Tallaght Community School will this Thursday, 19th October become the first Irish school to make radio contact with the International Space Station (I.S.S.)
The I.S.S. travels in orbit around the Earth at a speed of 27,600km/hour and for a window of six to 12 minutes it will pass over Tallaght Community School.
The students will get the opportunity to speak to Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli while he takes a break from his extensive daily duties on board the ISS.
“The opportunity to talk to the astronauts on board the ISS will hopefully encourage students to pursue a career in STEM education, but also be a memorable moment in their journey through education in Tallaght Community School,” said Ian Boran, physics and maths teacher.
In 2014 Paolo was interviewed for an RTE Radio 1 science series called ‘What’s It All About? where he spoke about life on a previous ISS mission.
Radio equipment on the ground in Tallaght will beam a line-of-sight signal to the ISS. The students in Tallaght have set up a radio station on the ground, using amateur radio equipment which includes an antenna, and a two-way radio system.
The ISS has been a channel for educating school students around the world about on the work that takes place on the ISS and life on-board the ISS.
Amateur radio is a hobby which facilitates learning about how radio technology works , communicating with others and long distance communication.
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, or ARISS, is a global voluntary group that formalised a programme for helping schools to connect with the ISS through the use of amateur radio equipment.
The ARISS runs a competition where thousands of applications are received from schools worldwide to connect with the ISS, but only a few are chosen.
Schools in the home country of a specific astronaut on board the ISS received 70 per cent of the limited number of contact events per year.
So, for countries like Ireland, which have no astronaut on board the ISS, it is extremely difficult for a school to be chosen.