Wednesday 6 August 2003 Neston primary school had a very special date with Space.

The school had submitted an Application for an ARISS School Contact February 2002 and, since then, special attention was given to Space related subjects in the school's educational project covering literacy, geography, citizenship, history, religious education, numeracy, information technology, music and science.

Moreover, the school's Governing body actively invested in public relations with the local media as well as with specialised technical bodies such as the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) and AMSAT UK. This activity culminated in the last few weeks.

Indeed, an opportunity arose to schedule a contact in August 2003. Although this was in the Summer holiday's period, the school immediately accepted to organise the event. Schoolchildren prepared the twenty questions they wanted to ask the astronaut and Charles Riley, G4JQX set up a satellite amateur radio station in the school.

The ten minutes contact was excellent, no noise and very good audio. Ed Lu answered the twenty questions and enough time was left for sending him a tremendous applause from the enthousiastic audience.

Two hundred people assisted and the media offered a nation wide coverage to the event: BBC TV, ITV, BBC Radio and many national and local newspapers were on the spot to record and comment the Space talk. Few people in the UK will be unaware of this ARISS School Contact.

The RSGB's mobile amateur radio station GB4FUN was also present and did an excellent public relations job.

Congratulations to Charles Riley, G4JQX who operated the ground station and special thanks to Howard Long, G6LVB, AMSAT UK's delegate and ARISS representative, who efficiently helped the school and Charles Riley's team in the final stages of this successful event.

Gaston Bertels, ON4WF
ARISS vice chairman

Listen to the Spacetalk