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January 9, 2019 - 10:07am

Video: Pembroke students speak with Astronaut David Saint-Jacques via shortwave radio

posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, schools, education, NASA, news, notify.

Pembroke students Tuesday had a lot of questions for Astronaut David Saint-Jacques about being a space pioneer and life aboard the International Space Station.

Sixteen students were selected to ask questions and participating the planning of the event and today it all came together after months of preparation -- going back to April of last year -- during an assembly in the school's auditorium.

Saint-Jacques answered questions about what it was like to be in space, how his life inside the space station, what surprised him about going into space, and whether it was fun, along with addressing other topics.

Melissa Smith, a 7th and 8th-grade science teacher, took the lead on setting up the event and said it was a great opportunity to expose the students to things they may not otherwise get to do as part of their school experience. They learned about shortwave radio, the space station, about astronauts and they worked with members of the community to help bring it all together.

"We want to make a relatable experience for them so this was really cool because this isn't something we would necessarily teach in our curriculum, in our class, so it was a way we could go above and beyond what students normally learn," Smith said.

In all, 16 students were selected to ask questions during the eight or nine minutes the station was in position to connect via shortwave with a transmitter.

The ARISS event was managed by an international consortium of amateur radio organizations and space agencies including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium at SUNY Buffalo State, and members of the Genesee County Radio Amateurs (GRAM) Club.  Pamela Ware, from Corfu, and member of GRAM, holds an FCC amateur extra license and was the liaison for the team of radio operators who provided hands-on training and experience for Pembroke students. 

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