Monday, July 16, 2012

Ham radio to link Ahmedabad students with Sunita Williams

If all goes well for the Gujarat Science City officials, the institute will establish amateur radio contact with International Space Station (ISS) where Indian-American astronautSunita Williams will be stationed for four months. The state students might be able to talk to Williams directly about her experience. The science city officials have initiated communication with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) authorities for the project.
Williams, who is also the commander for expedition 33, along with her two colleagues Yuri Malenchenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency and Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency took off for her second space odyssey on Sunday morning with a Russian Soyuz rocket, which blasted off successfully from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Soyuz TMA spacecraft is due to dock with the ISS's Zvezda service module at 10.22 am IST on Tuesday.
Ham radio or amateur radio is frequently used for the communication from space to earth and vice versa and in the past, many of the astronauts stationed at ISS have had talks with students narrating their experiences and answering their queries. So far, India has not been part of the movement but the science city officials are hopeful of getting through.
Narottam Sahoo, senior scientist at the science city, said that they are in process of contacting NASA for linking contact with the ISS. "It will be part of global education system where students are made aware about science with hands-on experience. We had a successful demonstration on amateur radio at the science city and are now awaiting the opportunity to talk. The ISS passes above India for 92 minutes everyday. If we got the link with the support of NASA's science outreach programme, it would be a great opportunity for our students to learn," he said.
[Jose Jacob, VU2JOS]