May 26: The Children’s Inn at National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD hosted an ARISS radio contact with Axiom Ax-2 crew member John Shoffner. 10 very special children ages 6 through 16 talked with him and he answered 17 of their questions. ARISS leaders Frank Bauer and Dave Taylor engaged with 22 people taking part in this contact, including the youth, children’s parents, The Inn’s administrators, and professionals helping to coordinate the event. Staff had taught some STEM lessons and ARISS reviewed aspects such as orbital mechanics, radio communications, and details about the ISS and astronauts. The Inn posted Social Media items and a nice web story; the latter is at https://childrensinn.org/stories/ariss/.
May 26: St. Francis Xavier High School students took part in an ARISS contact in Gloucester, ON, Canada. Warren Hoburg answered 16 questions. The school gym held a few hundred youth and faculty, and the other 2,000 students watched via livestream. CFRA talk radio posted a story after interviewing two ninth-grade girls. One said she was “fascinated about everything up there” [space]. The other wants a career that is “something in space science.” Go to https://www.iheartradio.ca/580-cfra/audio-podcasts/oaw-local-students-connect-with-us-astronaut-on-iss-via-ham-radio-1.19710775?mode=Article Grade nine students had participated in special lessons on radio communications and the ISS and had engaged in the school’s “Study of the Universe and Space Exploration” science curriculum.
May 25: Students at Middlesboro Middle School asked questions of John Shoffner during an ARISS contact; he answered 14 questions. Despite school having closed for the summer and some friends and family not back yet from Shoffner’s SpaceX launch, a mix of 80 watched—youth, parents, faculty, ARISS team members, and some of Shoffner’s boyhood teachers. WATE-TV, St. Charles Herald Guide, Lexington Herald-Leader, Pineville Sun-Cumberland Courier, and AOL ran stories about the event. About 30 companies in town decorated front windows in space themes. Middlesboro School District STEM director Chris Stotts said, “We have plans to build a STEM lab that MIT will help design [for] middle and high school. There’ve been great things that have been channeled through John’s generosity.” The school became a Verizon Innovative Learning School, receiving technology and unique learning tools for students and faculty. They joined STEM initiatives connected to NASA and Axiom Space. Youth engaged with rocket launches, robots, and lunar and Martian habitat design. Shoffner gave middle and high school students an inside look at life on the ISS and his required launch preparations, and taught lessons such as how to “play catch” with a ball in microgravity versus on Earth and how water and power are generated on the ISS.
May 27-28: The ARISS-Russia team led by Sergey Samburov supported two ARISS contacts for youth and taught them the series of lessons titled About Gagarin From Space. The SBEI Secondary School No. 285 of the Krasnoselsky District of Saint Petersburg hosted the first ARISS contact, which was in conjunction with the children’s festival “Die Hard.” About 2,000 watched as youth talked to Andrey Fediaev. The second contact involved students of the village of Muslyumovo in the Republic of Tatarstan. They engaged in talking with Dmitry Petelin during their ARISS contact. As with other ARISS-Russian sponsored ARISS contacts, Mission Control Center-Moscow scheduled these contacts.
May 21: Axiom Ax-2 crew members Ali Alqarni and Rayyanah Barnawi engaged in an ARISS contact with selected students hosted by the Saudi Space Commission (SSC) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The youth had 14 questions for the two crew members who took turns answering. The activity was part of Saudi Arabia’s first sustainable Human Space Flight program designed to, among other things, conduct research in many areas of science. The SSC posted a Tweet with a video that is a little over a minute in length, highlighting the ARISS contact and featuring a few of the students—it has garnered 156.4k viewers as of June 2! See https://twitter.com/saudispace/status/1661452020237193222?s=20.
May 20: ARISS educator Kathy Lamont and her daughter traveled to The Plains, VA for the American Rocketry Challenge National Finals, a major competition for middle school and high school youth. The two set up an exhibit table with the ARISS slide show, an ARISS roll-up banner, brochures, and ham radio station equipment that would attract kids’ attention and entice them to handle it. Kathy talked to 60 people, and said, “It was non-stop talking for over five hours—a lot of techy kids, their rocket team leaders, and parents.”
May 18-21: ARISS volunteers put on a show at Hamvention 2023 (the world’s largest ham radio convention—33,000 people!) in Xenia, OH. Ten ARISS team members, including two SIP interns, set up and staffed a two-space booth featuring ARISS hardware and education programs and a giant poster kicking off a year-long anniversary celebration of 40 years of amateur radio contacts made from a human spaceflight vehicle. All told, ARISS volunteers talked to over 1,460 people. ARISS felt honored to garner an official Hamvention forum for the third year in a row; 130 people attended. They listened to Frank Bauer and Rosalie White give introductions of speakers including ARISS Director of Engineering Randy Berger and three high school youth. One, a SIP intern, presented his part in the development of ARISS’ new telerobotics education program. The other two spoke on their paths after taking part in an ARISS contact (one girl wants to be an astronaut—the other girl plans a STEM career). An attendee Tweeted about the forum: “There’s a good size crowd here for this interesting topic; I learned some things to bring back to my school.” A surprising number of folks stopped at the booth the next two days to express compliments on the forum. ARISS hosted four mini-forums next to the booth; topics covered ARISS education, ARISS engineering, ARISS operations, and a Q&A with a meet-and-greet of ARISS volunteers. At both the Hamvention educator forum and the Hamvention youth forum, a team member gave cameos about ARISS.
May 22: ARISS Director of Education Kathy Lamont, ARISS Technical Mentor Fred Kemmerer, and Frank Bauer led an ARISS Orientation Webinar with 45 attendees. This webinar focused on next steps for the 11 newest educational institutions selected to host ARISS radio contacts. The educators and informal educators will plan when to move forward with their education activities and be assigned ARISS Operations Team members to give assistance with equipment plans. The ARISS radio contacts would be scheduled between January and June 2024.
May 31: The ARISS contact with students at Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai, UAE was successful. More details will be in next week’s report, which will cover a second contact at the Centre, which was hosted on June 1.
ARISS Upcoming Events
June 4: Children’s Creative Competition for Cosmonautics, Orel, Russia-ARISS contact, ARISS-Russia Team
June 10: Youth in Saint Petersburg, Russia-ARISS contact, ARISS-Russia Team