FREEPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Some students on Long Island got a lesson in space from a real astronaut on Tuesday.

He’s actually in space right now! The out-of-this-world conversation was beamed up to the International Space Station.

Excited students filed into the Freeport High School Performing Arts Center as they prepared to make radio contact with Scott Tingle aboard the ISS.

Freeport Public Schools were chosen by NASA to be one of only 13 school districts in the country to have a live, audio only question and answer session with an astronaut. Students entered an essay contest for a chance to ask a question and only ten were chosen.

13-year-old Brenna Igneri was one of them.

“Our astronauts are planning on going on space walks while they were in space I wanted to know the biggest challenge they face while they’re doing those missions,” the eighth grader said. “I wrote my essay about that and my essay was chosen and so now I’m here asking questions.”

Students had to listen very closely to the answers because they couldn’t see Tingle, they could only hear him. He used an amateur ham radio aboard the ISS to connect with a ground station in Italy. That station then created a link connecting Tingle to the students in Freeport.

Most thought the experience was very cool.

The question and answer session lasted about 11 minutes, until the ISS went out of range.

Before Tuesday’s event, students at all grade levels in Freeport had to research the ISS and learn about radio waves, amateur or ham radios, and related topics.