Albuquerque Public Schools students use amateur radio to talk to Space Station Astronauts

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Albuquerque Public Schools students used the power of science to bridge the distance between Earth and Space.On Friday, students got a chance to chat with astronauts on the International Space Station.

“I jumped at the opportunity,” said Student Francisco Lopez.

“It was exciting,” said Student Marvin Gutierrez.

It was a chance to connect with astronauts up on the International Space Station.

“Realistically this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Albuquerque Public Schools. There are thousands and thousands of applications,” said Aerospace Science Instructor Larry Zentner.

Applications from schools across the world. This year only 13 U.S. districts were picked. In turn, APS students from six different schools gathered at Valley High to relay their best questions across the miles by amateur radio, using an antenna.

Tristan Chavez asked, “What is the most interesting or amazing thing you’ve see in space? Would you re-live that moment if you had a chance?”

Colonel Jeffrey Williams answered, “Well Tristan, there are many amazing things that I have seen in space but one of them that comes to mind is the eruption of a volcano.”

The connection made possible by the High Desert Radio Club. The group got just a few minutes to speak with an astronaut, as the Space Station passed over Albuquerque.

While the signal was touch and go at times, the kids made the most of it.

Gutierrez asked, “My question is, what kind of medical testing do astronauts go through to be physically and mentally qualified as an astronaut?”

“It was actually really exciting to actually hear, when we finally heard the astronaut, talking back to us. I thought it was actually really cool and exciting,” said Student Joseph Martinez.

It was a lesson in the power of STEM studies and just how far they can take you.

“It surprised me a lot. I think it’s truly amazing what science and math can do,” said Gutierrez.

While there was only time for a handful of APS students to ask questions the event was streamed live to classrooms throughout the district so many others still got a chance to watch.

Amateur radio has been used by groups around the world to conduct these Space Station conversations.

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