Live space chat is made possible through Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS), a cooperative venture among worldwide amateur radio groups and international space agencies that coordinates scheduled radio contacts between schools and astronauts aboard the ISS in orbit 250 miles above earth.
Anticipation is building among students and staff. After submitting a written proposal to NASA at the beginning of January and undergoing an evaluation by the ARISS selection committee, LaFayette Middle was selected in late March to be one of 18 U.S. sites for an ARISS contact this fall.
Students from LaFayette Middle’s Rambler Radio Club will be featured during the contact. The 10-minute, live connection will take place using amateur radios on the school’s campus and on board the International Space Station. The ISS was assigned the amateur radio call sign “N1SS” by the Federal Communications Commission. The Rambler Radio Club’s call sign is W4LMS.
To prepare, students from both campuses will submit questions to ask the astronauts during the ISS session. Students may also submit designs for a t-shirt to celebrate the achievement. Teachers are planning to use Skype to interview NASA scientists who are graduates of Walker County schools.
Teaching From Space, a NASA education office, works with ARISS and participating schools to increase interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects and careers among students through school activities and parent involvment.
Plans include a viewing night with the public invited to gather for more information on the International Space Station and watch the ISS as it crosses the night sky. Teachers, across all content areas, will incorporate lessons regarding space, astronomy, NASA and the ISS into their subject curricula.
For more information regarding the ISS and LaFayette Middle and LaFayette Academy’s scheduled contact, visit LaFayette Middle’s website at walkerschools.org/lms/ or contact event organizer Karen Hughes at email@example.com.