Calling the International Space Station

Helping make history

An inspiring moment for all those present to see British Astronaut, Tim Peake ‘live’ on the ISS

On Friday 19th February the Museum supported the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) and Bristol Amateur Radio Society at an event at the Oasis Academy, Bristowe to contact Tim Peake on the International Space Station (ISS). The Academy had been given an exciting, ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to speak to our first British Astronaut Tim Peake live on the ISS, through an Amateur radio and video link provided by RSGB.
Only those with a licence can talk – The Academy had eight pupils who passed an Amateur Radio Foundation licence, enabling them to talk to Tim Peake, (himself a licenced amateur) live on the ISS during a ‘pass’ at 1420 hrs. During the pass the children had just 10 minutes to speak to Tim as the ISS travels at a height of 400km, a speed of 17,150 mph, (5 miles per second), and orbits the earth in just 92 minutes. Connection was made and both video and audio receptions were clear.

Playing Our Part

Clansman Radios, Morse Code Training kit, Heliographs, Semaphore flags…

The Museum supported the Bristol and Shirehampton Amateur Radio Society, by providing a series of interactive activities for the children before and after the big event. We took an assortment of kit –  working Clansman Radios, Morse Code Training kit, Heliographs, Semaphore flags and some World War 1 Radios and Field Telephones.

As ever our hands on activities – especially Morse Code training – proved hugely popular. The Royal Signals’ Museum stand was permanently busy – in contrast to some of the more ‘hands off, high tech stands’ – demonstrating that early communication technology captures the public imagination and brings in to focus our modern gadgets, technology and expectations. Morse training is great fun for children and families. It is a simple task which is easily grasped but is a fantastic way to attract people and get them involved. Of course once engaged they are keen to know more about the wider aspects of the Museum, the Corps and the evolution of Communications Technology.

PS – The accompanying image above may have been slightly “photoshopped” – think of it as more virtual reality than reality but Tim is welcome to join us and have his photo taken with us anytime. 

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