Tennessee Students Selected for Q&A Session with International Space Station Astronauts

Tuesday, November 07, 2023 | 10:24am


Earth-to-Space Call Livestream Available

NASHVILLE, TN—Today, the Tennessee Department of Education is highlighting Brighton Elementary School in Tipton County Schools for being selected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Downlink program to participate in a Q&A session with the astronauts currently aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The Earth-to-space call will air live on Wednesday, November 8th at 10:45 a.m. CT. The livestream is available here.  

As part of the Best for All strategic plan, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education aligns to the Student Readiness priority and plays a crucial role in preparing students to succeed in postsecondary pathways and meet the demands of today’s workforce.

“Students across Tennessee, and across the country, are excited about space discovery and exploration, and I am thrilled for our Tennessee kids to participate in this incredibly rare opportunity to speak with astronauts in space,” said Lizzette Reynolds, Commissioner of Education. “Students need exposure to career opportunities of all kinds, and this is an incredible moment for our kids in Tipton County and beyond to imagine themselves-- and their future selves-- in a way that is filled with possibility.”  

Brighton Elementary School art and STEM teacher, Kathryn Vaughn, applied for the opportunity with NASA nearly two years ago. Vaughn received confirmation this fall that her school had been selected to interact with the astronauts onboard the ISS. Vaughn’s students will be asking questions about robotics, weather, and food science in space to European Space Agency flight engineer, Andy Mogensen, and NASA flight engineer, Jasmin Moghbeli, who are currently in-flight on the ISS for Expedition 70.

“I am so incredibly excited that my students have been selected by NASA to have this incredible opportunity to speak with the astronauts aboard the international space station,” said Kathryn Vaughn, Brighton Elementary School Teacher, Tipton County Schools. “The sky is not the limit, it’s just the beginning for them as they unlock these extraordinary opportunities. By studying STEM at Brighton Elementary School, my students are equipping themselves with the tools they need for the jobs of the future.”

The Expedition 70 crew began on September 27, 2023. The astronauts and cosmonauts are studying an array of microgravity phenomena, and the orbital residents are also exploring heart health, cancer treatments, space manufacturing techniques, and more during the long duration stay in Earth’s orbit.

The NASA Downlink program is open to all educators or education organizations by applying online. To learn more about NASA’s in-flight education opportunities, click here

For media inquiries, contact Edu.MediaInquiries@tn.gov.