Recording Shows An 8-Year-Old Girl Talking to Astronaut in Space Using Amateur Radio Station

“You could hear his smile.”

An eight-year-old girl in Kent, England, recently used her father's amateur radio station, M0LMK, to contact the radio station aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on Aug. 2. Isabella Payne's call was answered by NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, commander of NASA SpaceX Crew-4, which launched on April 27 for a six-month mission. Read on to find out what she said and how this cosmic opportunity came about.

An Unusual Eight-Year-Old's Call

After contacting the ISS radio station by name and repeating her station's call sign, she introduced herself. "My name's Isabella. I'm eight years old," she said. "Isabella, it's so great to chat with you. Thank you for getting on the radio and saying hello," said Lindgren.

FibromDad Orchestrated Precise Moment of Contactyalgia


According to CNN, Isabella had just fallen asleep on Aug. 2 when her father, Matthew, woke her up and took her to the amateur radio, putting a microphone in front of her. "I was like, 'Why are you doing this to me? I need my beauty sleep,'" Isabella told the news outlet.  Matthew Payne has held an amateur radio license for 22 years. He had learned that during breaks, ISS crew members make short, unscheduled calls to amateur radio stations on Earth.

"You Have to Get the RIght Time"


"You have to get the right time when the space station is passing overhead, and it has to be the right time of day when the astronaut is using the equipment," Matthew Payne told the BBC"They're only in the sky above us for 10 to 15 minutes and we want as many people as possible down here to have that kind of experience," he said. "I heard through the communities that I'm part of that he (Lindgren) was using the radio, so we listened for a couple of weeks … and one evening I heard him call."

"I Thought It Was a Dream"


Lindgren tweeted that he's talked to amateur radio operators all over the world, but "this may be my favorite contact so far."  "Once he found out I was 8, his voice instantly turned from normal to joyful," Isabella Payne told the BBC. "You could hear his smile."  "I was elated when I heard his voice," she added. "I thought it was a dream."

Young Operator Hopes to Work for NASA


"Thank you so much @astro_kjell, you have changed her world," Matthew Payne tweeted.  CNN reports that both Paynes are fans of radio and space. Matthew Payne said his daughter has been sitting on his knee since she was a toddler to watch "all the launches, all the space station events, all the spacewalks" with him.  Isabella someday hopes to work for NASA. "I want to talk to the astronauts and say, for example: 'Good morning, Sam. Is everything still floating around up there like it's supposed to?'" she told the news network.

Listen to the recording here.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more
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