Kingston, Okla. – Every so often, the astronauts aboard the International Space Station contact students on Earth, and tomorrow, they will be talking to students from Oklahoma.
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station coordinates contacts and provides equipment both on the station and at sites on Earth for conversations between student groups and the astronauts.
Tomorrow at about 3:35 p.m., kids from Cavett Kids Foundation's Camp Cavett, for children with life-threatening or chronic illnesses, will have around nine minutes to ask 21 questions of astronaut Doug Wheelock.
Usually, groups come up with their own set of questions, but, "Due to the nature of this being kids from all over the state, and hard to get them together and coordinate the questions, we have picked 21 representative questions from a lot of other contacts," said Keith Pugh, who works with ARISS. "It's amazing - we've done 550 of these contacts in the last 10 years, and kids the world wide Europe, Japan, Australia, they all ask about the same questions."
In Tulsa, "You can listen in if you've got a two-meter receiver that will tune 145.80," Pugh said. "You won't hear the kids talk on that; you'll hear the astronaut though, the downlink."
Equipment on the ground for this particular contact is being provided by the FAA Aeronautical Center Amateur Radio Club out of Oklahoma City.