LAFAYETTE, Ga. (WRCB-TV) - Students and local VIP's gathered at LaFayette Middle School in Walker County, Georgia, to witness the big event. In an 11-minute window, members of the school radio club chatted with Indian-American Astronaut Sunita Williams, Commander of the ISS (and only the second woman to hold that post), as it zoomed 250 miles overhead.
It was the culmination of 10 months of work, securing grants for an antenna, filling out paperwork, and composing just the right questions to ask, culled from ideas submitted by Walker County kids of all ages. "They selected only so many schools to be able to take part in a contact," said student Cris Rasmussen. "I think it was just a great opportunity for us."
"Awesome," added 8th grader John Jackson. "I loved it! A little nervous at first. I loved it." He asked Commander Williams about everyday chores in space.
"It's really not dirty up here," answered Williams, as she proceeded to add an interesting tidbit on 'living in space,' a place where nothing goes to waste. "We wear our clothes for, actually, a week or so. And, then, they turn into workout clothes. And, then, they get thrown into the trash and used as packing material."
Amazed by the speed of orbit, Josh Carter, an LMS 8th grader said, "I thought it was interesting that they travel around the world in 90 minutes. It takes about 2 hours to get to my aunt's house in North Carolina." The ISS blazes around the earth at greater than 17,000 miles per hour.
"Hopefully, there will be more days like this and further contacts," said Nate Espy. He is home schooled, but a proud member of the LMS Rambler Radio Club. "Now we know the sky is not the limit!"
Jody Carter, LMS math and science teacher, sponsors the club. "We want them to think beyond where they are," he said. "Whether it's at middle school, think beyond high school, think to college and career, and to get connected with their future so that they can be prepared for it."
The LaFayette Middle School Rambler Radio Club members regularly chat with people all over the globe and help in their home county, too. You can find them at call sign: W4LMS