Students in Nepal Enjoy that Country’s First Ham Contact with the ISS


Students at an elite school in the Himalayan nation of Nepal enjoyed that country’s first Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact, when they spoke via ham radio with ISS crew member and UK Astronaut Tim Peake, KG5BVI, on January 20. Youngsters attending Brihaspati Vidhyasadan School (BVS) in Kathmandu interviewed Peake about life onboard the space station. Through his Principia Mission, Peake is dedicating part of his scheduled time in space to educational activities for youngsters on Earth. The approximately 8 minute contact was carried out via a “telebridge” with Tony Hutchison, VK5ZAI, in Australia, where the ISS pass was favorable for a contact. Two-way audio was relayed via landline to Nepal.

“Follow your dreams,” Peake told the youngsters. “You need to find out what you are passionate about and what you are enjoying.”

Leading up to the event, the school had organized a week-long program and exhibition related to space travel and technology, including Amateur Radio.The Nepal Amateur Radio Operators’ Society supported the exhibition. The school is home to the Free and Open Source Research Lab and Ham facility. During the Nepal earthquake hams from Nepal and India used a building at the school as they attempted to coordinate efforts to search for missing people and reunite them with their families.

“This was truly and international event,” said Hutchison, pointing out that individuals involved in making the ARISS contact happen were spread around the globe, including Australia, Japan, Sweden, and the US. Pravin Joshi, 9N1KK, at the school was among the contact mentors.

“Today we had an audience of about 300, including the British Ambassador to Nepal, the Cultural Affairs Officer from the US Embassy, a member of the National Human Rights Commission, and a former Minister for Science and Technology,” Joshi said. “We also had students from 10 other schools besides our own [and] large local media coverage.”

Peake was able to answer 17 of the students’ questions. — Thanks to ARISS and to AMSAT News Service