Lebanon students talk to astronaut on ISS - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Lebanon students talk to astronaut on ISS

LEBANON, TN (WSMV) -

Students in Lebanon had an out-of-this-world experience Tuesday when they talked to an astronaut on the International Space Station.

"I am really excited," eighth-grader Israel Irizarry said. "When I grow up, I am planning to be an astronomer working at NASA. I just love space so much."

Irizarry and other students at Winfree Bryant Middle School had their questions ready.

"This is all about the students talking with the astronauts aboard the International Space Station," science teacher Tammy Sheppard said.

The event was streamed on YouTube while more than 600 students crowded into the school's auditorium, tracking the progress of the ISS.

"They're about 220 miles up above earth and traveling about 17,500 miles an hour," Sheppard said.

Students were able to talk to the astronaut thanks to amateur radio operators and the frequencies from NASA.

"On amateur radio, it is not uncommon to talk around the world, said Perry Ogletree, amateur radio operator. "In fact, we have a lot of operators who bounce signals off the moon to talk to the people on the other side of the earth."

At precisely 11:10 a.m. Tuesday, astronaut Reid Wiseman was right above Lebanon.

"They'll be coming across one horizon and then leaving on another horizon," Perry said. "It takes about 10 minutes to cross us."

That was just enough time for 16 students to get their questions in.

"My question is what kind of effects does space have on your body?" Irizarry asked.

There was some static, but all students received answers from Wiseman.

"He was talking about how the sun would destroy cells," Irizarry said. "It was pretty cool."

These students will soon have a local hero. Astronaut Barry Wilmore of Mt. Juliet is heading to the ISS this fall.

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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