From other locations, 300 more people watched the livestream (https://youtu.be/lnPlIHGV-YE), with the YouTube total climbing to 660 in 9 days’ time. UK Reserve Astronaut Meganne Christian came as a very special guest; she spoke to youth about her training for future space flight and her nine months living at Concordia Station, an Antarctica research outpost. Reporters came to Broadstairs from the biggest UK news groups, local and regional BBC and ITV. Young Isabella Payne initiated this ARISS radio contact; last year over 25 worldwide media outlets had posted her story about making a ham radio contact one evening with Kjell Lindgren on the ISS. The St Peter headmaster reported that in the past year, every student had taken part in STEM activities related to space and radio, from being mentored in the art of stargazing with the help of the Ramsgate Stargazers club to learning how to track the FUNcube, an amateur radio satellite.
October 4: Girl Scout Troop 1089 in Sacramento, CA has been preparing for a number of weeks for their ARISS contact in early 2024. They’ve worked with the parts of the ARISS Education SPARKI lesson kit that allows youth to put components together to make series electrical circuits and parallel electrical circuits. With another part of the kit, they built an AM radio and a Morse code device. The girls learned to work a ham radio station that will download Slow Scan TV images (picture links). Troop leaders introduced the girls to talking over the air to other radio amateurs; they completed both voice radio contacts and digital radio contacts. Their final lesson will be working with Software Defined Radios.
October 24: ARISS launched special pages on its website for the 40th Anniversary Conference:
Celebrating the Positive Impact of Amateur Radio on Human Spaceflight. The conference is February 22-24 at the Center for Space Education at Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex. Some of the many activities include seeing display booths in the exhibit area, amateur radio spaceflight exhibits, networking sessions in the exhibit area, STEM education demonstrations, and two conference days packed with astronaut panel sessions, presentations by youth alumni in STEM careers, short talks of recollections by educators and volunteer team alumni that supported Shuttle, Mir, and ISS hardware development, flight operations and youth STEM engagement. Readers of this report who want to attend, please visit www.ariss.org and click the menu tab labeled “40th Anniversary.”
October 24: The faculty and students at A. L. Burruss Elementary School in Marietta, GA carried out their ARISS contact with Jasmin Moghbeli, who answered 13 students’ questions and got loud cheers and applause at the end. The school’s chorus and dance team performed for the audience of 510 who also viewed a few space videos. A speaker explained how the ham radio station at the school connects students to the ARISS radio on the ISS. The press on hand, from three TV stations and one newspaper, interviewed students. 98 viewers enjoyed watching a livestream of the contact (www.youtube.com/channel/UCuI4sKDBpERtEFs9bFrRMFA/live); in three days’ time, 281 people had viewed it. Students enjoyed the Tomatosphere™ project and used a Geochron monitor to track and examine locations of the ISS. GOT Space and the Georgia Space Grant Consortium staff assisted students in using VR headsets to tour the ISS. Students had researched outer space, radio waves, and communications.
October 20: ARISS educator Gina Kwid gave her science classes at Galileo STEM Academy in Eagle, ID a real “lift” when she, students, and two area ham operators, one an engineer, put together everything for a helium balloon launch. The 4-foot diameter balloon carried a telemetry payload transmitting Gina’s ham radio call sign, a Raspberry Pi Operating System, and solar panels; the transmissions allowed students to monitor the balloon flight on a tracking website. After a successful launch, the balloon eventually reached 29,000 feet. Students watching the website saw blips labeled with Gina’s call sign and they wrote down the direction and altitude, thinking through possible causes for the data. After several hours, the balloon began losing altitude travelling over Montana and transmissions stopped. The students enjoyed launching this pico balloon and all of the learning accompanying the experience.
October 21: Frank Bauer and Dave Taylor represented ARISS at the 2023 AMSAT Symposium in Dallas, TX, giving talks. Frank presented two. The first was on amateur radio communication between the Moon and Earth and was titled “Lunar Amateur Radio Spectrum Coordination;” 27 people attended. The second talk, titled “Human Spaceflight Amateur Radio: 40th Anniversary Celebration,” drew a group of 50 to hear him tell about the February 2024 ARISS conference at the Center for Space Education at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex. Dave Taylor’s presentation to 50 people, titled “ARISS Update,” summarized some of the many successes ARISS accomplished throughout the past year. The talks, made available on YouTube, captured 874 views. ARISS team member Randy Berger also attended the symposium and the following day, led nine members of his engineering team in an all-day work session.
October 22: ARISS enthusiast Randy Hall gave a talk at the ARRL Pacific Division Convention in San Ramon, CA; he focused on Slow Scan TV (SSTV picture links) sessions. These happen when ARISS-Russia plans a time period for cosmonauts to downlink images that space enthusiasts and ham radio operators can download. Mr. Hall’s talk covered the ways to download the images and how to get everything ready for when a new session is announced. His video and charts gave the audience a good sense of what SSTV sessions are like and generated many listener questions. At the end, Mr. Hall took a photo before most people left, telling them to “wave because ARISS wants a photo for a weekly report.”
October 3: Lilburn (GA) Elementary School’s 1,217 students in grades 1 through 5 enjoyed hands-on activities in preparation for their upcoming ARISS contact. All classes’ researched the history of NASA mission patches and each class developed their own patch to represent the diversity of the students in their classes. Students created art that projected themselves as an astronaut. The 2nd through 5th grader teachers helped students research President Kennedy’s Moonshot idea that turned into reality due to “Moonshot Thinkers.” The students then became Moonshot Thinkers, brainstorming their own wildest ideas about space. One kindergarten teacher asked students to involve their families in a space project at home and students brought these in to share with classmates. This project introduced families to space and the upcoming ARISS radio contact and built further excitement.
ARISS Upcoming Events
Nov 3: Walkerston State School, Walkerston, QLD, Australia—ARISS contact, ARISS-Japan Team
Nov 6: Halls Head College, Mandurah, WA, Australia – ARISS contact, ARISS-Japan Team
Feb 22-24, 2024: Human Spaceflight Amateur Radio: 40th Anniversary Celebration—ARISS conference and gala, ARISS-I Team