The Lewis Center for Educational Research has been selected as one of only nine educational institutions across the United States to participate in a program allowing students to communicate with astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
The program — known as NASA’s Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, or ARISS — is an international organization comprised mostly of volunteers that lets students talk to the space travelers using radio equipment in use by the general public.
“We are thrilled to be included in this year’s group of schools to receive an ARISS contact,” said Lisa Lamb, the Lewis Center’s president/CEO. “As soon as the new school year begins, our students will engage in weekly lessons to make the most of our radio contact with the astronauts on the ISS.”
Students will learn about life aboard the space station, and participate in lesson plans and after school activities “implemented to enhance the education experience,” according to a school statement.
“Our students have long studied robotic and radio missions in space,” said Amy Ritter, the Lewis Center’s STEM coordinator. “With ARISS, they will talk directly to our astronauts and learn about living in the space they have studied. This is such a powerful way to connect them to the future Artemis missions.”
Artemis is a NASA program that intends to send the first woman and person of color to the moon with an additional goal of establishing a sustainable community there.
The Lewis Center has a longstanding partnership with NASA and its Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and operates the Goldstone-Apple Valley Radio Telescope, or GAVRT, a donation from the space agency.
Earlier this year, students cheered inside the school’s “Mission Control” as the Perseverance Rover landed on Mars in February.
Lewis Center officials said students were “already waiting in anticipation” for the upcoming ARISS communication.
“I’m super excited to get to talk to astronauts living on the Space Station,” student Natalie Ritter said in a statement.
Scheduling will take place after Lewis Center officials submit an equipment plan that demonstrates the educational institution’s “ability to execute the ham radio contact,” according to ARISS.
In addition to the Academy for Academic Excellence in Apple Valley, the Lewis Center also operates the Norton Science & Language Academy in San Bernardino.
Daily Press reporter Martin Estacio may be reached at 760-955-5358 or MEstacio@VVDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter @DP_mestacio.
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