March 28, 2003


The primary school of Selnica ob Dravi, Slovenia had a wonderful time Wednesday 26 March, 2003 when scoutsmaster Ivan, S51DI conducted a nightly spacetalk with the ISS.

The space station rose in the nightly sky at 20:04 local time (19:04 UTC) and contact was established loud and clear within a minute. The schoolchildren had prepared 20 questions and all these were answered by astronaut Ken Bowersox during the 10 minutes pass.

The scouts clubstation S59TTT had been set up in a camping trailer on the school's playground. About 130 schoolchildren, parents, teachers, the city mayor and several radioamateurs followed the pass on the WINORBIT tracking map projected on the trailer's sidewall. Weather was nice and the nightly sky full of stars.

A very special feature of this ARISS School Contact was that the audience actually could see the ISS crossing the sky as a glittering star during the spacetalk.

Questioned about spacewalks, Ken Bowersox said that the most beautiful views are in the night, when you look at the stars and the sunrises and the sunsets.

"Do any of the astronauts snore?" - "I never heard anyone snore here and I sleep very well" he said. "Yes" he said, answering another question, "Sometimes I am so happy that I actually sing".

The event was covered by POP TV, a national TV station, and the story was broadcast Thursday 27 March at 18:00, 19:00 and 21:00. Moreover, the amateur radio operators Ivan, S51DI and Dubi, S51DU were invited by POP TV in Maribor and the interview will be in the main news Friday 28 at 19:00.

This was a first for Slovenia and a success for ARISS, one more...

Gaston Bertels, ON4WF
ARISS Vice-chair