I once again had the pleasure to help a group of young people make contact with an Astronaut on the International Space Station this past week. The Scouts were participating in a Jamboree in Victoria, Australia. You can learn more about the event, called VicJam, here.
The Scouts made contact with Astronaut Mark VandeHei, KG5GNP this past Tuesday, January 4th, 2022. You can watch and listen to the contact on YouTube by clicking below. The actual contact begins at about 8:25 into the video.
The Scout’s contact lasted for approximately 10 minutes. The Scouts asked and Mark answered all of their questions and there was time at the end on the contact for “Thank You’s” and “Good Wishes”. Here are the questions that the Scouts asked:
- What 3 things do you miss from Earth? My Mum worked on a ship and missed; sleeping with the window open, the smell of cut grass, and the sound of rain on the roof.
- What do you have to do to become an astronaut?
- What would happen if someone were seriously ill on the ISS, and what would you do?
- How do you prepare and eat your meals while up in the space station?
- What is it like to float around in no gravity without friction?
- How does it feel going from zero gravity in space back to earth’s gravity? Does it hurt??
- What is the scariest thing to happen to you whilst you have been in space?
- How do you shower and go to the toilet in space?
- After being in the space station for so many months, how does it feel to experience planet Earth and nature again with all your senses, especially smell?
- How do the seasons affect the veggie production system on the ISS? How often do you get to eat fresh food?
- Did you always want to be an astronaut and how did you make it happen?
- Why do people go into space and how long is an average mission?
- How did you feel when you first learned of your selection to go to space and has this been a life-long ambition for you?
- Can you share some of the science that was worked on in space that we can now see on earth?
- Is there sound or much noise in space?
- Multiple nations have had space stations each bestowed with a specific name – Russia had Mir, NASA had Skylab, and China Tiangong-1. As a truly international effort and the largest man-made object in space, does the ISS have a Nickname, or is there a name that the astronauts use for the individual components?
- What energy supply do you use to power the station. If nuclear, what type of reactor do you use? If solar, how many solar panels do you use, and what is their power density?
This contact was made in a Telebridge format using my Ground Station here in New Hampshire, USA. The linkup with the Scouts in Australia was via a telephone connection using a phone patch in my shack. You can learn more about our ground station here.
Helping young people make contact with astronauts on the ISS using Amateur Radio is great fun. My work with ARISS is near the top of my list in terms of the most rewarding work that I do with Amateur Radio.
Best and 73,