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Costa Mesa pupils to talk to astronaut on space station

COSTA MESA – Students at Kline School have been invited to talk to Cmdr. Kevin Ford aboard the International Space Station on Thursday through a NASA education event.

The event, ARISS, is a cooperative venture of NASA, the American Radio Relay League, the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation and other amateur radio groups and space agencies.

"The 'telebridge' communication with the space station is being done as the ship flies over Italy and a ham radio operator relays a two-way communication through the telephone," said Sean Butler, technology coordinator and science teacher at Kline School.

"There are three crew members currently living on the ISS," he said.

Susan Kline, founder and director of the school, said the school has four cameras set up for video capture, and one for live streaming.

This communication echoes a similar contact Kline School had on July 15 and July 19, 1994, when space enthusiasts were celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

This ARISS contact commemorates the 40th anniversary of the launch of the last lunar landing – Apollo 17 – on Dec. 7, 1972. In addition to a question-and-answer period with students and the space station crew member, Kline graduates were invited to share how the 1994 radio communication impacted their lives.

In preparation, kindergarten through eighth-grade pupils had lessons using the NASA website on such topics as "Building the ISS" and "What Life is Like Aboard the ISS."

Twelve students, ages 7-14, were chosen to ask Ford questions.

"We wanted them to ask questions whose answers couldn't be found in a book or anywhere else," Kline said.

To get details of the event and see an edited presentation afterward, visit

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