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Discovery students, ISS astronauts chat

Discovery students spoke to International Space Station astronauts with assistance from students in the Space Communications Laboratory at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. CONTRIBUTED
Discovery students spoke to International Space Station astronauts with assistance from students in the Space Communications Laboratory at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – “Ground control to Major Tom …”

In their own ‘space oddity,’ students from Discovery Middle School had the out-of-this-world opportunity to talk with astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS).

Julia West arranged for her STEM II (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) class at Discovery to talk directly with ISS astronauts on Feb. 19. They visited the Space Communications Laboratory in the engineering building at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

UAH students in the space lab assisted the Discovery youth in their ‘long-distance’ calls. The earthbound students spoke to the astronauts with amateur or ‘ham’ radios for about 10 minutes as the ISS passed directly over Huntsville. They asked astronauts about life in space and other space-related topics.

“Discovery Middle School was named after one of the space shuttle orbiters,” John Peck said. Peck works as Public Relations Manager for Madison City Schools. “Space Shuttle Discovery played an integral part in ferrying astronauts and parts to the space station.”

In addition, Discovery students have been working with the UAH Space Hardware Club to learn facts about the ISS and the types of careers that are associated with aerospace industry.

The radio contact was associated with the government’s Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) project.

The ARISS radio contact is one in a series of educational activities in the U.S. and abroad to improve teaching and learning in STEM, Peck said.

“It is an integral component of Teaching from Space, a NASA Education office. The office promotes learning opportunities and builds partnerships with the education community using the unique environment of human space flight,” he said.

For more information, visit space.uah.edu/ARISS or nasa.gov/education/tfs/ariss.

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