July 21: Girl and boy scouts at Camp William B. Snyder in Haymarket, VA enjoyed an ARISS contact with Sultan Al Neyadi who answered 13 questions. Minutes beforehand, Scout National Capital Area Council (NCAC) STEM Director Trish Dalal introduced a girl scout and boy scout who presented facts to listeners about the ISS and Al Neyadi’s bio. In addition to 60 in the camp audience, including ARISS Project Manager Diana Schuler, some scouts watched from home. Dalal reported that astronaut Tom Jones, who earned the Eagle Scout rank, watched the livestream and enjoyed it. NCAC streamed the video on its Facebook site; the URL is https://www.facebook.com/NCACSTEM/. The ARISS ground station in Italy, relaying the ISS radio signal to the US, had 50 visitors on site (near a regional airport) and streamed its video to 93—and afterwards presented an ISS talk to its visitors. This Italian ham team had set up a mega screen outside and ran the recording two times as the public arrived home at the airport, some of whom went in the radio station for a tour. The e-magazine, Prince William Living ran an article about the contact. Camp leaders said scouts had been enjoying rocket launches, drones, and ham radio. Diana reported that scouts acted very excited to talk to Al Neyadi.  

July 18: ARISS SIP interns Sruthi Sankararaman and Bryce Lanese traveled to Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD to join their ARISS mentors Diana Schuler and Randy Berger, and Frank and Janet Bauer for a meeting. Each intern gave a thorough report on recent endeavors on their two projects. They sat in on a meeting with the Axiom-3 crew who may earn ham licenses in order to make ARISS contacts during their mission. Interns met with SIP Coordinator Jimmy Acevedo. They toured the ARISS radio ground station at Goddard; the ham team who supports ARISS contacts there explained the many pieces of equipment and took the young people to the roof to admire the ham antennas. Interns also enjoyed seeing many of Goddard’s features, i.e., acoustic chamber, High Bay clean room, and more. They discussed future plans. Bryce wants to remain with ARISS after the summer to research S-band and L-band antenna patterns. Sruthi will continue with ARISS and build a Yagi antenna and refine more sections of the SPARKI radio kit manual.

July 26: ARISS collaborated with the American Radio Relay League (ARRL—an ARISS sponsor) to plan a special 10-minute ARISS Slow Scan TV (SSTV—picture downlink) experiment. During an ISS pass with a footprint that covered New England, the radio signal transmitted an image with a special message for educators at the ARRL Teachers Institute, a week-long STEM professional development workshop in Newington, CT. The image sported the ARISS and ARRL logos, a drawing of the ISS, and the message, “Ensuring a space for radio in the next generation.” Educators had built their own ham antennas and learned to manipulate these and handheld radios in order to capture the transmission. ARISS labeled this an experiment because typically, ARISS transmits SSTV on 145.80 MHz from the Service Module and this time, the signal originated on the ground and passed through the ARISS radio repeater in the Columbus module before coming down on 437.800 MHz. ARISS wanted to see how images would look, and welcomed all radio enthusiasts within signal range to participate—57 did. After downloading their images, teachers said they could bring ARISS SSTV sessions to their classrooms at home to help youth understand wireless radio communications and get them curious about things such as how phones work. Hartford CBS and ABC TV reporters did interviews and posted stories; the latter is at https://www.wtnh.com/news/connecticut/hartford/teachers-in-newington-build-antennas-to-decode-message-from-international-space-station/.

July 26: St. Peter’s C.E. Junior School in Broadstairs, UK hosted a special Space Celebration Day for 350 pupils—some traveling from 3 area schools—as part of the preps for their fall ARISS contact. Year 5 and 6 students enjoyed hands-on STEM; small groups launched many rockets of several types, used solar telescopes with guidance from an astronomy club, created pocket solar systems, and enjoyed the Wonderdome mobile planetarium. A reporter from Isle of Thanet News quoted teachers impressed with the STEM, saying, “Children experienced how science is used in the real world and saw its tie to their school lessons.” Head Teacher Tim Whitehouse said, “There is a real buzz of excitement already around the school about our upcoming experience [ARISS contact] and our fast-expanding science learning.” The Ogden Trust Kent North Coast Partnership (10 primary schools and 3 secondary schools in the area) supported the day’s activity because it enhances the teaching of physics and “student learning, particularly those in under-represented groups.” 

July 21: ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin praised the ARISS program recently, and  also the Youth On The Air program (that hosted a July ARISS contact). Bogdan-Martin was featured in ARRL’s August membership journal. In the article, she gave appreciation of ham radio for “being instrumental during the pandemic, its role in emergency response efforts, and hams’ outreach to young people through programs like ARISS and YOTA.”  ARISS’ social media leader posted about Bogdan-Martin’s praise of ARISS.

ARISS Upcoming Events
August 3: Youth at Karasuyama Residents Center, Setagaya, Japan – ARISS contact, ARISS-Japan Team