February 5, 2009


An International Space Station Expedition 18 ARISS school contact has been planned with participants at the Staedtisches Gymnasium Herzogenrath in Germany on 7 February 2009. The event is scheduled to begin at approximately 10.36 UTC, which is 11.36 CEWT.

The contact will be a direct between stations OR4ISS and DR0G . The contact should be audible over most of
Europe. Interested parties are invited to listen in on the 145.800 MHz downlink. The participants are expected to conduct the conversation in English.

The "Staedtisches Gymnasium Herzogenrath" is a well-established grammar school in Herzogenrath, a smaller town near
Aachen. Presently, 1142 students, aged 10 to 19, attend the school with the aim to do their "Abitur" (A-level). Most of them come from a suburban area. As the school is closely situated to the Dutch border, they are eager to establish a close cooperation with a Dutch comprehensive school. Furthermore they encourage the students to take part in school exchanges, for example to Bistritz in Romania and to Belfast, Northern Ireland, or to spend a year abroad.

The "Staedtisches Gymnasium" is delighted in offering its students a wide range of extra curricular activities to meet the students' interests which are going beyond school topics and to consolidate their knowledge in various fields. One these extra curricular clubs is the "Funk-AG" (radio amateur club) whose members have initiated the project on the international space station. Their work will include the preparation and realization of a school exhibition on the history of radio transmission. Moreover, it is planned to receive signals from meteorological satellites and to put the data on display in the entrance hall. Their findings will thus be shared by the school community. The topic "universe and/or international space station", for instance, is part of our school curriculum in year 6 (11 to 12-year-old pupils) and in year 11 (16 to 17-year-old students).

In addition, the History Department is delighted in joining this project. In year 10 the "space race" is dealt with in detail as an essential part of the "Cold War".

The participants will ask as many of the following questions as time allows:
1. To what extent do we on earth profit from your experiments on the ISS?
2. What are the aims of your present mission?
3. How much energy do you need daily and what kind of energy is it?
4. What about radiation on the ISS? Does it harm your health?
5. Have you had any problems with oncoming meteorites or space debris?
6. Which qualifications do you need to be on such a mission?
7. What were your feelings and emotions during lift off?
8. Do you lose your sense of time on the ISS?
9. How do you spend your free time on the ISS?
10. Have you got any room for your personal belongings?
11. What happens if you are ill?
12. What happens to the human body if you stay in space too long?
13. How often do you see the sunrise on the ISS per day?
14. What happens in case of an emergency, for example if the ISS is on fire?
15. Can you sleep well in a state of zero gravity?
16. How do you wash your hair?
17. How many experiments do you do a day?
18. Have you and your colleagues become friends?
19. What would you say is your most important experience on the ISS?
20. When do you think will mankind be able to leave our solar system?

ARISS is an international educational outreach program partnering the participating space agencies, NASA, Russian Space Agency, ESA, CNES, JAXA, and CSA, with the AMSAT and IARU organizations from participating countries.

ARISS offers an opportunity for students to experience the excitement of Amateur Radio by talking directly with crewmembers onboard the International Space Station. Teachers, parents and communities see, first hand, how Amateur Radio and crewmembers on ISS can energize youngsters' interest in science, technology, and learning.

Gaston Bertels, ON4WF

ARISS-Europe chairman