December 14: The Primary School of Zipari in the coastal town of Kos, Greece hosted an ARISS contact with Andreas Mogensen, who answered 15 students’ questions. The event, attended by 300 students and community members, had reps on hand from a national TV station and an area newspaper to cover the event. Four students starred in a pre-contact YouTube seen by 319 people (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0-72F6roYk) and in excited voices, they described their STEM studies and their enthusiasm about talking to Mogensen. The school posted two more videos about student STEM studies, one on space travel and the ISS and one on life in space.
December 11-12: Students still enthralled over their October ARISS contact at St Peter-in-Thanet Junior School in Broadstairs, UK, wanted to take part in a Great Britain Youth on the Air amateur radio activity. The area ham club, Hilderstone Radio Society organized two days at the school for 70 children, age 7 to 11, guiding them in using 3 portable ham radio stations. The boys and girls liked knowing their voices carried across The Channel to France, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and more distant countries. They learned about tuning the radio to hear voices of ham operators and tones transmitted by Morse code, and that those tones communicated words one letter at a time. The youth gave their name, age, and a radio signal report (clarity and volume). The club awarded each student a special certificate celebrating their achievement of speaking on the air waves. The science teacher said “student enthusiasm, which was ‘off the charts’, inspired faculty to offer a new course in 2024, the Magic of Radio.”
December 11: Students of Harbor Creek School in Harborcreek, PA, engaged in an ARISS contact with Andreas Mogensen, who answered 13 questions. 500 students, teachers, and community members watched the action and also the pre-contact programing that was carried out by three students belonging to the Advanced Technology Group. They educated the audience about Mogensen’s career and space-related topics. 181 people watched the livestream and within 1 day, 930 more had watched a recording. Reporters came from MSN.com, Fox, Erie News Now, YourErie.com, RFGlobal.net, and the NBC Today Show. The latter recorded student interviews, visited the school ham radio station, and climbed a ladder to get on the roof to view the radio antennas! NBC will run a special story in early 2024. The RFGlobal.net reporter wrote that he witnessed a “goose bump moment” when students’ faces showed relief at hearing Mogensen’s voice and parents made “audible gasps followed by giving a standing ovation.” Students had been supported by the Wattsburg Wireless Association Amateur Radio Club who helped youth and parents learn about space technologies and satellite communications.
December 7: The ARISS team planned and hosted a special YouTube webinar of Space Flight Participant Richard Garriott. Frank Bauer interviewed Richard about his father, Owen Garriott, who in 1983 was the first astronaut to take ham radio on a space vehicle. ARISS set up the webinar as one of many events that honor the impact of 40 years of ham radio on spacecraft. After NASA had agreed to Owen using the radio, it allowed many people to talk with an orbiting crew member instead of only Mission Control or a head of state. Bauer asked Richard to describe some activities he did during his time on the ISS, including handling many ARISS educational radio contacts and special radio work. In 14 days, the webinar garnered 660 views. The URL is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ys0Jjn40Y_A.
December 20: In the front pages of the January 2024 issue of the American Radio Relay League’s (ARRL) monthly journal, an article ran about Sunita Williams. It touched on aspects of her career track such as the US Naval Academy, becoming a helicopter pilot, and test pilot. She said meeting John Young influenced her to want to become a career astronaut. One third of the article was devoted to her experience carrying out ARISS contacts with students, and she said she relished those interactions. In showing her desire to make each contact very special to students, Sunita said, “It’s a skill to talk fast to get to the point [to answer their questions] and it’s important to relay the kid’s name and [say] thank you.”
December 26: ARISS announced the education organizations selected to host ARISS school contacts with ISS crew members in July through December 2024. Six organizations’ ARISS Education Proposals were chosen and the groups will proceed in creating an equipment plan for the radio station they will use to talk with their assigned astronaut. Once a school’s plan has been approved, the group will be scheduled for the ARISS contact based on ability to match with NASA crew schedule opportunities.
ARISS Upcoming Events
Potential late Jan. schedule: ARISS contacts supported by Axiom-3 crew members, ARISS-Europe Team
February 22-24, 2024: Human Spaceflight Amateur Radio: 40th Anniversary Celebration, KSC Center for Space Education, Titusville FL—ARISS conference & gala, ARISS-I Team