We had radio contact with the ISS – An unforgettable experience!


Wednesday November 9 2011. from the early morning, tension was palpable throughout the Hospital. Finally the great day had arrived. We had been preparing since days and weeks. At 15.18 we would contact the Astronauts on the  ISS and put them our questions.


Sascha, David, Julia, Lona, Stefano, Jose, Yll, Tobias and Laura. 9 children and youngsters prepared for this moment with ultimate care. Together with many patients of our Rehabilitation Center, they had been working hard on the universe, the planets and space travel, building models of planets and rockets, painting drawings and studying texts. They prepared questions and translated them into English. And then they trained and trained to be sure the questions would be put without stumbling when the moment was there.


In our Rehabilitation Center, we attend children and youngsters suffering from native or acquired diseases. They have suffered major operations of back, hips, and legs, severe accidents with brain injuries, bleeding or apoplexie or other  neurologic diseases. Every day, they have intensive therapy and attend class in our intern school. Their days are physically and psychologically demanding. Many are here since many weeks and months, spending at most a weekend at home with their family.


For all participants, the radio contact with the ISS was an absolute climax, a unique experience. Thanks to Rolf Eberhard – HB9TSO, the children and youngsters could surpass themselves, concentrate on their voice and speach therapy with unprecedented force and energy, train English pronunciation, prepare for an important event without ever allowing to be distracted. Not evident after heavy brain injury!


The day before the big event, David, Pascal and Brian were admitted to the Hosital. They also became subject to “Radio fever” and were given an important task. David helped setting up the right frequency, Pascal was standing by for switching on request from one antenna to the other and Brian efficiently assisted our two adult interpreters for the translation of the astronauts’ answers. Right from his admission to the Rehabilitation Center, he could put his mother tongue – Englisch – to good use. Quite a start!


Kind regards


Karin Zollinger, lic. phil.

School’s Principal


Children’s Hospital, Zurich

Rehabilitation Center

Affoltern am Albis



Translated from German


73, Gaston Bertels, ON4WF

ARISS Chairman