Budbrooke Primary School in Warwick is welcoming a stratospheric special guest on Wednesday – astronaut Richard Garriott.
Last October pupils aged from five to 11 had the unique opportunity to speak to private space explorer Garriott on the International Space Station as he orbited 300 miles above the earth. This week they get to meet the rocket man in person.
Garriott answered pupils’ questions via amateur radio during the ten minute space call and he promised the youngsters that he would see them in person once he returned to earth.
The opportunity for Budbrooke Primary to become one of a select band of British schools ever to go into space came about through pupil Matthew Morgan’s interest in amateur radio. His father Ciaran is an amateur radio enthusiast who helps run Budbrooke Primary’s Imagineering science club.
As part of the school’s 40th anniversary celebrations, Budbrooke applied to ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) to speak to the space station and a competition was held with all of the pupils in the school being asked to come up with interesting questions to ask the astronauts.
Only four schools in the world had the chance to speak to the International Space Station during this mission. The other schools were from Malaysia and the United States.
Richard Garriott is a video game pioneer from Cambridge whose father Owen was an astronaut who himself used amateur radio. Richard has had many adventures including expeditions to Antarctica and fulfilled his lifetime ambition last October when he become’s the world’s sixth private space explorer.
The International Space Station is a research facility in low earth orbit and on occasions can be seen from earth by the naked eye. It is travelling at more than 17,000 miles per hour and orbits the earth 15 times a day.