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St Albans pupils speak to British astronaut Tim Peake 250 miles in space

 Published on: 20th October 2017   |   By: The Newsdesk   |   Category: Uncategorized

A school in St Albans has been the first in the UK to use amateur radio equipment to link up with British astronaut Tim Peake in space. Pupils from Sandringham School managed to get a brief chat with the Army major currently on the International Space Station, orbiting the earth 250 miles up in space. But as they say you can put a man up on the moon, but it was a difficult job establishing the link between space and earth. Schoolgirl Jessica Leigh who recently passed her radio exams to become a licensed amateur radio user was the first student to speak to the astronaut. Jessica put out repeated calls with no response: “Golf Bravo One Sierra Sierra, GB1SS – this is Golf Bravo One Sierra Alpha November calling and standing by, over!” But then through the crackle, Major Peake’s voice could just about be heard. A bit of channel-switching soon improved matters, and the pupils raced to the microphone to put their questions to “Britain’s man in space”. Pupils were eventually able to ask five questions – ranging from queries about liquid hydrogen and molecular forces to whether a helium balloon rises in space – before the seven-minute call was terminated. After he was asked what he thought Isaac Newton would think about Peake’s mission being named after his book, Principia, Major Peake replied: “I’m sure he would be honoured that we have chosen the name in honour of his life’s work and the book upon which all our understanding of the universe is based on.” Major Peake also just had time to tell the students that the balloon wouldn’t rise up like on Earth before he was drowned again out by the static. However, once the interview was finished, the pupils were so delighted to have spoken with a spaceman that they burst into rapturous applause. Head teacher, Alan Gray, said it had been an extraordinary opportunity for the school. He added: “It’s a way of inspiring young people into science and technology – seeing the opportunities that may be available to them. “What you’re seeing is that space has an awful lot to offer. It’s not just about talking to Tim Peake on the space station. There are many other things that are useful for young people and will help with their learning.”

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