SFSM To Serve As Ground Control With Nasa

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Area students competing to participate in live Q&A with International Space Station


(WEST PALM BEACH, FL) Roger that? The South Florida Science Museum will offer a seat in “mission control” for Palm Beach County students invited to make contact with an astronaut currently aboard the International Space Station. The event, scheduled to take place the week of October 22, will culminate a contest where area students can launch their essay for a chance to participate in the exciting astronaut Q&A via amateur radio.

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is a cooperative venture among NASA and other international space agencies that coordinate scheduled radio contacts between astronauts aboard the ISS and school-based organizations.   The South Florida Science Museum was one of few organizations in the country invited to make space station contact this year.

“Through our very own Amateur Radio Station (WS4FSM), we’ll partner with the West Palm Beach Amateur Radio Group and a selection of local student essay contest winners to serve as Mission Control when we connect with astronauts during their October flyover,” said Museum CEO, Lew Crampton. “Anticipation is building among Palm Beach County students as the countdown to space station contact nears. This collaborative effort with the Palm Beach county School District, local ham radio operators and the Museum is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for area students and their families. This space contact is our chance to tune into a ‘real world’ application of science, technology, engineering and math through radio uplink. We are incredibly proud to have been invited by NASA as one of only a handful of US partners for this important event.”

Fifteen students and two teachers will be selected from participants in an essay contest. Palm Beach County School District students, area private school students and homeschooled students in grades 3-12 are invited to write a 250 words or less essay on the topic: “Why is space exploration important and what does it mean to me?” Students should submit their essay to school administrators who will determine the winning essay from each school. From there, the winning essay will be judged at the South Florida Science Museum by a panel including former astronauts and area media. Homeschooled students can submit directly to the South Florida Science Museum. All essays must be received by Sept 24th. Complete essay rules can be found on the Museum website at www.sfsm.org.

“The NASA ARISS program will provide a unique and exciting opportunity for students in Palm Beach County,” said Wendy Spielman King, K-12 Science Manager, School District of Palm Beach County. “This program will certainly engage students in science by allowing them to talk directly with the crews living and working aboard the International Space Station. It is sure to be an experience that our students will never forget.”

The ARISS radio contact is one in a series with educational activities in the U.S. and abroad to improve teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It is an integral component of Teaching From Space, a NASA Education office. The office promotes learning opportunities and builds partnerships with the education community using the unique environment of human spaceflight.

In addition to its amateur radio exhibit, the South Florida Science Museum provides curious minds of all ages with an entertaining and educational journey through science and technology. The museum features more than 50 hands-on exhibits, a digital planetarium, freshwater and saltwater aquariums, as well as natural history exhibitions. Each year the museum welcomes more than 125,000 visitors and reaches more than 45,000 students through workshops at the museum and outreach programs to local schools

For more information regarding the Space Station essay contest, visit SFSM.org or reach the South Florida Science Museum at 561.832.1988.