24 April 2007




Monday 23 April 2007 at 14:50 UTC, i.e. 16:50 local time, the Scuola Europea Varese in Varese, Italy, established a telebridge contact with US astronaut Sunita Williams, KD5PLB, onboard the International Space Station, via the ARISS Ground Station VK4KHZ in Australia operated by Shane Lynd. Will Marchant was the moderator of the contact.


The Scuola Europea Varese is an international co-educational day school for students from pre-school at age 4 to graduation at age 18. The school has more than 1300 students from all over Europe.


Varese is located about 50 km northwest of Milan, close to the Lake Maggiore and the Swiss border. The aims of the European School Varese are to give pupils confidence in their own cultural identity and the bedrock for their development as European citizens, to develop skills in foreign languages such as Italian, French, English, German and Dutch, and to encourage a European and global perspective overall and particularly in the study of the human sciences.

Students of different ages have been involved at different level and in different ways in the programming of the ARISS event. Drawings, plays, researches and multimedia products have been produced and collected and were on show the day of the contact; the main topics are the Earth, the Solar System, the Universe, the natural forces such as gravity, etc.

The questions were read by the students.


Alessandro Minuti, contact coordinator for this ISS contact, decided in favour of a bridge contact. He did a very good job because the students were very well prepared. The audience in the shack room was about 300 people. Italian ARISS mentor Francesco De Paolis, IKWGF set up a live streaming on the AMSAT Italia website.


At exactly 14:50 UTC, right on schedule, contact with NA1SS was established by VK4KHZ. Astronaut Sunita Williams answered 16 questions on various topics. The astronaut explained for example why they cannot take a shower onboard the ISS. The signal from the ISS was sometimes a bit unintelligible at the schools contact site. After the 16th question, the signal was lost.


The newspapers Corriere Della Sera, Varese News and Prealpina and the two TV-stations Rete 55 and Tele 7 Laghi covered the event.


Congratulations to the Scuola Europea Varese team!



73, Peter Kofler, IN3GHZ, ARISS mentor