During the 2019 World Scout Jamboree, the NA1WJ amateur radio operation was in contact with the International Space Station as part of the ARISS Program.
One year in the making from education plan proposal to equipment plan to scheduling, and then actual contact. Many at ARISS helped with the proposal and equipment, chiefly Rosalie White and John Kludt, and Jan Poppeliers for the downlink. A key driver was Astronaut Drew Morgan, assistant Scoutmaster, who really wanted to make this contact happen.
Our drawing for participating Scouts numbered 10 with 6 alternates. Nine showed up for preparation and one joined us on stage right before the contact. Big hats off to Donald Sonnefeld who personally contacted every one of the 16 Scouts or their leaders the day before to alert them to the opportunity. In addition, Bob Scott alerted us to the World Point Stage with visual screen and then Marc Circus and his staff, supported by Mike Sprenger made it happen.
The 10 Scouts talking with the astronaut came from the following countries:
Here’s the list of questions that we used.
- What do you think is the most important thing you believe young people should do in Scouting to help them in their future careers such as being an astronaut or working in the sciences?
- Here at the World Jamboree we like to trade items with scouts from around the world as a way to bond and remember our new friendships. Do you ever trade patches or parts of your uniforms with your international crew members?
- What is the single prettiest place or region on Earth to see from space?
- Do you bring something special with you so when you get back, so you can say, “This has been in space!” ?
- What food do you miss the most that you can’t have in space?
- What if the ISS lost communication with Earth?
- What kind of emergency drills or practice do you do aboard the ISS, and how often?
- Do you need to drink more or less water in space than you do on earth?
- How do the plants orientate themselves to grow in space ?
- Is biological cell division the same in space as on Earth ?
- How did it feel to see Earth from space for the first time?
- A part of the Scout Law is A Scout is Reverent. Have you had a memorable moment during your time on the ISS that has lead to you showing reverence?
- Have you been on a space walk yet? If so, what is it like walking outside the ISS?
- Of all the professions available, why did you choose to become an astronaut?
- If there was one thing you wish you could have learned when you were younger in an organization such as the Scouts, or at school, to help you perform tasks in space, what would it be?
- Are there any bugs or animals on the ISS now and if so, what is their purpose?
- What is the single most important quality that you possess that you think got you into the space program?
- With everyone, and many things, floating in microgravity, how do you keep the space station clean?
- Do you have regular sleep and work schedules?
- What are the best and worst aspects about living on board the ISS?
Here’s the video of the contact: