February 25, 2009


Wednesday, 25 February 2009 at 07:50 UTC, i.e. 08:50 local time, “MARCONI” School, Casamassima, Italy, established a direct contact with US astronaut Mike Fincke KE5AIT on board the International Space Station. The Amateur Radio school station operated the contact with callsign IZ7EVR.

The II Didactic Center "Marconi" in Casamassima di Bari (BA) includes one Primary School and two Nursery Schools. There are more than 800 pupils and a teaching staff composed of 70 teachers, directed by the headmaster, Mrs. Rita Rosaria Gagliardi. The Primary School has multimedia and scientific laboratories, and the pupils play an active role in a number of projects, which make them experience Science, Music, Dance, Theatre, Physical Education and more.

The students had been involved in the preparation of this ARISS event in different ways. The training of the students comprised educative activities related to space under guidance of the teachers’ team, listening ARISS contacts during the months before the ARISS event.

Mr. Michele Mallardi, IZ7EVR, the contact coordinator for this ISS contact, decided in favour of a direct contact. The questions were read by the students. The contact site was located in the school, where an audience of more than 250, pupils, teachers, visitors and the mass media could follow the contact. After the contact, ARISS mentor Francesco De Paolis, IK0WGF commented the event with an ARISS presentation by telephone conference.

At 07:50 UTC, contact with OR4ISS was established by station IZ7EVR. Commander Mike Fincke answered 17 questions. The signal from the ISS was loud and clear all time. The sequence of the questions stopped 2 minutes before LOS.  After the 17th question, Princess Elettra Marconi spoke to the astronaut by telephone conference. Elettra Marconi sent greetings and congratulations to Mike for the Mission and the development of ARISS activities. Mike answered expressing enthusiasm for the participation of Princess Marconi, daughter of the scientist who invented Radio. Thanks Mike!

Some Regional Television, local media and newspapers covered the event.

Congratulations to the ARISS “MARCONI” team!


Francesco De Paolis, IK0WGF

ARISS mentor


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