May 7: Partnering with Green Bank (WV) Observatory (GBO—an NSF facility), the Green Bank Elementary and Middle School (GBEMS), hosted an ARISS contact for students with Mark Vande Hei. An audience of 40 listened as he answered 15 student questions. Prior to the radio contact, programming featured greetings taped by National Science Foundation Director Sethuraman Panchanathan, GBEMS Principal Julie Shiflet who said the project was a good way to encourage students to pursue STEM careers, and US Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin. (He posted his words online, too.)  GBEMS augments STEM curricula with student clubs: computer coding, engineering, robotics; GBO provides educational support. The GBEMS Ham Club was formed for grades 6-8 last year by GBO and Eight Rivers Amateur Radio Club (ERARC). The latter acted as radio mentors for youth activities—antenna building, radio direction-finding, and high-altitude balloon launch and tracking. School staff had added pursuits in communications, wave physics, orbital mechanics, electronics, Doppler, signal processing. Staff highlighted the ISS’s example of international cooperation as a goal. Livestreams of the radio contact were:

  • GBO:  Facebook—697 live, 6.5K later, 24K Reaches; YouTube—166 live, 280 later; Zoom live—40 staff.  (YT link is:  
  • ARISS: YouTube—22 live, 279 later; ARISS worked on PR with ARRL—Facebook 12,124 Reaches, 233 Responses
  • WDTV, Clarksburg news program & online post—1,249 live views.

In addition to ARISS distributing a news release, GBO released theirs to 67 contacts and posted it on the GBO website, resulting in 1,025 visitors that day to their page. WDBJ-TV (Roanoke, VA) ran broadcast and online stories. Other online stories were by Metro News, Pocahontas Times, and Allegheny Mountain Radio. 

May 11: The Collège Descartes in Atony, France hosted an ARISS radio contact; students asked 17 questions of Thomas Pesquet.  Nearly 200 people attended including city officers, regional academy leaders, and reporters from newspapers Le Parisien and City Bulletin and Regional TV France-3. The school created fine video programming for the contact, which began with a real-time tracking map showing the ISS’s position approaching the ARISS ground station location. Next, the program offered a collection of clips of students engaged in STEAM projects and a piece on amateur radio’s role in ARISS. Links for the livestream were sent to all of the region’s colleges. Total views 3 days later were 1,938 on Twitch; the link is (begin at 9 minutes): (493) Space Chat – Collège Descartes, Antony, France – YouTube. ARISS’s You Tube total views 5 days later were 2,057. Students’ physics studies included the solar system, space probes, observing the sky to study relativity of movements, and organization of matter in the universe. The school encourages students to augment science- and math-learning by joining the nature, astronomy, and space clubs, with activities being electronic module-building, communications experiments, computer coding, and Morse code. The school partners with the Radio Club de Clamart.

May 14:  ARISS thanks SCaN for its Facebook post about the Green Bank Elementary Middle School ARISS contact. The post garnered the top SCaN Facebook spot for the week, reaching 804 people.

Upcoming Events

  • May 19 Monaro High School, Cooma NSW Australia, ARISS contact, ARISS Japan team
  • May 20 Lycée Jean Moulin, Les Andelys France, ARISS contact, ARISS Europe team
  • May 22 Education group in Ufa, Russia, ARISS-Russia team
  • May 24 Ecole Elémentaire de Saint Leu Centre, France, ARISS contact, ARISS-Europe team