November  9: South Yarra Primary School students in South Yarra, Victoria, Australia spoke with Mark Vande Hei who answered 20 questions during their ARISS radio contact. A young boy ended his question with: “Happy Birthday!”  Mark needed a couple of seconds to compose himself before replying, “Thank you. You have choked me up.”  The on-site audience included 52 students, teachers and school council members plus 34 parents, a member of the Australian Space Agency Advisory Board (Frank Roberts), and 2 news reporters.  136 individuals took part via Teams and 36 via Echolink.  For the first time in 18 months of Covid restrictions, the Goddard Amateur Radio Club supported radio telebridge operations. Another first: club members were successful in their attempt at transmitting, joining the school’s Teams live stream, the live video of their ARISS radio activity. ARISS educator Melissa Pore celebrated her first time assisting with telebridge operations at the Goddard radio station. Victoria TV9 tweeted about the contact and the video clip garnered over 2,000 views in less than a week. 

November 9: ARISS distributed a news release about winning a five-year nearly $1.3 million grant from the Amateur Radio Digital Communications group. The grant, called “Student and Teacher Education via Radio Experimentation and Operations,” gives ARISS a huge boost in three distinct initiatives that will enable sustainment and improvement of STEAM educational outcomes. The first initiative gives ARISS the ability to sponsor educator workshops (and help pay travel costs) for teachers to learn how to guide students in activities tied to a wireless technology kit called “SPARKI,” (“Space-Pioneers Amateur Radio Kit Initiative”). The second initiative will take SPARKI from prototype to operational and then deploy these kits into a selected set of ARISS formal and informal education organizations (middle-school and high-school level) planning a scheduled ARISS radio contact. The third initiative will support some of the costs of ARISS contact operations between students and astronauts aboard the ISS over the five-year grant period. Frank Bauer called the grant “a game-changer that represents a key element of our ARISS 2.0 vision.”

November 11: ARISS educator Melissa Pore gave a forum talk at the National Science Teachers Association’s Area Conference on Science in Baltimore, MD.  40 educators listened to her presentation titled “Making Space for All in STEM,” which focused on ARISS. Melissa also shared details on education opportunities available through the ISS National Lab Space Station Explorers program and some NASA programs her high school students enjoy.

November 11: The ARISS-Russia team has led STEM activities for students at the Ural State University of Railways and Communications (UrGUPS) in Yekaterinburg, Russia. UrGUPS is described as “the only higher education institute in the Ural Federal District supporting BS and MS degrees in transport and related communications for today’s complex demands.” Youth took part in lessons on About Gagarin from Space and then were excited to talk to cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov during an ARISS contact.

November 18: NASA invited ARISS to join in a session of “Explore Your Possibilities with NASA”—its all-day program for 2021 STEM-A-Thon. The online event presented activities for teachers and students to spark interest in space and space careers and communications. The early morning program for the day was prepared by ARISS educators Joanne Michael and Kathy Lamont and was titled “Speaking with Spacecraft: Exploring Space Communications.” The two taught the basics of radio waves and how they carry communications into space and back to Earth. They offered an online worksheet and as Joanne and Kathy drew different radio waves depending on the radio frequencies, participants could follow along and draw, as well.  Live-view metrics showed 10 educators and 90 others participated.

November 19: As part of their preps for an upcoming ARISS contact, 80 pre-K to 8th grade students at Savannah River Academy in Grovetown, GA went outdoors to learn how to do a radio transmitter hunt. Educators set up teams of five to seven students paired with two radio mentors from the Amateur Radio Club of Columbia County.  Students used special directional antennas to sniff out weak signals from radio transmitters hidden under leaves and other things, and disguised. At the end of the day, kids found three hidden around the school grounds.

October 31: Frank Bauer gave a Zoom presentation to the East Coast Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen Youth & Aerospace Program. He spoke about ARISS and space communications, a topic that inspired the audience. Ten youth and three informal educators attended the meeting.  

November 16: The English Estates Elementary School in Fern Park, FL included an amateur radio Teach-In as part of the faculty’s participation in Seminole County’s Career Day. ARISS volunteer Dave Jordan guided the Lake Monroe Amateur Radio Society (LMARS) Education Committee in sponsoring this event—LMARS does its Teach-in at one area school each year. This year, 6 club members mentored 116 students during three 30-minute sessions for 4 classes of 3rd graders. Teach-In topics included space communications, ARISS, and electromagnetic waves and how they are used in communicating. In one of the three sessions, LMARS introduced students to Morse code, and with a little help, youth transmitted their names in code using a code key and oscillator. Several students made amateur radio contacts with an area ham operator.

November 5-6: Diane Warner, a member of the ARISS-US Education Committee, helped set up and staff an exhibit booth that her area ham club sponsored at a Lancaster, OH event honoring military veterans. The booth featured amateur radio emergency communications and ARISS. She prominently displayed photographs from her school’s ARISS radio contact and 75 passersby asked her about the photos; she enjoyed explaining!

October 17: ARISS educator Melissa Pore spun up teachers from the DC-Maryland-Virginia area to attend Teacher Fly Day hosted by the Flying Circus Aerodrome in Bealeton, VA.  The all-day event saw 25 teachers, some from Title I schools enjoying STEM activities, especially on space, navigation, and aviation, and flights in the aerodrome’s classic airplanes. Melissa had invited NASA, the Air and Space Museum, Civil Air Patrol and the US Naval Academy to set up exhibits or do presentations. Melissa gave a talk on ARISS. The ISS National Lab contributed items for teachers to take to their classrooms.

November 20 & 22: The Italian RAI 2 TV station sponsors a show called “Your Business,” and a reporter led an interview with ARISS Italian volunteer and educator Micol Ivancic and one of her students. They talked about ARISS and its effect on students and she described the volunteer radio work she handles at an ARISS telebridge station. They discussed what they’ve learned about life on the ISS. The show features stories that are of a general interest to the public.  Two days earlier, Micol’s area newspaper, Milano, ran a story about her ARISS work with students. 

November 20: ARISS Technical Mentor Fred Kemmerer from Hollis, NH, won the majority of votes in an election for director of American Radio Relay League’s (ARRL) New England Division. The territory covered in the division is all five New England states. He joins a team of 14 other directors in making decisions about ARRL’s future direction. He had become well known because he regularly gives talks about ARISS to ham groups.

November 16: At the November ARISS-International Working Group teleconference meeting, Frank Bauer led attendees in celebrating 25 years of having the ARISS Team established. On November 4-5, 1996, Johnson Space Center hosted the inaugural meeting in Houston, TX. Ham radio operators traveled there from around the globe, and some of the US team members are still volunteering for ARISS today.

 ARISS Upcoming Events   

Nov 29 Amur State University, Blagoveshchensk, Russia, ARISS-Russia team
Nov 29 Colegio Pumahue Temuco, Temuco, Chile, ARISS-Canada team
Dec 2 Berufliche Schule Direktorat 1 Nurnberg, Nuremberg, Germany, ARISS-Europe team
Dec 2 Wolfgang-Kubelka-Realschule, Schondorf am Ammersee, Germany, ARISS-Europe team
Dec 3 Hino Elementary School and Canna School, Suzaka, Japan, ARISS-Japan team
Dec 4 Aznakaev students, district of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia, ARISS-Russia team