Press Release


Out-Of-This-World Opportunity For Lucky Schoolchildren


OCTOBER 9, 2008


Lucky primary school children in Warwickshire will be one of only four schools throughout the world who will be able to talk live to astronauts based on the International Space Station.

The children from Budbrooke School near Warwick will have a 10 minute slot to be able to put their questions by radio link to an astronaut who is orbiting more than 200 miles above the earth.

The idea for the link up with space came from the school’s Imagineering Club—a National Grid sponsored project to get young children interested in science and engineering. National Grid employee Ciaran Morgan, whose son is a pupil at the school, will be using his amateur radio expertise to help set up the link.

The children will be talking to Richard Garriott who is only the sixth private citizen to conduct a mission on the space station. Richard, who is the son of Owen Garriott, a NASA astronaut in the 1970s, wants to inspire interest in space and space exploration. His father, who was a keen radio amateur, began the first ever conversations between astronauts and radio amateurs on earth.

Budbrooke school is only one of four schools globally who will be able to make direct radio contact with the space station. The pupils aged between 5 and 11 were chosen on the basis of the questions they submitted

Jeremy Curtis from the British National Space Centre, which was responsible for setting up activities for Richard Garriott’s UK education programme, said ‘We were delighted to recommend Budbrooke School as the ideal school for this exciting link-up.’

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 16 times a day.

You are invited to the link up session at Budbrooke School, Hampton Magna near Warwick. The provisional date for the link up is Friday 17th October at lunchtime. The exact timing will be clearer in the week before and is subject to change because of space operations. Ciaran Morgan from National Grid and the children talking part will be available for interview. For further information please contact Doranna Rizzo at National Grid’s press office.


For further information about Richard Garriott, his mission on the International Space Station and photographs you can see his website at

For further information about the Imagineering Foundation and the clubs that are run in schools by volunteer engineers please visit


National Grid

National Grid is a leading international energy infrastructure business – the largest utility in the UK.

Through National Grid Gas plc it owns and operates over 7,380 kilometres of high-pressure transmission pipeline across Great Britain, and 132,000 kilometres of lower-pressure distribution gas mains in the North West, the Midlands, East Anglia and North London – more than half of Britain’s gas transportation network, delivering gas to around 11 million homes, offices and factories.

Through National Grid Electricity Transmission plc, the company operates the high-voltage electricity transmission network across Great Britain, and owns the network in England and Wales.

National Grid also operates the National Gas Emergency Service freephone line 0800 111 999. All calls are recorded and may be monitored.

An RSS feed is now available for National Grid releases here


About the British National Space Centre

The British National Space Centre (BNSC) is at the heart of UK efforts to explore and exploit space. BNSC is a partnership of seven Government Departments, two Research Councils, the Met Office and the Technology Strategy Board. It co-ordinates UK civil space activities and represents the UK at the European Space Agency.


The BNSC’s UK Civil Space Strategy announced on 14 February 2008 sets out five objectives. They are to:

  • —win an increasing share of the global market in space systems, services and applications in the race to develop tomorrow’s economy;
  • —deliver world-leading exploitation of space systems for managing our changing planet;
  • —be a partner of choice in global scientific missions to explore the Universe;
  • —benefit our society by strengthening innovation from space, and stimulate the creation of new products and services for everyday use;
  • —develop a major channel for skills development and outreach for a high technology future, and improve public and political recognition of the value of space systems as part of the critical national infrastructure.

For more information, visit: