International Space Station crew to connect with Virginia students

Lauren Williams's picture
Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Students in Newport News and Williamsburg, Va., will begin 2014 by talking with astronauts in orbit aboard the International Space Station. Expedition 38 Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio of NASA will participate in a live video chat, or downlink, at 10:25 a.m. EST Tuesday, Jan. 7, with students and educators from Denbigh High School's Aviation Academy in Newport News. Students will have the opportunity to ask Mastracchio about life, work and research aboard the space station. The downlink will air live on NASA Television and on the agency's Web site.

Prior to the video conference, education specialists from NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., and the National Institute of Aerospace's Center for Integrative STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Education, also in Hampton, will provide interactive learning experiences designed to help students gain a better understanding of the space station program. The Aviation Academy magnet program is a highly specialized, four-year aviation program for high school students.

At 1:33 p.m. EST, Wednesday, Jan. 8, sixth grade students from Berkeley Middle School in Williamsburg, Va., also will connect with Expedition 38 Flight Engineer Mike Hopkins of NASA through the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program.

Before the radio chat, NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan will address the Berkeley students to discuss current research activities on the orbiting laboratory and how a STEM curriculum could help students join the next generation of explorers. In preparation for the event, students have spent the past several weeks learning from Langley scientists, engineers, and education specialists about how the space station works and what it takes to live and work in space.

Both events are open to the media. To attend the downlink at Denbigh High School's Aviation Academy, reporters must contact Michelle Price at 757-591-7543 or michelle.price@nn.k12.va.us. The Academy is located at 902-B Bland Blvd., in Newport News, at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport.

To attend the ARISS ham radio event at Berkeley Middle School, journalists must contact Betsy Overkamp-Smith at 757-603-6480 or overcampsmithb@wjcc.k12.va.us. The school is located at 1118 Ironbound Rd., in Williamsburg.

NASA activities have been incorporated into classes at the schools in preparation for these unique educational experiences. Linking students directly to station astronauts provides an authentic experience of space exploration, scientific studies and possibilities for future human space exploration.

The in-flight education downlink and the ARISS ham radio chat are designed to engage educational organizations in the United States to improve STEM teaching and learning. They are managed by NASA's Teaching From Space education program, which promotes learning opportunities and builds partnerships with the education community using the unique environment of space and NASA's human spaceflight program.

The exact time of the downlink could change. For NASA TV streaming video, schedule and downlink information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

For information about NASA's education programs, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/education