St Albans student brought down to Earth for meeting with astronaut Tim Peake and Prime Minister Theresa May
PUBLISHED: 19:30 25 July 2016
Speaking to astronaut Tim Peake from her school while he was in space was a huge adventure for secondary school student Jessica Leigh.
And just as big a thrill came this week when she was invited to a Downing Street reception to meet Tim, now back on terra firma, with new Prime Minister Theresa May.
Jessica, a pupil in Year 10 at Sandringham School in St Albans, was the radio operator for Tim’s first amateur radio call to a UK school from space and she was the first to speak to jo, when the school linked up with the International Space Station in early January.
She had studied for and was awarded her amateur radio licence especially for the call and is now a radio enthusiast. The school has also caught the bug and has set up a radio club.
On the day of the link, the students had less than 10 minutes to speak to Tim when the space station was passing over the UK and Jessica both signed on with him and also thanked him when the link ended.
At the time she described the experience as surreal and said how crazy it was to talk to someone 400km from Earth, adding: “I would like to go into space but it is quite dangerous.”
Jessica went on to win the Pupil of the Year award for her endeavours in the Herts Advertiser 2016 School Awards.
Welcoming Tim home, Mrs May, in one of her first appointments after becoming Prime Minister, said the mission was part of a long legacy of British discovery and exploration that everyone could be proud of.
She added: “Tim worked for up to 14 hours a day, participated in more than 250 experiments and even ran a marathon during his mission in space – all in dedication to British science.
“He has shown us that through hard work and determination anyone can go as far as their talents will take them. I hope his achievements will inspire students across the country to become Britain’s astronauts, scientists, and engineers of the future.”