For Release: Dec. 26, 1996
Catherine E. Watson
RELEASE NO. 96-180
NOTE TO EDITORS:
Local Students To Try Amateur Radio Contact with Astronaut
John Blaha Aboard the Mir Space Station
Students from Granby High and Mary Calcutt Elementary schools in
Norfolk will travel to the Virginia Air and Space Center (VASC)
in Hampton at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 28 to contact Astronaut John
Blaha aboard the Russian Space Station Mir.
The backup date is Sunday, Dec 29 at 10 a.m.
The students hope to learn about aerospace activities first-hand
by asking Blaha questions as he orbits the Earth. This student
activity is part of several educational programs sponsored by NASA,
the U.S. Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment and the Russian Mir
Amateur Radio Experiment. Local arrangements for this event were
made through the VASC Amateur Radio Group, a consortium of the NASA
Langley Research Center amateur radio club and 10 other local radio
clubs. The group operates a major amateur radio exhibit at the
"This isn't a video game," said Joe Quirion, teacher-coordinator
of the project. "This is the real thing. Talking directly with
astronauts in space is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these
Quirion added that by tracking Mir students, can learn real-life
science and mathematics skills. "When students make contact," he
said, "lessons in electronics and communications begin to make
sense. Most importantly, many students learn to "reach for the
stars" for themselves. Teachers around the country report that this
program creates interest and enthusiasm on the students' part."
Blaha, who attended Mary Calcutt Elementary School and graduated
from Granby High School, hopes to talk with students in nine
selected schools throughout the United States and South Africa
before returning to Earth in mid-January aboard STS-81.
To attend the event, or for more information, interviews, etc.,
contact Catherine E. Watson at 864-6122.
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text-only version of this release