NewsLocal News


Lee County students selected to communicate with astronauts in space

Lee County students to speak to astronauts
Posted at 1:40 PM, Feb 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-12 13:40:22-05

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Some Fort Myers students will get to participate in an extraordinary opportunity to communicate with some far-off humans next school year.

For the first time ever, some Lee County, Florida, students are going to be able to directly speak to an astronaut aboard the International Space Station.  

Allen Park Elementary in Fort Myers has been chosen to participate in the ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) program.

The exact time and date of the ISS flyover is yet to be determined.  It is anticipated to happen in the fall after the students return for the 2018-2019 school year. 

Fifth-grade math and science teacher Courtney Black is leading the school’s effort for this amazing opportunity.  “I hope students will come away from this experience with the realization that, with hard work and determination, anything is possible.  I hope they realize that they can reach for the stars, both figuratively and literally.” 

CenturyLink will provide the ham radio connection needed for the students to communicate with the ISS crew as they pass overhead.

In anticipation of this event, Allen Park has started a “Year in Space” learning program.  Students are participating in NASA’s “Train like an Astronaut - Walk to the Moon” challenge, tracking their steps until they reach the 478 million steps it would take to walk to the moon. They have also planted a garden of “space tomatoes,” and are creating a time capsule and forming a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) club to study rocketry, coding and robotics.