Conversation With An Astronaut Set for October 8, 2018

Conversation With An Astronaut Set for October 8, 2018
Posted on 10/05/2018
Conversation With An Astronaut Set for October 8, 2018

Sixteen School District of Lee County Students will talk to astronaut flying on the International Space Station on Monday, October 8th. “It’s a bit surreal to finally have a date set in stone,” says 5th grade science teacher Courtney Black. “The countless hours of preparation and practice are about to pay off for everyone involved.”

The students will have ten minutes from 1:05pm to 1:15pm to each ask astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor a question. They have been practicing since being selected in May. The students come from nine different schools and all three grade levels.

“The students are amazing and have worked very hard towards this goal,” Black says. “Their enthusiasm and dedication towards STEM and space exploration leaves me with no doubt that someday, they will be the on the other side of an ARISS contact. This group of future astronauts, engineers and educators serves as a daily inspiration and a reminder of the importance of investing in our future.”

Planning for the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) began a year ago. Allen Park Elementary learned in January it was selected to be the first Lee County School to participate in ARISS and one of just 15 for this session. Students began a “Year in Space” education program that included NASA’s “Train Like an Astronaut - Walk to the Moon” challenge, growing tomatoes from seeds flown in space, visiting the Kennedy Space Center to witness a rocket launch and forming a STEM Club to study rocketry, computer coding and robotics.

CenturyLink is providing the antenna system the students will use to talk to Expedition 56/57 Flight Engineer Auñón-Chancellor. CenturyLink’s Ham Radio Club W0CTL and the Fort Myers Amateur Radio Club W4LX have spent countless hours building and testing the radio equipment and software.

“We have enjoyed every minute working with the students and seeing the excitement build for the ISS contact,” says Brian Darley, CenturyLink network technician and Program Chair of the Fort Myers Amateur Radio Club. “We are so proud to provide the connection that will have a lifelong impact for everyone involved”.

Allen Park Elementary will host a reception for students, parents, staff and invited guests before the actual ARISS event. Space themed art work just completed by the students as another component of the “Year in Space” learning program will be on display.

The School District of Lee County plans to broadcast the ARISS contact live on our cable channel, Lee Schools TV, and our YouTube channel at At least two other schools have scheduled their science students watch the contact and have incorporated some of the program into their lesson plans.