The Lawrence Public Library hosted more than 100 people for a radio contact with astronaut Takuya Onishi. Teens in Lawrence communicated with Onishi who was flying to the International Space Station over 17,000 miles per hour. He is a part of the most recent group that went to the International Space Station.
Miriam Wallen is the teen services librarian for the Lawrence Public Library and is responsible for making the event a reality. Wallen spent about a year developing a partnership with the Douglas County amateur radio club. Wallen and the radio club applied to the International Space Radio Station last November to be able to contact an astronaut.
When their application was approved, Wallen started creating the event. She set up activity booths for the community to come and learn more about space programming.
The community also had the opportunity to submit questions to Onishi. Over seventy questions were submitted, but the library had to narrow it down to twenty.
“We pretty much put it up online and invited everyone in the public once again to vote to tell us which ones of these questions would you most like to have asked, and that narrowed it down to the top 20,” Wallen said.
Questions asked were about dealing with mental health issues in space, bacteria in space, and more.
An antenna was set up on top of the library’s roof that was put together by the Douglas County Amateur Radio Club. This antenna tracked the contact and where Onishi was in space. The radio contact lasted about eight minutes total with Onishi.