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Santa Monica Students to Communicate with Space Station Monday
By Jorge Casuso
October 27, 2017 -- "Station, this is Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica California, how do you hear me?"
"I hear you loud and clear, welcome aboard the International Space Station."
Those, or similar words, will be uttered live at Samohi's Barnum Hall at 10:50 a.m. on Monday, when more than a dozen students from the high school will engage in a 20-minute Earth-to-space call.
It just may be the first time the popular bayside city, increasingly known as a high-tech hub, communicates with space.
The conversation with NASA astronauts living, working and conducting research aboard the International Space Station will be witnessed live by the 1,200 students and guests expected to pack the historic hall, District officials said.
The Skype call also will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website, NASA officials said.
Santa Monica High School has a special connection to the 53rd Expedition to the space station. The expedition's commander, Randy Bresnik, graduated from Samohi in 1985.
Four of the high school's students also recently flew an experiment on board the space station as part of the Student Space Flight Experiments Program (SSEP) Mission 11.
Titled, “The Effect of Microgravity on the Rate of Fermentation in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae,” the experiment studies whether microgravity on the space station affects the quantity of ethanol produced from yeast fermentation.
This experiment -- which according to NASA "raises the possibility of using yeast as a catalyst for rocket fuel or as an energy source during space expeditions" -- was proposed when the students were eighth graders at Lincoln Middle School ("Santa Monica Middle School Students' Project Could Be Headed To Orbit," November 16, 2015).
The students on Monday will interact on Skype with Bresnik, whose father and sister will be at Barnum Hall, and co-astronaut Joe Acaba, District officials said.
Santa Monica native Sally Ride was the first American woman in space, when she flew aboard the space shuttle Challenger on June 18, 1983 ("Barrier-Breaking Astronaut Interred at Santa Monica’s Woodlawn Cemetery," August 8, 2012).
Jonny Kim, who graduated from the high school in 2002, is a member of the astronaut candidate class of 2017. Kim, who earned a Doctorate of Medicine from Harvard Medical School, was a member of the Navy SEAL medical corps.
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