Otley schoolchildren speak to astronaut Tim Peake

Children from Ashfield Primary School in Otley have become the first in Yorkshire to speak live with British astronaut Tim Peake on the International Space Station (ISS).

Ten lucky children between the ages of three and eleven were selected to each ask a question to Tim Peake when the live link began at 09.07 this morning, the exact time he and the ISS was visible from Yorkshire.

Ashfield Primary School was selected to host a call after applying to take part in the Amateur Radio competition collaboration between the UK Space Agency, the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) and the European Space Agency (ESA).

Elspeth Warren, Head Teacher of Ashfield Primary, said: ‘This has been an incredibly exciting day for everyone at the school. We feel so honoured to have been chosen to speak to Tim and the experience for the children has been wonderful. Tim is an incredible role model for the children and I know many of them now want to follow in his footsteps and travel to space.’

Zac Shaffrey aged 11, who asked Tim Peake a question said: ‘Speaking to Tim Peake live from space was awesome! We were all so excited when his face came on the screen and we could hear his voice. It amazing because he is so far away but could hear everything we were asking. We learnt that astronauts have space sweets and their food floats around if they don’t stick it down!’

Nine year old Kitty Meggitt listening to Tim Peake answering her question from the ISS Credit: Welcome to Yorkshire

ARISS UK (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) provided and set up all necessary radio equipment such as low earth orbit satellite tracking antennas and radios, to establishing a fully functional, direct radio link with the ISS from the schools’ very own premises. In a ten-minute window an amateur radio contact was established with Tim and students were able to ask him questions about his life and work on board the ISS.

During the contact with Tim the students were able to hear and see his response immediately. Tim was using the amateur radio call sign GB1SS whilst he is talking to the school. The school used the call sign GB1APS

The link with the ISS will be a culmination of a two-day, space related STEM workshop which will be the culmination of a large range of learning activities using space as a context for teaching throughout the curriculum.

The live link up was also broadcast on the big screen in Millennium Square in Leeds.