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Chinese students talk to ISS astronaunt
2007-08-26 09:17:07 Xinhua English

Twenty Chinese students talked directly to an astronaut in the International Space Station (ISS) via amateur radio in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province on Sunday. (Xinhua Photo)

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NANJING, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Twenty Chinese students talked directly to an astronaut in the International Space Station (ISS) via amateur radio in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province on Sunday.

The 20 students, aged 10 to 19 from Shanghai, Guangzhou and Nanjing, began talking to Clayton C. Anderson, a 48-year-old American astronaut at 18:50 p.m. at Nanjing No. 3 Middle School when the ISS was passing over Nanjing.

Tang Jiewen, a student from Nanjing No. 3 Middle School, asked the first question: "Can you see the Great Wall from the ISS? "

"I'm sorry that I haven't seen it yet, but we hope to see it," Anderson's voice was clearly heard from the radio.

He also answered other questions poped out by students during the 10-minute conversation, telling students that ISS is very quiet with only sounds of astronauts' drinking water and air flowing, and robots are used to do simple work like fetching things.

"This is the first time for Chinese students to participate in the program of Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) to speak directly to astronauts in the ISS," said Wang Long, a teacher in charge of the Amateur Radio activities from Nanjing No. 3 Middle School.

"Through this activity, we hope to kindle the enthusiasm among students in astronautical technology and radio communication," he said, "the activity should be promoted in more schools."

Questions were selected from the more than 200 proposed by students via email and hotline since Aug. 4.

To ensure the talk, the school bought an ultrashort communication equipment worth over 100,000 yuan as well as the GPS software, Wang noted.

The school applied to ARISS for the membership in April 2005 and has become the 311th organization to have dialogue with ISS astronaunts.

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