Students from three Southern California schools will have an opportunity to talk to shuttle astronaut Ron Parise via ham radio during mission STS-35 set to launch on May 30.
Through efforts coordinated between the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Amateur Radio Club, the JPL Teacher Resource Center and the American Radio Relay League Inc., Owen Robbins and two other teachers from elementary schools in southeastern Los Angeles County's ABC Unified School District were selected to conduct an amateur radio connection with the shuttle crew.
Students who wished to participate submitted questions they would like to ask of Parise. One student and question were chosen from each school.
Parise is a payload specialist member of the seven-person crew which will fly the nine-day Astro-1 mission. A senior scientist in the Space Observatories Department, Computer Science Corporation in Silver Spring, Maryland, Parise is a member of the research team for the ultraviolet telescope, one of the instruments of the Astro payload, and is also a licensed amateur radio operator (WA4SIR).
Astro-1 is an astrophysics observatory which will operate from within the cargo bay of space shuttle Columbia during the STS-35 mission.
Sixth grader Dillon Matthew will be asking his question from Stowers Elementary School in Cerritos. Advising instructor from Stowers is Robbins, the person principally responsible for arranging the link-up for all three schools.
Robbins first contacted JPL to find someone to talk with over the radio about earthquakes. Through Peter McClosky of the JPL Teacher Resource Center, he arranged for Katherine Hutton, staff seismologist at Caltech, to participate in an interview. Following the interview Robbins and McClosky decided to set up a weekly program during which JPL/Caltech employees are asked questions about their work by elementary and middle school students.
They call the program the JPL Amateur Radio Club Educators' Career Net. The students use Robbins's radio and license and talk to JPL via the JPL Amateur Radio Club's publicly available repeater. Through the development of the program, both Owen Robbins and his wife, Judith Robbins, have become members of the JPL Amateur Radio Club.
The Career Net frequency is 2024.04 MHZ. Anyone is welcome to listen in on the conversations which are held on Thursday afternoons from 1:20 to 2:20. These interviews will be suspended during summer break, and will resume again this fall.
Robbins's call sign is KB6WYU. The other two teachers also have ham radio licenses, are participating in the shuttle interview and regularly take part in the Career Net program.
These teachers are Judith Robbins, call letters KB6WYV, of Cerritos Elementary School and Larry Mazur, call letters KC6AFJ, of Carver Elementary School. Chimene Mata, fifth grader, was selected from Cerritos School. Fourth grader Lisa Gonzales will represent Cerritos Elementary School.
The shuttle interview will take place at 3 p.m. PDT on day six of the STS-35 shuttle mission.
For further information contact Owen Robbins at Stowers Elementary School, (213) 926-2326.
News Media Contact818-354-5011