Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 10:51 UTC, 11:51 local time and at 12:29 UTC,

13:29 local time, students at "G. Salvemini - G. La Pira", Montemurlo,

Italy, and “Dante Alighieri” 1st Grade Secondary (Middle) School, Casale

Monferrato, Italy established two ARISS contacts with ESA astronaut

Samantha Cristoforetti, IZØUDF onboard the International Space Station.

These were direct contacts performed by Amateur radio ground stations

IQ5VR, located at "G. Salvemini - G. La Pira" in Montemurlo and IK1SLD

located at "Dante Alighieri” School in Casale Monferrato.


Presentation G. Salvemini - G. La Pira

The school “Salvemini - La Pira” is in Montemurlo, province of Prato,

Tuscany region and it is a Secondary Middle School; it has 21 classes

with pupils aged between 11 and 14. The name of the school derives from

the fusion of the two schools of the commune. This is the only secondary

middle school of the area. The schoolhouse hosts around 520 pupils.


Presentation “Dante Alighieri”

The "Dante Alighieri" School is situated a bit off the town centre of

Casale Monferrato, near the ancient Cittadella, province of Alessandria,

Piedmont region. It's a modern construction, developed on two main

buildings: one for the school's didactical and administrative

activities, one for the sport activities (gym and pool). It's surrounded

by a wide playground, with a little plantation of poplars, planted by

the pupils of the school. There are 12 classrooms (4 at the main floor

and 8 at the first floor) and different labs: Science lab, Informatics

lab, Techno lab, Art lab, Maths lab, Languages lab and a coloured and

wide library. There is also a lot of afternoon activities, such as Latin

courses, Languages courses and sport tournaments (soccer, basket,

volley). The Dante Secondary I grade School has a current roll of 230

and a teaching staff of 29. In the last few years the school has been

enhanced by the richness of its diverse student population.


Mentor Francesco De Paolis IK0WGF proposed to the radio coordinators Mr.

Alessandro Tesconi IK5EHI and Mr. Claudio Ariotti IK1SLD to set up a

combined direct  contact, with the support by IK1SLD back-up ground

station and this was accepted. A phone conference call allowed the full

sharing of the events between all the contact sites involved. The

sequence of questions was made alternately by the students at two

schools. ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli IZ0JPA participating to the event in the

Montemurlo school, presented the International Space Station, talked

about his experience aboard and before the AOS trained the students for the  

contact. Great Paolo!


Contact was established at 10:51 UTC, 11:51 local time with IR0ISS via

IK1SLD and then via IQ5VR, alternately. Mr. Claudio Ariotti IK1SLD

proposed to astronaut continue the contact during the following orbit.

ESA Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti IZ0UDF agreed. During the first

scheduled contact Cristoforetti answered 10 questions from students.

Samantha Cristoforetti was really very accurate in giving the answers

With many details.


At 12:29 UTC, 13:29 local time, contact was established again with

IR0ISS, not on the primary channel, which was interfered, but on a back-up

channel where the event continued normally without problem.

During the second random contact Cristoforetti answered 11 questions from

students and exchanged greetings with the schools. Signals from the ISS

were good during both passes.


Both contacts established with IR0ISS were webcast live on: (from Montemurlo) (from Casale Monferrato)


The Montemurlo event is available at:

(contact 1 start 46' - contact 2 start 2h23')

The Casale Monferrato event is available t: (contact

start 59' - contact 2 start 2h23')


Regional and Local Televisions and newspapers covered the event also.

About 700 students, parents, visitors and media attended the events at

contact sites.


The event was announced on ESA Portal - National News:


Congratulations to IQ5VR and IK1SLD Teams!




Francesco De Paolis, IK0WGF

ARISS Mentor