Oscor Romeo Four India Sierra Sierra (OR4ISS) – do you copy? Students from Tallaght Community School will make history this year, as they have been announced as the first Irish school who will make direct radio contact with the International Space Station (ISS) while in orbit. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station programme (ARISS), which will see Irish students from both schools speaking with Italian Astronaut Paulo Nespoli while he orbits the Earth on the ISS
For a brief timeframe Paulo Nespoli and the rest of the crew on the ISS will be traveling at 27,600 km/h and for 6 to 12 minutes will be passing over Tallaght Community School. In order to carry out this real-time Earth-to-space radio contact, which uses amateur radio equipment to beam a line-of-sight signal to the ISS, the schools will set up a temporary amateur radio station on the grounds which will include an antenna, and two way radio system, which will allow students to speak directly with Paulo Nespoli while he takes a break from his duties and experiments on board the ISS.
Amateur Radio is a hobby which facilitates the learning of how radio technology works, communicating with others and investigating the mysteries of long distance communication. ARISS is a global voluntary group that formalised a programme for utilising radio equipment on-board the ISS as a channel for further educating schools across the world on the work of the international space programme, life on-board the ISS, expeditions which astronauts are undertaking and amateur radio. This is a highly competitive programme that receives thousands of applications from schools across the globe. Every six months the application process opens, enabling schools to apply to be chosen as one of the select few to make space contact six or 12 months later. Schools in the home country of the specific astronaut on a given expedition, which in this case is Italian , receive 70 percent of the limited number of these contact events a year and so for countries such as Ireland, it is extremely difficult to be chosen.
Tallaght Community School were a stand out choice due to their Inspiring Science Education initiative which promotes hands on, inquiry-based and collaborative learning. It provides the tools to make science education more challenging, playful and above all more imaginative and inspiring for today’s students. Teachers at Tallaght Community School are also members of the Galileo Teacher Training Programme which creates a series of professional development activities designed to help teachers and educators to learn and create resources on big topics in Astronomy and Planetary science.
This ‘out of this world encounter’ will be an extra special experience for all students involved and will awaken in them an interest in a variety of ‘new frontiers’ including space, astronomy, engineering, broadcasting and amateur radio. In the months leading up to the radio contact, Tallaght Community School have been delivering a programme of fun and interesting events planned to prepare students for the contact.
A series of cross-curricular events and lesson topics to promote the ISS across a multitude of subjects have been delivered. Aside from the Sciences, subject departments such as Music and Art have developed programmes in the lead-up to the contact. While subjects like Home Economics will focus on what foods astronauts consume and students will be taught about the space shuttles, history of the space race among other learning experiences. These experiences built the momentum ahead of this phenomenal opportunity
Working with the students and staff of Tallaght Community School, Daniel Cussen, ARISS Radio Technical Co-ordinator will be on-hand to ensure their temporary mission control radio station is up and functioning. Speaking at this announcement Daniel Cussen commented: “I am thrilled for Tallaght Community School to be awarded this fantastic honour and educational experience. I have worked with many schools in Europe to facilitate contact with the ISS, but as an Irishman I am delighted to be working with Irish students as they leave their mark in history as the first students to make direct space contact. Amateur radio is an area which I am extremely passionate about and I am so excited to share this passion with these students, which will hopefully inspire some of them to follow in my footsteps.”
About Tallaght Community School
Tallaght CS was the first Community School to open in Ireland in 1972. The school has over 800 students enrolled from feeder schools in the local area. Science is taught to all students in Junior Cycle and students can chose to study Physics, Biology and Chemistry at senior cycle. For further information on Tallaght Community School see www.tallaghtcs.com.
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is a cooperative venture of international amateur radio societies and the space agencies that support the International Space Station (ISS). The primary goal of ARISS is to promote exploration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) topics by organizing scheduled contacts via amateur radio between crewmembers aboard the ISS and students in classrooms or informal education venues. In Ireland the Irish Radio Transmitters Society (IRTS) represent Irish Amateur Radio Operators. ARISS Europe volunteers work with the European Space Agency & international partners to plan live events between astronauts & school children. With the help of experienced amateur radio volunteers, ISS crews speak directly with large audiences in a variety of public forums. Before and during these radio contacts, students, teachers, parents, and communities learn about space, space technologies, and amateur radio. For more information, see www.ariss-eu.org, www.irts.ie
Source : Tallaght Community School