March 24-25: Students at the Savannah River Academy (SRA) in Grovetown, GA have been preparing for their upcoming ARISS contact. Members of the Amateur Radio Club of Columbia County (ARCCC) presented a session that gave students a solid understanding of how to operate a handheld radio. They practiced talking to each other using Family Radio Service (FRS) radios and remembered to use phonetics when saying call signs. The kids learned about QSL cards that confirm a radio contact was made between hams; QSLs are commonly traded after radio contacts. The cards were a hit with students getting to design their own personal QSLs.

The next evening at SRA Family Day, ARCCC members set up exhibit tables to engage students, their parents and teachers in ham activities. Demos of amateur satellite communication took place with students recording call signs and grid square coordinates for hams they contacted. They talked over the air with an ARCCC member at home. Kids showed off to parents the things they had learned such as sending Morse code. Several students and adults said they’re interested in getting a ham license.

March 26: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers week-long summer classes to educators; ARISS-US Education Committee member and science teacher Martha Muir attended one. Upon completion, educators become part of the CDC’s Science Ambassador Fellowship (SAF) program and receive the quarterly Science Ambassador Alumni Newsletter. Last quarter’s e-letter carried a notice on watching CDC leaders take part in a NASA-sponsored live chat with Kate Rubins and Shannon Walker. Thinking that some SAF educators might want to host their own ARISS contact for students, Martha penned and submitted a short piece on ARISS and the ARISS proposal process. The editors accepted her item for the Spring 2021 e-newsletter.

April 6: The School of Information Technology & Mathematical Sciences, Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program 2021 in Mawson Lakes, SA, Australia hosted a successful ARISS radio contact with Shannon Walker for elementary students of Mawson Lakes School.  She answered 22 student questions. People in attendance numbered 45 including the university’s Department of Education Director and Advanced Technology Program Manager. A student exclaimed, “I loved this! One day I will become a scientist and go to space.” Another said, “This made me take a special interest in space and astronomy. I loved the way we were trained and briefed for the event.” The university used its Facebook account to livestream the contact: 767 viewers, 605 engagements. A few days later, another 190 had viewed it. People listening via Echolink totaled 30.

April 5-7: ARISS-Russia hosted three successful ARISS contacts for these schools:

  • Nilak Dosaaf Llc in Kaluga
  • Kaluga Regional Schools in Kaluga
  • Petersburg School in St. Petersburg

On April 5, Nilak Dosaaf Llc high school students enrolled in the educational program called About Gagarin from Space spoke with Sergey Kud-Sverchkov. On April 6, students in the About Gagarin from Space program in Kaluga Regional Schools spoke with Sergey Kud-Sverchkov.  St. Petersburg students in the About Gagarin from Space program talked over the radio on April 7 with Sergey Ryzhikov.

March 31: Three ARISS Italian volunteers presented a live ARISS program for the Associazione Radiotechnica Italiana, Firenze chapter.  The talk was titled “The ISS Seen through ARISS Eyes and Beyond” and 39 people watched, including 2 students and 1 educator. An unknown number of others watched live via the chapter’s Facebook page but within a week, viewers totaled 454; the link is: Topics included the antennas to use for ARISS school contacts, the ARISS HamTV system, the ARISS Italian radio telebridge station, and the ARISS Interoperable Radio System.   

Upcoming Events

April 20 Winmalee Public School, Blue Mountains NSW Au, ARISS contact, ARISS-Japan team