Less than a week after arriving on the International Space Station, Expedition 53 Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei will speak with students from the Pine River-Backus Schools in Pine River, Minnesota, at 10:40 a.m. EDT Monday, Sept. 18. The 20-minute, Earth-to-space call will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Vande Hei will answer questions from kindergarten to 12th -grade students assembled at the Pine River-Backus Schools.

Vande Hei launched to the space station on Tuesday, Sept. 12. He is scheduled to return to Earth in late February.

For more information on the downlink, contact Troy Gregory at 218-587-2080 or tgregory@prbschools.org or Tina Hanneken at 218-587-8325 or thanneken@prbschools.org. 

The NASA/Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics, or STEAM, Fair will be held immediately following the NASA downlink. The fair will consist of interactive and informational stations related to STEAM subjects. The community is welcome to attend both the downlink and the fair. The downlink and fair will be held at the Pine River – Backus Schools, 401 Murray Ave. in Pine River. Use door 33 to enter the school.

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 Education’s STEM on Station activity, which provides a variety of space station-related resources and opportunities to students and educators.

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For more information, videos and lesson plans highlighting research on the International Space Station, visit: