Press Release

NASA Offers Schools And Education Groups Chance To Talk To Space

By SpaceRef Editor
March 30, 2011
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NASA Offers Schools And Education Groups Chance To Talk To Space

HOUSTON — NASA is offering opportunities for schools and educational groups to speak with astronauts aboard the International Space Station to learn about the challenges and rewards of their work. Members of Expedition 29 and 30, the 29th and 30th crews to live on the station, will be available for question-and-answer sessions from September through March 2012.

NASA astronauts Mike Fossum of McAllen, Texas, Dan Burbank of Yarmouthport, Mass., and Don Pettit of Silverton, Ore, will participate in the 20-minute question-and-answer sessions, known as in-flight downlinks.

“These discussions are unique opportunities for students to learn first-hand from astronauts aboard the station what it is like to live and work in space,” said Cindy McArthur, Teaching From Space (TFS) project manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “It is inspiring to see science come alive for the students.”

The downlinks are modified videoconferences where participants see and hear crew live from space, but the crew only has audio connectivity. U.S. educational organizations such as museums, science centers, local school districts, national and regional education organizations and local, state and federal government agencies are eligible to participate. NASA provides this opportunity through TFS at no cost to the host organization and will work with the host institution to plan the downlink.

Interested parties should contact TFS at for information about technical requirements, expectations, content, format, and audience, and proposal guidelines and forms. Proposals must be submitted electronically and are due April 29.

The downlinks are broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency’s website. Due to the nature of human spaceflight, organizations must demonstrate the flexibility to accommodate changes in downlink dates and times. Participating organizations also must have two dedicated phone lines and the capability to receive NASA TV via NASA’s Live Interactive Media Outlet Channel to view and communicate with the crew. The channel is a digital satellite C-band downlink by uplink provider Americom. It is on satellite AMC 6, transponder 5C, located at 72 degrees west, downlink frequency 3785.5 Mhz based on a standard C-band 5150 Mhz L.O., vertical polarity, FEO is 3/4, data rate is 6.00 Mhz, symbol rate is 4.3404 Mbaud, transmission DVB, minimum Eb/N0 is 6.0 dB.

For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and schedule information, visit:

For more information about Teaching From Space, visit:

For more information about the International Space Station and the Expedition 29 and 30 crews, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.