“Trinidad, we have contact!”
Caribbean science students speak to
International Space Station astronaut

At 11:13 a.m. on Monday 8 August, 2011, Caribbean lower-sixth form science students made history as the first persons from the region to connect with, and ask questions directly to, Satoshi Furukawa, a Japanese astronaut on board the International Space Station (ISS).

The 12 students from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Grenada and Jamaica, are among the 200 participants of the 10th Caribbean Youth Science Forum (CYSF) being hosted by NIHERST from 7-14 August 2011 at The University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine Campus.

The connection lasted for 10 minutes before the ISS, which was flying over Argentina at the time, went out of the radio communication range of the Americas region. This historic hook-up was made possible through the visit of Trinidad-born aerospace engineer, Camille Wardrop Alleyne, who is based at the NASA-Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, USA, and who had been invited by NIHERST to be the keynote speaker at CYSF 2011. Ms Alleyne arranged the connection through NASA’s educational ARISS (Amateur Radio on the ISS) programme. ARISS coordinators, Steve Regan and Steve Mc Farlane in Canada, were assisted by the Trinidad and Tobago Amateur Radio League (TTARL) and Luis Funes in Central Argentina.

The students asked a range of questions related to space exploration, the activities of the ISS, and the astronaut’s personal experience of being in space. The lucky students posing questions were: Shanice Fyzool of Lakshmi Girls’ Hindu School; Keenan Charles of ASJA Boys’ College; Jarrette Khan of Chaguanas North Secondary School; Jennyn John of Signal Hill School; Christopher Morgan of Harrison College in Barbados; Khamal Clayton of Cornwall College in Jamaica; Oliver Maynard of the TA Marryshow College in Grenada; Ciara Bridgemohan of St. Francois College; Kheffrely Miller-Griffith of St. Augustine Secondary School; Onella Sookhansingh of Iere High School; Adam Hanna of Queen’s Royal College; and Jonathan Gosyne of Presentation College Chaguanas.

TT students talk their way into space history - Newsday article - Tue 9 Aug 2011

About Camille Wardrop Alleyne

Ms Alleyne is Assistant Program Scientist for the ISS. She has spent the past 15 years dedicated to the advancement of aerospace and space technology, working for most of that time at NASA. Her current role is to communicate the ISS’ scientific research and education programmes to stakeholders and the public. During her stay in Trinidad, she will also deliver a public lecture on 11 August, 2011, entitled “The International Space Station (ISS): Helping humanity from above”, giving an overview of the research being done on the ISS and what the most important benefits are to humankind.

The public is cordially invited to attend Camille Alleyne’s public lecture, Thursday 11 August at 6:30 p.m. at Lecture Theatre 1, Faculty of Engineering, UWI, St Augustine. >>>

Written: August 2011