Tooele County students speak with International Space Station astronaut

Apr 9, 2024, 5:00 AM

Students gather to speak to International Space Station astronaut, Mike Dominick at Blue Peaks High...

Students gather to speak to International Space Station astronaut, Mike Dominick at Blue Peaks High School. (Aimee Cobabe)

(Aimee Cobabe)

TOOELE, Utah –A few hundred kids in Tooele can now tell you what it’s like to talk one-on-one with an astronaut at the International Space Station.

While the rest of the country was staring up at the total solar eclipse, students at Blue Peak High focused on astronaut Matthew Dominick

The students gathered in the high school gym, communicating with Dominick via ham radio as he flew several hundred miles above earth on the International Space Station. About a dozen kids were able to directly ask him questions. 

Questions like “what happens when you cry in space?” Dominick said that water doesn’t stream out of your eyes like on Earth, it just sticks there. 

A three-year effort comes to fruition

Blue Peak High’s career and technical education teacher Clint Thompson spearheaded the event. He worked for three years to put the chat together.  According to a press release, he secured a grant to facilitate “amateur radio experiments” in his classes.

He prepared for the interview, in part, by adding satellite antennas to the school’s roof. 

“There’s nothing more fulfilling as a teacher than to see a passion that you have conveyed and received by a student,” Thompson said.  

“How many students in the world can say they talked directly with astronauts in space from their school?” Thompson asked. “This [was] a unique chance for our students to engage with space exploration in a tangible and unforgettable way.” 

It was just around nine minutes of conversation, and throughout it all, there was palpable excitement in the air. One student said, “if you take cool classes, you get to do cool things.” 

Related reading: Total solar eclipse wows North America. Clouds part just in time for most


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Tooele County students speak with International Space Station astronaut