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Santa Barbara Public Library to contact International Space Station using Amateur Radio as part of Summer Reading and Learning Events

Santa Barbara Public Library is excited to announce their selection by the ARISS-US Team (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) to host an amateur radio contact with International Space Station (ISS) crew members using the ARISS equipment on the ISS. This is a once in a lifetime experience made possible by the Amateur Radio community in cooperation with NASA.

Santa Barbara Public Library is preliminarily scheduled to contact the ISS from the Central Library at 40 E. Anapamu between July 1 through July 3, 2019. Radio contact will be coordinated by SBPL youth services staff, volunteers with the Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club, and ARISS mentors.

Considering orbital constraints and ISS crew schedules, the final date and time of the radio contact will not be confirmed by NASA until 7-10 days ahead of the contact week. The radio contact will be approximately 10 minutes in length due to the radio communication window permitted by the logistics of orbital passes of the ISS. The event will be a community celebration with hands-on learning activities preceding or immediately following the contact.

Members of the public are invited to submit questions to ask the astronauts on board the ISS during the contact. Questions may be submitted in person at the library, or on this form: Library staff and ARISS volunteers will vet the questions, and 12-20 students ages 7-14 will be selected to pose questions to an astronaut. Details for those interested in participating are on the form, or you may contact Youth Services Librarian Holly Broman at or 805-564-5602.

“When the Library team began brainstorming what programs they wanted to offer the community for summer 2019, we were inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. Space exploration captivates the imagination of all ages, and for children, can inspire interest in careers in technology, engineering, or scientific disciplines,” said Library Director Jessica Cadiente. “The ARISS program is a wonderful opportunity and complements our ongoing slate of educational activities for youth that focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.”​



The ARISS contact is part of the Santa Barbara Public Library’s 2019 Summer Reading and Learning Program, which includes many events and educational opportunities related to space exploration, science, and technology.


What is Amateur Radio?

Monday, June 10  | 6:30 pm

Monday, July 8 | 6:30 pm

Faulkner Gallery, Central Library

A talk with members of the Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club about modern amateur radio, common misconceptions, digital projects and how to get involved.


NASA’s Journey to Mars with Terry Himes of the Jet Propulsion Lab

Monday, June 24 | 7 pm

Faulkner Gallery, Central Library

NASA Engineer Terry Himes will discuss current InSight mission and many other recent and future Mars missions, including Curiosity, Mars 2020 + Helicopter, Mars Sample Return and beyond.


Summer Space Camp

Ages 9-12

July 22-25 | 2 - 4 pm

Faulkner Gallery, Central Library

Kids will complete astronaut training, conduct experiments like those on the International Space Station, experience space travel through virtual reality worlds, learn about astronomy, and more!  Registration is required, and participants must attend all 4 sessions.


Hummingbird Robotics Camp

Ages 10-14

June 24-27 | 3 - 5 pm

Tech Lab, Central Library

Kids will design, build, and program using their own space rover using 3-D printing and robotics kits. Registration is required, and participants must attend all 4 sessions. Open to children ages 10-14, some previous coding background is recommended.


In addition to these events, there are more opportunities to learn about amateur radio and space at all the Santa Barbara Public Library locations. See the full events calendar at



Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is a cooperative venture of international amateur radio societies and the space agencies that support the International Space Station (ISS).  In the United States, sponsors are the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT), the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the ISS National Lab and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The primary goal of ARISS is to promote exploration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) topics by organizing scheduled contacts via amateur radio between crew members aboard the ISS and students in classrooms or public forms. Before and during these radio contacts, students, educators, parents, and communities learn about space, space technologies, and amateur radio. For more information, see


What is Amateur Radio?

Amateur, or “Ham,” Radio, is a popular service and hobby in which federally licensed participants operate communication equipment. There are over 700,000 licensed amateurs and nearly 2,300 ARRL-affiliated Amateur Radio clubs in the United States. Hams talk to each other across town, around the world, and even into space without the need for normal communications infrastructures, such as cell phone networks or the Internet. Amateur Radio is regularly used during natural disasters to help local emergency and service agencies (such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and state and local governments) respond when normal communication methods are disrupted. The Amateur Radio community is a great source of electronics experimentation, public service, and fun. Learn more about local amateur radio with the Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club at their website:


To stay informed individuals can access the SBPL web calendar with more events, programs, and classes and/or sign-up for the SBPL newsletter in English or Spanish. Visit the Santa Barbara Public Library System online at for information about programs and services. All library programs are free and open to the public.


Contact: Molly Wetta, Acting Library Services Manager

Phone: (805) 564-5642


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