June 24-25: The ARISS STEREO (Student Teacher Education via Radio Experimentation and Operations) project team held its second Educate the Educator workshop at Kennedy Space Center (FL) Visitor Complex Center for Space Education. 22 formal and informal educators, who work with youth in grades K-12, attended from across the US. They loved the venue with its space theme and backdrop. ARISS education mentors led the workshop coordinated by ARISS STEREO Project Manager Diana Schuler. ARISS Executive Director Frank Bauer and ARISS SIP Intern Sruthi Sankararaman helped teach some learning modules, as well. Lessons focused on a variety of hands-on activities the educators practiced in order to teach the concepts in their own schools and education groups. Topics included radio waves, radio frequencies, and basic electricity; codes and ciphers; manipulating hand-held ham radios and antennas to listen for spacecraft transmissions; and putting together and operating software-defined radio set-ups. The ARISS SPARKI electronics kit contained all needed materials for the kit’s activities and the guide with lesson modules and how to lead the learning activities. Each educator received a kit to take home. Many teachers expressed outstanding praise for all they’d learned to do, with one commenting that in her 25 years of teaching, this was the best run and organized and useful workshop she ever attended, adding, “This process has had a profound impact on me and my assistant!” Many others said how useful the training was and how it will help them to better convey STEM concepts to their students.  ARISS thanks SCaN for assisting with securing the room for the workshop.

June 21-23: In addition to the ARISS workshop described above and the ARISS radio contact detailed in ARISS’ last report, both at the SPACE Conference at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Center, ARISS volunteers set up and staffed an ARISS exhibit table. They talked constantly to visitors coming by, and based on the number of materials handed out, 150 educators stopped to learn about ARISS. ARISS Education Ambassador Martha Muir presented a forum to 9 attendees on how to prepare an ARISS Education Proposal in the hopes of having their school chosen for an ARISS contact. She touched on ideas for talking to the school principal about ARISS, ways to get the whole school and families involved, and how to find an area ham radio club to help with technical aspects of the contact.

June 22: The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) successfully sponsored a fifth ARISS contact with astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi who spoke with 150 students of various grade levels at GEMS Wellington International School in Al Sufouh, Dubai. He answered 12 of their questions. The contact culminated the GEMS Wellington youths’ educational experience titled “A Call from Space.” This included learning about MBRSC projects and how the Centre operates, space stations, and using ham radio equipment. The activities were carried out in association with the Emirates Amateur Radio Society and Emirates Literature Foundation. Zawya.com posted an article at https://www.zawya.com/en/press-release/events-and-conferences/5th-ham-radio-session-featuring-sultan-alneyadi-from-the-iss-takes-place-in-dubai-u24zaimr. The writer cited UAE Astronaut Programme Mission Manager Adnan Al-Rais’s comments on engaging with Al Neyadi live from the ISS offering “a unique experience to students that showcases the marvels of space.” Al-Rais described how amateur radio employs many radio frequencies for communications to nearby places and in remote regions and space, making it “a valuable communication tool.”

May 30: Some previous graduates from Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, VA, returned for this year’s graduation ceremonies and three of them had been officers in the high school’s engineering and ham radio clubs. The three made plans to meet up with ARISS educator Melissa Pore who sponsored these clubs and supported an ARISS contact. She welcomed back Elaine and William from class of ’21 and Nya from class of ’20 and celebrated that they are all studying engineering at different universities!  They posed in the Bishop O’Connell High School senior courtyard, next to “a visiting robotic dog that showed off some of its tricks.” 

June 23-25: Four people on the ARISS-Europe team represented ARISS at Ham Radio 2023, the largest amateur radio convention in Europe. The annual event, held in Friedrichshafen, Germany, saw 11,100 attendees this year who enjoyed visiting exhibits and listening to forums.  ARISS-Europe set up a booth and estimated 250 people and kids visited. ARISS presented 3 forums, garnering 140 listeners. For youth, event organizers created a “Ham Rally” and participating booths designed a task to challenge kids. For their task, ARISS placed Morse code characters in the background of a litho of the Axiom 2 crew—kids decoded the message: “Ad astra.” ARISS volunteers reported it as a great way to meet and talk to the youth. To let hams know ARISS was at Ham Radio 2023, one team member cleverly coded an APRS (Automatic Packet Reporting System) ham radio beacon to transmit “MEET ARISS at A1-872” (ARISS’ booth designation), and people did! 

ARISS Upcoming Events  
July 18: Youth On The Air (for youth in the Americas), Ottawa ON – ARISS contact, ARISS-Canada Team
July 21: Camp William B. Snyder, Haymarket VA – ARISS contact, ARISS-USA Team