November 10, 2005




On Wednesday 9 November 2005 at 17:47 UTC, students from Furtherwick Park School, Canvey Island, Essex were able to chat with astronaut Bill McArthur orbiting the earth aboard the International Space Station.


The pupils used amateur radio equipment to ask the astronauts questions as they passed 250 miles above the earth travelling at 17500mph. 18 students asked the questions.


Furtherwick Park School had received a special request from Mustapha Landoulsi, DL1BDF to accept a question from Tunisia. The Tunisian Scouts had prepared the question that was read out by a Furtherwick Park pupil. The World summit on the Information Society will take place in Tunis 16-18 November 2005 and the recording of the Furtherwick ARISS School Contact will be presented to the public visiting the Exhibition set up in Tunis to accompany the Summit.


This ARISS School Contact has been prepared by John Lewis Houghton, Head of Science Department and implemented by South Essex Amateur Radio Society (S.E.A.R.S). Carlos Eavis, G0AKI of the R.S.G.B and Howard Long, G6LVB of AMSAT UK offered their assistance. ††


Dave Speechley, G4UVJ Chairman of S.E.A.R.S, who operated the station GB2FPS, said the students of Furtherwick Park School really enjoyed it. The School hall was packed and was covered by all the local Media and BBC Essex Radio. A great day was had by all, for itís not everyday you get a chance to speak to someone orbiting the earth.


There was a bit of a fright between Question 11 and 12 when Bill McArthur jumped frequency, but it turned out ok and in the end a great contact.


The School intends to keep the concept of Space on there science education lessons.

The Radio Society of Great Britain's GB4FUN communications and demonstration vehicle also attended the event, providing a full backup station.


An audio file of the Spacetalk is available here : Furtherwick.mp3


Gaston Bertels, ON4WF

ARISS-Europe chairman