New NASA video highlights ARISS contact with Airdrie Space Science Club in Alberta

A new @NASA video provides a different perspective from the typical Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) Program school contact.

The @NASA Twitter feed announcing the video states: “Students Use Ham Radio to Call an Astronaut in Space. Canadian students participating from home used ham radio to talk with astronaut Chris Cassidy (@Astro_Seal) aboard the station on May 15, 2020.”The tweet spread quickly in cyberspace and was featured in an article in the Friday, August 28, 2020 issue of the United Kingdom’s online newspaper, The Daily Mailas shown in the photo below.The headline reads: “NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy aboard the ISS receives a call from Canadian students using a ham radio who ask him about life in space, foods he misses and what happens when someone vomits on the ship…” 
The May 15 contact was no ordinary ISS contact and it was featured on the front cover of the July-August 2020 issue of The Canadian Amateur magazine and prominently displayed on the RAC website. In addition, the magazine also included the article “Successful ARISS contact with the Airdrie Space Science Club in Alberta using new Multipoint Telebridge Contact via Amateur Radio”.Youth members of the Airdrie Space Science Club (ASSC) in Airdrie, Alberta were able to engage in a Q&A session with US astronaut Chris Cassidy, KF5KDR, onboard the International Space Station (ISS). This was the second test of the new-style radio contact called Multipoint Telebridge Contact via Amateur Radio. The concept was developed for distance learning when schools closed worldwide due to COVID-19. The virus eliminated all opportunities for ARISS radio contacts at education organizations.The previous news post included a video of the ISS contact with the Airdrie Space Science Club. Unlike previous videos which shows excited students, teachers, parents and media all gathered together in a school gymnasium, this video shows students and parents making contacts from the safety of their homes during a global pandemic.The Airdrie Space Science Club was formed by a group of space enthusiasts interested in advancing students’ interest in model rocketry and who wanted to offer ways to help them enjoy the wonders of space science. One of those leaders was teacher Brian Jackson, VE6JBJ, who is the Western Canada ARISS Mentor and the Chair of the RAC Youth Education Program. Brian described the new ARISS concept in this way:“During this pandemic, our opportunities to develop kids’ interest in space has been interrupted. This ARISS contact gets them looking back up, towards the sky, and imagining themselves as an astronaut one day.”The new NASA video that was just released provides a completely different perspective: that of the astronauts onboard the International Space Station.RAC President Glenn MacDonell, VE3XRA, describes it in this way:“The recently released video is based on both the questions and answers from the ARISS contact and also video from inside the International Space Station (ISS).It highlights Amateur Radio as the means of students speaking with astronauts, picks out some of the most interesting questions and answers and shows what is happening inside the ISS.The new video is shorter and more gripping than the original and it includes the most important and interesting segments of the contact.ARISS has chosen it to highlight how contacts are done today during the global pandemic. I think the high quality of the questions was one of the reasons for choosing this session. It has been liked and retweeted thousands of times in the first days since its release.I would like to publicize it because is something we and the Airdrie group should be proud of. It is what you’d want to show someone who wondered what these contacts are about.”Stay tuned to the following websites for more information on the ARISS Program:RAC ARISS page: ARISS page: