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ARISS Success -- Armstrong Middle School

Armstrong Middle School ARISS Contact Success

Armstrong Middle School located in Flint, Michigan had a very successful
ARISS contact with Mike Foale KB5UAC on board the ISS.  Contact was
established about 17:13 UTC on March 1, 2004.  Congratulations Armstrong
and Mike.  By the way, the school is named after Neil Armstrong, the
first man on the moon.

Also to be congratulated are Duane Fischer W8DBF (the local ham
coordinator), Principal Dr. David Thompson, and Science Teacher Nannette
Wolak.  They did a great job getting the kids organized.

ARISS would also like to thank several media outlets for attending.
Channel 12 WJRT ABC/Disney was present, as was channel 5 WNEM CBS. The
Flint Journal and several local papers were there too. As this contact
was a telebridge, ARISS would like to thank MCI/Dome for doing an
outstanding job.  Operator Mary was excellent.

The contact was actually handled by the ARISS crew at W6SRJ at Santa
Rosa Junior College.  Tim Bosma W6ISS fielded a crew that had Bill
Hillendahl KH6GJV as control operator.  Will Marchant KC6ROL acted as
MC.  Tim, Bill, and Will are all ARISS mentors.

Armstrong was able to ask 14 questions and was in the middle of the 15th
when the ISS went below the horizon.

Below is a quick synopsis of some of the responses (Congratulations

1.  We recently heard on the news that their was a problem with the air
pressure dropping.  What did you do about this situation and is it still
a concern?

Mike indicated that the air pressure problem had been fixed.

2.  How and When did you become interested in being an astronaut?

Mike said he wanted to become an astronaut after viewing John Glenn's
burnt capsule at the Minnesota State Fair.

3.  Please describe how it feels during take off and landing back on

Mike likened the shuttle launch to a washing machine with a pair of
sneakers tumbling around inside as it is a little rough.  He indicated
the Soyuz launches are a little smoother.

4.  While on the space station, what do you do in your free time?

Mike does do some talking on the amateur radio equipment and he takes
many pictures out the window.

5.  How is your food prepared and what did you have for dinner last

Mike indicated that the food comes from Russia in cans and from the US
it tends to be dehydrated.  Supper the night before was tuna on a

6.  Please describe what earth looks like from space.

Mike said that the earth is very blue because of the oceans and the
atmosphere.  The continents are very brown.  He also said that he was
quite surprised as to how bright everything was.

7.  What important discoveries are you planning on making during this

Mike indicated that you never knew what discoveries were going to
happen.  He also told of the cancer research they were doing.

8.  What type of educational degrees are necessary to become an

Mike felt that technical degrees were the most needed now but that in
the future those with public communication (TV/Radio, journalism)
degrees would also be needed.

9.  What is the difference in the gravitational pull and how does this
effect your body?

Mike explained that you still have earth's gravity pulling you but
because of the movement of the ISS orbiting the earth, one doesn't feel
the gravity.  He said that you are actually free falling.

10.  How do you communicate with the other astronauts on the space
station?  How do you communicate with mission control?

The crew uses the language of the control center that they are
communicating with.  Mike indicated that he learned Russian so as to
talk to the controllers in Moscow and that Alexsandr (U8MIR) learned
English to talk to Houston.

11.  How and where do you sleep?

Mike explained that he uses a sleeping bag.

12.  What is the purpose of the space station?

Mike felt that one of the main purposes was to continue a human presence
in space.

13.  What type of physical training do you go through before take off?

Mike explained that he works out in the gym and runs about 2 to 3 miles
a day to stay in shape.

14.  How do you exercise while you are on the space station?

Mike discussed how they use 2 machines that use bungee cords.  One
machine is a treadmill and the other is a strength machine.

15.  How fast are you traveling while you are orbiting the earth?

The ISS went out of range during this question.

Charlie Sufana AJ9N
ARISS mentor for Armstrong Middle School

ARISS is a joint educational outreach programme between NASA, AMSAT (The
Amateur Satellite Radio Corp.), the American Radio Relay League, the
international partners in the Space Station programme, and international
amateur radio organizations.  ARISS offers an opportunity for students
to experience the excitement of Amateur Radio by talking directly with
crewmembers of the International Space Station. Teachers, parents and
communities see how Amateur Radio can energize youngsters about science,
technology, and learning.

Further information can be found on the ARISS website
http://www.rac.ca/ariss/ or by e-mailing Rosalie White, K1STO,

Scott Lindsey-Stevens / N3ASA
ARISS U.S. PR Representative

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