Amateur radio buff contacts International Space Station
‘Space is very dark,’ astronauts tell ham enthusiast
A ham radio operator in Gloucestershire, UK, managed to make contact with the International Space Station on his amateur apparatus, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Adrian Lane, a 52-year-old father of two, heard the ISS was to pass over his house and spent weeks plotting its course and then trying to contact it, all from his garden shed.
The former truck driver knew he had a window of about 50 seconds to make the call, as the station flew past his home at a height of 200 miles, travelling 18,500mph (about 30,000kph).
When he finally got through, he asked the astronauts what it was like in space, to which they replied succinctly, "Very dark."
Lane said the chat, however brief, "blew his mind".
"The adrenaline was pumping a little bit," he said. "I said to them how wonderful Earth must look from up there. They said 'Oh Adrian, it's amazing, you can't imagine what it looks like from up here'."
The ISS contact with an amateur is not unprecedented, according to The Telegraph. Astronauts have been known to reach out to amateurs on the ground during their leisure time.
One party reportedly not entirely enthusiastic about Lane's radio coup is his wife, who Lane said hates his hobby "with a passion".
"We've had so many rows over it. Even the kids know where to find me. Where's dad? Oh, he's in the shed again."
But her disapproval did little to dampen Lane's spirits following his extra-terrestrial communique.
"I was buzzing," he said. "It's not every day you get to talk to some guy out in space."