On 8 December at roughly 12:11 CET, 16 students from Junior School Leidschenveen (JSL), The British School in The Netherlands (BSN), successfully had live contact with the International Space Station.
"Welcome aboard the International Space Station"
Through the satellite links set up by Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS), the school's live contact began with Josh Cassada (Captain, U.S. Navy, PhD), NASA Astronaut, with his warm greeting. "Welcome aboard the International Space Station!"
Each class proposed questions to ask Dr Cassada, and the JSL school council had the difficult task of choosing only two from each year group. The students who submitted the selected questions then had the opportunity to ask their questions live via satellite.
These live links infrequently happen, which made this an incredible opportunity for the children. In fact, everyone involved, including staff, parents and the ARISS team, was equally excited, and there was a palpable buzz of anticipation!
Watch the video of the event here:
JSL's Journey to Space
Barbara van Duijne, Year 6 Class Teacher, who worked with Dave Onley and the team at JSL to realise this extraordinary experience, shared her reflections on the impact of this experience:
"Wow, is all I can say! And, who knew the impact it would have on us all? As the children spoke, tears welled up as I saw their confidence grow and amazement as the astronaut Josh Cassada responded to their questions.
'It has been a huge journey we have been on since the moment concierge Dave Onley mentioned that schools could make contact with the ISS – in 2021. The process was a long one, but it provided us all opportunities to meet new people from our community and further afield.
The ARISS team provided so much expertise and support from start to finish to help make it possible. For me, it will be poignant memory that I hope we can attempt again in the future to give more children the opportunity.
'Well done, JSL, and everyone involved! "
ARISS Inspires Students
The satellite links that will make this event possible have been organised through Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS). ARISS is an international working group consisting of delegations from 15 countries, including several countries in Europe as well as Japan, Canada, and the USA. The organisation is run almost entirely by volunteers from the national amateur radio organisations. ARISS provides opportunities for the school community (students, teachers, families and community members) to become more aware of the substantial benefits of human spaceflight and the exploration and discovery that occur on spaceflight journeys.
I can’t think of a more exciting opportunity for a young person than being able to talk live to an astronaut on the International Space Station! Events like this can help to spark a lifelong love of learning in our students.
- BSN CEO Heath Monk
JSL in Space
The contact with the International Space Station is part of a Space theme that the children have been studying. This includes the production of their own ‘JSL in Space’ t-shirts (which they have been selling), designing their own rockets, a visit to the Space Expo in Noordwijk and talks by European Space Agency (ESA), European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), TU Delft and Breda University of Applied Sciences.