ARISS-Europe News Bulletin – 23.05.2006




Monday 22 May 2006 at 13:28 UTC, i.e. 15:28 local time, the primary school “Virgilio” in Mestre near the city of Venice in northern Italy performed a radio contact with US astronaut Jeffrey Williams, KD5TVQ, onboard the International Space Station.


The primary school was built in 1980, and its name is “Virgilio” like the name of an important Roman emperor poet’s name. It’s a big school with two floors and a wonderful garden. In the school, there are 210 pupils and 23 teachers, and only one of them is a man; all the other teachers are women. There are ten classrooms, a library with many books, a computer room, a gym, a music room and a video room, an English room and a dining hall.


Mestre, a small town 6 miles from Venice, is an important economic and industrial place and also a very interesting place to live in, because it is close to Venice, close to the sea and close to the mountains (Dolomites). Mestre is connected to Venice by a long bridge on the lagoon. About 150.000 people live in Mestre. There is a commercial port and the international airport of Venice (Marco Polo Airport). In the Middle Ages there was an important castle with 11 towers in Mestre, but now just one of them is still there. This tower is the symbol of Mestre.


Since the USA don’t have an agreement for 3rd party amateur radio exchange with Italy, the questions were read by the amateur radio operator Paolo Rosin, IW3GPO.

Francesco De Paolis, IK0WGF, Kira Collevati, IW3EXQ, Giorgio Pagan, IW3IBG and Stefano Mannelli, IZ5ENH, strongly supported the project.

The technical team set up a satellite station as well as a vertical backup antenna.


The pupils were very excited when the contact with NA1SS was established. Astronaut Jeff Williams answered 15 questions. He explained that the planet Earth is the most beautiful thing that he has seen from the ISS, for example the splendid volcano Etna on Sicily.


The signal was quite good all the time. During the answer of the 15th question the signal of the ISS went suddenly down. Operator Paolo, IW3GPO thanked Jeff for the contact and signed off.


The newspapers Il Gazzettino and La Nuova Mestre/Venezia, and the TV stations RAI 3 VENETO, ANTENNA 3, TELEVENEZIA and CANALE 5 covered the event.




Peter Kofler, IN3GHZ

ARISS mentor