ARISS Contact is Scheduled with Students at Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering (ASCTE), Huntsville, Alabama USA
January 30, 2024—Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) has received schedule confirmation for an ARISS radio contact between an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and students at the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering (ASCTE) in Huntsville, AL. ARISS conducts 60 - 100 of these special amateur radio contacts each year between students around the globe and crew members with ham radio licenses aboard the ISS.
The ASCTE is a statewide, residential magnet high school that began operating in 2020 in its temporary home on the campus of Oakwood University, and since 2022 is now in its permanent home in the middle of Cummings Research Park in Huntsville. For the 2023-24 school year ASCTE has 334 enrolled with 112 students living on campus. In 2023, ASCTE signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Marshall Space Flight Center, creating a partnership with NASA.
The ASCTE Amateur Radio Club (N4CTE) was formed in the fall of 2022 and has thrived with generous support from the ARRL and assistance from the Huntsville Amateur Radio Club. Student interest in the school ham radio club led to offering an elective course in RF Engineering during the 2023-24 school year. Students in this class have been learning about radio communications and gaining hands-on experience with amateur radio equipment. Several departments (from science to the humanities to cybersecurity) have also incorporated space-related lessons in preparation for this ARISS contact. Members of the Huntsville Amateur Radio Club will be assisting ASCTE in the technical aspects of this ARISS contact and have been preparing the students for this contact.
This will be a direct contact via Amateur Radio allowing students to ask their questions of astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, amateur radio call sign KI5WSL. The downlink frequency for this contact is 145.800 MHz and may be heard by listeners that are within the ISS-footprint that also encompasses the relay ground station.
The amateur radio ground station for this contact is in Huntsville, AL. Amateur radio operators using call sign N4CTE, will operate the ground station to establish and maintain the ISS connection.
The ARISS radio contact is scheduled for February 1, 2024 at 11:34:50 am CST (Huntsville, AL) (17:34:50 UTC, 12:34 pm EST, 10:34 am MST, 9:34 am PST).
As time allows, students will ask these questions:
1. What do you and the others up there do for fun?
2. Are you worried about cyber vulnerabilities on the space station, and if you are, what plans are in place to counteract them?
3. How is the station protected from micro debris?
4. How if at all has 3D printing been used lately on the station?
5. What sparked your interest in becoming an astronaut and how old were you when you figured it out?
6. Did you go to college and pick a major with the intention of being an astronaut?
7. Have you ever broken anything on the ISS?
8. How is the ISS actually maneuvered?
9. What was your scariest experience as an astronaut?
10. Do you face any unique physiological changes after spending a lot of time in space?
11. What software tools like Excel and Matlab do you use?
12. What mental health support do you have on the station?
13. If you were to start over would you still choose to be an astronaut and if not what would you choose instead?
14. What kind of exercise do you do in space to stay fit?
15. What experiments or research projects are you currently working on in the unique microgravity environment of the space station?
16. Is solar power the only form of energy on the station?
17. What should I do if I want to become an astronaut?
18. If there is an emergency on the station what do you do first?
19. How do you manage daily activities like eating, sleeping, and exercising in the confined space of the space station, and how does it differ from life on Earth?
20. What does the ISS smell like?