ARISS-Europe News Bulletin, 27 September 2006


Friday 22 September 2006, European astronaut Thomas Reiter, DF4TR, presently performing the ESA Astrolab Mission onboard the International Space Station, had an ARISS rendez-vous with students of “Gymnase Intercantonal de la Broye”, a high school in Payerne, French speaking region of Switzerland.

Thomas was first greeted by his friend Claude Nicollier, HB9CN, Swiss astronaut and honorary president of the Swiss Astronautics Society. During the five minutes radio contact, eight students asked questions and got Thomas answers, solid copy. “No, I was looking for the Great Wall of China, but did not see it. I will try again and make a picture”. “We do a lot of scientific experiments, but this afternoon, I will do some maintenance work”. “I expect to be back home for Christmas”.

This was an ESA organized event with high visibility. It started 19 September with a press conference and participation of Claude Nicollier. From 20 to 23 September, newspapers published half page sized articles on the event, with pictures.

Local TV channel Nord Vaudois highlighted the event twice, before and after the contact. From 20 to 22 September, regional television “Suisse Romande” did five presentations and covered the event direct, at 12:45 during midday newsreel. A student and a radioamateur were interviewd live. Local radio channel Fribourg also reported the event.    

Swisscom sponsored streaming video on The site was opened two days before the contact and broadcast several reportages.

Several newspapers published articles on the 22 September event:

-          “24 heures”: half page with picture (283.000 readers)

-          “La Liberté”: half page with picture (96.000 readers)

-          “20 minutes”: (150.000 printed)

-          “Le Republicain”: (3.826 printed)

-          Neue Zürcher Zeitung”: (110.000 printed)

-          Basler Zeitung”: 115.000 printed)

Population of “Suisse Romande” (French speaking region) is 1.300.000 inhabitants. It is estimated that more than half that number saw the TV newsreel and listened to the radio reportages.

In the school, the auditorium was crowded. 350 assisted to the contact which was relayed from the museum by ATV. HB9TNA commented .

In the museum, 23 students, 2 teachers and 15 radioamateurs operated the contact. Several VIP assisted:

-          Mrs Anne-Catherine Lyon, Counselor of State, education and youth department, Vaud canton  

-          Mr Nicolas Renevey, head of college education service, Fribourg canton

-          Mrs Jacqueline Bottlang, deputee, Vaud canton

-          Mrs Jean-François Charles, directorate of Vaud colleges

-          Mr Michel Roulin, mayor of the city of Payerne

-          Mr Rudolf Rieder, Swiss OFCOM representative (radiocommunications official)

-          Mr Willy Rüsch, HB9AHL, president USKA (Swiss IARU society)

-          Mr Hans-Heinrich Ehlers, DF5UG, IARU Executive Committee member

-          Mr Alfred Ramseier, Manager Airforce MuseumClin d’Ailes”, Payerne

-          Mrs Jeanine van Leeuwen, ISS Utilisation Strategy and Education Office, ESA

-          General Pierre-André Winteregg, Swiss Airforce instruction commander (retired)

-          Mr Alain Tornare, representing the Payerne Airbase

-          Mr Jean-Daniel Dessimoz, president Swiss Astronautics Society

The event was part of the Swiss Space Days organized by the Swiss Astronautics Society. The students were invited to a presentation by Claude Nicollier on the subject “Youth fascinating Astronautics”. Herbert Aeby, HB9BOU, president of the museum amateur radio club station HB4FR and organizer of the ARISS School Contact, presented ARISS to the members of the Astronautics Society.

Memorable days for the students as well as for all participants and great days for amateur radio.


Gaston Bertels, ON4WF

ARISS-Europe chairman

Payerne audio
Payerne picture 1 : HB4FR in Air Force Museum "Clin d'Ailes"
Payerne picture 2 : Student at mike, Claude Nicollier, HB9CN standing next
Payerne picture 3 : Invited guests
Payerne picture 4 : The students
Payerne picture 5 : The hams
Payerne picture 6 : Audience in auditorium