Press Release

Minnesota Students to Speak with NASA Astronauts on Space Station

By SpaceRef Editor
February 16, 2018
Filed under , , ,

Students in central Minnesota will speak with NASA astronauts living, working and doing research aboard the International Space Station at 1:35 p.m. EST Tuesday, Feb. 20. The 20-minute, Earth-to-space call will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

The event is being hosted by the College of Saint Benedict (CSB), in St. Joseph, Minnesota, and Saint John’s University (SJU), located in nearby Collegeville, Minnesota. Students from five area middle and high schools will travel to SJU for the call to Expedition 54 astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Scott Tingle aboard the space station, posing questions about life aboard the orbital outpost, NASA’s deep space exploration plans, and doing science in space.

Vande Hei, an SJU alumnus, arrived at the space station on Sept.12 and will return to Earth later this month. Tingle arrived Dec.19 and is scheduled to return to Earth in June.

Students across the participating school districts have been preparing for the event by studying the space station, astronaut biographies, and incorporating rockets and space station-focused physics lessons into the curriculum, as well as hosting an Engineering Design Competition. About 200 people are expected to be on-site at the university during the downlink.

Media interested in attending the event should contact Michael Hemmesch via email at or phone at 320-363-2595. CSB & SJU will host the event at 2850 Abbey Plaza in Collegeville.

Linking students directly to astronauts aboard the space station provides unique, authentic experiences designed to enhance student learning, performance and interest in STEM. This in-flight education downlink is an integral component of NASA’s Year of Education on Station, which provides extensive space station-related resources and opportunities to students and educators. Astronauts living in space on the orbiting laboratory communicate with the Mission Control Center on Earth 24 hours a day through the Space Network’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS).

Follow the astronauts on social media:

See videos and lesson plans highlighting research on the International Space Station at:

SpaceRef staff editor.