Broadstairs eight-year-old to feature on NASA website after radio chat with ISS astronaut

Isabella has been sent a photo that was taken by Astronaut Kjell on board the ISS

A Broadstairs eight-year-old has chatted with an astronaut aboard the International Space Station and a recording of the conversation will feature on the NASA website.

Isabella Payne spoke to Astronaut Kjell Lindgren as the ISS flew overhead last week.

The youngster was with dad Matthew who is a license holding amateur radio enthusiast and tutor. He and Isabella are both members of Hilderstone Radio Society.

Matthew said: “Isabella has been a member of the radio club ever since she was born and has been playing with the radio since she was six. Because I have the full licence she can sit on my knee and use the radio to speak to people as long as I am controlling it. Everyone at the club can do that. She has been involved in a few radio events, Children On The Air events, and will hopefully go for her own licence soon.

“”Astronaut Kjell has a radio licence. They have to do it as part of astronaut training as they have amateur radio equipment on the station.”

Although the equipment is not usually used to chat to the public Astronaut Kjell is an active radio user and has been using it to chat to people, something that has rarely happened over the past decade.

Matthew and Isabella had to get the timing just right to catch the ISS as it was overhead. Matthew said: “Isabella had just gone to bed so I had to wake her up quickly and she had only been awake for about 30 seconds when she spoke to him.”

The astronaut tweeted to say the chat with Isabella had been his favourite of the day. The family then received an email from NASA to ask if the recording and a picture of Isabella could be used on its website.


Isabella said: “It was amazing to contact the ISS and it made my night and day. I was elated when I heard an astronaut on the International Space Station. After we spoke on the radio, NASA asked for a picture of me which they sent to Astronaut Kjell and to my surprise, Kjell sent me back a picture of my picture on his iPad floating in the ISS!

“I had just been in bed for about 20 minutes and then daddy called for me. I looked out the window where my daddy’s radio room is and it was very dark. By the time I had gone to bed it felt like midnight was over!”

The International Space Station is the largest modular space station currently in low Earth orbit. Crew members aboard the International Space Station conducted scientific investigations during the week of August 1 that included controlling space station robots with code written by students, using a container-free system to examine formation of amyloid fibrils, and evaluating orbit-to-ground control systems for multiple robots.

Kjell Norwood Lindgren is an American astronaut who was selected in June 2009 as a member of the NASA Astronaut Group 20. He previously launched to the International Space Station as part of Expedition 44/45 on July 22, 2015.

He is currently living and working aboard the International Space Station as commander of the NASA SpaceX Crew-4 mission.


  1. How cool was that to talk to an astronaut . I remember fondly as a teenager on a family holiday in Hannover , then in West Germany in 1973 getting up early in the morning to see the NASA Spacelab fly over which I could see with the naked eye which made an impression on me .

    • I love seeing the ISS fly over. It must have been magical for Isabella to actualy speak with a real astronauht as it went overhead! What an experiance.

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