FSU Students Talk to Astronauts in Space During Downlink with the International Space Station

FSU Students Talk to Astronauts in Space During Downlink with the International Space Station

Jan 22, 2018

Framingham State University students got the unique opportunity to speak with three astronauts live from space during a special downlink with the International Space Station (ISS) on January 19th.

Students asked astronauts Joseph Acaba, Scott Tingle, and Norishige Kanai a wide-range of questions during the downlink, including how often they got to speak with their families, what their dreams for the future of the space program are and what they thought about when they first looked at earth from space.

“I always knew our planet was fragile, but seeing it made it real,” Acaba said in response to the latter question. “It made me want to work harder to protect it.”

Kanai said in the future he hopes to see the development of a space agriculture and progress toward creating a habitat that can support human life.

During the event, Acaba announced that he and fellow astronaut Ricky Arnold would be teaching several of the lessons that Framingham State alumna Christa McAuliffe ‘70 had planned to teach aboard the Challenger shuttle. McAuliffe, selected to be the first teacher in space, died tragically along with the rest of the Challenger crew when the shuttle exploded shortly after takeoff in 1986. 

“I can think of no better place to make this announcement than at Christa’s alma mater Framingham State,” Acaba told a packed crowd in the McCarthy Center Forum during the downlink.

Framingham State’s Christa McAuliffe Center for Integrated Science Learning hosted the downlink in partnership with the national Challenger Center and NASA. Special guests at the event included Massachusetts Secretary of Education Jim Peyser, Challenger Center President and CEO Lance Bush, Director of STEM Education for NASA Diane DeTroye, and engineer and geologist Tess Casswell, who has worked in Mission Control for the ISS.

The event also featured a talk with State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and her father, former astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz, and a panel discussion with Caswell, Dan Barstow from the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), Michelle Richardson from the Natick Solider Research Development and Engineering Center, and Frank White, author of The Overview Effect.

About Framingham State University

Framingham State University was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first public university for the education of teachers. Since that time, it has evolved into a vibrant, comprehensive liberal arts institution offering small, personalized classes on a beautiful New England campus. Today, the University enrolls more than 6,000 students with 58 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a State College and University (SCU), Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.