Saturday, May 12, 2007

International Space Station Contact

On May 16, a local school in Emmet Idaho will have a direct radio discussion with the astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The contact will be part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. While facilitated by Nasa, ARISS, and local Amateur Radio Operators from the Voice of Idaho Radio Club (myself included), the session is moderated and driven by the local students. They have worked three years to get on the schedule. ARISS contacts occur with one or two schools a week around the world, and there is high demand. I believe this will be the first contact from Idaho. The students have developed and will ask their own questions of the astronauts.

This will be a direct ground to ISS contact, not routed through Nasa's communications network. As a result, the total session will last about 12 minutes, the time it takes the ISS to travel from horizon to horizon. Six students will get an opportunity to ask questions. In the dry run, I heard the questions and they are quite good.

The conversation will be broadcast live through a couple local radio repeaters. Other Amateur Radio volunteers will be positioned at schools around SouthEast Idaho, so other schools can listen in. I will be positioned at Ponderosa Elementary School In Meridian, relaying the contact to two kindergarten classes.

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