The contact was receivable on 145.800 MHz FM over the British Isles and Western Europe and webcast on the ARISS Principia website. The HamTV Digital Amateur Television system on 2395 MHz enabled the students to see Tim Peake as he flew overhead at 27,600 km/h.
Members of Hilderstone Amateur Radio and Electronics Club (HAREC) have been working with Wellesley House students and were present at the event along with the Radio Society of Great Britain (RGSB), the UK Space Agency (UKSA) and students representing 23 other schools in the area.
The RSGB announced the same day that HAREC are the Region 10 winners of the Club of the Year 2015 competition.
Wellesley House School science teacher and lead organiser for the space extravaganza Kerry Sabin-Dawson masterminded the whole project.
She said: “This has been more than a year in the planning, we sent off an application thinking, if you’re not in it you won’t win it.”
“We got through to round two and we had a second application with far more detail, amazingly we got chosen as one of the 10 schools and we were mind blown by it.”
“There were very tense moments at the start and the problem was this is amateur radio, there’s no trickery, there was a problem but they dealt with it.”
Wellesley House School head Simon O’Malley said: “This is awesome. There has been an incredible buzz around the school since the launch in November.
“I genuinely hope it really inspires children who maybe didn’t think they were scientists, engineers, mathematicians but who now think they can be.”
The amateur radio contact generated plenty of media coverage which included:
Wellesley House is a prep school with approx. 140 pupils. Our aim is to open up a world of opportunity for girls and boys aged from 7 to 13. We are primarily a boarding school with about one third day pupils. Our catchment is vast, with international pupils as well as pupils from across the South East.
Our ethos is that success follows success, whether in or outside the classroom, and occurs naturally in pupils who are happy and motivated. All pupils are encouraged to push themselves and made to feel secure enough to take risks.
The school provided Space outreach for local schools in October 2014 following Science teacher Kerry Sabin-Dawson’s attendance at the ESERO-UK Space conference – the Primary Frontier in July 2014 in York. Inspired by the initiatives and resources available she held a Space training session for local primary teachers to encourage them to bring space education into the classroom.
Fourteen local schools attended and it was a great success. There was a representative from the Royal Greenwich Observatory, an education liaison officer from the local company Pfizer Ltd, Canterbury STEM ambassador Becky Vincer and John Hislop G7OHO of the Monkton Stargazers, a local astronomy group. The organiser of the theatre group Spacefund explained how she had written the Team Tim show with the cooperation of Tim Peake, which was promptly booked by some of the schools.
Participants will ask as many of the following questions as time allows:
1. Benny (age 12): Today is International Marconi Day; how do you think Marconi would feel about this radio communication?
2. (Ruby (age 8): From space, what evidence can you see that humans are having a negative impact upon planet Earth?
3. Robert (age 12): We are planting seeds brought back by the Russian cosmonauts at Ursuline. How do you think they will grow?
4. Ellie (age 7): What happens to a compass in Space?
5. Scarlett (age 7): It is 400 years today since Shakespeare died. Which Shakespearean quote do you think best describes your mission?
6. Erica (age ): What is the biggest lesson you have learned whilst being in Space? (Chartfield)
7. Alica (age 10): How do you think being in space has changed you? (River)
8. Max (age 7): Do bacteria multiply at the same rate in a low gravity environment? (Pluckley)
9. Oliver (age 11): What do you need to do to acclimatise back to the Earth’s gravity on your return? (Garlinge)
10. Joe (age 9): Did you ever dream about becoming an astronaut when you were a child? (St L Junior Acad)
11. Ethan (age 12): What space exploration do you think we will be doing in 200 years? (Smarden)
12. Benny (age 12): Have you played any jokes on your colleagues on the ISS? Scarlett
13. Ruby (age 8): What is the first thing you are going to do when you get home? (St Lawrence)
14. Robert (age 12): What was your spacewalk like? Elsie Meades (St Mildreds)
15. Ellie (age 7): What’s your favourite experiment to conduct, and why? (Bromstone)
16. Scarlett (age 7): What do you do if there is a fire on the ISS?
17. Erica (age 10): Have you ever seen any other objects go past you in space such as comets or asteroids? (St George’s C of E)
18. Alisha (age 10): Will you be visiting schools when you return to Earth? And will you please visit Wellesley House? (again)
19. Max (age 7): How is time different in space?
20. Oliver (age 11): Do you get a proxy vote if you are in space?
ARISS is an international educational outreach program partnering the volunteer support and leadership from AMSAT and IARU societies around the world with the ISS space agencies partners: NASA, Russian Space Agency, ESA, CNES, JAXA, and CSA.
ARISS offers an opportunity for students to experience the excitement of Amateur Radio by talking directly with crew members on-board the International Space Station. Teachers, parents and communities see, first hand, how Amateur Radio and crew members on ISS can energize youngsters’ interest in science, technology, and learning.
ARISS Principia https://principia.ariss.org/
Wellesley House School ready to host contact day with astronaut Tim Peake
Primary school students tune in to Tim Peake thanks to Hilderstone AREC
UK ARISS shortlisted schools https://amsat-uk.org/2016/02/03/all-uk-ariss-shortlisted-schools-are-now-scheduled/
Listening to the ISS on a handheld radio https://amsat-uk.org/2016/01/10/listening-iss-on-handheld/
Get press publicity by receiving ISS school contacts
What is Amateur Radio? http://www.essexham.co.uk/what-is-amateur-radio
Find an amateur radio training course near you https://thersgb.org/services/coursefinder/
A free booklet is available aimed at introducing newcomers to the hobby that can also be used as a handy reference while getting started, see