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Downlink With International Space Station

  • June 30, 2008
  • Kim Estes
  • Portfolio

In June of 2008, we hosted a week long space camp culminating with a televised downlink with the international space station. I worked with Sandra Hines and Jeanie Gilbert French from my school district to compete for a grant to speak to Astronaut Dr. Greg Chamitoff aboard the International Space Station. Our camp students had the opportunity to ask him about NASA, the ISS, and life in a micro-gravity environment.

Astronaut Dr. Gregory Chamitoff
Astronaut Dr. Gregory Chamitoff

Members of the press, local universities and businesses, community members, teachers, staff, parents, and students were invited to the event. I was honored to be the first one to speak to Dr. Chamitoff, and my son, Donovan, was the first student to ask a question – “How do you use robotics on the space station?” Dr. Chamitoff actually pulled out a small, programmable robot they use on the station and demonstrated it!


I got to be the one to welcome the ISS to Burleson! (Yes, that’s me on the video – before I lost the weight).

I was also really blessed to have my mom there for the event. She represented University College at Prairie View A&M University – one of our sponsors for the event.

Here are some photos of our contact.

Before and after the downlink, we had interactive science activities available for students and guests from the Ft. Worth Science and History Museum (including a portable planetarium), Meteors from TCU’s Monnig Meteorite Museum, Moon rocks and samples on display from NASA, Telescopes for students to view the heavens provided by my good friend Leanne Newman and her husband (members of the Fort Worth Astronomy Society), a robotics competition with our camp students, and a live podcast being run by students from our summer camp  And…visitors to our event could enter their names on a roster with NASA to have their names engraved on a disc being sent into space aboard a NASA satellite. Here’s a slide show from the event:


Here’s one of the newspaper articles about our event. We were also featured live on the news.

The event was lots of fun…and as I mentioned, it capped off a week-long camp for students. Here are some photos from our camp!