CNS says: It’s ground control to Major Tim!

(AP Photo/NASA, Paolo Nespoli)

(AP Photo/NASA, Paolo Nespoli) - Credit: AP

As he orbits Earth at 17,100mph, a British astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS) will be answering schoolchildren's questions from 200 miles below.

Tim Peake – who, next week, will become the first British astronaut to travel into space in more than 20 years – will be quizzed by youngsters after they won the chance to speak to him live.

Students from the City of Norwich School, Norwich School, Reepham High School and the University of East Anglia will be linking up with Major Peake, who retired from the British Army in 2009, when he visits the ISS on the six month mission.

Kate Nichols, assistant headteacher at CNS, where the session will take place, said: 'We are incredibly excited and proud to be hosting such a monumental event. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and many of our students are desperate to ask Tim their questions.'

The exact dates and times for possible links will not be known until two weeks before it is scheduled, but it is likely to be in February and last for 10 minutes.

Up to 1,000 primary and secondary school children will be on the school site for the event, and workshops will be created for youngsters from other schools to get involved.

All the radio equipment, such as low earth orbit satellite tracking antennas and radios, to establishing a direct link with the ISS from the school, will be provided by the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station group.

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Major Peake will start his journey at 11.03am (GMT) on December 15.

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