January 21: The Sea Road School in Kennebunk, part of Maine Regional School Unit 21, hosted a successful ARISS contact. Students from six Kennebunk area schools were at home connected online through an ARISS ham relay ground station in Italy. They enjoyed a conversation with Mike Hopkins who answered 20 questions. The schools besides Sea Road School whose students took part in the contact and space and radio activities were Kennebunk Elementary School, Kennebunkport Consolidated School, Middle School of Kennebunk, Mildred L. Day School, and Kennebunk High School. A girl declared: “I almost fainted when I heard him answer my question.” A boy said, “I was sweating a lot!” Schools highlighted space and STEM in cross-curriculum courses. Sea Road School’s STEM team collaborated with several area amateur radio clubs, one of which offered a free course in electronics and radio fundamentals, radio demos, and electronics project-building. The day’s events were streamed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LN70OpJFMgs with 400 live views, and a week later, 1,163 additional viewers. Media included TV stations WMTW and WABI and three online news services, with one of the latter posting a story from a writer who was realizing, while watching the ARISS contact, the effect Christa McAuliffe had on his life: https://www.seacoastonline.com/story/opinion/2021/01/28/opinion-looking-life-mcauliffes-legacy-alive-well-rsu-21/6699452002/

January 21: ARISS YouTube channel subscribers topped 1,000!  The channel was set up only eight months ago.

January 28: An ARISS contact was scheduled with Amur State University students in Blagoveshchensk. Cosmonaut Sergey Kud-Sverchkov supported the contact and more details will be available soon.

January 22: Students in Prince William County, VA were featured in the ISS National Lab blog, ISS360.  After their pre-Covid ARISS school contact, the K-5 Gifted Education Resource teacher (and ARISS-US Education Committee lead) Kathy Lamont led them in DreamUp’s Germs in Space activities. Students became scientists, swabbing surfaces for microbes and discovering that the Petri dish with a swab of library books was the most active!

January 21: Perception Pictures released a six-minute sci-fi horror film titled Decommissioned that features SuitSat, a satellite the ARISS team designed in 2006. The film depicts SuitSat as a menacing force terrorizing an ISS crew member, played by Joey Vieira. The ARISS team had developed and built an antenna and radio gear to fit in a decommissioned Orlan spacesuit that was deployed from the ISS as a free-floating satellite. For two weeks, SuitSat transmitted friendly ham radio messages pre-recorded by ARISS in several languages from students around the globe, plus telemetry and slow-scan TV images as it circled Earth. The link to the film clip is: https://vimeo.com/502018179?ref=fb-share&fbclid=IwAR30zx8S6hrcF41aSQSFMpoqTh-ASjAxRxpVPlRj4IZocZJBd9HMX4HiqCs.  ARRL, an ARISS sponsor, invited a popular YouTube channel host to interview Frank Bauer and the director of the sci-fi film in early February. Bauer will cover the development and implementation of the real SuitSat 1 and 2 and the rewarding story of ARISS that continues today.

January 28: The Newcastle (WY) High School ARISS contact was unsuccessful; troubleshooting began immediately, with the focus being on the antenna path (which was changed during the preceding Bartolomeo EVA), since the radio appears functional. The school contact will be re-scheduled.

January 28-29: An SSTV session was sponsored by Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI-75) with images downlinked from the ISS Service Module radio. Full details will be in next week’s report.

Upcoming Events 

February 4-6: Three ARISS-US Education Committee members will give two different presentations related to ARISS at sessions during the 2021 Space Exploration Educators Conference.

February 5: An ARISS school contact is scheduled for students in Vladivostok, Russia. Sergey Ryzhikov will support this.

February 5: Students at the Ottawa Carleton District School are tentatively scheduled for an ARISS contact with Mike Hopkins.