Global News photo ARISS contact with Ontario Science Centre

For immediate release:

A successful International Space Station (ISS) contact was held yesterday with participants at the Ontario Science Centre’s Amateur Radio station VE3OSC in Toronto, Ontario.

As described below this was no ordinary ARISS contact. 

“Jean Moffet, VE3WAD, has been a volunteer at the VE3OSC station for more than 30 years. Having recently celebrated her 96th birthday, Jean indicated one of her bucket list items is to speak to an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS). To honour her invaluable contribution, the Science Centre worked in partnership with the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) Canada to help Jean check this item off her list.”

The event was featured on Global News at 5:30 Toronto – in an interview with Anchor/Producer Broadcast Journalist Susan Hay – and on CTV News Toronto by  Videojournalist Scott Lightfoot. Please see the links provided below for the complete story.

Nick Westoll of Global News wrote:

“Jean Moffett crossed an item off her bucket list on Wednesday by speaking with Commander Luca Parmitano, an Italian astronaut from the European Space Agency, aboard the International Space Station.

‘Commander Parmitano, I have two questions to ask you: Do you have an opinion about extraterrestrial life before being on the International Space (ISS) Station and has being on the ISS changed your views?’ she asked.

Moffett was asked how long she has been waiting to do this.

‘Since I was 60… I was an amateur radio operator and my voice was going up to satellites and I could hear the astronauts speaking, but I could never speak to them,’ she recalled. ‘I thought to myself, that’s my bucket wish’.”

CTV news photo ARISS contact with Ontario Science Centre

Scott Lightfoot of CTV News wrote:

“Moffatt grew up in North Bay and moved to Toronto as a young girl with her family hoping that there would be opportunities for a girl interested in science and technology.

‘When we moved to Toronto I desperately wanted to go to university, but my mom and dad had bought a house, and there was just enough money for my brother to go to university.’

Undeterred, Moffatt said she took a course in Amateur Radio and shortly after, got her licence. More than 30 years ago, after retiring, and the death of her husband, Moffatt started volunteering at the Ontario Science Centre, an endeavor she admits wasn’t successful at first.

‘I was working in the greenhouse, killing all the plants because I cannot keep plants alive’. Armed with her radio licence, she helped set up the centre’s first radio shack with the call sign VE3OSC.

The idea to connect the nonagenarian with the ISS came just after Moffatt’s 96th birthday.

‘She mentioned to me that one of the things she’s always wanted to do was talk to an astronaut’ Christine Pigeon, the volunteer co-ordinator at the Science Centre told CTV News Toronto. It all started with an e-mail, and three months later with the help of ham radio operators and NASA, Moffatt made her connection.”

Congratulations and Thank You!

Radio Amateurs of Canada would like to congratulate Jean Moffet, VE3WAD, on this significant achievement and thank everyone who was involved with this very special event. We hope to bring you additional information about this event in a future issue of The Canadian Amateur magazine.

We would especially like to thank Global News and CTV News for their coverage of this event. Please see the links below for the complete story.

Additional information about the event is provided below in the news release that was issued before the event.

Background information:

News release before the event:

An International Space Station (ISS) contact has been planned with participants at the Ontario Science Centre’s Amateur Radio station VE3OSC in Toronto, Ontario on Wednesday, January 22.

The Ontario Science Centre is fortunate to have dedicated and knowledgeable volunteers for its Amateur Radio station VE3OSC. By sharing their knowledge of and passion for Amateur Radio, the volunteers at the VE3OSC station make an invaluable contribution to the visitor experience.

Jean Moffet, VE3WAD, has been a volunteer at the VE3OSC station for more than 30 years. Having recently celebrated her 96th birthday, Jean indicated one of her bucket list items is to speak to an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS). To honour her invaluable contribution, the Science Centre is working with the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) Canada to help Jean check this item off her list.

