Our 8 minute long-distance call with ISS astronaut David Saint-Jacques

Our 8 minute long-distance call with ISS astronaut David Saint-Jacques

The Learning Commons room at North Point School was pin quiet as each student (grades 1-9) focused intently on the conversation between
their classmates and International Space Station (ISS) astronaut David Saint-Jacques. Over 70 students, faculty, staff, parents, special guests and media attended on March 20, 2019 to watch history. North Point School is one of only 20 nation-wide schools granted the honour of talking live with Dr. Saint-Jacques during his time aboard the ISS.

Omar E. led off the space talk with “How did you train to become an astronaut? OVER” and Josh W. wanted to know “What do you do all day. OVER“. In all, 10 students were able to ask Canadian astronaut Dr. David Saint-Jacques a total 16 of the 20 planned questions during 8 precious minutes as the ISS orbited Earth. A Telebridge Station in Italy was our link with Dr. Saint-Jacques. Amateur radio operator Claudio Ariotti skillfully pointed a very SMALL dish at the space station over 400 hundred kilometres away to make our VERY long-distance call possible. It took many hours from many people and extensive technology to complete this successful earth-space interaction.

Full coverage of the event was an international team effort! Amateur Radio operators in Italy, Switzerland, England and beyond captured the ISS side of the conversation, while local staff at North Point and various media outlets archived the entire exchange for viewing for years to come. Dean White, Roots 2 STEM and student Cayden A (Gr. 7) were both interviewed by CTV Calgary. A full list of articles and videos of the event are listed below with links.

I guess we will have to wait for the next Canadian astronaut on the ISS to ask the last few questions that went unanswered after we lost the connection with the ISS. One day, the boys may indeed find out “how do astronauts breathe with their EVA suits on?” and “Do astronauts eat together?” Anyone dare to wager an answer?

Thank you!

These 8 minutes of history will be remembered for years to come. It takes a village to pull this off successfully. Planning began in spring 2018 when our Roots2STEM partner Dean White made the initial application to ARISS. We graciously thank everyone involved in making this a reality for the boys at North Point School. In particular, THANK YOU to:

David Saint-Jacques, Astronaut & Chief Medical Officer, ISS
Dean White, Roots 2 STEM
Brian Jackson, ARISS
Claudi Ariotti, IK1SLD Telebridge Ground Station, Italy
Alan Griffin
, Radio Amateurs of Canada
Scott Kostecki, Assistant Principal & Science Leader, North Point School
Annie A-Bélanger, Canadian Space Agency

Videos & Photos

See below for photos and links to videos of this exciting event!


More photos will be posted once we have compiled them!

Cayden A. was a little ‘terrified’ to ask his questions, and maybe even a bit more to be interviewed for TV by CTV’s Stephanie Wiebe!
Dean White (L) and Scott Kostecki (R) give the space talk a big thumbs up!!!
Scott Kostecki, Brian Jackson, Dean White (L-R)


TV Coverage

CTV Calgary – March 20, 2019 – Article & Video
CTV Calgary – March 20, 2019 Calgary at Six p.m. – Video
CTV Calgary – March 20, 2019 Calgary at Five p.m. – Video (at 07:20 – 8:20)
Global TV – March 20, 2019 Calgary at Six p.m. – Video

Social Media & North Point Videos

Facebook – Live Video of the event:

Other Videos
Wrap-up & Thank you – Video
Dean White – interviewed by Stephanie Wiebe (CTV Calgary) – Video

Amateur Radio

These videos feature strong audio of David Saint-Jacques’ answers to our questions. You cannot hear the North Point boys asking the questions here.

Paul Geissman (Switzerland) – YouTube Video
Arow Antena (England) – YouTube Video
Dr. Marco Langbroek – Vimeo Video

Organizations Involved

Amateur Radio on the International Space Stationwww.ariss.org
Radio Amateurs of Canadawp.rac.ca
David Saint-Jacques (KGSFYI) – Bio / Instagram / Twitter / Facebook
Canadian Space Agencywww.asc-csa.gc.ca
IK1SLD Telebridge Ground Station (our connection with the ISS) –
Claudio Ariotti (Casala Monferrato, Italy)

www.roots2STEM.ca – Roots 2 STEM
www.northpoint.school – North Point School for Boys

For follow-up information about this event, please contact:

Veronique Perks
Marketing Director
North Point School for Boys
vperks at northpoint.school
403-744-5214 ext. 102

Dean White
Roots 2 STEM
dean at roots2stem.ca