October 6, 2004


Gdynia is a middle sized city located in northern part of Poland. Gdynia, Gdansk  and Sopot are close to each other on the border of the Baltic Sea. They form a complex of three cities, called Tricity.

Three schools participated to today’s ARISS School Contact: two High Schools located in Gdansk and in Gdynia, and the Maritime Academy of Gdynia.

The Gdansk High School is a public high school, where students obtain middle and a high grades of general education. Specialised classes cover mathematical, biological and humanistic subjects. The school is well known for its innovative approach to education.

Author High School in Gdynia is a private high school also featuring innovative programs for the tuition of students.

Both schools are participating in Space education programme ZNEK organized by Polish Astronautical Society. The ZNEK programme aims to provide interdisciplinary knowledge of astronautics for middle and high grade students. Students gain theoretical knowledge covering celestial mechanics, space technology, space law, space medicine and social science. The first ARISS School Contact in Poland  is part of the project. Students from these schools are interested in further studies related to astronautics in Poland and abroad.

Gdynia Maritime Academy educates marine specialists at bachelor and master level. The Academy is well-known in Poland and abroad. The Academy comprises a radioelectronics section. Hamradio Club "Schooner" SP2ZIE is part of this section. The SP2ZIE Hamradio Club provided the ground station for the ARISS contact. This is a pioneering project in Poland and its role will be significant in further activities of the club. The club’s HQ are located 80 meters above sea level, one of the highest sites in Gdynia. The location provides excellent conditions for an ARISS contact.

The ARISS contact took place during the international Space Week promoting cooperation in space exploration and space education. A great start for the third edition of ZNEK space education project.

Mike Fincke answered all the questions prepared by the students. He said:

- “Eating in Space is fun”

- “Sometimes we play games in the weekend, to relax”

- “No, we have no beer on the ISS”

- “Commander Gennady Padalka is great. We get along very well”

- “We have’nt experienced severe malfunctions. We fixed stabilisation gyroscopes during an EVA”

- “Yes, I miss my family. My daughter was born while I was up here. Will be happy to see her soon”

- “Life on earth is fine. But I also like life in Space”

- “Space is beautiful. The sky is very black and the stars don’t twinkle”

- “We are very busy. To relax I look at DVD films, play games and read books”

- “I sleep very well onboard after a very busy working day. It’s quiet up here”

- “We mostly have contact with our professional ground teams. But also with hams over amateur radio”

- “Yes. I would like to go to Mars. But I would miss my family”

The Gdynia club station SP2ZIE was operated by Krystoff, SQ8JIP. There were about 40 people in the radio room, students, teachers, radio and TV. A closed loop ATV transmission was set up to another room with an audience of 100 people.

Congratulations to the Gdynia team for an excellent ARISS School Contact, a first in Poland.

Gaston Bertels, ON4WF

ARISS Europe chairman