Sunday, March 18, 2012 at 11:31 UTC, i.e. 12:31 local time, students from Istituto Tecnologico Statale Trasporti e Logistica “Leone Acciaiuoli”, Ortona, Italy established ARISS contact with NASA astronaut Daniel C. Burbank KC5ZSX onboard the International Space Station. Astronaut Daniel C. Burbank operated with the ISS callsign OR4ISS. This was a direct contact performed by Amateur radio clubstation IQ6LN, located at school.

The Ortona Maritime Institute “Leone Acciaiuoli” (I.T.N)  is a technical high school preparing the students to a career as officer on merchant ships or to university studies in the field of engineering disciplines. The subjects that characterize the I.T.N. programme are: Navigation, Astronomy, Celestial navigation, Satellite navigation, Telecommunications (including satellite telecommunications), Technical English, Nautical and Aeronautical Meteorology, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and Physics. Many courses deal with matters related  to space technologies. The student population is about 400.

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. Stefano Faraone IW6NXR, radio contact coordinator, decided in favor of this setup.

The contact took place at Istituto Tecnologico Statale Trasporti e Logistica “Leone Acciaiuoli”,
Ortona, Italy, where an audience of about 200 children, visitors and Media participated to the ARISS event. Before the contact, Mr. Stefano Faraone IW6NXR presented ARISS and the operation of a contact with the ISS via Ham Radio.

11:31 UTC, contact with OR4ISS was established by station IQ6LN, after the astronaut asked to switch on the back up channel. Mr. Stefano Faraone  IW6NXR, radio contact coordinator exchanged welcome greetings with astronaut Daniel C. Burbank KC5ZSX. Using the Kenwood radio in the Service Module, Daniel C. Burbank answered 10 questions from the students, exchanged final greetings and closed the contact. During the pass, the signal from the ISS was loud and clear.

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

Live Streaming video was available on:

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

Congratulations to IQ6LN Team (and ARISS Telebridge station IK1SLD)!


Francesco De Paolis, IK0WGF
ARISS mentor


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