Vestal K-8 was one of 24 school communities nationwide invited to participate in a conversation with astronauts about the International Space Station. The broadcast is part of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.
"This was an amazing, unforgettable opportunity for all our K-8 students," said Vestal Principal Susan Foxman. "It was thrilling when our eighth grade students stepped up to the microphone, asked their question and heard it answered by the astronauts in real time. Vestal was the only school in Oregon and Washington that participated."
Other schools represented included California, Hawaii, Indiana, Texas, Michigan and New York but a number had technical difficulties and were unable to ask their questions when their time came.
"The PPS team, however, had spent many hours preparing, testing and retesting the broadcast system so that it worked when needed," Foxman said.
Jennifer Kelley, a PPS Science achievement coordinator, was the lead coordinator for event working closely with Vestal science teacher Carla Oesterle. The event was sponsored by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education’s Student Spaceflight Experiment Program (SSEP). Jackson Middle School participated in the program in 2010 when a student experiment was included on the final flight of the space shuttle Endeavour.
The International Space Station portion of the call was 8:35-9:15 am. Featured speakers included ISS Astronauts Suni Williams, Kevin Ford and Leland Melvin, Arne Duncan (U.S. Secretary of Education), John R. Dailey (Director, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum), Claudine Brown (Smithsonian Institution), Jeff Goldstein (Director, National Center for Earth and Space Science Education).
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