Space comes to Edinburgh
ESA PR 54-2001. On 14 and 15 November, the city of Edinburgh will host the eighth ministerial-level meeting of the European Space Agency's Council. The ministers responsible for space activities in ESA's fifteen member states and Canada will be setting the course for Europe's space programmes for the period ahead.
They will be invited to endorse the next stages of a series of ongoing programmes (Launchers, Space Science, Earth Observation, Telecommunications, Satellite Navigation, Human Spaceflight etc.), and also to commit to the start of new programmes that will keep Europe at the forefront of space activities.
Surrounding this conference, the City of Edinburgh, with support from ESA and the British National Space Centre (BNSC), is organising a programme of space-related events in Edinburgh for people of all ages, including a week-long festival of space activities for kids at the 'Our Dynamic Earth' visitor centre; 'Europe in Space', a major new exhibition tracing three decades of European cooperation in space at the City Art Centre; and the Edinburgh Lecture Series on the theme of 'Frontiers' from 6 November through to February next year.
Hard to miss will be an 11-metre full-scale model of ESA's Envisat satellite on display in front of Our Dynamic Earth from 13 October until 18 November. Envisat, the world's largest and most sophisticated Earth observation platform, is to be launched in early 2002 by Ariane 5 and will monitor planet Earth, giving the first three-dimensional pictures of the processes which shape the global environment.
On Thursday 18 October, ESA will celebrate 'Space Day' in Edinburgh by conferring on the city the 'European Space City' award. ESA astronaut Claude Nicollier, a veteran of four spaceflights and two spacewalks, will present the official certificate to the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, the Rt. Hon. Eric Milligan, at a ceremony at Our Dynamic Earth at 17:00.
ESA has recently created the 'European Space City' award to honour a city for exceptional contributions to the promotion of European space activities. In conjunction with this award, ESA will launch an educational initiative with the City of Edinburgh and schools in the Edinburgh area under which classes will build the 'Kid's Corner' web pages for ESA's portal. ESA's objectives in creating this award are to foster a long-term relationship with cities that are keen on space and to develop a network of 'European Space Cities'.
During his day in Edinburgh, astronaut Claude Nicollier will return the official tartan of the City of Edinburgh, carried into space last August, to city officials. He will also have a 'space lunch' with 20 young contest winners and give a public talk in the evening.