Students Interact With Astronauts via Ham Radio

Some students at Chiddix Junior High School and the Challenger Learning Center Summer Space Camp have been practicing how to talk with astronauts on the International Space Station.

One of the three astronauts on board, Joe Acaba talked with the students through ham radio for about nine minutes in a call that started at 10:30 a.m. Monday.

Acaba was the first person of Puerto Rican heritage accepted into the astronaut program. Sixteen students were allowed to ask 23 questions to Acaba.

Chiddix eight-grader Dhruv Rebba, one of the youngest ham radio operators in the country tried three calls to the space station and Acaba responded to his calls.

Rebba repeated, “Anyone, SS, anyone SS, this is Whiskey Nine Alpha Mike Lima calling over.”

Acaba responded, “This is November Alpha One Zero Zero. I have you loud and clear … Welcome to the International Space Station.”

The students wanted to know that how astronauts get ready mentally and physically for their time away from the earth at the space station.

Acaba told that they attended two years of initial training and once they get assigned they again attended another two years of training. All astronauts physically work outs every day for around two hours through a stationary exercise bike and treadmill.

Students asked about his favorite places to fly over, Acaba answered that all of the earth seen is very beautiful while looking from space but still he like the blue waters of the Caribbean. Students also asked about his school studies, Acaba told the student his favorite subjects were the engineering, math, and science.

Grant Zehr, a Ham radio operator and the coordinator for the Chiddix event said that student’s experience of interacting with Acaba was fantastic and they are glad to be a part of it.


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