Southern Maryland students and test pilots under instruction at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) will get their questions about space answered by NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station this week. The space-to-earth video downlink airs live at approximately 11:35 a.m. EDT on Oct. 27 on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

NASA SpaceX Crew-5 Commander Nicole Mann, with astronauts Josh Cassada and Frank Rubio, will answer questions on what it is like to live and work in space.

The space call is hosted in partnership with the USNTPS, which trains domestic and international test pilots, flight officers, engineers, and industry partners. It is located at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

Both Mann and Cassada are graduates of the school and served as test pilots in the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy. More than 90 other USNTPS graduates have become NASA astronauts. 

Schools, classrooms, and students of all ages can tune in virtually and participate in STEM activities to get their heads in the intergalactic game before the downlink begins. Interested classroom participants should contact the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division’s Strategic Education Office for details at

What is a downlink?

Downlink communications are like video calls by astronauts living and working on the International Space Station and last about 20 minutes. NASA’s Johnson Space Center Office of Education facilitates a number of educational downlinks annually that allow international audiences to learn about space first-hand and enhance student interest in STEM programs.

Students from Leonardtown Elementary School, Hollywood Elementary School, Town Creek Elementary School, Evergreen Elementary School, Dowell Elementary School, the Chesapeake Charter School, Esperanza Middle School, and the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School pre-recorded questions for the event.

How can I view the downlink?

Downlinks are broadcast live on NASA TV and NASA Live. There are three ways to watch:

  1. Download the NASA TV app on your mobile device
  2. Watch NASA TV on your computer at
  3. Check your TV guide for the NASA TV channel in your area

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

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