April 22: Thrive Home School Academy and Stratton Meadows Elementary School in Colorado Springs, CO successfully completed their ARISS radio contact with Jeanette Epps. She answered 11 of their questions. One student who stood out in her Space Camp blue jumpsuit told a TV reporter, “I want to be an astronaut, a flight director, mission controller, and an aerospace engineer.” Officials in the gym (filled with 300 people) included those from the school district, the Edge of Space Sciences, and the Student Spaceflight Experiment Program. The ARISS contact received good media coverage with stories done by three TV stations and one newspaper. The latter reported the lead teacher’s quote: “Students used the school district’s VR goggles … so they got to simulate being on the space station themselves.”  The stream captured 209 live views which equaled over 650 viewers–district officials polled families watching live and reported that homes had an average of 3.2 people watching. The URL is (begin at 43 minutes)   https://vimeo.com/937773019/78b8e5e170. Youth took part in many space lessons and some radio activities led by Pikes Peak Amateur Radio Association members.   

April 22: The Pleasant Knoll Middle School team in Ft. Mill, SC came through with a successful ARISS radio contact for students with Matthew Dominick. The entire student body, over 900, gathered in the gym for the unforgettable experience of listening to Dominick answer 23 questions, with time to spare for a grand thank you. Two TV stations’ reps came. The contact team offered the general public three different live streams. This one (start at 1:12:15),   https://youtube.com/live/L-7BmSktTNg?feature=share, captured 116 views during the contact and 179 in three days’ time. Another stream’s total is now 541, and the third one now has 445 views. During the hour prior to the contact, York County Amateur Radio Society (whose members had provided radio contact equipment) had tables set up with hands-on STEM activities for students. During the semester, teachers taught from a space science curriculum.

April 18: After preparations over several months, students at Mountain View Elementary School in Marietta, GA had their wish come true, talking with Jeanette Epps on the ISS; she answered 11 of their questions.  838 students, 88 teachers and 118 VIPs and other guests sat in the gym.  Media people provided coverage for two TV stations, one radio station, and the Cobb County school district. The latter published a fine write-up (including a link to the contact) at https://www.cobbk12.org/_ci/p/97720. The story reported that students loved the school’s annual Launchapalooza and launching a satellite that collected data on burning biofuels. The story quoted ARISS teacher Dr. Zielinski saying, “I’ve heard more times than once that they’re too young and can’t handle it. I guarantee you they handled it!” Preparations also involved using ARISS SPARKI kits and downloading ARISS Slow Scan (SSTV—picture downlinks) images.

April 18:  ARISS volunteer Will Marchant led a communications presentation to an area school’s kids who were visiting the Winchester STARBASE in Winchester, VA. He helped them manipulate a held-hand radio and a simple antenna to listen to Mountain View Elementary School (in Marietta, GA) students’ ARISS contact with Jeanette Epps (see preceding news item). ARISS was thrilled that the Winchester STARBASE program director wrote: “Thank you for providing a unique experience for students. I loved how the questions started slowly but then they kept coming. I think they could have asked questions for another hour!”

ARISS Upcoming Events  
May 1: Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School for Innovation, Raleigh NC – ARISS Contact, ARISS-US Team
May 4: Bundaberg High School, Bundaberg, QL, Australia, ARISS-Japan Team