Lee County students get Q&A with astronaut on the ISS

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Photo: WINK News

21 Lee County students are the first in Southwest Florida to talk to an astronaut on the International Space Station.

For just 10 minutes, a room full of students, teachers and parents were dialed in to the ISS with new technology installed on the roof of Allen Park Elementary.

It’s a rare opportunity that schools around the world apply for through NASA, and to make it happen, it takes thousands of dollars worth of equipment, the first of its kind in Southwest Florida.

The participants were selected from nine different Lee County schools back in May and they have been practicing what they were going to say since.

“It’s a bit surreal to finally have a date set in stone,” said Courtney Black, a 5th grade science teacher.  “The countless hours of preparation and practice are about to pay off for everyone involved.”

Black spear-headed the project about a year ago wanting to bring some space science to Florida’s west coast.

“We wanted to get students who are future astronauts, future engineers, future educators that would really benefit most from this experience.” Black said.

CenturyLink technician and Fort Myers Amateur Radio Club’s Brian Darley spent months helping put the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) system together.

“Some kids forget that the Space Coast is not that far away and they limit their sights, and I hope through this opportunity their sights were a little expanded,” Black said.

Black says any teacher in Lee, Collier or Hendry county interested in using the radio can contact her or the district.

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