Girl, 8, makes contact with ISS using dad's ham radio – and gets a response

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An eight-year-old girl from Kent was delighted to chat with an astronaut on board the International Space Station using her Dad’s amateur radio kit.

Isabella Payne had a 45-second conversation with Kjell Lindgren while he passed over her house earlier this month.

And American Dr Lindgren tweeted from space that the conversation was among his ‘favourite contacts so far.’

It is highly unusual for amateur radio users to get in contact with astronauts on the facility, but Isbaella’s enthusiastic father Matthew managed to set up the interaction – and admitted he was a little jealous of his daughter.

Isabella, from Broadstairs, said today: ‘It was really amazing and a dream come true.

‘I can’t wait to tell my friends all about it. I hope it inspires other young girls to do science as it should be for both girls and boys.’

The youngster had been inspired after meeting British astronaut Tim Peake when she was just two-years-old.

The schoolgirl was asleep before the chat six years later, but her excited Dad came in to wake her up.

She told the astronaut: ‘My name is Isabella, I’m eight-years-old.’

Dr Lindgren replied: ‘Isabella it’s so great to chat with you. Thank you for getting on the radio and saying hello.’

She added: ‘Thank you, fly safe.’

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The astronaut replied: ‘Thank you Isabella.’

Matthew said organising an unscheduled contact with someone on the ISS is difficult.

He explained: ‘It’s very unusual and may happen once every five or six years.

‘Everything has to line up and then you have to have an astronaut on board using the equipment and who’s willing to chat.

‘It was such a great experience for Isabella.

‘But I have to say I was just a little bit jealous.’

He also told BBC Breakfast: ‘Through the network and the communities that I’m involved in I had word that the astronaut that was up there was using the equipment so we just started listening out for him and it was just a game of luck really.

‘You have to get the right time when the space station is passing overhead and it has to be the right time of day when the astronaut is actually using the equipment.’

Previously, Matthew had tweeted: ‘April 23, 2016, a two-year-old sat on my knee and watched the students of Wellesley House School chat with Tim Peake, an event I helped organise.

I’ve had a lot of fun using the #ARISS amateur radio station #NA1SS on the @Space_Station to talk with ham radio operators all over the world. I’ve even (unofficially) worked stations on all continents! But this may be my favorite contact so far. Thanks Isabella and @m0lmk! https://t.co/Z2pWUbEZZr

‘Today she got her chance. Thank you so much Kjell Lindgren, you have changed her world.’

Dr Lindgren quote tweeted Matthew’s post and added: ‘I’ve had a lot of fun using the ARISS amateur radio station NA1SS on the International Space Station to talk with ham radio operators all over the world.

‘I’ve even unofficially worked stations on all continents.

‘But this may be my favorite contact so far. Thanks Isabella and Matthew.’

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