NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, Commander of NASA SpaceX Crew-4, answered a radio transmission from Earth. On the other end was 8-year-old Isabella Payne, speaking slowly and clearly into her dad’s ham radio in Kent, England. And the interaction is so sweet.
The International Space Station (ISS) is close enough to Earth that these kinds of communication are not unusual. According to their website, the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) “lets students worldwide experience the excitement of talking directly with crew members of the International Space Station, inspiring them to pursue interests in careers in science, technology, engineering and math, and engaging them with radio science technology through amateur radio.” Amateur radio uses small frequency bands and is limited to non-commercial purposes, and this short conversation is a perfect example of how it can be inspiring. Imagine firing up your radio and being able to directly communicate with space.
Matthew Payne, Isabella’s father, tweeted his thanks at Lindgren for helping to change his daughter’s world. Lindgren responded that while he has had the opportunity to connect with people all over the world, “this may be my favorite contact so far.”
You can listen to the 45 second exchange yourself here.