West Hartford CT Community Notes

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Talcott students speak with space station astronauts


Avon, Connecticut— Connecticut students were scheduled to link up with the International Space Station on Feb. 28. In a first-of-a kind event for the state, students from Hartford, Bloomfield, New Britain, and Avon will quiz a space station astronaut on a range of scientific and human-interest topics.
At the time of the contact, the International Space Station (ISS) will be orbiting within eyeshot of  the state. The Talcott Mountain Science Center in Avon will use its amateur radio station to make the audio connection to the space station. This will be a direct contact, without the aid of any specialized NASA tracking  facilities. Students at the Science Center, assisted by local amateur radio operators, will manage the technical feat.

Jonathan Craig, director of the Science Center, calls this a momentous event in Connecticut science education.

"Intellectual excitement is a cornerstone of our approach to teaching science.
Giving students a chance to interact directly with an astronaut passing overhead is something that's hard to beat," he said.
Students have been busy prepping for their space contact. They have studied about the International Space Station and have already formulated questions they want to have answered.
About 10 students got a chance to ask questions as the Space Station passes overhead at 17,500 mph.
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS), a cooperative venture between NASA and other international space agencies and amateur radio groups around the world, coordinates scheduled radio contacts between astronauts aboard the ISS and schools.

 The Talcott Mountain Science Center was invited to host the ARISS radio contact with the International Space Station as a means of promoting learning about space and space communications.

The ARISS radio contact is one in a series of educational activities in the U.S. and abroad to improve teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. NASA's Teaching From Space promotes a variety of learning opportunities and builds partnerships with the education community using the unique environment of human spaceflight. The Talcott Mountain event will be the first ARISS contact for Connecticut.


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