Save the date: this year’s 11th annual ESA Open Day at ESTEC in the Netherlands is confirmed to take place on Sunday 2 October. One of a string of ‘ESA Days’ across the Member States, this is the day when the gates of the Agency’s technical heart will be thrown open to the general public, to see space hardware and testing facilities and meet space scientists, engineers and ESA astronauts.
In addition, the previous day, Saturday 1 October, will give people with disabilities a special opportunity to tour ESTEC at their own pace.
With 22 Member States, ESA is the space agency for Europe, working in every aspect of space activities, collaborating with people and organisations from all across our continent and beyond. We play key roles in major global space projects, such as the James Webb Space Telescope and Artemis missions to the Moon, have established Europe’s single largest satellite system in the shape of the Galileo satellite navigation constellation and regularly send ESA astronauts on tours of duty aboard the International Space Station.
ESTEC in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, is ESA’s technical centre, and the single largest Agency establishment. In operation for well over half a century, this is where new ESA missions are born and novel technologies are investigated. Completed space missions are also evaluated here ahead of flight in Europe’s largest satellite testing facility, which will also be open to visitors.
The theme of this year’s ESA Open Day at ESTEC is ‘Accelerating Space’. At a time when space technology – from advanced materials and satellite navigation to high-resolution pollution monitoring and weather ‘nowcasting’ – is more and more a part of our daily lives, and ahead of the Agency’s Ministerial Council in November which will set ESA’s future course, the focus is on the work being done to enhance Europe’s role in space, by accelerating the pace of space innovation and commercializing services and technologies.
The day will include talks and presentations and exhibits from various Agency teams, including ESA Education and Human Resources, giving insight into how you yourself can become part of Europe’s space adventure. ESTEC’s visitor centre Space Expo is also participating, with free entry to its own set of events.
The ESA Open Day at ESTEC is taking place as part of the Dutch Science Weekend, Weekend van de Wetenschap, linked in turn with ESTEC’s neighbouring city Leiden’s status as European City of Science 2022.
The adjacent NL Space Campus of space-focused businesses is in parallel organising a week of space-themed events starting on 25 September, culminating in a space festival at Space Expo during the Open Day on Sunday.