February 10, 2009


Tuesday, 10 February 2009 at 10:24 UTC, i.e. 11:24 local time, “Barsanti” School, Pietrasanta, 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 IZ5NII.

Pietrasanta is a small town in Tuscany, 30km north of Pisa near the Ligurian Sea. It is a centre for processing marble and bronze with many art galleries. The school is situated in the centre of Pietrasanta, in a large building near the Town Hall. It is attended by 313 students from the age of eleven to the age of thirteen-fourteen. The School has an experimental curriculum, covering basic subjects plus additional activities such as Drama, Art, Music, IT, Science, Foreign Languages, carried out by groups of students.

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 weeks before the ARISS event.

Mr. Alessandro Tesconi, IK5EHI, the contact coordinator for this ISS contact, decided in favour of a direct contact. Before the contact, ARISS mentor Francesco De Paolis, IK0WGF introduced the event with ARISS presentation. The questions were read by the students. The contact site was located in the school, where an audience of more than 350, pupils and students, parents, teachers, visitors and the mass media could follow the contact.

At 10:24 UTC, contact with OR4ISS was established by station IK5HII. Commander Mike Fincke answered 12 questions. The sequence of the questions interrupted 3 minutes for LOS. Some hills near of contact site obscured the visibility of the ISS.  The signal from the ISS was loud and clear for most the time. The astronaut sent greetings, speaking in Italian, at the beginning of the contact. Thanks Mike!

The audio and video was forwarded to: www.ondaforte.tv. Contacts by Web streaming from 14 countries and more than 36 different towns in the word.

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

Congratulations to the ARISS “Barsanti” team!


Francesco De Paolis, IK0WGF

ARISS mentor

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audio mp3