In the ARISS Spotlight:Astronaut Doug Wheelock KF5BOC Thrilled Students and Hams Around the World with Personal Contacts
In the ARISS Spotlight:Astronaut Sunita Williams, KD5PLB, commander of mission 33, spoke to students at 22 schools during her recent 4 month stay on the ISS.
Recent ARISS Contacts
Licensed Radio Amateurs Talk to Astronauts on the ISS
If you have a ham radio license and the right equipment configuration you might be lucky enough to snag a personal conversation with an astronaut on the ISS. Some astronauts enjoy making contacts with hams around the world in their leisure time. Share newly licensed ham KF7ETX, David Pruett's thrill as he makes a personal contact with Astronaut Doug Wheelock. Watch and listen to the video recording David captured to share on YouTube.
Students at Inuksuk High School, Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada participated in a successful contact between Astronaut Donald R. Pettit KD5MDT on Wednesday, February 8 via telebridge station AH6NM in Hawaii. The school has formed a space club through which students are learning about the ISS via videos, the Internet and guest speakers. They are learning how to track the ISS and are completing space-related projects. Radio usage and protocol have been discussed. First Air and the Makivik Corporation are the sponsors that ensure ARISS contacts are supported in the remote areas of Northern Canada.
See photos below.
More Contact Stories
A 6th grade class at Northland Preparatory School in Flagstaff, AZ build a radio telescope, use radio to explore the heavens, track a high altitude balloon, and on May 24, 2012, talk to astronaut Joe Acaba, KE5DAR on the ISS during a scheduled contact.
With the assistance of members of the Polk County Amateur Radio Club, students at Farnsworth Aerospace Magnet Middle School, St. Paul, Minnesota learned how to track the ISS and how radio contacts with satellites work. They spoke with astronaut Don Pettit, KD5MDT on May 7, 2012. A local news station tells the story.
The TEAM! Students, ham radio operators, school officials and invited guests pose for a photo after the contact with astronaut Don Pettit.
March 2011 - Students gathered at Fair Lawn High School in New Jersey, to take part in a scheduled ARISS contact organized by junior Zach Feinberg. “I’ve always found space fascinating and wanted to speak to an astronaut,” Feinberg said. “I wanted to bring my passion for technology and science to others.” Five students asked Italian astronaut, Paolo Nespoli, who was orbiting at 17,000 mph above the Earth's surface several questions. To read the full story, click on the "Learn More" link below.
September, 2010-- I can only say that the September 18th Boy Scout Centennial was made even better by our very successful radio sched with the crew of the ISS. Twenty boys were chosen with their very good questions. Sixteen of the twenty were able to talk to Doug Wheelock on the ISS. Doug's voice was clear and articulate. The boys were in awe as were we and their leaders. The sched lasted a full 8 minutes and 45 seconds. It was filmed and rebroadcast on TV Channel 6. Later all 5,000 boys and leaders were treated to a screening of the video.
Several Scouts (maybe a dozen) commented about ham radio lessons. They were definitely piqued and about six others said they wanted to become astronauts and/or engineers for sure. At least 4 adults asked how to get started with the basic license manual. There was general area of excitement overall surrounding the area where we were set up for the sched contact.
Thank you for all your help, support and able suggestions for the prep of the event. For most of us, it was truly a once in a lifetime event!!
Frank Eldredge, W7GGR - memeber: Dixie Ham Radio Club
St. George, UT 84790
To watch a YouTube video of this ARISS contact, click here.
March 2010-- Walnut Creek Elementary Students in Azle, Texas recently had the experience of a lifetime when they made contact with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi aboard the International Space Station. As participants in the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station program (ARISS), the 4th graders used amateur radio to ask Noguchi questions during the 10 minute opportunity. Fox 4 News covered the event.
April 2010-- Before the space shuttle Discovery touched down to earth after a 15-day journey, students at Jessup Elementary School in Houston got their long-awaited opportunity to make contact with one of the mission's astronauts. NASA Astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson, conducting her first ever ARISS contact, took several minutes answering questions from the students.
December 2009-- On Monday, December 14, Expedition 21 astronaut Jeffrey Williams, KD5TVQ participated in an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact with students from Istituto Comprensivo di Govone - Scuola Secondaria di primo grado “Nino Costa” di Priocca in Priocca, Cuneo, Italy. The contact was held at Infinito Astronomic Park in Pino Torinese, Torino, where an audience of more than 150 students, teachers, visitors and media watched as the students posed 22 questions to the astronaut during the nine minute pass. Following the contact, ARISS mentor Francesco De Paolis spoke to the children via teleconference about the contact and amateur radio. Regional television, local media and newspapers covered the event. The video, which was streamed on the web, received over 170 connections. The European Space Agency (ESA) reported the news on its Web site.
