Newswatch 16’s John Hickey has lunar news from an astronaut and a HAM radio operator in this week’s Skywatch 16.
SCRANTON, Pa. — A NASA astronaut with a unique connection to northeastern Pennsylvania was in Scranton last week as part of NASA’s efforts to expedite preparations for the upcoming manned missions to the Moon slated for the summer 2025.
In 2010, Colonel Douglas Wheelock was the commander aboard the International Space Station. Shortly before going into space, he got his HAM radio license.
“HAM radio is a lifeline aboard the station.”
International Space Station amateur radio communications are generally reserved for emergency situations when other forms of communication with Earth are not available. Colonel Wheelock had another idea.
“You start to miss your home planet when you’re up there, and I had six months left. So I thought I should pick up the HAM radio and see if there was anyone there,” Colonel Wheelock said.
“It’s always great fun bumping into someone. ‘Hey, I talked to you when you were at the station.’ I say, ‘What’s the call sign?’ I remember it because I wrote it all down.”
Last week, the University of Scranton Student HAM Radio Club and Murgas Amateur Radio Club hosted Col. Wheelock. He now has a new mission.
“We’re on a recruiting trip. We’re looking for people to help us get back to the moon.”
NASA’s Artemis mission is to get humans back to the moon in the summer of 2025, and they’re looking for help to make it happen.
“I’m just fascinated by the idea of exploring and what’s out there and pushing human boundaries to find out more. Ever since I was a little girl, like fourth grade when I was learning about the space, I was fascinated to learn more about it,” said Veronica Romanek, a student at the University of Scranton.
“We are looking for people who are not only interested in being astronauts, but also in building rockets, building flying machines, which can land on other planetary bodies, including the moon,” Colonel Wheelock added. “Space is always a frontier ripe for exploration, and that’s what we all are at NASA.”
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