As part of the Year of Education on Station program, NASA has arranged for astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel to have two space-chats with Oklahoma and Illinois students this week.
Currently aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the two flight engineers of Expedition 55-56 will be talking to the kids about what’s it like to live in space and answer their questions on NASA’s upcoming deep space exploration missions, the agency announced in a news release.
The two Earth-to-space calls will last 20 minutes each and will focus especially on the ongoing science projects that the Expedition 55-56 crew is conducting onboard the ISS.
The first talk is scheduled to take place on May 14, at 10:35 a.m. EDT, and will connect Arnold and Feustel with students from several schools in Oklahoma. NASA will be calling the ISS from the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium, linking up the two astronauts with Oklahoma students from grades 5 through 12.
According to the agency, the students have all submitted essays on what they would ask an astronaut given the opportunity, detailing “how that question relates to their own lives on Earth.” The best essays were rewarded with the chance to talk live with an actual astronaut calling all the way up from space.
On May 16, Arnold and Feustel are scheduled for a six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk to work on the space station’s cooling system, but the pair will be back for the Year of Education on Station second talk on May 18.
Friday’s space-call will begin at 10:10 a.m. EDT and will connect the astronauts with eighth graders from Liberty and Lincoln Middle Schools in Edwardsville, Illinois. The kids will be gathering at Liberty Middle School, which is where NASA is set to make the call to space.
The Year of Education on Station program started in September, 2017, and will run until this September. The program comprises a series of in-flight downlinks meant to get students involved in the science projects that are being conducted in space.
The initiative’s goal is to provide “extensive space station-related resources and opportunities” to both students and their teachers, NASA underlined in the news release.
Last month, Arnold and Feustel linked up with high school and college students from Lake Orion, Michigan, in a similar Earth-to-space call that took place on April 17. The photo above was taken during the live transmission of that event.