30 May 2007




Tuesday May 30th, 2007 primary school Sainte Marie located in Suarlee, Belgium had a space rendez-vous with US astronaut Sunita Willaims KD5PLB. 


The radio contact with the International Space Station was established at 07:26 UTC (09:26 local time), by ARISS ground station W6SRJ, located in Santa Rosa, California.


The telebridge between W6SRJ and the school in Belgium worked perfectly and the audio was excellent all along the contact.


Sunita Williams answered 13 questions, giving detailed information on several topics. An audio recording of the conversation is hereto appended.


Before the contact, ARISS-Europe chairman Gaston Bertels, ON4WF had introduced amateur radio to the audience and shown how volunteering ARISS members collaborate with the space agencies to offer educational outreach to the youth.


After the radio contact, an English language teacher translated the astronautís answers into French.


ESA candidate astronaut Vladimir Pletser participated to the event. He presented several videos on space exploration, especially on parabolic flight campaigns and Mars camps.


Pierre Emmanuel Paulis, Euro Space Center monitor and comic books author, creator of Tania the astronaut, was also present. He had created a special logo for the T-shirts worn by the participating students.††


About 150 schoolchildren of 3 schools assisted to the event. Several teachers, members of the school organisation and parents also assisted.


Three TV stations and newspapers were present. The same day, the ARISS school contact was in the main TV News, local and national.


The audio of this ARISS School Contact has been broadcast worldwide to the amateur radio community by EcholInk, thanks to Dieter Scliemann KX4Y. Connections were noted in the USA, England, Belgium, Sweden, Australia, Thailand and Japan.


This ARISS contact was the first ever set up in a school of the French speaking region of Belgium, Wallonia.



Gaston Bertels

ARISS-Europe chairman


Suarlee audio