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‘Year of Education on Station’ Wraps up with Live Earth-to-Space Call Between Students, NASA Astronaut in Orbit

Astronaut Ricky Arnold works to extract RNA from biological samples

NASA is celebrating the conclusion of its Year of Education on Station (YES) initiative with a final educational Earth-to-space call, allowing students and others to speak to an astronaut living and working aboard the International Space Station.

For this final YES downlink, scheduled for 11 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, Oct. 2, NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold will answer questions from an audience of students, educators, NASA interns, and YES partners, including Microsoft and University of Houston and employees, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The group will reflect on the accomplishments of YES and the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. The event will take place before Arnold’s return to Earth two days later and will air live on NASA Television, the agency’s website and Facebook Live.

Media interested in attending the event at Johnson should contact the Johnson newsroom at 281-483-5111 no later than 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct.1.

During the past year, YES activities have provided opportunities for hundreds of students and educators across the United States to speak directly with astronauts in space. Thousands more have participated through NASA partnerships with companies, learning centers, universities, media organizations and institutions. In addition, astronauts in orbit filmed new educational demonstrations. These STEMonstrations will remain available to classrooms coast-to-coast long beyond the end of the initiative.

Beginning in September 2017 with the launch of the space station Expedition 53/54 crew, YES has showcased two NASA astronauts and former teachers – Joe Acaba and Arnold, who began his time on the station in March – as they inspired thousands of students and educators with their interest in STEM and passion for teaching. In total, 15 astronauts have participated in live downlinks or filming of STEMonstrations, answering more than 1,000 questions through 64 live connections, which is five times the number of Earth-to-space calls in an average year.

The ultimate objectives of YES have been to help educators stimulate the interests of their students in STEM subjects, with the goal of advancing American achievements in discovery, invention and exploration as students are inspired to pursue careers in STEM fields.

Linking students directly to astronauts aboard the space station provides unique, authentic experiences designed to enhance student learning, performance and interest in STEM. Astronauts living in space on the orbiting laboratory communicate with NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston 24 hours a day through the Space Network’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS).

Follow NASA astronauts on social media at:

See videos and lesson plans highlighting research on the International Space Station at:


Katherine Brown
Headquarters, Washington
Carla Santiago
Johnson Space Center, Houston