Talking to an astronaut on the International Space Station

By Ryan Korsgard - Reporter

HOUSTON - On Tuesday, teachers and future teachers at the University of Houston Downtown talked with NASA astronaut Joe Acaba while he is on board the International Space Station.

Here are some things to know about the ISS:

How far away is the International Space Station from Earth?

The ISS is 254 nautical miles away from the Earth.

How fast does the International Space Station fly?

The ISS flies through space at 17,500 miles an hour.

How long is Acaba in space?

He will spend 122 days in space. He will return to Earth in March.

How was the conversation arranged?

A joint project between NASA and the University of Houston Downtown highlighting science, technology, engineering and math education made the transmission possible.

Teacher candidate Melvin Rivas asked one of the first questions of Acaba.

"It's really cool. Being able to be here. It's just something really exciting because I have never really been into science and all of this stuff," Rivas said.

How will Acaba and his successors on the International Space Station get more supplies?

A Russian resupply rocket launched Tuesday headed for the International Space Station. It is expected to reach the orbiting outpost on Thursday.

What’s the most memorable part of the high-flying lesson?

Before the session concluded, Acaba did a front flip and gave a shoutout to students down on Earth.

"The science nerd in me is excited to communicate with other educators who are in space doing those big dream jobs that middle school students don't realize that they can do," middle school teacher Melissa Kreipe said.

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