UK Astronaut Tim Peake, KG5BVI/GB1SS — just back from a duty tour on the International Space Station — headed a contingent of radio amateurs and youngsters invited to visit new British Prime Minister Theresa May at 10 Downing Street earlier this month. The July 18 reception at the PM’s official residence celebrated the success of Peake’s “Principia Mission” and his time in space. Sandringham School student Jessica Leigh, M6LPJ, and her head teacher Alan Gray, G4DJX, were among those also on hand, along with students from the Principia Mission schools.
Jessica, then a brand-new ham, was the first student in the UK to speak with Peake during an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) ham radio contact with the ISS. Peake inaugurated the use of the ISS Ham TV system when he spoke on January 8 with Jessica and other students at Sandringham School in Hertfordshire, England.
Also attending the reception at 10 Downing Street were Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, IZ0UDF, and the UK’s first astronaut, Helen Sharman, GB1MIR, who traveled to the Russian Mir space station in 1991. Cristoforetti was among those responsible for configuring the Ham TV digital Amateur Radio TV (DATV) system on the space station.
Peake dedicated part of his 6 months in space to educational activities for youngsters on Earth. He described his Principia Mission as the largest and most ambitious educational outreach program of any European space mission. It was supported by ARISS, the UK Space Agency, the ESA, and others on a long list of educational institutions and organizations.
The July 29-31 AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium in Guildford will feature presentations about Peake’s Principia Mission. Also at the Colloquium, Sandringham School students will talk about their ARISS school studies and the ARISS contact.