April 22 2016 | Views: 1247
Kent and Medway
Pupils from Wellesley House school in Broadstairs and 23 other primary and secondary schools had an experience they will never forget when astronaut Tim Peake used amateur radio to answer their questions on living in space.
The Space Extravaganza took place on Friday 22nd April 2016 with approximately 50 pupils, building a medium wave radio receiver from a kit provided by the Radio Society of Great Britain. Most of them had never soldered before but the Hilderstone radio club was on hand to guide them.
The students looked at the stars in a Planetarium, made a spectroscope, spoke on an amateur radio station, tracked a satellite and tried on a space helmet and gloves. There were talks on astronomy from the Royal Observatory in Greenwich and on designing a space suit from Julia Attias of Greenwich University and demonstrations in chemistry from GlamSci. 400 pupils & staff gathered in the school hall and waited expectantly for Tim, they could see his position above the Earth on a monitor and eventually Ethan Beckett M6GQK put out a call for GB1SS. After a few heart stopping minutes when Tim could be seen on screen but not heard, contact was eventually made and the children were able to ask their questions. There was rapturous applause at the end and it was definitely a day to be remembered!
The event was organised by STEM ambassador John Hislop, chairman of the Hilderstone radio club, and by science teacher Kerry Sabin-Dawson. The children tracked the educational satellite FUNcube, launched by amateur radio enthusiasts, and worked out the orbital period to be about 90 minutes, the same as Tim’s.