Tennessee Students to Speak with NASA Astronauts on International Space Station

Students at Southside Elementary School in Lebanon, Tennessee, will have the opportunity to speak with NASA astronauts living, working and doing research aboard the International Space Station at 10:05 a.m. EST Monday, Nov. 20. The 20-minute, Earth-to-space call will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Students will have the opportunity to ask Randy Bresnik and Mark Vande Hei questions about life aboard the space station, NASA’s deep space exploration plans, and scientific research in space. Southside Elementary hosted a school-wide competition for the submission of questions to the astronauts.

This is Bresnik’s second mission to the station, and he serves as the station’s Expedition 53 commander. Bresnik launched to the orbiting laboratory on July 28 and is scheduled to return to Earth in December. Vande Hei arrived at the space station on Sept. 12 and will return to Earth in February 2018. This is his first space mission.

The students at Southside prepared for the downlink by participating in a daily trivia contest. Students also watched videos educating them on the different aspects of living in space such as how astronauts brush their teeth, wash their hair and use the bathroom. In celebration of the downlink, the halls of the school are covered with space themed decorations on the doorways.

“Students have researched and written biographies of the three American astronauts currently on station,” said Southside teacher Leesa Hubbard, who served as the facilitator for the NASA Educational Workshops at the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center from 1999-2002. “It is our hope that this experience will bring the science and exploration of space a lot closer to home.”

Media interested in attending the event should contact Jennifer Johnson at or 615-478-6996. Southside Elementary School is at 1224 Murfreesboro Road in Lebanon.

Linking students directly to astronauts aboard the space station provides unique, authentic experiences designed to enhance student learning, performance and interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This in-flight education downlink is an integral component of NASA’s Year of Education on Station, which provides extensive space station-related resources and opportunities to students and educators.

Follow the astronauts on social media:

See videos and lesson plans highlighting research on the International Space Station at:



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