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Danbury Kids To Make Contact With Astronaut At International Space Station

A moment with Shane Kimbrough.  Students in Danbury will talk to Kimbrough Jan. 27 on the International Space Station.
A moment with Shane Kimbrough. Students in Danbury will talk to Kimbrough Jan. 27 on the International Space Station. Video Credit: NASA Johnson on YouTube

DANBURY, Conn. -- A lucky 20 students from two Danbury elementary schools will talk live to an astronaut on the International Space Station this week, according to the school system's Facebook page.

The students, 10 each from Westside Middle School Academy and South Street Elementary School, will talk directory to astronaut Shane Kimbrough on the space lab that's orbiting the Earth. They are scheduled for a 10-minute conversation.

Last week, the kids prepared questions to ask Kimbrough, who is in command of the spacecraft.

This opportunity is given by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Each year, NASA picks 50 groups worldwide to contact the space station.

“This is a wonderful hands-on opportunity for our students, and I am thrilled that they are getting a chance to participate in the space program,” said Superintendent Sal Pascarella. “It allows them to dream of what roles they can play in the future in space exploration.” 

The communication will be coordinated by NASA and Amateur Radio on the ISS (ARISS) via ham radio.

They will opt for a telecom link to a ground station. After connecting via telephone to a ground station in Australia, the station will contact to the ISS via a radio link. 

The students will learn about life in space and about radio communication in the activity.  The kids will have time to ask from 16 to 20 questions.

With direction from Westside teacher Jon Neuhausel, the South Street students will ask the first eight questions and the next eight will be asked by the Westside students.

The kids' questions will include:

  • "What types of microorganisms are dangerous in space?” 
  • “What type of medical testing does an astronaut have to go through to be fit for duty?” 
  • ‘How are you able to get the internet in space and send information back and forth to Earth?” and 
  • “How do you handle major medical emergencies, such as a broken arm or heart attack?”

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