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DPSCD High School Earns Opportunity to Contact International Space Station (ISS) This Fall

Detroit Public Schools Community District’s (DPSCD) Davis Aerospace Technical High School has earned the opportunity to host a scheduled amateur radio contact session with an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS), targeted to occur sometime the week of October 17, 2022. The exact date will be determined by quality of access and weather.

To facilitate such an intricate technical undertaking, DPSCD has received dedicated support from the Hazel Park Amateur Radio Club as well as the B.O. Davis Technical HS Advisory Group. Each group has worked with Davis students and provided its technical expertise as well as preparatory knowledge. Activities have included  rehearsals with other amateur radio groups that have already participated in ARISS contacts, to facilitating the placement of  radio communication and technological equipment needed to connect with the ISS space station, actively orbiting more than 250 miles from Earth.

“The District’s reform work has included restoring Career Technical Education (CTE)  programming in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) including robotics, as well as construction, automotive repair, the culinary arts, and reinvesting in the aviation programing at Davis” said Alycia Meriweather, Deputy Superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District. “This  opportunity for the students at Davis Aerospace Technical High School to communicate with an astronaut while in space will undoubtedly have a lifelong impact; I am hopeful that some of our students, inspired by their contact with ISS, will become pilots, engineers, astronauts and difference makers in their fields.”

Once the date of the contact with the ISS is fully confirmed (expected to be about one week before the actual contact) select Davis students will speak to and ask questions of an ISS astronaut during a carefully planned and coordinated 10-minute contact window.

The contact with the ISS is part of the Amateur Radio on International Space Station (ARISS) program, in conjunction with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), that engages young people in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) activities as well as raising awareness of space and radio communications, space exploration and related areas of study and career possibilities.

Founded in 1943, DPSCD’s Davis Aerospace Technical High School is named in honor of Benjamin O. Davis Jr., the first African American General officer in the United States Air Force. Davis’s rich history includes providing aviation training for Detroiters, particularly African American students, during times in the country’s history where such options were extremely limited for minorities.

Today, curriculum options at Davis Aerospace include a flight training program where students learn a variety of concepts and regulations related to unmanned and manned flight. Students will be prepared to test for their remote pilot’s certificate and join the fast-growing career sector of Commercial Drone Piloting. In addition, Davis students can train in state-of-the-art flight simulators, have the possibility of piloting a real aircraft, participate in an Aircraft Maintenance pathway, as well as pursue other careers in the Aviation field. Located within the  Golightly Career and Technical Education Center, Davis Aerospace Technical High School has an alumni list that includes pilots, drone operators, aircraft mechanics, engineers, and others in assorted high-tech careers.

“The fact that Davis was one of only eight educational entities selected in this time frame to contact the ISS is a testament to the opportunities available to our DPSCD students,” said Angelique Peterson-Mayberry, DPSCD Board of Education President.“As a proud alumna of the District myself, we urge the community to explore the array of academic pathways available to your children and see how a DPSCD education will have your student career and college ready.”