- June 16: Students at I.E.S. Pedro de Valdivia (IESPV) in Villanueva de la Serena, Spain were thrilled when their school was scheduled to host an ARISS MultiPoint Telebridge Contact via Amateur Radio. They talked with Chris Cassidy who answered 11 questions. Over 1,000 interested parents, school students, faculty and the general public watched the live stream. Another 1,400 watched it afterwards; it is at https://youtu.be/PyNqsTMqAoQ. The school offers STEM topics for K-12 students and put together the IESPV Space Project with the main objective being for students to interact with the ISS. They are involved with Earthkam and learned to track the ISS in order to watch passes overhead. The school set up a ham radio station and students tried out ARISS SSTV and packet radio contacts, and listened to other ARISS schools’ contacts.
- June 16: Stay-At-Home policies have not prevented the Oregon Connections Academy in Mill City, OR from preparing students for their ARISS radio contact scheduled for December 2020. The staff has engaged homebound students in eight online assemblies live-streamed from Space Center Houston. Student excitement about the ARISS contact caught the attention of the Portland newspaper, The Oregonian, which ran a story covering the school’s curriculum and activities leading to their ARISS contact. When the state of Oregon allows, teachers will schedule field trips related to astronomy, amateur radio and other STEM integrations.
- June 14: In the Mid-Altitude Balloon Race supported by ARISS, the winning balloon had been launched from Pasadena, CA. It was caught in a small tree just outside of Liverpool, NS, Canada. Its journey was assumed to have ended there when the signal from its APRS payload was heard continuously by ham radio operators from the Annapolis (NS) Valley Amateur Radio Club and the Annapolis Royal Space Agency (ARSA). They set up a rescue mission, trekking on foot through a swampy wooded area, tracking the beacon’s transmissions until they spotted the balloon. ARSA’s Derek Smith noted the electronics still functioned just fine, so some of the team members who are college students are considering relaunching the balloon next year. The hope is it might continue on to Europe. Smith said, “Your project has inspired us to incorporate these types of projects into our [high-altitude balloon] program. This was the first time we retrieved something that we did not launch ourselves! The Annapolis Valley Amateur Radio Club has been a great group to work with because we get pulled into the ham radio community, and it adds a new dimension to our balloon tracking via APRS.” The rescue team was interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, who ran an excellent story; it is at: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/california-mid-altitude-balloon-lands-nova-scotia-woods-1.5611192.
- June: The July 2020 issue of the monthly journal, QST, published by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) contained three items about ARISS. First was a piece on ARISS’s Multipoint Telebridge Contact via Amateur Radio, explaining how it’s used to ensure social distancing, and citing the successful contacts for the Northern Virginia Student Group in Woodbridge and the Airdrie (AB) Space Science Club in Canada. A second item was a short article about ham operators and the Young Scientists Program (sponsored by University of Southern California) having mentored Los Angeles students at the Vermont School prior to their ARISS contact. The third item was an ad that describes what ARISS is and does. QST is read by 160,000 ARRL members.
ARISS Upcoming Events
- June: TBD