PEABODY — Friday morning was out of this world for students at Covenant Christian Academy in Peabody.
Students chatted with U.S. astronaut Loral O’Hara, who is working aboard the International Space Station and contacted the school via Amateur Radio, also known as “Ham Radio.”
“It was just really cool hearing her voice, thinking, wow, she’s in space right now,” seventh-grader Lydia Rossotti said. “I got to answer a lot of questions that I’ve been wondering about ever since I’ve heard about the space shuttle astronauts.”
Lydia was one of 10 students from the school’s Amateur Radio Club who asked O’Hara questions chosen by classes at the school, attended by preschoolers through 12th-graders.
O’Hara, a Texas-native, docked to the ISS on Sept. 15 for a six-month stint working on the spacecraft.
She was selected to the 22nd NASA astronaut class in 2017 and is scheduled to make her first space walk outside the craft on Thursday. O’Hara has a background in engineering and previously worked at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts researching underwater vehicles.
Using the radio call sign K15TOM, she told CCA students how the ISS gets rid of its trash (it gets loaded into cargo vehicles and burns up when it re-enters the atmosphere), that WiFi is slower and not always available in space, and that it’s surprisingly easy to sleep floating in midair.
O’Hara also provided a measure of insight into the work that’s done on the ISS, what it’s like readjusting to Earth’s gravity after months in outer space, and what she’s taken away from her time aboard so far.
“It has helped show me that it’s important to be adaptable and flexible …” she said. “Then also, and I kind of already knew this, but it’s definitely true up here that the people…