In 2018 our school was given the fantastic opportunity to participate in the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. This program allowed our students to contact an astronaut, Scott Tingle, on the ISS via amateur radio communications.
The opportunity arose through a current student who has been part of the amateur radio community and is one of the youngest members to hold a license. We were very excited by the chance and late 2016 we applied to be part of the program. The whole process took approximately 18 months, waiting anxiously for approval from NASA and then planning a celebrations of the community coming together to view history in the making.
All students were surveyed and given the chance to research and form questions they would like to ask the astronaut. 20 inquisitive questions were asked by 10 students, from Grade 1 to Grade 6. Over 400 member of school community, including
Templestowe Valley Primary School were delighted to host a telebridge conference call with ARISS and astronaut Scott Tingle on Monday 19th March at 7:43pm.
This event was viewed from two locations within our school in Lower Templestowe, Victoria. The main event was in our multi-purpose hall and an overflow area was held outside in an undercover area. There were over 450 students, parents, school staff and community members attending this momentous occasion including the Honourable Matthew Guy, MP. for the Liberal Party, local primary and secondary principals and school patrons. The local amateur radio members who attended were Robert Broomhead, Alan Conrau, John Costa, Ralph Parkhurst, John Bradham and Damian Dayers.
Ten students were chosen to speak with the astronaut including our local amateur radio member, Archie in Grade 5, and 9 other students (boys and girls) aged 6 to 12 years old.
We had a good signal during the call and everyone could hear clearly. The local amateur club members provided an enormous amount of equipment to ensure all could hear and see during the event. Including to our overflow area outside which held more than 250 audience members.
Students, Parents, staff have all been raving about the event. Many parents have shared their delight with such a spectacular event being held at our school.
“It’s been great, now my child is very interested in tracking the ISS and space. Thank you.”
“Well done for last night! Was pretty special!”
“That …. was …. amazing! Parents understood the enormity of such a significant event!”
“How cool is this! It is just amazing!”
“…creating some very special and groundbreaking memories for all. Congratulations!”
We promoted this event in our local newspaper. We will continue to promote this event with media over the next week. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/east/templestowe-valley-primary-school-students-will-talk-to-astronauts-on-the-international-space-station/news-story/e08e13bae2e2ee08bd50af17a819e2bd Many parents and staff were eagerly sharing the experience on social media.
Support from our ARISS mentor, Tony Hutchinson, was fantastic. Everything was clearly laid out and he was very supportive when negotiating our event. The local amateur radio members were of excellent support on the night, providing their time and equipment to ensure we could share this event with as many as possible. Prior to the event they visited our school to ensure everything was in working order.