ESA astronaut Tim Peake has issued an invitation to UK school pupils to contact him via amateur radio during his mission to the International Space Station.
Tim Peake will be launched to the Space Station in November to spend six months working and living on the orbiting research centre.
Thanks to a collaboration between Amateur Radio on the International Space Stations (ARISS), the UK Space Agency, the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) and ESA, UK school pupils will be able to contact him on the Station via a scheduled amateur radio link-up.
The selected schools/organisations will host a direct link-up with the Station during a two-day, space-related workshop. ARISS UK will provide and set up all the necessary radio equipment. During a 10-minute window when the Station is over the UK, radio contact will be established with Tim and students will be able to ask him questions about his life and work in space.
The students will be able to hear and potentially see Tim’s response immediately. Tim will use the amateur radio callsign GB1SS while talking to the UK schools.
Schools throughout the UK are being invited to host one of a limited number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics – STEM – workshops where students can explore space, space-related technologies, the relevance of space to our digital lives and even analyse data being sent down from satellites.
The students taking part in the link-up will have to obtain their Full Amateur Radio Licence to be eligible to operate the radio, and one lucky student from each of the selected schools will be responsible for making contact with the Station.
An RSGB team and the ARISS UK Operations team will work with the chosen schools to prepare them for this exceptional opportunity during the mission of the first British ESA astronaut.
Looking forward to his mission, Tim Peake said: “I hope to share as much of my mission as possible and am delighted that I will be able to talk to UK students as I fly over Britain, thanks to the radio amateur equipment on board the International Space Station and the ARISS programme.”
Jeremy Curtis, Head of Education at the UK Space Agency, added: “Both Tim’s space mission and amateur radio have the power to inspire young people and encourage them into STEM subjects.
“By bringing them together, we can boost their reach and give young people around the UK the chance to be involved in a space mission and a hands-on project that will teach them new skills.”
Ciaran Morgan, callsign M0XTD, RSGB lead for ARISS and ARISS Operations in the UK, said: “Tim Peake and his Principia mission offer students a unique insight into space and amateur radio.
“ARISS is delighted to be able to help UK students connect with Tim while he is in space, using only amateur radio equipment on the Station and in schools, to help inspire our future generations of scientists, technicians, engineers and mathematicians.”
John Gould, G3WKL, President of the RSGB, said: “The RSGB is delighted to be able to support the UK Space Agency and Tim’s journey into space, and looks forward to working with the selected schools.”
How to apply
The opportunity to be involved in this exciting project opens 20 March 2015. Eligible institutions are invited to apply in order to register their interest.
Stage 1 application forms, available from the European Space Education Resource Office website at http://www.esero.org.uk/timpeake must be returned no later than Friday 24 April 2015. http://www.nationalstemcentre.org.uk/elibrary/media/500/ariss
Schools/institutions invited to proceed to Stage 2 will be notified in the week beginning 11 May 2015.
Stage 2 applications must be submitted and received by 26 June 2015.
There will then be a selection process involving the UK Space Agency, ESA, ARISS and RSGB. The successful schools will be announced at the UKSA Space Conference on 13 July 2015.
For further information, please contact:
ARISS Operations Lead in the UK
Tel: +44 1926 410618
UK Space Agency
Tel: +44 1793 418069
Mobile: +44 7770 276721