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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

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    AIAA Delaware Section Secures Live NASA International Space Station Downlink For Broadcast at Leeds Elementary School

    Maryland Students to Speak to NASA Astronaut on International Space Station

    May 25, 2017 – Elkton, Maryland – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Delaware Section will host an exclusive NASA in-flight education downlink from the International Space Station (ISS) on June 8 at Leeds Elementary School in Elkton, Maryland. The downlink will allow a one-on-one interview between students at Leeds Elementary School and U.S. astronaut Col. Jack Fischer, U.S. Air Force, a flight engineer serving as part of ISS Expedition 51/52. The downlink will occur between 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. (EDT), with the exact time announced by May 31. NASA will share the downlink on June 8 over their broadcast signals and online live streams. Maryland’s Cecil County Public Schools and Orbital ATK Missile Defense and Controls are cosponsors of the event.

    “Leeds Elementary is super excited to participate in the live downlink event! Students have been following @Astro2fish’s [Col. Fischer] reports and have been watching live,” said Nikole MacDowell, principal of Leeds Elementary School. “They have been particularly interested when the Station has moved from day to night while they were watching. This is an unbelievable opportunity that we are excited to bring to our students.”

    Students at Leeds Elementary School will participate directly in the 20-minute downlink event by asking Col. Fischer questions about space and his current mission. The downlink will also be available for simulcast in county schools so that other students may experience the event.

    “When the AIAA Delaware Section heard about the ISS Downlink program, we thought it would be a once-in-a lifetime opportunity for the students in Maryland’s Cecil County Public Schools,” said Breanne Sutton, chair, AIAA Delaware Section. “If Alka-Seltzer rockets and straw rockets can inspire a student to consider a career in aerospace, I cannot wait to see the impact speaking to an astronaut on the ISS will have.”

    The AIAA Delaware Section and Orbital ATK have continuously been involved with Cecil County Public Schools to expose students to NASA’s human spaceflight exploration program. Some of those activities have included participating in NASA’s Orion Exploration Design Challenge, sponsoring a broadcast of the Orion EFT-1 launch as a school assembly, inviting former NASA astronaut and current AIAA Executive Director Sandy Magnus as a guest speaker, and sponsoring a number of space- and science-related assemblies put on by Philadelphia’ Franklin Institute.

    NASA Johnson Space Center’s Office of Education and Public Affairs Office facilitates in-flight downlinks to encourage students to study and pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). These in-flight education downlinks are large-scale public events that allow students and educators to interact with crewmembers through a live question-and-answer session. A downlink allows students to hear and see crewmembers live from space, although the crew does not see the audience.

    For more information on the ISS Downlink, or the AIAA Delaware Section, please contact Tim Dominick at 410.392.1069 or For more information on AIAA please visit

    MEDIA CONTACT: TIM DOMINICK, 410.392.1069,

    About AIAA Delaware Section
    The AIAA Delaware Section is home to AIAA members who live or work in Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland. For more information, visit

    About AIAA

    The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is nearly 30,000 engineers and scientists, and 95 corporate members, from 85 countries who are dedicated to advancing the global aerospace profession. The world’s largest aerospace technical society, the Institute convenes five yearly forums; publishes books, technical journals, and Aerospace America; hosts a collection of 160,000 technical papers; develops and maintains standards; honors and celebrates achievement; and advocates on policy issues. AIAA serves aerospace professionals around the world—who are shaping the future of aerospace—by providing the tools, insights, and collaborative exchanges to advance the state of the art in engineering and science for aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit, or follow us on Twitter @AIAA.



    About Cecil County Public Schools

    Cecil County Public Schools is home to almost 16,000 students in pre-school through grade 12 in addition to 2,100 dedicated employees including approximately 1,300 teachers. With its geographic location in northeastern Maryland, Cecil County Public Schools is preparing its high school students to join a highly qualified workforce in the region — which features the University of Delaware’s Science, Technology, and Advanced Research campus; the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground; and a wide variety of businesses along the I-95 corridor. Cecil County Public Schools wants its students to be ready to pursue further education and job opportunities in this market. Its efforts underscore the close relationship between education and economic growth in a community.

    About Orbital ATK
    Orbital ATK is a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies. The company designs, builds and delivers space, defense and aviation systems for customers around the world, both as a prime contractor and merchant supplier. Its main products include launch vehicles and related propulsion systems; missile products, subsystems and defense electronics; precision weapons, armament systems and ammunition; satellites and associated space components and services; and advanced aerospace structures. Headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, Orbital ATK employs more than 12,500 people in 18 states across the United States and in several international locations. For more information, visit

    About NASA
    President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958, partially in response to the Soviet Union's launch of the first artificial satellite the previous year. NASA grew out of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which had been researching flight technology for more than 40 years. NASA’s vision is to reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind.




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