November 16, 2001


International Space Station crew commander Frank Culbertson, KD5OPQ, has fielded questions from students at seven schools since the end of November. These included a morale-boosting contact with New York City's Public School 234, whose students are in temporary quarters after the September 11 World Trade Center attacks.

Ten students in Francine Cornelius's computer class posed 20 questions during the 10-minute contact November 7. Student Renee Otto asked Culbertson how New York City looked from space on September 11. Culbertson described the smoke from the site as it looked from space. "It's sad that you've had to move from school to school, but we're proud that you're continuing to work and take your education seriously," Culbertson told the students. PS 234's normal campus is only two blocks from "Ground Zero."

The nearly 700 students and faculty had to be evacuated on September 11. Principal Anna Switzer said the students were grateful for the opportunity to chat with Culbertson, who operated at NA1SS.

The previous week, on October 29, 17 fifth graders at Protsman and Kolling elementary schools in St John, Indiana, spoke with Culbertson, who told one student that sunrise "is gorgeous from outer space." John Gianotti, W9WY, acted as control operator for the direct QSO.

On November 1, Culbertson spoke with 10 mostly teenaged students at Sanilac Career Center in Peck, Michigan. Electronics teacher Ted Davis, KF8ZO, pulled double duty as radio operator for the direct contact.

Students at Carmel, Indiana's, Woodbrook Elementary School, including Culbertson's nephew, Tom, were up November 2. Culbertson told Woodbrook students that while he will miss the International Space Station when he leaves in December, he is looking forward to being reunited with his family.

On November 6, students at Kenosha, Wisconsin's Tremper High School enjoyed their 10 minutes with Culbertson, who later praised the students' intelligent questions and thanked ARISS relay Tony Hutchinson, VK5ZAI, in Australia, who facilitated the contact.

Students at Phillips Middle School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, interviewed Culbertson November 9. Seventh grade science teacher Barbara Pedersen, KE4JZM, operated the station for her students. "It brings the kids so much closer to the space program" Pedersen said. "It makes it so much more real. The kids were so excited."

All of the ham radio contacts were arranged as part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station--or ARISS--program.