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The Big E to Host Live Space Chat with International Space Station

WEST SPRINGFIELD — New England students at the Big E Arena will make live radio contact with an astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS) as it orbits 260 miles above the Earth, traveling at 17,500 mph. The specific date and time will be determined by NASA and is expected to be between Sept. 27 and Sept. 29. The date and time will be announced at thebige.com and on social media.

As part of an educational program intended to promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities, the Space Chat is an out-of-this-world opportunity brought to students and Big E fairgoers by amateur (ham) radio operators. Thirteen students from New England Sci-Tech of Natick have been selected to take part in the contact experience at the Big E.

A short program will precede the contact to unpack the STEM learning activities the students are involved in, the role that the space agencies around the world play in making astronaut-contact experiences happen, and how amateur radio makes the contact possible. Following the introductory program, students will have the opportunity to ask questions of an astronaut aboard the ISS via radio communication.

As part of the program, New England Sci-Tech will sponsor a 12-month STEM education program that is free to all students in grades 4-12 and Scouts in New England. The initiative will provide hands-on learning about space science, radio communications, electronics, satellites, rocketry, astronomy, amateur radio, and more. For more information, visit the Amateur Radio Operators booth in the Better Living Center during the fair, which runs from Sept. 16 through Oct. 2.

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