October 30, 2018

Amateur Radio connects kids, crew as ISS orbits overhead

Students at Bishop O’Connell High School will talk with astronauts on the International Space Station via Amateur Radio beginning at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. This activity is part of the ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) Program, which promotes learning opportunities as part of the STEM (Science, Technology, Education and Math) initiative. It will be in the school auditorium.

Ten students will be asking questions, but other students (engineering classes and others) will be in the audience.

When:         Thursday, November 8, 10 a.m. 
Where:        Bishop O’Connell High School (school auditorium), 6600 Little Falls Road, Arlington

Students in engineering classes and the engineering club at Bishop O’Connell have been learning about data transmission in space. The club’s mission managers took a field trip to the ARISS international meeting in College Park, Md. Earlier this month, where they were asked to provide student perspectives on this program through a panel discussion. Later in the week they were honored to be included in a live video-conferencing question and answer session with John Guidi, the Deputy Director of the Advanced Exploration Systems Division with NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

"Making this connection live is very exciting for all of us," said O’Connell engineering teacher, Melissa Pore. "We made a call out to all our O'Connell students to see who was interested in posing questions to the astronauts. I am thrilled to see the broad cross section of students from the school, not just our engineering students, who have asked to participate. This is truly a school-wide event."

What is ARISS?

ARISS is a joint venture by NASA, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), and the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT) to facilitate communication via Amateur Radio between astronauts aboard the International Space Station and schools and communities around the world. ARISS programs excite and motivate students in a one-of-a-kind presentation and exchange.

program goals are:
  • Inspiring an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects and in STEM careers among young people.
  • Providing an educational opportunity for students, teachers, and the general public for learning about wireless technology and radio science through Amateur Radio.
  • Providing an educational opportunity for students, teachers, and the general public for learning about space exploration, space technologies and satellite communications.
What is Amateur Radio?

Amateur, or “Ham,” Radio, is a popular service and hobby in which federally licensed participants operate communications equipment. There are over 700,000 licensed amateurs and nearly 2,300 ARRL-affiliated Amateur Radio clubs in the United States. Hams talk to each other across town, around the world, and even into space without the need for normal communications infrastructure, such as cell phone networks or the Internet. Amateur Radio is regularly used during natural disasters to help local emergency and served agencies (such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and state and local governments) respond when normal communications methods are disrupted. The Amateur Radio community is a great source of electronics experimentation, public service, and fun.

More information on the ARISS program can be found at www.ariss.org.
More information on Amateur Radio can be found at www.arrl.org/what-is-ham-radio.


Contact: Mary Jane Spurlock
Director of Communications
Bishop O’Connell High School
703-201-5253 (mobile)