January 2, 2003


The René Mure elementary school, located in Commelle-Vernay, France has performed an excellent ARISS contact with USA astronaut Don Pettit, KD5MDT, Science Officer on board the International Space Station on Tuesday 31 December 2002 at 10:18 UTC (11:18 Western continental time).

The school managed to gather four classes for this event in the middle of the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Schoolchildren and their parents assisted to the space talk while the amateur radio operator of the special event station asked Don Pettit the questions prepared by the pupils. Press and television covered the event.

In the past months, the 8 -10 years old schoolchildren had been studying elements of astronomy, satellites and manned space-flight and, with the assistance of the local amateur radio and astronomy clubs, they had developed models of the planets, prepared exhibition panels on communication and a built a Kepler telescope and crystal receiver sets. The ISS contact was the most exciting activity they had asked for and finally achieved as a marvellous New Year's present.

Another French school, located in Brest (48.021 N - 3.958 W - IN88AA) has been selected for an ARISS contact on Wednesday 8 January 2003 at 07:37 UTC, which is 08:37 local time.

Amateur stations in Western Europe are invited to listen to the astronaut answering questions on the downlink frequency 145,800 MHz.

Happy New Year !

Gaston Bertels, ON4WF
ARISS-Europe chairman