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International Space Station: Girl, 8, chats to astronaut on amateur radio

Isabella, pictured with her father Matthew, said her chat with an astronaut was 'amazing'

An eight-year-old girl from Kent used her father's amateur radio equipment to chat to an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Isabella, from Broadstairs, spoke to American Kjell Lindgren for about 45 seconds as the ISS passed overhead.

Dr Lindgren said the conversation "may be my favourite so far".

Isabella said it was "amazing", adding: "Once he found out I was eight, his voice instantly turned from normal to joyful."

During their chat, which he tweeted to his 67,000 followers, fellow amateur radio fan Dr Lindgren told Isabella "it's so great to chat with you, thank you for getting on the radio and saying hello".

Afterwards, Isabella said she had been inspired by the encounter, saying it proved that "boys and girls can be whatever they want".

Her father Matthew, who has held an amateur radio licence for more than 15 years, found out the ISS was passing overhead from fellow ham radio enthusiasts.

He said: "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.

"I was a little bit jealous that it wasn't me talking to him. But it was amazing seeing Isabella having that contact."

Kjell Lindgren described the conversation with Isabella as "may be my favourite so far"

Isabella's parents said their daughter has long held an interest in space and ham radio, and they are encouraging her to apply for an amateur radio licence.

Anyone who wants to operate as a radio amateur in the UK must hold a licence issued by Ofcom or qualify under international arrangements.

Ofcom issues three levels of amateur radio licences - foundation, intermediate and full. To qualify for each licence, applicants must pass an exam at each corresponding level.

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