Bristol

Astronaut Tim Peake in Bristol school hook-up

  • 19 February 2016
  • From the section Bristol
Media captionAs well as hearing Tim Peake the audience could see him on a video screen

Students from a Bristol school have spoken to astronaut Tim Peake aboard the International Space Station.

Among the questions from pupils at Oasis Academy Brightstowe was one from 15-year-old Seema who wants to be the first female Afghan astronaut.

Major Peake told her it was a "wonderful idea and ambition" and that she should "follow her dreams"

The link up started at 14:20 GMT and lasted 10 minutes with the school using the special radio call sign GB1OAB.


How the contact was made

A computer programme tracks the ISS as it travels across the sky and this controls where the aerials are pointing and what frequency the VHF/UHF radio is on

As the students ask their questions the operator switches the transmitter on. At the end of the question he or she says 'over' and the transmitter is switched off

The reply is received from space and played over loudspeakers in the hall


There was a loud cheer from pupils, staff and parents as his voice crackled through the loudspeakers in the school hall for the first time and the live picture appeared on TV screens.

Image copyright ARISS
Image caption Major Peake was given a round of applause at the end of the questions

Sixteen-year-old Ashleigh wanted to know how many days' supplies the space station has on board and what would happen if a restocking mission could not take place?

Major Peake told him a few missions to restock had had problems but the space station had six-month's worth of reserves.

Image copyright NASA
Image caption The ISS orbits the earth at a height of approximately 250 miles and is travelling at 17,000mph

And nine-year-old Jacob asked why he had become an astronaut..

He replied he had been a pilot and it was the "pinnacle of his career" to "explore new frontiers".

The link-up was part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station project which aims to inspire students, to pursue interests and careers in science, technology, engineering and maths through an interest in amateur radio.

Image caption The aerials that carried the students voices into space were mounted on the roof of the school hall

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