Winmalee students to speak to astronauts

Winmalee Public will become ground control later this month when eight students talk to an astronaut on the International Space Station.

Head in the stars: Back row, Erin DeBono, Charlotte Webster, Ayva Dacey, Asher Renwick, Valentino di Battista. Front row, Indiana Bartush, Alberto Campos-Wagner, Ivy Cooper.

Head in the stars: Back row, Erin DeBono, Charlotte Webster, Ayva Dacey, Asher Renwick, Valentino di Battista. Front row, Indiana Bartush, Alberto Campos-Wagner, Ivy Cooper.

Back in July 2019, the school's science teacher, Alison Broderick, applied to NASA to be part of the exciting ARISS program - Amateur Radio on the International Space Station.

ARISS enables students around the world to speak live to an astronaut on board the station as it orbits Earth, thanks to amateur radio enthusiasts who work with NASA to facilitate the contacts.

Finally, late last year, Mrs Broderick got the good news: We have lift-off.

Within a few weeks (NASA has yet to confirm the exact date), the students of Winmalee Public will speak to astronauts via a radio telebridge unit in the school hall as the space station orbits 430 kilometres above the earth travelling at 27,000km/h.

The link between Earth and space will be supported by Shane Lynd, a moderator for ARISS, who lives in Mackay, Queensland.

The students entered the "Ask an Astronaut a Question" competition, and eight lucky winners were selected to speak directly to one of the crew on board.

Their date will be some time in the early evening between April 20 and 23. Students and parents will come to the school about an hour beforehand and mission control in Houson, Texas, will call about 30 minutes before the station is in the right place to connect.

"All students in years K-6 have been studying Earth and space sciences this term with a particular focus on the International Space Station and are super-excited about the upcoming event," Mrs Broderick said.

So, what do the children want to know? Here are some of their questions..

Erin (10): What is the best way to describe the feeling of microgravity?

Indiana (6): How long does it take to travel to the Space Station from Earth?

Valentino (8): Have you ever seen a meteor pass through Earth's atmosphere from the ISS?

Ivy (7): What experiments do you do at the International Space Station?

Ayva (9): Has anything ever gone wrong or required you to take emergency action while you have been on board the International Space Station?

Alberto (5): What happens if space junk hits the International Space Station?

Asher (11): What personal items would you take into space if allowed ... and why?

Charlotte (8): How many times a year do you get supplies delivered to the ISS?

Mrs Broderick will also ask: "Many of my students have talked about their dream to become astronauts. What would be your greatest advice for them?"