February 23: ARISS was honored to receive a request from SCaN to set up and staff a display table about ARISS for the National Space Council’s Users’ Advisory Group meeting at the Marriott in Washington DC.  It was the group’s first public meeting of this administration. Frank Bauer and Kathy Lamont staged the ARISS table in the lobby just outside the meeting room with five others (Challenger Center, Women in Aerospace, NASA SCaN, MAXAR Technologies, and Science Applications International Corporation). 31 committee members and 30 visitors viewed the ARISS table as they walked by; Frank and Kathy engaged at length with 30 of them.  

February 14: Students at Gymnasium Christian-Ernestinum (GCE) in Bayreuth, Germany enjoyed an ARISS radio contact with Koichi Wakata; he answered 23 student questions. The event drew 750 audience participants on site and 2,000 students watched the livestream YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XH849NyUHM4. And 10 days later, viewer numbers topped 3,800!  A teacher wrote: “In the gym it became dead quiet with the first noise [from Koichi on the ARISS radio]. Everyone was spellbound listening to questions and answers.” During the contact, ARISS volunteer Stefan Dombrowski helped 50 students at The Hague to listen to the Q&A on his ham radio set. GCE students had participated in astronomy, physics, electronics, natural sciences and robotics programs and workshops. One parent thanked the school for all of the lessons teachers prepared, and said her two daughters “…are still really fired up by this and were incredibly excited and proud—and I can tell you even here at [my hospital palliative duties] care unit, some staff members were on the livestream following the action. We had goose bumps.”  GCE partnered with radio club DARC Ortsverband Bayreuth whose members provided students with technical workshops and hands-on radio activities.

February 15: Stella Maris College in Gzira, Malta hosted an ARISS contact with Josh Cassada who answered 13 of the students’ questions. The event was livestreamed to the public, and in 8 days’ time viewer count went to 2,400! The Times of Malta captured the event in a news story for the community. The college’s parent institution runs a second school, De La Salle College in Birgu; both colleges had students involved in STEM activities related to the ARISS contact.  The school had partnered with members of the Malta Amateur Radio League that provided hands-on radio communications lessons to students, such as tracking radio satellites and talking to other ham operators through these satellites. Other groups offering educational activities to students included University of Malta, Malta College for Science and Technology, Malta Council for Science and Technology, and Malta College for Arts, Science and Technology.

February 22: Details will be covered in next week’s report on the ARISS contact hosted at Istituto Statale di Istruzione Superiore Il Pontormo in Empoli, Italy. Students had prepared for it by engaging in lectures and projects such as an astrophysics seminar with presenter John Robert Brucato from the Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory in Florence who discussed looking for signs of life beyond Earth.

ARISS Upcoming Events 
Mar 7: Jumeirah College Dubai, Dubai, UAE – ARISS contact, ARISS-Europe Team