March 14:  After the March 13th EVA, which included disconnecting the new Airbus Bartolomeo cable from the Columbus module, and re-connecting the original older ARISS cable, the following day the crew powered on the ARISS radio system. It had been set by the crew for APRS packet. A bit later, ARISS volunteer Christy Hunter was the first in the US to report making an ARISS packet radio contact, followed by other team members.  The ARISS international team is ecstatic to have the radio operational again!  Thanks goes to NASA, ESA and Airbus, the crew, ARISS team mate Sergey Samburov, and the entire international team.

February 26:  Estes Park Elementary School (EPES) in Estes Park, CO hosted an ARISS contact for students with Shannon Walker; she answered 18 questions on ISS research and other topics. The Estes Park Memorial Observatory (EPMO) on the school’s campus hosted 23 social-distanced students, teachers, media, school district officials and the principal, and retired astronaut Loren Shriver. The school’s livestream to district schools and the community reaped many live views: 750 students and 100 teachers. The assistant superintendent led off the program and then students and faculty gave short heart-felt presentations on their STEM studies and women in STEM.  See:  The ARISS YouTube livestream garnered 650 live views; a few days later this leapt to 1,558 views. Media included: 

Estes Park 5th graders’ social studies classes research past and present US and world explorers. The lead teacher said, “This overlaps with the science curriculum and the study of the solar system. In 2020 the 5th-grade teachers pursued a year-long space exploration unit aligning the two programs for the 80 youth. We thought the ARISS program was a perfect melding of the two curricula.” But EPES shared ARISS-related studies with the whole school district, also—1,140 students. EPES partners with the EPMO, which welcomes volunteers who lead activities on astronomy; students and the community watch online and at times can go to the dome for hands-on viewing. EPES’s STEM cross-curricular activity included an introduction to operating amateur radio equipment, exploring ham antennas and ham activities. The lead teacher said, “The Estes Valley Amateur Radio Club and Loren Shriver have been an integral part of the STEM activities. They aided students in following Space-X Expedition 64, ISS crew, and progress of the Perseverance rover. We thank our very own retired astronaut Loren Shriver for time spent and knowledge imparted to our classes and teachers leading up to this day. He has been involved with the school district for many years and always takes the time to inspire and educate our students. After today’s contact, he remarked how proud he was of our students.” 

March 1: Students at Newcastle High School in Newcastle, WY had an ARISS radio contact with Mike Hopkins and he answered 15 of their questions. It was the first ARISS contact for the state of Wyoming. The students linked in from their home computers to an ARISS radio ground station in Oregon, which relayed their audio to Hopkins at the ARISS radio. Attendance tally for the event was 125; teachers counted nearly 400 students who viewed the livestream. It is at The school offers college prep and vocational-technical training courses. The Newcastle High School Amateur Radio Club members learned how to operate ham radios and build ham antennas with curriculum tie-ins to their math and science classes. The lead teacher wrote, “We’ve been working on ARISS-related studies for 18 months and activities involved grades K-12, designed to increase awareness and interest in STEM and amateur radio, and to foster an appreciation for STEM career choices.” The school partnered with the North East Wyoming Amateur Radio Association. Media stories ran in the online News Letter Journal and on KGW TV. For the latter, the ARISS radio ground station operator was interviewed on why he enjoys helping ARISS inspire students; see:

March 3: An ARISS radio contact hosted by the Moldovan Peace Corps (MPC) in Chisinau in the Republic of Moldova allowed youth to talk to Mike Hopkins; he answered 13 questions. This was ARISS’s first contact for Moldova. 90 students aged 10-18 represented a consortium of educational institutions, rural schools, and libraries from 9 Moldovan villages. Students linked to the ARISS ham relay station in Portland, OR through a Zoom connection. The contact was livestreamed on Facebook by both the MPC and the Technical University of Moldova (UTM)–see: and  Total Facebook viewer count was 1,204 views and within a few days, spiked to 4,900 views. Three articles written about the contact are at:

The MPC focuses on offering youth STEM opportunities and aiding teachers and librarians in implementing STEM curriculum activities. MPC promotes economic and civic development,

fostering local resources in rural and suburban communities. Supporting MPC student activities is the Centre of Excellence for Space Sciences and Technologies within the UTM.

