Council Rock South To Make Contact With International Space Station

The International Space Station photographed by Expedition 56 crew members from a Soyuz spacecraft after undocking. Photo via NASA.

Students at Council Rock South will be speaking to astronauts aboard the International Space Space Station Thursday afternoon.

Assistant Science Department Coordinator Gerald Fetter has been teaching for 26 years. Fetter told WBCB 1490 AM this is Council Rock’s second time making contact with the ISS. But this time around is different.

“Each year, approximately ten schools from around the world are picked to do this, so it’s a very unique opportunity for Council Rock and for the kids here,” Fetter said. “When we make our contact, they’ll actually be operating the radio equipment, and they really take ownership of it. I’ve never seen such enthusiasm in any projects that we’ve ever done in all the years I’ve been teaching.”

Council Rock South Amateur Radio Club
Students and teachers with the Council Rock Amateur Radio club.

Communications begin at 12:56 p.m. with students at the helm. Fetter says he’s involving students from other departments as well.

“I wanted to bring students that had interests other than science, and show them how in the real world, scientists don’t work in a vacuum. They work with people that are good writers, or good at technology and using computers.”

Students will be using ham radio to make contact. This means they will only be able to begin the interview when the ISS comes over the horizon. Then, they must conduct the interview before it goes out of range.

Fetter and a recent graduate of Council Rock South, Laura Floyd, will be joining Views From the Hill Thursday at 1 p.m. to discuss the exciting event. Floyd “spearheaded” the effort last year, according to Fetter. She completed a project using ham radio to experiment with a new method of planet detection as part of her four year independent study.

A live broadcast of the event will be available on the Council Rock Amateur Radio Facebook page. The video will remain up for anyone who misses the ten to 15 minute interview.

Listen to the WBCB 1490 story below.