AN OTLEY school has enjoyed an 'amazing' live chat with astronaut Tim Peake in space.
Ashfield Primary School was put in direct contact with Major Peake, on board the International Space Station (ISS), at 9.08am on Thursday, May 5.
There was a collective gasp of excitement as the astronaut's image became visible on a big screen and he waved to everyone on the planet below.
Ten lucky pupils got to put quick-fire questions to him during the time the ISS was passing nearby.
Their queries included 'what's the best thing about the countdown before taking off?' and 'what shape would a bubble be in space?'.
The first was posed by four year old Esme Thorpe, who asked Major Peake if she could come and see him.
He replied: "Hi Esme, it's great to talk to you this morning.
"I wish you could come and see me, I'd love to show you around the International Space Station."
Noting the practical difficulties, though, he added: "It would probably be easier for me to come to see you" - which the school is hoping could mean a future visit.
Responding to a question from nine year old Kitty Meggitt, the astronaut revealed that there are no washing machines in space - instead, clothes are just discarded and replaced as needed.
Eleven year old Zac Shaffrey, who asked 'Does helium work the same in space?', said: "Speaking to Tim Peake live from space was awesome!
"We were all so excited when his face came on the screen and we could hear his voice.
"It's amazing because he is so far away but could hear everything."
Major Peake said watching the aurora around the planet's north and south poles was one of the most beautiful things he had seen from the ISS.
Wishing everyone farewell as the space station began to move out of range, the astronaut said: "It's been wonderful talking to everyone at Ashfield Primary School in Otley, West Yorkshire!"
He was given a huge cheer and wave in response.
Kieran Morgan of ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station), which facilitated the link, said: "How fantastic was that?
You've talked to Tim Peake in space and you got a wave as well - and he's said he'll maybe come to Ashfield some day!"
Describing the technology behind the link, Mr Morgan had explained that due to the ISS's height and speed (between 330 and 435km up and 17,500 mph, respectively) radio contact could only last about ten minutes.
Reflecting on a historic day, Ashfield's Head Teacher Elspeth Warren said: ‘This has been an incredibly exciting day for everyone at the school.
"We feel so honoured to have been chosen to speak to Tim and the experience for the children has been wonderful.
"He is an incredible role model for the children and I know many of them now want to follow in his footsteps and travel to space."
The link-up was preceded and followed by a series of presentations, songs and poems by the different Year groups all focusing on space or science topics they have been exploring.
Ashfield was the first school in Yorkshire to be chosen for the ARISS link-up.
The opportunity came about after Higher Level Teaching Assistant Michael Ross joined Otley Amateur Radio Society and spotted a competition being run by the UK Space Agency, the Radio Society of Great Britain, and the
European Space Agency.
Thursday saw the school decked out in all kinds of eye-catching space decorations for the occasion, including a gold foil 'entrance tunnel', while a large radio mast was set up in the grounds.
The staff had also dressed up as astronauts and the children were all sporting alien masks.
Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive Sir Gary Verity said: ‘What a fantastic week this has been for Yorkshire!
"After showcasing our county to 178 countries with the Tour de Yorkshire we’ve now even reached space!
"This was a momentous day the children will remember for the rest of their lives."
The live link-up was also broadcast onto the big screen in Millennium Square, Leeds.