SHA Space Cadets Good Talkers
By TYSON AGBAYANI
Thirteen Sacred Heart students got the opportunity of a lifetime when they interviewed astronaut Luca Parmitano as she flew over Hawaii.
The exchange occurred Aug. 1 at 7:01 a.m. as NASA’s Amateur Radio Ground Station at Sacred Hearts Academy linked the International Space Station (ISS) with Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Air Venture in Oshkosh, Wis.
The link-up was during the EAA Air Venture show when more than 500,000 aviation fans from 60 countries gathered to celebrate.
Participants included young women and their mentors who are members of WomenSoar, a program encouraging aerospace careers, along with groups from Florida and California aviation high schools.
Nancy Rocheleau – the radio club adviser and coordinator for the Kaimuki girls school’s first conversation with astronauts in 1994 – teamed up with co-founders Dick Flagg and Mike Scott for the successful contact.
Since its 1994 launch, the academy’s radio station has participated in more than 115 contacts and has helped its students connect with schools from remote regions of Canada, to Kuwait and India.
The SHA station is one of only 11 around the world, that have earned the right to speak to the ISS on a rotating basis. Students volunteer their time to help prepare the station for each contact and are notified whenever the ISS is over Hawaii, giving them the opportunity to telebridge with schools worldwide.