UAE: School students connect with Sultan AlNeyadi on ISS in first ham radio session

In the 10-minute session, the astronaut captivated the young audience by providing valuable insights and fuelled the curiosity of the attendees


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Wed 19 Apr 2023, 1:04 PM

Last updated: Wed 19 Apr 2023, 1:39 PM

UAE school students had the first ham radio interaction with astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi from the International Space Station (ISS) as the orbiting laboratory passed over the region.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), in collaboration with the Emirates Amateur Radio Society (EARS) and Emirates Literature Foundation (ELF), arranged the nascent ham radio session on Tuesday as part of a series of 10 ham radio sessions under the ‘A Call with Space’ event.

As part of the ELF in Space initiative between MBRSC and Emirates Literature Foundation, which aims to bring space closer to the community, 25 students from various schools got to connect with him.

The radio communication between MBRSC and the ISS was arranged in collaboration with EARS at the Centre’s Ground Station.

Amateur radio on the ISS

Ham radio, or amateur radio, is a popular hobby that enables the communication between individuals, groups, and even remote regions, making it a valuable tool in emergencies. Using a broad spectrum of frequencies, ham radio enthusiasts can communicate with others locally, internationally and even in space.

Since its inception in the early 20th century, ham radio has not only served as a recreational activity but has also played a crucial role in times of crisis by facilitating emergency communication when conventional networks fail.

The ISS has its own international ham radio programme called the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS). It aims to inspire students worldwide to pursue interests and careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through amateur radio communications with the ISS on-orbit crew.

ARISS exposes students to life onboard the ISS and helps them explore Earth from space through science and math activities. The programme also raises awareness within the school community about the benefits of human spaceflight and the exploration and discovery that occur on spaceflight journeys.

10-minute student interaction by Al Neyadi

During the ham radio session, enthusiastic participants from schools in the UAE had the opportunity to ask AlNeyadi questions about the launch, inspiration to become an astronaut, life on the ISS, scientific experiments being conducted, visible changes in climate, as well as memorable experiences and space-related activities. AlNeyadi generously shared his experiences on the ISS, and also spoke about how they communicate on the space station, as well as maintain their physical and psychological health.

In the 10-minute session, AlNeyadi captivated the young audience by providing valuable insights and fuelled the curiosity of the attendees, encouraging them to explore the realms of space further. On being asked about his favourite activity in space, much to the delight of students, AlNeyadi answered that he “liked floating in space, like Superman, from one module to the other.” Sharing the message of the importance of protecting our planet, AlNeyadi mentioned that he was able to understand the value of our planet from space and that it is the responsibility of everyone to protect our resources and preserve the environment.


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