Students Make Radio Link With Shuttle Commander

Through the wizardry of amateur radio and an elaborate satellite “telebridge,” 20 students at Harbor View Elementary School in Orange County got a long-distance line to space Saturday afternoon.

Despite a technical glitch, the call made to the Columbia shuttle through the Space Amateur Radio Experiment, or SAREX, was regarded as a success. Eight children got to question Cmdr. Eileen M. Collins--before the connection broke off--about space food, the way liftoff feels and the significance of being the first female space shuttle commander.

The call was arranged on short notice--only 10 days ago--and the audio system could not adequately amplify Collins’ answers to the children’s questions.

Sometime this week, they should be able to read her responses on the Internet, transcribed from a recording made of the call. The address is