Friday, December 26, 2014

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Just calling space to say happy Independence Day

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While many Americans may have picked up the phone to catch up with family and friends across the country this Independence Day, some Central Texas cub scouts chatted with friends in space.

Working with NASA and the Austin Amateur Radio Club, the boys of Cub Scout Pack 304 were able to talk directly to Astronaut Gregory Errol Chamitoff aboard the International Space Station. The event was part of a program called Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, or ARISS.

"You can sit there and show them pictures. You can talk about the space station with them. You can kinda get them to understand it, but here is their opportunity to actually come out and use the radio to talk directly to the space station and ask the astronauts questions," Austin Amateur Radio Club Vice President Lee Cooper said. "That's probably a once in a lifetime event for them--an opportunity they'll remember in their scouting career for a long, long time to come."

Scouts asked questions about life in space and aboard the station. Some were even curious about how the astronauts sleep at night.

Every year hundreds of people request to talk to the astronauts via radio, but there are only a few spots available.

It's been nine years since an Austin school was selected to take part in the program. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP