Students at Pole Green Elementary School in Mechanicsville, Virginia, will speak with the NASA astronauts living, working and doing research aboard the International Space Station at 9:45 a.m. EST on Wednesday, Nov. 8. The 20-minute, Earth-to-space call will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Randy Bresnik, Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba will be asked questions by select students. The discussion will include topics about life aboard the space station, NASA’s deep space exploration plans, and doing science in space.

This is Bresnik’s second mission to the station. He currently is serving as the station’s Expedition 53 commander after launching to the orbiting laboratory on July 28. He’s scheduled to return to Earth in December. Vande Hei and Acaba both arrived at the space station on Sept. 12. This is Vande Hei’s first space mission and Acaba’s third. Together they will return to Earth in February 2018.

Pole Green was selected through a competitive process to host a downlink with the station. To prepare for the event, the school plans for a full day of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) lessons and activities for the students. Industry partners supporting the day’s events include the U.S. Navy, Virginia Commonwealth Engineering, Hanover High School robotics, and Math Science Innovation Center of Richmond. Additionally, the teachers are educating the students on the history of the space program, the space station and the astronauts’ backgrounds.

“Our focus is on providing students with the opportunity to see beyond their community,” said Lori Schoenwiesner, a teacher at Pole Green Elementary School. “They can and will be an important part of their country’s future and we believe they deserve the opportunity to see their possibilities now so they can prepare for them.”

Media interested in attending the event should contact Chris Whitley via email at or phone at 804-365-4500. Pole Green Elementary School is at 8993 Pole Green Park Lane in Mechanicsville.

Linking students directly to astronauts aboard the space station provides unique, authentic experiences designed to enhance student learning, performance and interest in STEM. This in-flight education downlink is an integral component of NASA’s Year of Education on Station which provides extensive space station-related resources and opportunities to students and educators.

Follow the astronauts on social media:

See videos and lesson plans highlighting research on the International Space Station at: