Pupils talk to space station

21st October 2005 at 01:00
Last month, 15 pupils spoke live to the astronauts aboard the International Space Station as it flew over the Tregaron area, making us the first school in Wales to do this. The science department organised the event and set a competition for our pupils and local primary schools to write questions they would ask an astronaut. Winning questions ranged from "What do you do for entertainment?" to "If you cry in space, what happens to the tears?" People arriving in the school hall found large radio boxes and a screen showing a live image of Earth with two tiny dots labelled Tregaron and the Space Station.

Year 12 pupil Charlotte Jones-Todd gave a presentation on her visit to the International Space School in Houston. This was followed by a description of the radio contact by Howard Long and Carlos Eavis from Amateur Radio on the International Space Station. Then the audience fell silent as Carlos Eavis made his call-sign for the first time. Pupils' faces lit up when they heard the voice of someone in space 400km above.

Pupils asked 17 questions before the signal faded as the Space Station moved out of range and the hall erupted with applause for Flight Engineer John Phillips's replies from the Space Station.

The event was webcast live around our 10 feeder primary schools, schools in Cardiff, Bristol and Iowa, US. Welsh universities and the International Space School tuned in.

Pupils had a day they will remember for the rest of their lives.

Chris Greenfield Head of science, Ysgol Uwchradd Tregaron, Ceredigion

* Amateur Radio on the International Space Station www.rac.caarissoindex.htm

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