Soar Valley College, Leicester, UK is a Secondary School with 1200 on role. The College features an amateur radio, satellite/computing club, specifically set up to promote interest in technology, space studies and amateur radio training with novice instruction. Science teacher Derek Hatton, G4GWI is the driving force behind this educative effort.

Soar Valley College set up a summer holiday's Science Camp for youngsters aged 11-13. For three days, a series of experiments were conducted, including the building and launching of solid fuel rockets. The apotheosis was a Space Talk with astronaut Ed Lu on board the International Space Station, Friday 8 August 2003.

It had been a long time for the College to wait for this unique opportunity to offer the students a direct radio contact with an astronaut in space, but now the day had come. The audience held their breath when Derek Hatton, operating the club station M0SVC, started calling NA1SS. At 16:25:30 UTC, Ed Lu answered the call. Once the contact established, the students began asking the questions they had prepared.

The audio was excellent and the astronaut kindly answered and commented 13 questions during the pass of the ISS.

The press and the local TV interviewed the students who will never forget the day they contacted the International Space Station.

Congratulations to Derek Hatton, G4GWI and many thanks to Howard Long, G6LVB, ARISS representative, who participated and helped to make the event run very smoothly.

Gaston Bertels, ON4WF
ARISS vice chairman

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