Friday, February  24, 2012 at 14:01 UTC, i.e. 15:01 local time, students from 1° Circolo Didattico Nicola Fornelli, Bitonto, Italy established ARISS contact with NASA astronaut Donald R. Pettit KD5MDT onboard the International Space Station. Astronaut Donald R. Pettit operated with the ISS callsign OR4ISS. This was a direct contact performed by Amateur radio clubstation IZ7RTN, located at “Cittadella Mediterranea della scienza”, University of Bari.


1° Circolo Didattico ”N. Fornelli” Bitonto is an educational primary school, placed in the centre of the pleasant town of Bitonto, Apulia, south of Italy, the “olive town” famous all over the world. This is the oldest elementary school in Bitonto, an architectural building in the centre of the city. In the primary school there are 810 students. There are 4 nursery schools with 415 pupils. The school has large open spaces, a gym, a library with about 6000 books and 4 laboratories.


ARISS mentor Francesco De Paolis, IK0WGF proposed to the radio contact coordinator to set up a direct contact with assistance from the ARISS telebridge station IK1SLD installed at Casale Monferrato Airport, Piemonte, Italy. Mr. Michele Mallardi IZ7EVR, radio contact coordinator, decided in favor of this setup.


The contact took place at “Cittadella Mediterranea della scienza”, a permanent structure built in order to interest young people and the wider community in science and technology, where an audience of about 300 children, visitors, including 8 Italian Air Force officers, participated to the ARISS event. Before the contact, Mr. Michele Mallardi presented ARISS and the operation of a contact with the ISS via Ham Radio.


At 14:01 UTC, contact with OR4ISS was established by station IZ7RTN. Mr. Michele Mallardi IZ7EVR, radio contact coordinator exchanged welcome greetings with astronaut Donald R. Pettit KD5MDT. Using the Kenwood radio in the Service Module, Donald R. Pettit answered all 20 questions from the students, exchanged final greetings and closed the contact. During the pass, the signal from the ISS was loud and clear all the  time.


The event was covered by a TV station and by two local newspapers.


Live Streaming video was available on:


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


Congratulations to ARISS Puglia Team IZ7EVR (and ARISS Telebridge station IK1SLD)!




Francesco De Paolis, IK0WGF

ARISS mentor


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