Wednesday, 12 January, 2011 at 10:54 UTC and 12:30 UTC, i.e. 11:54 and 13:30 local time, Istituto Comprensivo Marco Polo-Viani Scuola Secondaria 1 Grado and Istituto Suore Mantellate, Viareggio, Lucca, Italy, established a double contact with Italian astronaut PAOLO NESPOLI, IZ0JPA on board the International Space Station. Astronaut NESPOLI operated with Italian special callsign IR0ISS that will use for six months of the mission. The Istituto Suore Mantellate, Viareggio, Lucca was the contact site and operated with callsign IZ5PVC.


The school is situated in the north-centre of Viareggio, in a large building near the seaside and the pinewood. The school is attended by 338 students from the age of eleven to thirteen fourteen. There are 14 classrooms with 43 teachers and a headteacher. The school has an experimental curriculum, that is basic subjects plus additional activities such as Drama, Art, Music, Foreign Languages (Spanish, English, French, German) attended by groups of students. School activities are carried out in special well equipped laboratories.


The Institute Suore Mantellate of Viareggio was founded in the mid-1800. The Institute became a school in 1913, with various grades: nursery (kindergarten), elementary school, girls school. In 1946, a Middle School and an Science Institute were added. The school progressed steadily and in 1987 the Science Institute addressed biological and psychological fields. Presently it has become a "Communications High School." The Institute offers primary and secondary education to boys and girls aged 6 to 18 years.


ARISS mentor Francesco De Paolis, IK0WGF proposed to the radio contact coordinator in Viareggio a direct contact with assistance by ARISS Telebridge station IK1SLD installed at Casale Monferrato Airport, Piemonte, Italy. Mr. Alessandro Tesconi IK5EHI, contact coordinator for this ISS contact, decided in favour of a direct with assistance by IK1SLD telebridge station. All questions were read by the students from two schools. Contact site was located in the Istituto Suore Mantellate, Viareggio, Lucca. The audience amounted to 150 students, teachers, visitors and media.

At 10:54 UTC, contact with IR0ISS was established by station IZ5PVC. ESA astronaut PAOLO NESPOLI answered 15 questions per direct radio contact. At 12:30 UTC, contact with IR0ISS was again established by station IZ5PVC. Astronaut ESA PAOLO NESPOLI answered 7 more questions and exchanged greetings. The signal from the ISS was loud and clear all the time.


Regional Television, local media and newspapers covered the event.

The event was webcast on

ARISS contact was announced by web story on ESA Portal - National News:

Congratulations to both ARISS IZ5PVC teams!



Francesco De Paolis, IK0WGF

ARISS mentor