History beckons for Tallaght CS students with International Space Station contact

History beckons for Tallaght CS students with International Space Station contact

By Mary Dennehy

AT 1.48pm tomorrow (Thursday), Tallaght Community School students will make history as the first Irish school to make direct contact with the International Space Station (ISS) while in orbit.

This stellar opportunity is part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station programme (ARISS), which will see local students speak with Italian astronaut Paulo Nespoli while he orbits earth on the ISS.

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For a brief time Nespoli and the rest of the crew, who will be travelling at 27,600km, will be passing over Tallaght Community School for between six and 12 minutes.

In order to carry out this real-time earth-to-space radio contact, which uses amateur radio equipment to beam a line-of-sight signal to the ISS, the school will set up a temporary amateur radio station on the grounds – which will include an antenna, and two-way radio system.

Tallaght Community School was chosen for the highly competitive programme due to its Inspiring Science Education initiative, which promotes hands on, inquiry-based and collaborative learning while providing the tools to make science education more ‘challenging, playful and above all more imaginative and inspiring’.

The local school was a ‘stand out choice’ due to this programme, which has now resulted in local students preparing to lift off into the history books as the first Irish school to make direct radio contact with the ISS.

Working with the students and staff of Tallaght Community School in recent months, Daniel Cussen, ARISS Radio Technical Co-ordinator will be on-hand to ensure their temporary mission control radio station is up and functioning.

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According to Mr Cussen: “I am thrilled for Tallaght Community School to be awarded this fantastic honour and educational experience.

“I have worked with many schools in Europe to facilitate contact with the ISS, but as an Irishman I am delighted to be working with Irish students as they leave their mark in history as the first students to make direct space contact.

“Amateur radio is an area which I am extremely passionate about and I am so excited to share this passion with these students, which will hopefully inspire some of them to follow in my footsteps.”

Radio contact will start at 1.38pm this Thursday, October 19, with a live stream of the event available above or at www.youtube.com/user/togdublin/live

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