On Wednesday, December 2, 2009 students from Midvalley Elementary School in Midvale, Utah participated in an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact with Jeffrey Williams,KD5TVQ. The school prepared for the contact using NASA lesson plan resources and integrated the ARISS activity into the school curriculum at many grade levels. Children learned about amateur radio, electromagnetic waves and the ISS and even viewed IMAX Space Station video. Nineteen questions were answered during the nine minute pass. Approximately 200 students were present for the contact and others listened in from their classrooms. Dr. David Doty (the school district superintendent), school board members and district directors were also present. Two major Salt Lake City newspapers, the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret Morning News as well as Channel 4 (ABC) television, Fox 13 and the local community newspaper all covered the event. This was the first ARISS contact for Utah.
On Thursday, November 26, Dumbleyung Primary School in Western Australia took part in an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact with Frank De Winne, ON1DWN via telebridge station VK4KHZ in Australia. To prepare for the contact, students studied Earth, its structure and the solar system. As part of the ARISS event, students in Years 5 -7 gave presentations of their space work and viewed footage of the ISS as well as video of an astronaut interview. All 21 children had their questions answered during their radio contact and ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) News covered the event.
On Friday, November 20, 2009, Robert Thirsk, VA3CSA participated in an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact with Bennett Venture Academy students in Toledo, Ohio. The ARISS activity was integrated 2009into the Ohio Content Standards for Earth and Space Sciences for 5th and 8th grades, and the Scientific Inquiry and Technology Standards for K-8 grades, engaging students in the investigation of radio waves and space exploration. During the event,an audience of over seven hundred watched as twelve students asked twenty questions of the astronaut. Media coverage was provided by two television stations – Channel 11(NBC), and Channel 24 (Fox).
During Expeditions 24 and 25 Doug Wheelock made 17 scheduled Amateur Radio contacts with schools around the world and over 1,500 contacts with individual radio amateurs.
Students at Pine Tree Middle School, Longview, Texas, participated in a successful ARISS direct contact on September 9, 2011 led by ARRL Education & Technology Program Instructor, Tommy Gober, N5DUX. Amateur radio equipment received from the ARRL Teachers Institute program was used to make the contact.
Gober reports, "Once we heard Astronaut Mike Fossum, KF5AQG after a very brief hello exchange, we delved right into the students asking their questions due to time constraints. Mike said we were a little weak at first, but that was because he was about 1° or 2° off the horizon and signal strengths picked up from there. I think the final questions asked count was about 20 questions give or take. The school's IT department had a video stream from NASA.gov from aboard the ISS, which was a great visual to accompany my ISS tracking map on the other screen.
One kid in the audience asked, "Is this signal analog or digital? Are you using VHF or UHF?" - in 5th grade! Uncoached. Talk about a future ham!!!"To listen to a brief recording of a segment of the contact, courtesy of Stewart Morgan, AL0I, click here.
Students at Kiroli Elementary School in West Monroe, LA, celebrated a successful ARISS contact with Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa KE5DAW on September 22, 2011 as the highlight of their recent technology studies. A licensed 5th grader, Connor Wiedemeier, KF5MTQ, initiated the contact for the 500 other watching students. The school faculty led 5th grade science class students through three weeks of space studies; first graders began their space lessons last week, and students in other grade levels were to participate in several technology-related classes. A professor of physics at University of Louisiana in Monroe (ULM) is scheduling 4 visits this fall for Kiroli students to the ULM observatory to learn about planets, stars, and electromagnetics. Dr. Paul Wiedemeier, KE5LKY, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at (ULM), and Dr. Mark Hammond, N8MH, Dean of Arts and Sciences at Campbell University in North Carolina assisted educators in setting up ham radio schedules between Kiroli students and students at the Coats Elementary School in Coats, NC. The hams taught students about Amateur Radio satellites, ISS and ARISSat. Read more.
On February 3, 2011 students at Adobe Bluffs' Elementary Schoolin San Diego, California, talked to astronaut Cady Coleman aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as it zoomed across the sky at 17,000 mph. Over 17 students from Kindergarten through fifth grade asked questions such as; Can pets go into space and what happens if someone gets sick?
Read more about Adobe Bluffs ISS contact: