Thursday, August 11 at approximately 08.49 UTC, which is 10.49 CEST, Youth Hostel « La Foresta », near Castel Rigone, Trasimeno Lake, Perugia in Italy established ARISS contact with NASA astronaut Ronald J. Garan KF5GPO on-board the International Space Station. Astronaut Garan operated with the ISS callsign NA1SS. This was a telebridge contact by ARISS ground station K6DUE located in Silver Spring, MD, USA.


Since 2009, at the Youth Hostel « La Foresta » near Trasimeno Lake and Perugia, Panda Avventure organizes one of its most interesting educational programmes : « Astronauts in Forest » for about 200 children from 11 to 14 years. The programme combines the study of Earth with the study of Space and Space exploration and a big role game. Children are invited to imagine themselves as « Aliens » landed on our Planet and to participate every day to a different “Mission” to know the environmental problems of the Earth and try and find solutions. The Hostel has been equipped with two big hemispheres (two “space ships”) placed in the forest and equipped with laboratories, GPS instruments, telescope, big screen to project films, computers, sky maps, library with educational materials. It has been the first program of this kind in Italy, supported by ESA / ESRIN with a very important contribution providing the camp with educational materials. All activities consist in field research, experiments, use of technical instruments, and games to explore the Earth and the Sky, to search solutions to save our Planet. Children keep a daily log book and for every mission there is a report filmed by youngsters. Every evening a film or a documentary on Earth or Space is shown. The programme “Astronauts in Forest” and the activities’ reports of the summer camps arise a lot of interest. They have a large audience through the Panda Avventure website and social network. Panda Avventure also organizes media coverage through a Newsletter and contacts with newspaper and magazines.


ARISS mentor Francesco De Paolis, IK0WGF proposed to the radio contact coordinator for ARISS event to set up a telebridge contact. Mr. William Tullio, the radio contact coordinator, decided in favor of this setup. This is an event rescheduled after the failure of the direct contact planned Friday July 1, 2011. The questions were read by the youngsters  in the “cupola” at Youth Hostel “La Foresta”.


At approximately 09:49 UTC, contact with NA1SS was established by station K6DUE and the operator presented the event to NASA astronaut Ronald J. Garan KF5GPO.  Using the amateur station aboard the ISS Service Module, the astronaut  answered 17 of 20 questions prepared by children. During the pass the signal from ISS was loud and clear.


The audio of the contact was circulated via EchoLink and IRLP.


Congratulations to Youth Hostel “La Foresta” and to K6DUE!




Francesco De Paolis, IK0WGF

ARISS mentor

photo 1
photo 2
photo 3
photo 4