ESOC 40th anniversary event marks history, emotion, future
ESOC's 40th anniversary event on 18 December included history, emotion and expansion for the future as past and present personnel joined guests from across Europe's space community to celebrate.
The event showcased 40 years of successful spacecraft operations at ESOC, and was attended by over 1200 current and retired ESA staff and contractors and guests from Darmstadt, the Hessen region, Germany and numerous ESA Member States.
The highlight of the evening was a rousing on-stage performance including some 50 retirees representing, collectively, many centuries of operations experience and expertise.
Senior guests support ESOC
The event was hosted by Gaele Winters, ESA's Director of Operations and Infrastructure and Head of the ESOC establishment, who, together with Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA's Director General, welcomed Dr Joachim Würmeling, Administrative Secretary of State in the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and Roland Koch, the Prime Minister of the State of Hessen.
Prof. Dr Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and Walter Hoffmann, Lord Mayor of the City of Darmstadt rounded out the senior invitees, all of whom gave addresses strongly endorsing ESOC as Europe's and Germany's 'Gateway to space'.
The evening included ESA's Space Show, a fantastic virtual voyage through our solar system highlighting space 'made in Europe' and featuring images, multimedia and science results from numerous ESA missions - most of which were controlled from ESOC.
With an eye to the future, the evening also included the signing of the formal agreement to expand the ESOC establishment through a grant of land provided by the government of Germany.
This report will be updated with additional details and a photo gallery early in 2008.