Students at Framingham State University (FSU) in Massachusetts will speak with astronauts living, working, and doing research aboard the International Space Station at 12:15pm EST Friday, Jan. 19. The 20-minute, Earth-to-space call will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
Students will make the call to Expedition 54 astronauts Joe Acaba, Scott Tingle, of NASA, and Norishige Kanai, of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), aboard the space station, posing questions about life aboard the space station, NASA’s deep space exploration plans, and doing science in space.
Acaba arrived at the station September 12 on his third space mission, and is scheduled to return to Earth in February. Tingle and Kanai arrived December 19 and are scheduled to return to Earth in June.
FSU is the alma mater of Christa McAuliffe, a payload specialist on space shuttle Challenger’s STS 51-L, which was lost during launch in 1986. McAuliffe was going to be the world’s first teacher in space, and FSU is the home of the McAuliffe Center, one of Challenger Center’s more than 40 learning centers. The McAuliffe Center received more than 200 questions from 83 students from a wide range of majors at FSU, and chose 25 questions to be asked during the downlink. Some 250 students are expected to attend.
Linking students directly to astronauts aboard the space station provides unique, authentic experiences designed to enhance student learning, performance and interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This in-flight education downlink is an integral component of NASA’s Year of Education on Station, which provides extensive space station-related resources and opportunities to students and educators.