January 30: Norwich Free Academy (NFA) in Norwich, CT hosted an ARISS contact for students with Josh Cassada. He answered 18 questions with a listening crowd of 1,200. The contact was livestreamed to the public at https://youtu.be/pTkaCtam8m0.  NFA’s Facebook and Twitter platforms offered the video, as well. Media reporters represented Fox TV News, Norwich Bulletin, and The Day.com. Fox ran 2 postings—a story with video, and just the video with a caption; Yahoo.com picked up The Day’s story. See https://news.yahoo.com/nfa-students-talk-astronaut-aboard-045900164.html. The faculty developed lessons on astrophysics; how gravitational differences affect gene expression/epigenetics, microbes, and pathogens; and whether a crew’s stay on the ISS impacts immunity upon returning home. Youth studied ISS research projects and the systems that keep astronauts healthy onboard. NFA Amateur Radio & Engineering Club students assembled an amateur radio ground station allowing youth to learn about amateur radio satellites and to use it for the ARISS contact; several students studied for and earned their ham radio licenses. Prior to the contact, students created a video describing their prep for the contact and facets about their ham radio station, and how students could submit questions that if chosen, allowed the youth to ask Cassada their question. The club advisor hopes to get a radio telescope installed as the club’s next big project. The Bulletin’s story reported students’ reactions. “Clark Dziavit, an NFA freshman member, said, ‘All of the students—we’ve done the research, it’s really a team effort.’ He and junior Julia Sujecki were intrigued and nervous about talking to Cassada. Both are enthusiastic newer members of the ham radio and engineering club. She said, ‘You get to learn Morse code … and learn how to build a robot. I’m very excited and I’d like to learn more about space and becoming an astronaut.’”  

February 3: ARISS educator Micol Ivancic in Italy entered a contest tied to the Minerva Mission carried out by Samantha Cristoforetti. The Italian Space Agency (ASI) and the European Space Agency (ESA) sponsored the competition, which asked educators to submit educational projects they used in class. After reviewing her project, the ASI Education Office, ESA Education Office, and European Space Education Resource Office (ESERO) sent a congratulatory letter to Micol as one of the winners. The letter said, “The work was highly appreciated for its educational value, for the quality of the proposed pathway, and for its ability to engage male and female students in space-themed STEM disciplines in a new, inclusive, and active way.” Micol will receive an autographed certificate from Cristoforetti and has the possibility of meeting the astronaut—a dream Micol “has had for a long time.”

February 7: Students from Ridgeline High School and Sky View High School, part of the Cache County School District that include Millville, UT engaged in an ARISS contact with Josh Cassada. 86 people watched at the contact site, Ridgeline High School, as he answered 16 of the students’ questions. Reporters from two radio stations and one newspaper covered the event. All 25 district schools could access the school’s livestream.  297 viewers watched a public live stream and three social media platforms continue to offer the recording. The ARISS YouTube URL is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxm5Ca2y0HD_NxXlZWXv11A and within three days’ time it garnered 1,100 viewers. Youth had studied recent space explorations, spacecraft, satellites, and Artemis. 150 students from both high schools attended the district’s 12-week high school astronomy course. The Bridgerland Amateur Radio Club introduced students to amateur radio and led them in on-the-air amateur radio activities—making radio satellite contacts and trying hidden transmitter hunts.  The Herald Journal (HJ) quoted the lead ARISS educator, Emma Smith, affectionately nicknamed “Super Smith” by students. “’It’s amazing that this happened—I just can’t get over it.’  Smith said making contact with the ISS was a childhood dream.” The district web site carried a number of ARISS stories and provided a podcast prior to the contact.

January 31: In its 2022 annual report, The ISS National Lab recognized just 5 of its 25 partner programs under the umbrella of Space Station Explorers.  ARISS was one of the five! The recognition cited ARISS having touched so many youth, educators, and the community through ARISS volunteers’ work in allowing students a once-in-a- lifetime experience to talk with an astronaut on the ISS. The report is at https://www.issnationallab.org/ar2022/?utm_source=edm&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ar&utm_content=2022  (click on section titled “Educational Outreach and Engagement.”

ARISS Upcoming Events
Feb 13: Youth in School No. 547, St. Petersburg, Russia-ARISS contact, ARISS Russia Team
Feb 14: Gymnasium Christian-Ernestinum, Bayreuth, Germany-ARISS contact, ARISS-Europe Team
Feb 15: Stella Maris College, Gzira, Malta-ARISS contact, ARISS-Europe Team