April 7: Members of the Space Hardware Club (SHC) of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) sponsored an ARISS contact and related educational activities for 800 students in 4 of the region’s schools, Buckhorn Middle School, Mountain Gap Middle School, New Hope Elementary School, and Sparkman Middle School. Undergrads invited a few students from each school to come to UAH ask questions during the radio contact with Thomas Marshburn. People watching the day’s events totaled 108. The livestream is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyl-ekn612M&t=1603s. Undergrads are sending the recording to the four schools for all students to watch. WAAY-TV was on hand to record the event and broadcasted a video report in a newscast; it is at https://www.waaytv.com/community/uah-space-hardware-club-organizes-event-for-students-to-connect-with-the-international-space-station/article_29e8600c-b6be-11ec-abec-abd991289912.html. In preparation for the contact SHC engaged the 800 students in model rocket launches, high altitude balloon launches with radio payloads, and other hands-on STEM activities.  SHC Outreach Manager Rebekah Clark said, “All of the schools specifically requested the recording be sent to them to add to their curriculum.”   

April 11: École Secondaire St. Albert Catholic High School in St. Albert, AB, Canada hosted an ARISS contact with Axiom Astronaut Mark Pathy, who answered 13 student questions. 50 people came to watch students while all 758 students and staff watched the livestream. A second livestream connection was provided and it got a reported 67 views. The school’s Facebook page posted a YouTube video that garnered 244 views. The St. Albert Gazette ran an article on April 12 at https://www.stalberttoday.ca/local-news/sachs-students-call-spaceman-in-space-pathy-ariss-gabelmann-groves-5254868. Two other media outlets picked up the story, RMOToday.com (Rocky Mountain Outlook) and StAlbert TODAY.  100% of the latter’s readers rated the story as “important to their community.” The writer quoted a young lady student saying: “I feel like every kid has that dream of going into space. The opportunity to talk to someone who is not only an astronaut but currently in space was really cool.” Students had formed a space club, researched space science, and launched a weather balloon as STEM preparation before the ARISS contact.

This was the first of six ARISS contacts carried out by a civilian crew during this first Axiom Space mission to the ISS. More details on the other contacts will be in hand to provide in next week’s report.

April 7: Bellefontaine High School in Bellefontaine, OH, will host an ARISS contact on April 21 and invited students from the area elementary, intermediate, and middle schools to participate in related STEM activities and the upcoming ARISS contact.  Seventh graders created STEM-related artwork, designed a KWL table of facts about the ISS, and brainstormed on ways people communicate—from body language to computer coding. Fifth graders used math equations to investigate Aurora in space; analyzed items at NASA News Live, applying that knowledge to other areas; and made models of the Solar System, comparing and contrasting each planet and other galaxies. Lower grade students experimented with communications using cans and string, reporting the impact on sound quality when changing the size of cans and type of string. Students from the three lower-grade schools composed questions they want to ask Astronaut Kayla Barron during the ARISS contact that the high school is sponsoring. High school students have learned a variety of wireless radio lessons and some have earned their ham radio license. They will put that knowledge to use when they operate the ham station during the ARISS contact with the help of the area ham club.

April 11: Students at DLR School Lab TU Dresden in Dresden, Germany engaged in an ARISS contact with Matthias Maurer, who answered 18 student questions. 100 people were on hand for the event; they heard DLR Mission Manager Volker Schmid describe the students’ space- and technology-related educational activities and competitions that the youth enjoyed in preparation for the ARISS contact, including the German CanSat Competition 2020/21, a German-Polish summer science camp „Völlig Schwerelos“ 2021, and „Moon Camp Challenge“ 2022. The contact livestream is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LKjD2QlisM. Within 3 days, it garnered 726 views.

April 8: The NASA.gov’s YouTube online weekly news source, titled “Space to Ground,” highlighted ARISS in its video. A good chunk of the segment introduced viewers to the ARISS program, noting its accomplishments in providing two-way ham radio communication between students and astronauts on the ISS. The host of the show stated the ARISS mission, promoting STEM initiatives to students. Within a week, the video saw 4,079 views and is at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IiWyrPygfA. NASA made the story into a Twitter post, as well, with it grabbing 20.9K views within 5 days.  Even better, NASA staff did the stories in Spanish and posted both the YouTube and the Tweet in Spanish.

April 15: The About Gagarin From Space program hosted an ARISS contact for students at Southwest State University in Kursk, Russia.  They spoke with Cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev. Students had built satellites that will be released during a spacewalk; they prepared circuit board diagrams of the satellites for other students who might want to get involved in similar projects.

April 8: ARISS Education Ambassador Martha Muir received an update from the teacher she worked with at Sussex County Charter School for Technology in Sparta, NJ.  The teacher reported that she is leading some of the STEM hands-on activities that she had not had time to finish prior to the school’s ARISS contact in late February.  The activities were listed in the ARISS Education Proposal, which is what school selections for ARISS contacts are based on. She invited a professor of astronomy to visit and do a demonstration titled, “Sunspots and Space Weather.”  The next guest speaker she scheduled is a fluid systems design engineer for Blue Origins. The teacher wrote: “Gotta keep inspiring these kids!” ARISS totally agrees.

April 7: ARISS Technical Mentor Dave Jordan gave a multimedia presentation on new ARISS initiatives to the Lake Monroe Amateur Radio Society club members in the Winter Springs, FL area. He related updates on many aspects of ARISS. Of the 42 listening, a few were informal educators;, a Q&A followed the talk.

April 7-8: A Slow Scan TV (SSTV) picture downlink event was sponsored by the Moscow Aviation Institute. Space enthusiasts, students, educators, members of the public, and amateur radio operators captured the images and many posted them for public viewing at the ARISS SSTV Gallery at https://www.spaceflightsoftware.com/ARISS_SSTV/.  Total number of images that fans posted as of April 14:  885 images from a total of 372 people.  The ARISS Facebook page post proved how popular the SSTV events are; the Reach was 15,287.

April 9: At the Tampa Amateur Radio Club TARCFest (a regional gathering of ham radio operators), ARISS Director of Public Engagement Rita DeHart and ARISS volunteers Lou McFadin and Elizabeth Mueller set up and staffed a table exhibit that featured the technical side of ARISS and a continuously running video about aspects of ARISS. The team had material for interested teachers and students, too.  Those stopping by included 3 youth, 1 of whom took material to give to his schoolteacher, and 15 adults, one of whom asked Rita to speak about ARISS at a future meeting of his ham club.

ARISS Upcoming Events 
April 21: Bellefontaine High School, Bellefontaine OH ARISS contact, ARISS-US team