March 07, 2002


Eight teenaged hams, all students at Harrogate Ladies' College in Harrogate, England, started their morning Thursday chatting with astronaut Dan Bursch aboard the International Space Station. The contact was "absolutely excellent," according to Richard Horton, G3XWH, the students' physics instructor. Operating from the school's station, GB2HC, the girls asked 14 questions during the 8 1/2 minute contact. Richard Horton reported that all of the school's 380 students were invited to submit questions to be asked.

Richard said that Harrogate Ladies' College has produced more than 90 amateur radio operators since the founding of the school's station in 1980. Students at Harrogate were the first in the U.K. to make radio contact with space station Mir in 1991. the following year they were the first in the U.K. to make a SAREX contact, talking to astronaut Michael Foale on shuttle mission STS-45.

Television reporters from the BBC and ITV networks witnessed Thursday's contact, and the local radio station conducted interviews with the participants. Radcom magazine has reserved a page of its next edition for coverage of the event.

Thursday's contact was the 49th in the series of ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) contacts. The ARISS program is an international project with U.S. participation from AMSAT, the ARRL and NASA. ARISS mentor Tim Bosma, W6ISS, assisted in the success of Thursday's QSO.

A group photo and a sound recording of the contact will be made available on the ARISS-Europe website.