Today, students from Land O’Pines school will initiate direct amateur radio contact with U.S. astronaut Dr. Andy Thomas on board the Russian Space Station - Mir.

Planning for this contact started some three years ago with an application to NASA, under the auspices of "SAREX", the Space Amateur Radio Experiment. SAREX is jointly sponsored by NASA, AMSAT, and the ARRL.

The contact will operate under amateur radio regulations established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

While every effort has been made to ensure a successful contact, we must emphasize that the contact is not certain to happen. A number of factors can potentially postpone or even cancel the contact. In recent months, the MIR Space Station has had its share of technical difficulties. If it comes to a choice between talking to students and fixing a life support system it is no surprise that the students will have to wait until another time.

The student teams working on today’s contact have trained thoroughly for their tasks, to maximize the probability of success. They, and their equipment, are completely ready for the contact and they have already tested their techniques by communicating via orbiting satellite.

It takes thousands of people to successfully send a handful of people into space. Likewise many of the students are working to allow a few to directly talk with the astronaut. All the students can take equal pride in their part of this team effort.

Today our children make a step into Earth Orbit. At the end of the year their names will be included on a computer disk flying to Mars on board the "Mars Polar Lander". I would not be in the least surprised if, in years to come, some of them travel in space themselves. It is our hope that this contact will inspire and thrill the children with possibilities for their future and for the benefit of their fellow human beings.

Our thanks to you, the radio amateurs who have assisted us, the faculty of Land O’Pines school, and of course the students in whom we take such great pride.

Amateur Radio

Equipment has been supplied, and training of the students has been done, by several licensed radio amateurs from the Monmouth County area. Two of the students have already studied for, and earned, their own licenses. Amateur Radio provides a great introduction to technology and public service … indeed almost every NASA astronaut is also a licensed radio amateur.

Further Information

If you desire more information about the contact, please visit our WEB site at After the contact … photos, video clips, and reports will also be available at this site. Video tapes will be made available to parent groups, other classes, schools and clubs if requested.

Important Note:

During the contact, complete silence from the audience is essential. Please resist the temptation to applaud, or comment, until after the contact is over. We do not want to waste any of these precious few minutes due to un-necessary noise which might mean that a student’s question goes unasked and unanswered.

Mission Control Room Layout

The diagram below illustrates the positions of student teams in the control room established in the Land O’Pines Media Center.



"Those who have worked together to reach the stars are not likely to descend together into the depths of war and desolation."

U.S. Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson,

addressing the U.N. General Assembly, 1958


Mission Profile

(Begins 4:00 PM EDT)

Welcome to Land O’Pines Mission Control (4:00 PM EDT)

Amanda Bordfeld

Mr. Richard Thompson (Principal)

Description of Contact

Mr. Joe Pate N2YMO

Mr. Al Emer N2YAC

Mr. Ken Cochran N2RPN


Check List Verification

Mr. Al Emer with Student Teams


NASA Coordination of Contact

Mr. Frank Bauer

Vice President for Manned Spaceflight


NASA Goddard Space Flight Center


Radio Call to MIR Space Station (4:34 PM)

Astronaut Q & A

Astronaut Communicators with

Dr. Andy Thomas

on board

Mir Space Station


Teacher Comments

Mrs. Teri Kukielka (Teacher 6-C)


Press Conference

Students and Faculty

Mr. Joe Pate

Mr. Al Emer

Mr. Ken Cochran


Closing Comments

Mr. Richard Thompson

L.O.P Mission Control Crew



Amanda Bordfeld

Kristen Pilecki


NASA Communications

Ashley Bucsek

Dineth Archchi


Countdown Team

Catherine Cerbone

Leisha Jackucewicz

Jennie Schwartz

Ross Miller


Orbit Tracking Team

Adam Buga

Isaac Satten

Matt Kenask

Christina Rourke


Control Operator

Douglas Cochran (KC2CJT)


Antenna Control

Sean Emer (KC2DIJ)

Corey Flynn

Sean Nelson


Press Corps

Denise Hall

Christine Curella

Kimberly Oppen

Jennifer Anderson


Astronaut Communicators

Seth Pate

Jenny Chandler

Sara Bergstrom

Doug Buckley

Alexis Reynolds

Matthew Cherry

Catherine Corbo

Siobhan Huggins

Jessie Shoffel

Amanda Bordfeld

Kimberly Oppen

Denise Hall

Catherine Cerbone

Ashley Bucsek

Jennifer Anderson


Adult Advisers

The following people have devoted their time and expertise in preparing the students to make this contact.


Ken Cochran N2RPN (Project Leader)

Joe Pate N2YMO (Project Leader)

Al Emer N2YAC (Control Operator)

Gary Palamara KB2YTN (Audio)

Ken Brockel N2SMT (Orbit Computers)

Ron Olender WA2HZT (Site Coordinator)

Mark Pilecki KB2YZD (Site Coordinator)

Joe Dreifuss W2KQ (Backup Radios)

Al Dashevsky (LCD Projection)



Mr. Richard Thompson (Principal)

Mrs. Teri Kukielka (Teacher 6-C)

Mrs. Dana Woolley (Teacher 5-E)

Mr. Tony Olmeda (Custodian)

Special thanks to

Eastern Video, Holmdel, 732-946-1601


Morningstar Sound, Howell, 732-938-4217

for recording support of this event.