February 27: Frank Bauer joined Josh Tanner, the Australian filmmaker who produced the thriller Decommissioned, in a 45-minute interview set up by the American Radio Relay League, an ARISS sponsor. In Tanner’s 6-minute thriller by Perception Pictures, ARISS’s SuitSat returns in the future to haunt USS commander “Diaz,” played by Joey Vieira. Back in 2006, the ARISS team converted a surplus Russian Orlan spacesuit into an amateur radio satellite. Tanner explained how he thought of the idea to develop the movie short: he happened upon an image of SuitSat and read its history. He said about the real-life SuitSat floating in space, “They had what looked like a stranded, dead astronaut floating around the Earth…and there were voices of children being transmitted from it.” Bauer described the background of the SuitSat project, telling how it was “…the initial brainchild of ARISS teammate Sergey Samburov, and the ARISS team ran with it. SuitSat-1 transmitted a voice message, ‘This is SuitSat-1 RS0RS!’, in several languages, plus telemetry and a slow-scan TV image on an 8-minute cycle as it orbited Earth.” Tanner and Bauer’s interview was very popular; Facebook and YouTube metrics are:

       2,588 Views by March 6
          103.1 watch hours

March 13: CBS News ran an online story about the day’s spacewalk.  Just above the article’s second to last picture is a sentence about the crew reconfiguring the ARISS antenna: “Hopkins also reconfigured a HAM radio antenna on the European Columbus module that failed to work correctly after a recent upgrade and both spacewalkers began work to route two ethernet cables that eventually will be part of an expanded external wi-fi network.”  The URL is: MSN and another media outlet picked up the CBS story, too.

March 2: ARISS-US Education Committee member Diane Warner developed and presented a webinar hosted by the American Radio Relay League’s (ARRL) Learning Network; ARRL is a sponsor of ARISS. She described her ARISS school contact held in Fairfield, OH, on October 31, 2018 and “How ARISS Affects Schools and Communities.” Those attending the webinar included 5 educators, 2 school administrators, 2 students, and 43 adults who are interested in ARISS school contacts. The recorded webinar will be available for months to come.

March 3: The Idaho STEM Action Center (ISAC) bestowed an INDEEDS Award (Industry’s Excellent Educator Dedicated to STEM) to ARISS-US Education Committee member Gina Kwid. She teaches elementary engineering at Galileo STEM Academy in Eagle, ID, has taught in the West Ada School District for 15 years, and is heavily involved in leading extracurricular robotics programs. Her school hosted a 2019 ARISS contact and she presented talks on ARISS at the Space Exploration Educators Conference. A technical mentor wrote: “Gina is the embodiment of STEM and excellence in education.”  The yearly INDEEDS Award goes to two Idaho educators who create unique opportunities for students to experience the fun and excitement of STEM by integrating real-world experiences and hands-on activities into the classroom.  ISAC is “committed to ensuring equitable access to STEM pathways for all Idaho students, educators, and communities” and ISAC engineers “innovative opportunities for educators, students, communities, and industry to build a competitive Idaho workforce and economy through STEM and computer science education.”

March 4: The online newsletter Media INAF written by Italy’s National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF) ran an article titled “ARISS project; astronauts talk to schools.” The author interviewed ARISS volunteers Micol Ivancic and Claudio Ariotti on how European schools can participate in ARISS. INAF is considered the most important Italian institution conducting scientific research in astronomy and astrophysics, and funds and operates 20 research facilities. 

March 11: ARISS won an award from ISS National Lab Space Station Explorers (INL-SSE) that will now be presented each quarter. The award goes to 1 of the 44 SSE programs that carries out an exemplary job of submitting quarterly metrics. ARISS’s award is a framed mission patch that was flown on the ISS.  INL-SSE’s Samantha Thorstensen said: “ARISS does a great job with collecting metrics.”

March 11: Students from the Avoca State School in Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia took part in an ARISS contact. More details will be available in next week’s report.                           

Upcoming Events

Mar 17  Goodwood Primary School, Adelaide, S. Australia, AU, school contact,  ARISS Australian team

Mar 22 Oakwood School, Morgan Hill CA, school contact, ARISS-US team