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Indiana elementary students contact astronaut in space

By The Associated Press | Posted - Aug. 28, 2015 at 1:21 p.m.

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BUNKER HILL, Ind. (AP) — Students at an elementary school in northern Indiana made a very long distance call to the International Space Station as it orbited the Earth over the Midwest.

On Thursday, hundreds of second to fifth grade students and staff at Maconaquah Elementary School in Bunker Hill packed into the auditorium to hear Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui via HAM radio. Sixteen students were selected to ask Yui the question they had submitted to the school ahead of time.

Bill McAplin, president of the Miami County Amateur Radio Club, helped made the interplanetary connection on Thursday.

During the 11-minute interview, Yui told the students he's able to communicate with family and friends while he's on the space station by emailing them, the Kokomo Tribune ( reported. He said the first thing he wants to do when he gets home is shower, and he never gets bored in space because of the beautiful view of Earth.

Yui joined the ISS Expedition 44/45 mission in July and will be aboard the International Space Station for five months.

Cassandra Knolinski, a fifth grade teacher, earned her HAM radio license so the school could apply for the opportunity to contact the space station.

"We really appreciate you, and you are our hero, over," she told Yui at the end of the call.

Students and staff then jumped to their feet for a standing ovation that lasted more than two minutes, while Knolinski shared a hug with Principal Kelly McPike.

"Wow. I don't even have any words," McPike said when the cheers finally subsided. "Oh my goodness, that was amazing. That was just incredible."


Information from: Kokomo Tribune,

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