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Guilford Co. students talk to astronaut using amateur radio

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TWC News: Guilford Co. students talk to astronaut using amateur radio
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GREENSBORO — Some Guilford County students got the rare opportunity Thursday to talk to an American aboard the International Space Station.

They used amateur radio to reach Statesville native, Astronaut Tom Marshburn. Students had about 10 minutes to ask as many questions as they could.

"I am ready for your questions", Marshburn said.

From 250 miles above McNair Elementary in Greensboro, Statesville astronaut Tom Marshburn answered questions.

"Was there any class that you took in elementary or middle school, that influenced your choice to become and astronaut? Over." said Monticello Browns Summit Elementary 5th-grader Natalie Brown.

More than 750 students got to take part in the live question & answer. They had a 10-minute window, while the international space station passed over the school.

“It felt like it was so up there. It was so amazing how I got to talk to him from all the way up in space. It was so amazing,” Brown said.

Nearly 2,800 students from across the county submitted questions. School leaders chose 20 students to ask their question.

“I've always wanted to talk to someone like that, so I guess I've done it,” said Bluford STEM Academy 4th grader Jayla Martin.

Leaders said it took months of planning to pull off the conversation.

“A lot of time assembling things, testing things. Like the antenna on the roof, the long one. You have to assemble all the elements, put it all together and test that part,” Dan Habecker, a member of Greensboro Amateur Radio and employee at RF Micro Devices said.

All that effort to give students a once in a lifetime experience and maybe a look at a potential career.

“I have always wanted to be scientist, but I've always been scared to go up in space. It's kind of spooky kind of going up there,” said Brown.

Members of the Greensboro Amateur Radio Association set up the connection, while RF Micro Devices donated the equipment and loaned the school a sophisticated antenna for the talk.

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