Howell (NJ) 3/20/98


Students of Land O’Pines School in Howell to talk by direct radio link to

MIR Space Station astronaut

orbiting the Earth



As you will see from the attached press release, students from Land O’Pines school will make direct contact by Amateur Radio with a US astronaut, Dr. Andy Thomas, orbiting the earth on board the space station MIR. The contact is scheduled to occur at 4:33 PM EDT on April 9th .


Students will have the opportunity to ask questions of Dr. Thomas, by direct amateur radio link, as the MIR Space Station passes overhead. This contact is unique in that 5th and 6th grade students themselves will operate the direct radio link, directional antennas, and space station tracking computer displays to achieve the contact.


You are invited to be present for, and to report on, this very exciting, unique, and news worthy event.


If you will be sending a camera crew or reporters would you please contact me. Audio hookups for recording will be available. Prior arrangement is essential.


Your early response will be much appreciated.






Kenneth Cochran





The MIR Space Station mission again includes Amateur Radio. Amateur (or "ham") radio operators and students will attempt to make radio contact with the orbiting space station as part of a project called SAREX, or the Space Amateur Radio EXperiment. Amateur Radio has been flying aboard the space shuttles

and MIR Space Station, providing the public with a unique vantage point of space.


Amateur (or "ham") Radio operators from around the world can point their antennas at the Space Station MIR, hoping to find the astronauts are on-the-air. Some of these amateurs have volunteered to assist a group of students at Land O’Pines school in Howell that have prepared questions to ask the astronauts during a specially scheduled contact time.


To make the radio contact, the astronauts will use a radio aboard the space station, on frequencies used by ham radio operators. The contact will demonstrate to young people, teachers, parents and the community how Amateur Radio and space energize students about science, technology, and learning. For the students that participate in SAREX, the contact is the culmination of much hard work. Many of the students have studied space science, communication, and have trained to use ham radio equipment and satellite-

tracking computer software.


To operate Amateur Radio from the space station, one or more of the astronauts needs to have an Amateur Radio license. The MIR crew members are licensed Amateur Radio operators including Dr. Andy Thomas the current US Astronaut member of the MIR crew.


To contact the space station, 5th and 6th grade students will work as a team to


WHEN: Contact is scheduled by NASA for Thursday, April 9, 1998 at 4:33PM EDT. This student-run contact has a high probability of success, but the immediate results are not certain and there is a chance the attempt may need to be repeated. Visitors should aim to be seated, (TV and Press crews set up), no later than 4PM EDT on April 9th. An explanation of the event will be given, and questions and answers taken before and after the contact.


WHERE: The contact will take place between the Land O’Pines school in Howell, NJ and the MIR Space Station orbiting the earth at a height of approximately 250 miles and an inclination of 51 degrees.


WHY: NASA's intent in making astronauts available for SAREX operations is to involve the largest possible numbers of people, particularly students, in technology and the US space program with the help of Amateur Radio.


SAREX SPONSORS: The Space Amateur Radio EXperiment (SAREX) is sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT) and The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). SAREX operates under radio transmission rules established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).


PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS: Schools are selected from around the world to make contact with the shuttle or MIR during most SAREX missions. These contacts are prearranged, giving the schools a greater chance at making a successful contact. A few students at each of the selected schools ask questions of

the astronauts during the contact. The nature of these contacts embodies the primary goal of SAREX—to excite students' interest in learning. Land O’Pines school was selected by the SAREX Working Group for a scheduled radio contact during this mission:




The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation in North America (AMSAT-NA) operates the Internet host AMSAT.ORG to provide for efficient communications between people interested in the amateur satellite program. Periodic mailings to the SAREX list include information and press releases pertaining to SAREX

missions. This mailing list is very active during SAREX missions, and can be fairly quiet in between missions. To subscribe to the SAREX mailing list, send a message with your request to Be sure to include your call sign (if any), your correct e-mail address, and the proper name of the

mailing list you wish to receive (SAREX). Your request will be processed manually for now, so the format of your request is not important. To unsubscribe from the mailing list, send another message with your request to




Contact Ken Cochran


On the Internet at




Contact the American Radio Relay League

Educational Activities Department

225 Main Street, Newington CT 06111-1494 USA

Telephone (860) 594-0301, FAX (860) 594-0259, ARRL BBS (860) 594-0306


World Wide Web

CompuServe 70007,3373

America Online HQARRL1


Further internet resources can be found at