July 24, 2009


Thursday, 23 July 2009 at 19:35 UTC, i.e. 21:34 local time, “Ugo Guidi” School, Forte dei Marmi, Italy, established a direct contact with ESA astronaut Frank De Winne ON1DWN on board the International Space Station. The Amateur Radio school station operated the contact with callsign IQ5VR.

The participation of 1st grade Ugo Guidi school was the result of a misfortune that recently struck the town of Viareggio. On the evening of June 29, 2009, a train carrying liquid petroleum gas derailed while approaching  the Viareggio railway station. The explosion following caused much devastation to the area. The Istituto Comprensivo Marco Polo-Viani, located only a few hundred meters from the blast, was on the ARISS waiting list. They were not able to host the event because the explosion struck relatives and friends of some members of the school team. Instead, local Amateur Radio Club Station IQ5VR (ARI Versilia) provided the technical support for the event, now scheduled at Ugo Guidi school. Students are aged 6-11 (primary) and 12-14 (secondary).

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 by phone. The questions were read by the students. The contact site was located in the school, where an audience of more than 150 students, parents, teachers, visitors and the mass media could follow the contact.

At 19:35 UTC, contact with OR4ISS was established by station IQ5VR. Frank De Winne answered 20 questions. The signal from the ISS was loud and clear all the time.

The audio and video was forwarded to: www.ondaforte.tv. Contacts by Web streaming from Germany
Austria, Croatia, Portugal, Holland, Belgium, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Spain, U.S.A. (Texas), Bosnia and Italy.

OndaForteTV, local media and newspapers covered the event.

Congratulations to “ARI Versilia” team!

Photos and an mp3 audio file will be attached to this News Bulletin, archived at: https://www.ariss-eu.org/archive.htm

ARISS is an international educational outreach program partnering the participating space agencies, NASA, Russian Space Agency, ESA, CNES, JAXA, and CSA, with the AMSAT and IARU organizations from participating countries.

ARISS offers an opportunity for students to experience the excitement of Amateur Radio by talking directly with crewmembers onboard the International Space Station. Teachers, parents and communities see, first hand, how Amateur Radio and crewmembers on ISS can energize youngsters' interest in science, technology and learning.


Francesco De Paolis, IK0WGF

ARISS mentor