The ISS "Downlinks" to Fernbank Science Center

Sixth grade students at Avondale Middle and Freedom Middle Schools had an opportunity in May to participate in a special downlink from the International Space Station (ISS) to Fernbank Science Center and to ask questions of two of the astronauts, Engineers Mike Barrett and Koichi Wakata.

Over 500 people filled the Jim Cherry Memorial Planetarium to witness the event, which was attended by students, teachers and invited dignitaries. Congressman Hank Johnson was represented by staff member, Oliver Spurgeon. Attendees were treated to a special planetarium show by Fernbank Science Center astronomer, Angela Sarrazine before the event with the two NASA astronauts. See images below

Images by Tony Madden

Several weeks before the downlink, students from the two middle schools were invited to submit questions for the astronauts and twenty students were selected to present their questions to the two astronauts on the ISS. The questions ranged from, “What do you do in case of a medical emergency?” to “Why do astronauts lose bone mass while in space?” Each question was well-received by the astronauts who took time to answer each one for the students. The session was taped by DeKalb County School System’s Channel 24 for presentation in the schedule of events broadcast over the station.

The downlink session was a special presentation through a partnership of Fernbank Science Center, DeKalb County School System, NASA Glenn Research Center and the NASA SEMAA Project.