Starting on April 1, Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) will accept applications from US schools, museums, science centers, and community youth organizations (working individually or together) interested in hosting contacts with orbiting crew members on the International Space Station (ISS). Contacts will be scheduled between January 1 and June 30, 2020.
Each year, ARISS provides tens of thousands of students with opportunities to learn about space technologies and communications through Amateur Radio. The program provides learning opportunities by connecting students to astronauts aboard the ISS through a partnership between ARRL, AMSAT, and NASA, as well as other Amateur Radio organizations and worldwide space agencies. The program’s goal is to inspire students to pursue interests and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and Amateur Radio.
“Educators overwhelmingly report that student participation in the ARISS program stimulates interest in STEM subjects and in STEM careers,” ARISS said in announcing the contact opportunities. “One educator wrote, ‘Many of the middle school students who took part in and attended the ARISS contact have selected science courses in high school as a result of that contact.’” ARISS says enthusiasm sparked by a school contact has led to an interest in ham radio among students and to the creation of ham radio clubs in schools. Some educators have even become radio amateurs after experiencing a contact with an ISS crew member.
ARISS is looking for organizations capable of attracting large numbers of participants and integrating the contact into a well-developed, exciting education plan. Students can learn about satellite communications, wireless technology, science research conducted on the ISS, radio science, and any related STEM subject. Students learn to use Amateur Radio to talk directly to an astronaut and ask their STEM-related questions. ARISS will help educational organizations locate Amateur Radio groups who can assist with equipment for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students.
The deadline to submit proposals is May 15. Proposal webinars for guidance and questions will be offered on April 11 at 7 PM EDT (2300 UTC) and on April 16 at 9 PM EDT (0100 UTC on Wednesday, April 17). Advance registration is required. More details, such as expectations, proposal guidelines, and the proposal form, are on the ARISS website.
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