Monday, February 9, 2009

College Students Chat with Space Station Using Their Radio

Four Toronto college students from The Humber College have accomplished a technological feat by making contact with the International Space Station last week using a radio system they designed and built themselves. It was a scheduled event so they did not just call them out of the blue.

The project got off the ground about a year ago as the students looked for a way to apply knowledge gained from their radio communication courses. The first message got no response, but a second attempt reached astronaut Sandra Magnus. They had a 10-minute window to talk to her, during which they asked some technical questions and passed on a few other questions from contest winners at the school. One student asked how well the International Space Station is protected from debris, while another wanted to know how it feels to see Earth from space.

While school contacts with the space station are routinely made through the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station program, many of those contacts are made using a traditional ham radio. “It's an incredible feat of undertaking and technology, and I'd just like to say I'm really, really proud of this team,” said Humber instructor Mark Rector.

So on the next revolution around the Earth, dial up the power on your ham radio and see if you can reach them!

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