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ARRL Satellite Bulletin ARLS027 (2000)

ARLS027 First ARISS school QSO a success!

QST de W1AW  
Space Bulletin 027  ARLS027
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington, CT  December 22, 2000
To all radio amateurs

ARLS027 First ARISS school QSO a success!

It was a historic moment for Amateur Radio. Some 200 youngsters,
teachers, parents, and news media representatives were on hand at
Luther Burbank Elementary School near Chicago December 21 to witness
the first successful Amateur Radio on the International Space
Station school contact.

Several pupils plus one teacher got to chat with Space Station Alpha
Commander William ''Shep'' Shepherd, KD5GSL, via ham radio. Earlier
attempts by the school on December 19 were unsuccessful, despite the
extensive technical preparations.

On December 21, however, Shepherd, using the special NA1SS call
sign, came right back to a call from veteran SAREX/ARISS mentor
Charlie Sufana, AJ9N, at the school. Sufana and his ARISS team had
spent the better part of two weeks setting up gear and antennas for
the scheduled contact. Antenna setup was hampered by repeated
snowstorms and frigid temperatures, but the efforts paid off.

''I'm happy that we were able to pull it off,'' Sufana said. ''The kids
were bouncing off the walls.''

During the 10-minute pass, 14 first through eighth graders plus
science and math teacher Rita Wright got a chance to pose questions
about life aboard Space Station Alpha to Shepherd.

Shepherd said he especially enjoyed being able to float around in
the space station. He said the crew is keeping detailed logs about
life on the space station, and that the crew was enjoying taking
pictures of Earth from space, ''because you can see things that you
can't see from the ground.'' Shepherd also explained that about 90
percent of water in the air inside the space station is recovered
and reused.

At the conclusion of the successful contact, the grateful crowd
applauded loudly and offered up a hearty ''thank you!'' and ''73!'' to
Shepherd and his Russian crewmates. Shepherd said he was looking
forward to future school contacts. Another two dozen schools are
under consideration for ARISS school contacts. Schools in Virginia
and New York are tentatively scheduled for contacts next month.

More information about requesting dedicated contacts is available on
the ARISS web pages,


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