The final ARISS school contact of the Principia Mission took place on Monday, May 9 at 0926 GMT (10:26 am BST) between The King’s School GB1OSM in Ottery St Mary, Devon and Tim Peake GB1SS on the International Space Station.
The contact was receivable by radio amateurs across the British Isles and Western Europe and webcast on the ARISS Principia website. As well as the voice link on 145.800 MHz FM there was a Digital Amateur Television HamTV link on 2395 MHz.
The King’s School students Matt Ilsley and Hector Sethi obtained their Foundation amateur radio licences by taking a training course provided by the Sidmouth Amateur Radio Society.
The Sidmouth Herald reported:
Ciaran Morgan [M0XTD], team lead UK ARISS coordinator, described the live link-up as ‘nothing more than a humongous experiment’ as he talked people through the equipment – especially the critical radio used to speak to Major Tim Peake.
Year 13 student Matt Ilsley [M6MTI] passed his foundation radio licence especially for the moment and held his cool as – after much anticipation – he made first contact with the British astronaut.
Summing up the event, head girl at The King’s School, Millie Perkins, said: “We have just experienced something amazing and to you younger years, this will be a highlight of your time here at King’s. I feel very privileged to have experienced it. This is something that we will remember about King’s for the rest of our lives.”
Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) leader Alison Argent-Wenz … spear-headed the whole project and – along with a member of Sidmouth Amateur Radio Society, Mike Marsh [G1IAR] – put forward a proposal for a two-day Space-STEM event surrounding contact with the ISS.
The amateur radio contact generated plenty of media coverage which included:
BBC TV Spotlight report on the contact at 10:34 into
Essex Ham report on the ten Tim Peake contacts with UK schools at
Events at The King’s School in lead up to Tim Peake contact by year 13 student Matt Ilsley M6MTI
Video of the Tim Peake ARISS contact
The King’s School is an 11-18 comprehensive school with approximately 1150 students of which 230 are in the Sixth Form. It has a long and proud history that can be traced back to a fourteenth century choir school which was replaced in 1545 by Henry VIII in 1545 with “The King’s School”.
Although The King’s School became an academy in 2011 we continue to work in close partnership with Devon County Council and our fellow secondary schools to ensure that we offer the best educational opportunities possible. Our inclusive philosophy of “Achievement for All” encapsulates our belief that every person who enters The King’s School has unique skills and potential which we believe we have the creativity and ability to unlock.
We were graded Outstanding by OfSTED in 2011, and in the latest 2014 OfSTED inspection we were again graded Outstanding but this time in every category. The report endorsed the school’s belief that its ethos has a hugely positive impact on student achievement.
We are extremely proud of our students and of the brilliant examination results they achieve year on year. However, we are also incredibly proud of the myriad of extra-curricular activities in which they are involved. This richness of opportunity is central to what we believe develops our students into well rounded young people. We are very much a community school, working very closely with our hugely supportive parents, Governors, excellent partner primary schools, local business representatives and a wide range of other agencies to provide opportunities for all.
1. Lara, aged 13 – You have missed Christmas and Easter with your family and friends – how have you celebrated big events in space?
2. Harry, aged 12 – We have seen videos of you playing about in microgravity on the ISS – what is your favourite thing to do when ‘weightless?’
3. Elizabeth, aged 18 – From your elevated advantage point, looking down on the Earth, has your perception of the events on our planet, such as conflicts and wars been altered? Does the change in perception give any insight that we could learn from?
4. Eleanor, aged 11 – Having spent many months looking at the Earth from afar, where is the first place you would go for a family holiday when you get home?
5. Freddie, aged 12 – Over 500 astronauts have been into space, but only 12 have set foot on the moon. Do you think that we will return people to the moon again in the future? How will your research on the ISS help us if we did?
6. Naomi, aged 13 – We have learned about your experiments on how the human body adapts to conditions in space. How will the research improve our quality of life on Earth?
7. Robert, aged 13 – Taking into account Einstein’s theory of relativity, do you think you are ageing slower because you are travelling faster then the Earth?
8. Ben, aged 11 – I often stare into the inky blackness of space and wonder.. if the universe is expanding, then what is it expanding into? Has your time in space given you any insight?
9. Robbie, aged 14 – Is the sunrise more spectacular from your perspective?
10. Emily, aged 13 – After 6 years of training to be an astronaut, I bet it’s all been worth it. The experiments you are doing are amazing, but did you ever struggle with Science at school? What would you say to anyone that finds it difficult?
11. Josh, aged 12 – How do you get your air in space? Do you bring it up in tanks, or do you make it in the space station, if so, how? Also, do you have a special ‘space mixture’ of air or is it the same as we have on earth?
12. Tristan, aged 12 – Do you and the other astronauts onboard control the space station, or is it controlled from Earth?
13. Katie, aged 12 – Research shows that your sleeping position can affect the kind of dreams that you have. Have you noticed any difference in your sleep patterns or dreams during your time in space?
14. Chloe, aged 12 – I am reading ‘The Astronaut’s Handbook’ at the moment, which is fascinating. If you could take one thing into space to make life more comfortable, or easier, what would it be?
15. James, aged 12 – We have enjoyed listening to your music choices on ‘Space Rocks’ – what is your all-time favourite song to listen to in space?
16. Jessica, aged 12 – How do you keep the temperature constant inside the space station?
17. James, aged 12 – What would happen to a goldfish if you took it up to the ISS? Would it just float around in a bubble of water?
18. Josh, aged 12 – Do you have a special ‘space mixture’ of air or is it the same as we have on earth?
19. Freddie, aged 12 – How will your research on the ISS help us return people to the moon?
In episode 10 of the TX Factor show Mike Marsh G1IAR returns to his old school in Ottery Saint Mary, Devon to learn how science lessons have changed since he was a lad, see
ARISS Principia https://principia.ariss.org/
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
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/