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British Astronaut to Share His ISS Experience with Students via Amateur Radio


The UK’s first European Space Agency astronaut, Tim Peake, KG5BVI, plans to share his “Principia” mission space adventure with students on Earth via Amateur Radio. He’s invited youngsters in his country to contact him while he’s onboard the International Space Station (ISS) later this year. Peake is scheduled to head to the ISS in November for a 6-month duty tour. Nearly a year in development, the program represents a collaboration of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program, the UK Space Agency (UKSA), the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB), the European Space Education Research Office in the UK (ESERO-UK), and the European Space Agency (ESA) to raise awareness in Space, Amateur Radio and STEM subjects in general.

“I hope to share as much of my mission as possible and am delighted that I will be able to talk to UK students when the ISS flies over Britain, thanks to the Amateur Radio equipment on board the International Space Station and the ARISS program,” Peake said.

The RSGB lead for ARISS and ARISS operations in the UK, Ciaran Morgan, M0XTD, said, “ARISS…is delighted to help UK students connect with Tim whilst he is in space, using only Amateur Radio equipment on the ISS and in schools, to help inspire our future generations of scientists, technicians, engineers, and mathematicians.”

Schools throughout the UK have been solicited to host one of the limited number of contacts. The events will include space workshops, where students can explore space and space-related technologies and analyze data being from satellites in orbit. (Applications of interest are due by Friday April 24!)

Students taking part in the contact events will have to obtain a full UK Amateur Radio license in order to operate the radio gear, and one lucky student at each of the schools selected will be responsible for making contact with the ISS. An RSGB team and the ARISS UK operations team will work with the chosen schools to prepare them for this exceptional opportunity during the mission of the first British ESA Astronaut.

The selected schools/organizations will host a direct ham radio link-up with the ISS during a 2-day, space-related STEM workshop. ARISS-UK will provide and set up all necessary radio equipment, including low-Earth orbit satellite tracking antennas and radios, to establish a direct radio link with the space station while the ISS is over the UK so that students can ask Peake about his life and work on board the ISS. The program also plans to promote many aspects of Amateur Radio, including the Amateur-Satellite service, obtaining data from orbiting spacecraft (FUNcube and the Fox satellites), the latest equipment on the ISS, and, if operational, the “Ham Video” digital amateur television (DATV) system.

Peake will use the GB1SS call sign when in contact with UK-based schools. The British Amateur Television Club will stream the contacts live on the web.

“Both Tim’s space mission and Amateur Radio have the power to inspire young people and encourage them into STEM subjects,” said Jeremy Curtis, Head of Education at the UK Space Agency. “By bringing them together we can boost their reach and give young people around the UK the chance to be involved in a space mission and a hands-on project that will teach them new skills.” ESERO has posted a Tim Peake resource page. — Thanks to AMSAT News Service via the RSGB and AMSAT-UK





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