- Jan 19: Teachers at Faith Christian Academy (FCA) in Orlando, FL have been leading classroom lessons in preparation for the students’ upcoming ARISS radio contact in February. They learned about the Mars Exploration Program and studied the structure of the International Space Station and operations there. FCA 7th and 8th graders toured the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The school added a new seat to the student council, ARISS Student Representative, and a young lady was chosen for it who is very interested in NASA and astronauts; she gives updates on ARISS at pep rallies and will be involved in all promotion of ARISS.
- A special teach-in focusing on communications will be Feb. 29, led by the Lake Monroe Amateur Radio Society (LMARS). Sessions will include an introduction to amateur satellites and handling the radio hardware needed for that, the workings of the ARISS communication, talking over the airwaves on ham radio equipment to ask questions of a former NASA launch preparation employee (a LMARS member), and hands-on lessons using Morse code keys to communicate student to student.
- Jan 14: The Walford Anglican School in Adelaide, S. Australia featured its girls and their ARISS activity in a double-page spread printed in its 2018 annual school publication. The girls’ ARISS radio contact and related activities took place in September. The school sends a group of girls to Space Camp every year.
- Jan 7: An ARISS teacher in Alpharetta, GA, who’s an ARISS-US Education Committee member, was assisted by an ARISS Mentor in leading student activities at her school’s event, Mill Springs Academy Winter Learning. During the three hours, junior high students who had participated in an ARISS contact six months ago, studied the ISS structure and a bit of its history, and orbital dynamics. Students also tried their hands with Project MAREA (Mars Lander/Marine Amateur Radio Robotics Exploration Activity) that uses a simple remote-sensing robot to simulate remotely controlling a Mars rover. The small robot is outfitted with a MAREA ham radio transceiver that receives APRS packet transmissions. The students set up an obstacle course, then measured and mapped it. They calibrated the robot using sample runs, averaging the dataset. They were presented with the syntax of the robot command language and they developed the command set for controlling the robot to accomplish their objective. Each person took a turn as Mission Control. The teacher reported that the post-assessment showed the events were a success and had good student engagement.
- Jan 17: The ARISS team has learned of a German Aerospace Center (DLR) web page created in 2018 titled, “ARISS—radio signals from the classroom to space.” The web page feature article described the intensity and excitement of ARISS contacts for student as “Valuable moments in which 20 students, thirsty for knowledge, can fire questions at the German astronaut flying 400 kilometres above Earth.” The story related that the German Amateur Radio Club assisted schools and DLR for STEM activities and the ARISS contact.
- The article contained this quote explaining Gerst’s extreme interest in ARISS: “Students will send their endless stream of questions out into near-Earth orbit during the mission. Gerst will find answers with a healthy mix of enthusiasm and routine. This is hardly surprising, as his grandfather was an amateur radio enthusiast. Even as a child, Alexander joined his grandfather to dispatch radio messages around the world – and sometimes to the Moon. Those signals come back two to three seconds later, with the Moon acting as a reflector. Things like that are exciting and probably implanted the first seeds of passion for spaceflight in young Alexander’s heart.”
- Jan 23: Students at Ashbury College Junior School in Ottawa, ON, are planning for an ARISS radio contact with David St-Jacques.