March 10, 2008




Monday 10 March 2008 at 08:30 UTC (09:30 CET) an ARISS School Contact was planned with Lycee Mixte Rene Gosse, Clermont líHerault, France. The space talk was to be conducted in French with astronaut Leopold Eyharts, FX0STD.


When the ground station in Clermont líHerault started calling, no answer was received from the ISS. Calling continued till the pass was over, without success.


Then we got information from ESA that Leopold Eyharts had not been able to operate the contact because of priority duties. The contact was rescheduled for the next pass. Since this orbit was not favourable for France, the contact was programmed with ARISS ground station VK5ZAI, Kingston, South Australia at 10:49 UTC.


A phone line telebridge was set up between Clermont líHerault and Kingston. This worked perfectly and the space talk could take place. Leopold Eyharts answered 9 questions put by the students.


About 50 students participated to the event, as well as 10 teachers and more than 75 radio amateurs among the audience.


Media were impressed with the readiness of the ARISS organization to face unexpected issues and provide communications successfully.


3 regional and local newspapers covered the event, as well as 3 TV broadcast stations.


Many thanks to Tony Hutchison, VK5ZAI for helping us out and congratulations to the team in France for quickly changing over from a direct to a telebridge contact. Many thanks also to ESA Mission Control for reprogramming the contact.


Pictures of this event will be posted on the archive page of the ARISS-Europe website.




Gaston bertels, ON4WF

ARISS-Europe chairman