Frequently Asked Questions

Meg Travers Friday, January 27, 2012 - 15:41

There are lots of Frequently Asked Questions pages on astronauts and cosmonauts in general, but there are a few questions that are specific to this event that keep coming up, so I’ll attempt to address them in our own Astronaut FAQ.

Who are the astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) and where are they from?
Expedition 30 is currently aboard the ISS which consists of 6 astronauts and cosmonauts. They are –

Kononenko, Kuipers and Pettit arrived at Space Station on the 23rd of December 2011, and will return in May this year. The other three have been aboard since November 2011 and will return in March 2012.

Which astronaut or cosmonaut are we going to talk to?
At the moment, NASA haven’t confirmed which of the crew we will speak to on the 20th Feb, but we think the odds are good it will be either Burbank or Pettit. Who do you think it will be?

Are there any questions that we can’t ask?
NASA has told us that most topics are just fine – including questions about UFOs.

Is Perth going to put its lights on again?
As John Glenn said in 1998 when he orbited the Earth again (this time in the Space Shuttle) – “OK Perth, you can turn the lights off now”. For this link unfortunately the Space Station won’t be going over Perth, so even if we did leave them on, they wouldn’t see them at that time. At the time of our event, they’ll be going over Honolulu – perhaps the people there might want to leave their lights on instead!

I can’t be there on the night – can I watch the event from home?
The Northbridge Piazza crew will be recording the whole event and we expect to all have it on our websites soon afterwards. Alternately if you’re an amateur radio operator or you know one, ARISS will be putting the ISS link audio into IRLP and Echolink so you can tune in via through repeaters or software that carry those connections.

Why can’t adults ask questions?
These connections to the Space Station are done by NASA and ARISS to provide educational opportunities and encourage young people in pursuing careers in engineering and science. Normally they are only held inside schools and universities, and while this event is special in that it’s being held in a public space, it still follows the protocols of being targeted towards young people who are in school.

Can my school or university hold our own event?
Yes you can! You will need the assistance of some amateur radio operators to put it on – the Hills Amateur Radio Group are assisting us for this event, contact them or another amateur radio group or operator to find out how you could hold a Space Station event for your group. Be aware that these contacts are normally booked up well over a year in advance.

Meg Travers
Digital Archive Support Manager