Land O’ Lakes, FL – (February 28, 2020) – Students at River Ridge High School in New Port Richey will talk directly with astronauts on the International Space Station on Tuesday during a brief window of opportunity as they pass over North America. The March 3 conversation via amateur radio will culminate the students’ exploration of the technological and emotional challenges of space exploration.

This activity is part of the ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) Program, which promotes learning opportunities related to STEM (Science, Technology, Education and Math). The students will be in direct contact with astronaut Drew Morgan.

Throughout the year, teachers at River Ridge have been adding STEM projects to their curriculum to help students understand the technology that goes into making this contact possible, and to gain an appreciation of all the challenges that relate to space exploration in low-Earth orbit and beyond. The Aerospace and Earth/Space classes have been studying topics such as the magnitude of stars, effect of gravity in space, the Big Bang Theory, and stellar evolution.

The Tuesday event will take place on the high school campus in the Center for the Arts at River Ridge. Members of the Gulf Coast Amateur Radio Club will be present. They have been instrumental in making the contact possible. A screen on the stage will show a map of the United States with a moving circular cone superimposed on it, representing the movement of the Space Station as it moves into position over Florida and then over the Tampa Bay area, providing the opportunity for contact. Also on stage will be a large picture of astronaut Drew Morgan. Ten students, and one former student, will take turns on stage asking their pre-prepared questions.

LOCATION: River Ridge High School at 11646 Town Center Drive in New Port Richey

DATE/TIME: 9:45 a.m. on March 3. It is important that media arrive promptly. After a briefing regarding the event, the roughly 10-minute window of opportunity for contact with the Space Station starts at 10:17 a.m.  There will be no delays.

CONTACT: Linda Nowicki, at lnowicki@pasco.k12.fl.us, or 727-774-7102

For more information on ARISS, go to www.ariss.org
For more information on amateur radio, go to www.arrl.org/what-is-ham-radio

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