April 27, 2003


Pedro Duque, born 1963 in Madrid, Spain, is married and has three children. He is a member of the ESA Astronauts Corps.

Pedro Duque flew as Mission Specialist on the Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-95 mission (29 October to 7 November 1998). This nine-day mission was dedicated to research in weightlessness and the study of the Sun. Duque was responsible, among others, for the five ESA scientific facilities on board and for the extensive computer system and configurations used on the Shuttle.

In 1999, Duque was assigned to ESA/ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands, providing support to the Module Projects Division within the Directorate of Manned Spaceflight and Microgravity.

March 2002, Pedro participated to the ARISS-Europe Meeting at ESTEC and offered his support to ARISS activities and projects.

Pedro Duque has recently been assigned to a Soyuz flight mission (Flight 7S) to the International Space Station (ISS), which is scheduled for October 2003. Two ARISS School Contacts are included in Pedro's mission, one with the Ceip Seixalbo school in Ourense, the other with the Museum "VERBUM - Casa das Palabras", located in Vigo.

ESA has launched a Space oriented competition for schoolchildren in Spain. A letter signed by Pedro Duque has been circulated to the 14.000 Spanish elementary schools. Moreover, ESA has developed a special webpage where Spanish teachers and schoolchildren can find detailed information about the competition: http://www.esa.int/export/esaMI/hablaiss/

The site is divided in four chapters: the Competition, to be an Astronaut, Microgravity and the ISS. Navigate to "El Concurso" (the Competition) and select ¿Qué es una comunicación por radio? (What is a radio communication?). Children will discover an introduction to radio communications and to ARISS stating:

Thanks to ARISS, some of you will have the opportunity to talk to Pedro Duque while he is in Space. To establish a radio communication we need an antenna, some cables, a microphone, a radio set and much more, but... don't worry!! A radioamateur will be there to help you.

The Unión de Radioaficionados Españoles (URE) has sections in many cities all over Spain. Your school can look for the nearest section and ask for assistance to build a radio receiver, to learn how to use it, etc. A lot of information is available on the website http://www.ure.es and under "Enlaces" you will find the complete list of the sections of URE in Spain.

The pupils of the four winning classes of this national competition for schools will be invited to the Museum "VERBUM - Casa das Palabras" in Vigo. Some of them will put a question to Pedro Duque and get his answer, right from Space.

Pedro has an american amateur radio licence and his callsign is KC5RGG. Operating the NA1SS station, Pedro needed a Spanish amateur radio licence to talk to the children in Spain. With the efficient intervention of the URE headquarters in Madrid, we obtained a special licence for Pedro Duque who will operate as ED4ISS.

The URE sections of Vigo and Ourense are presently preparing the appropriate ground stations for these first ARISS contacts in Spain.

Gaston Bertels, ON4WF
ARISS Vice Chairman