The event is scheduled to begin at approximately 12:21 EST local time or 17:21:36 UTC. It is recommended that you start listening approximately 10 minutes before this time. The duration of the contact is approximately 9 minutes and 30 seconds.

The contact will be a telebridge between OR4ISS and IK1SLD and the scheduled astronaut is Luca Parmitano, KF5KDP. The contact should be audible over Italy and adjacent areas. Interested parties are invited to listen in on the 145.80 MHz downlink. The contact is expected to be conducted in English.

The ARISS Mentor is Steve McFarlane, VE3TBD and the Moderator is Brian Jackson, VE6JBJ.

Source: ARISS  Steve McFarlane, VE3TBD

Questions:

Participants will ask as many of the following questions as time allows:

1) Did you have an opinion about extra-terrestrial life before being on the International Space Station; has being on the ISS changed your views?
2) Being a mature woman, I have done a lot of cleaning. Has seeing Earth from near-space given you any thoughts on modifying existing technology, say attachments to airplanes, to help with excess greenhouse gas clean-up?
3) Have you seen space junk? How bad is the problem?
4) Did you always want to be an astronaut? What did your parents think?
5) What personal item did you bring with you and why?
6) What do you miss most about your usual life?
7) What is the most stressful situation in space you have experienced and how did it turn out?
8) What life lesson have you brought back that you can share with us from your most stressful situation in space?
9) How do you relieve boredom on ISS? Do you play with fidget toys, Silly Putty, games, music?
10) Does food taste different on the space station? How do you deal with food cravings?
11) What effects of microgravity have been the hardest to adjust to?
12) What are your thoughts on the portrayal of space in movies?
13) What does space look like from the International Space Station?
14) What is your favourite view of Earth from the space station?
15) What are your three favourite things about being on the space station?
16) Do you miss being able to go out for a walk whenever you want?

Additional information:

An iconic cultural attraction, the Ontario Science Centre is a global leader in lifelong learning, welcoming more than 53 million visitors since opening its doors in 1969. As a convenor of public dialogue on technology, science and society, it provides collaborative experiences, supports 21st-century learning and sparks youth innovation. The Science Centre conceives, designs and builds world-class exhibitions and is dedicated to community outreach, serving as a vital link in Ontario’s innovation and education ecosystems.

An agency of the Government of Ontario, the Centre relies on funding from the province, as well as donations from generous individuals, corporations and foundations that share the Centre’s vision to contribute to a more curious, creative and resilient world. For more information visit www.OntarioScienceCentre.ca

VE3OSC Amateur Radio Station:

http://www.va3xpr.net/ontario-science-centre-demonstrates-ham-radio-digitially-remastered/

http://radio1nz.com/ve3osc/

NASA:

Astronaut Luca Parmitano, KF5KDP:

https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/Astronauts/Luca_Parmitano

Background Information about ARISS:

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is a cooperative venture of the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT), the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States and other international space agencies and international Amateur Radio organizations around the world.

The primary purpose of ARISS is to organize scheduled contacts via Amateur Radio between crew members aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and classrooms or informal education venues. With the help of experienced volunteers from Amateur Radio clubs and coordination from the ARISS team, the ISS crew members speak directly with large group audiences in a variety of public forums such as school assemblies, science centers and museums, Scout camporees, jamborees and space camps, where students, teachers, parents, and communities learn about space, space technologies and Amateur Radio.

ARISS is an international educational outreach program partnering the participating space agencies, NASA, the Russian Space Agency, ESA, CNES, JAXA and CSA, with the AMSAT and International Amateur Radio Union organizations from participating countries.

ARISS offers an opportunity for students to experience the excitement of Amateur Radio by talking directly with crew members onboard the International Space Station. Teachers, parents and communities see, firsthand, how Amateur Radio and crew members on the International Space Station can energize youth and instill an interest in science, technology, and learning.

For additional information on the ARISS program please visit:

RAC ARISS webpage: https://wp.rac.ca/ariss/

ARISS upcoming contacts: http://www.ariss.org/upcoming-contacts.html