October 21, 2009


Tuesday, 20 October 2009 at 07:37 UTC, i.e. 09:37 local time, “Romualdo Trifone” School, Montecorvino Rovella, Italy, established a telebridge and direct contact with ESA astronaut Frank De Winne ON1DWN on board the International Space Station. This contact was a combination of direct and telebridge, due to local antenna obscurations.  Assistance was provided by Amateur Radio school station in “Alighieri Trevigi” School, Casale Monferrato, Italy. The “Romualdo Trifone” School operated the contact with callsign IQ8BB and  Alighieri Trevigi” Casale Monferrato operated the contact with callsign IK1SLD.

Romoaldo Trifone is a primary and secondary school for 5 to 12 year old pupils and students. The school is dedicated to a famous lawyer born in Montecorvino Rovella. This nice town is located in southern Italy, near the archeological site of Paestum. The students, besides the curricular subjects, take part in many activities such as drama, choir and popular dances. The school is involved in special projects supported by European funding, such as a specialization course in English language, Specialization course of maths and I.T. (information technology). Students participated to a national competition of mathematical games and won seventh place. Alexandra Angellotti, a clever student very good at painting, participated to the ESA competition “Fly your picture on the International Space Station!” She is one of the winners, and she is very proud that her drawing is on the shirt of ISS Commander Frank De Winne, and that the “Trifone” students have the opportunity to talk to him.

Considering a previous successful experiment of a combined direct and telebridge ARISS contact, ARISS mentor Francesco De Paolis, IK0WGF proposed to repeat the experiment and share the contact with another ground station to overcome the problem of local antenna obscuration in Montecorvino Rovella. Giuseppe Pacifico IK8WCQ, contact coordinator for this ISS contact, decided in favour of such combination. All questions were read by the students at “Romualdo Trifone” School. The contact sites were located in both schools, where an audience of more than 40 (Casale Monferrato) and 450 (Montecorvino Rovella) pupils, teachers, visitors and media could follow the contact. Before the contact, ARISS mentor Francesco De Paolis, IK0WGF introduced the event with an ARISS presentation. Mr. Dieter Isakeit, ESA Head of the ESRIN Corporate Communication Office, participated to the event by phone and presented the ISS educative program.

At 09:37 UTC, contact with OR4ISS was established by station IK1SLD. Commander Frank De Winne answered 7 questions per telebridge. At 07:41 UTC, contact with OR4ISS was established by station IQ8BB. Commander Frank De Winne answered 12 questions by direct contact. The signals from the ISS were loud and clear all the time.

Regional Television, local media and newspapers covered the event. The audio and video was distributed on http://www.arisa.it/webtv/ - 500 Contacts by Web streaming from Italy (410), Poland (50), Unknown (18), United Kingdom (4), Belgium (4), Germany (4), Ireland (2), USA (2), Austria, Spain, Canada, Hungary, Lybian, Norway (1).

Congratulations to both ARISS “Romualdo Trifone” and “Alighieri Trevigi” teams!

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

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