WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)– Students involved in an educational program intended to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) activities will have the opportunity to talk with an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

At the Big E Arena on Tuesday students will speak via live radio with U.S. Astronaut Bob Hines. The ISS is currently in orbit 260 miles above the Earth, traveling at 17,500 miles per hour.

The “Space Chat” and the associated educational program was created in partnership between The Big E, New England Sci-Tech, Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS), the New England Division of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), Black Helicopter Creative LLC, and local Amateur Radio organizations.

Thirteen students from New England Sci-Tech of Natick, Mass, will participate in the program at The Big E. The event is open to the public.

The pre-contact program begins at 1:20pm with videos about space, NASA, ARISS, the journey to Mars, and more. Speakers will explain the STEM learning activities that the students are involved in, the role that the space agencies around the world play in making astronaut contact experiences happen, and how Amateur Radio is used to make the contact.

Space station contact via radio communication will take place at 2:30pm. The contact can also be viewed LIVE on YouTube.

For more information on the Space Chat and the associated 12-month STEM education program, use this link or visit the Amateur Radio Operators booth inside Door 6 of the Better Living Center during the Fair.