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N° 25–2010: Call for Media: Graduation ceremony for ESA's new astronauts

17 November 2010

On Monday 22 November 2010, the European Space Agency (ESA) will hold, at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne, Germany, the official ceremony for its new astronauts, marking the completion of their Basic Training.

Press and selected guests will be able to take part in this ceremony and see exclusive images of an intense first year of training for these new career astronauts. Following the official part, media representatives will also have individual interview opportunities with the astronauts.

"These young men and woman represent Europe's ambition and great ability and expertise in human spaceflight and exploration. I am proud to have selected them and to see them getting ready for mission assignments. It is now our collective duty to secure a level of participation in international programmes that will provide enough opportunities for them all," said Simonetta Di Pippo, ESA Director of Human Spaceflight.

Following the successful launches of the Columbus laboratory and the first Automated Transfer Vehicle, ESA has become a fully-fledged partner in the International Space Station (ISS). Entering a new phase of exploitation of the unique capabilities offered by the ISS with a permanent crew of six, ESA presented its six new astronaut candidates to the press on 20 May 2009:

- Samantha Cristoforetti, Italy
http://www.esa.int/esaHS/SEMHZJ0OWUF_astronauts_0.html
- Alexander Gerst, Germany
http://www.esa.int/esaHS/SEMZ8K0OWUF_astronauts_0.html
- Andreas Mogensen, Denmark
http://www.esa.int/esaHS/SEMCBK0OWUF_astronauts_0.html
- Luca Parmitano, Italy
http://www.esa.int/esaHS/SEMIDK0OWUF_astronauts_0.html
- Timothy Peake, United Kingdom
http://www.esa.int/esaHS/SEMFEK0OWUF_astronauts_0.html
- Thomas Pesquet, France
http://www.esa.int/esaHS/SEMVFK0OWUF_astronauts_0.html

They have now completed Basic Training, the first phase of astronaut education. This included information on ESA and other space agencies and their main space programmes. It also covered space engineering, electrical engineering and different science disciplines. The astronaut candidates then studied the major systems of the ISS and transportation systems, such as the Space Shuttle and Soyuz. The training concluded with specific topics such as scuba diving (as the basis for EVA training), robotics, survival training, rendezvous and docking, Russian language, and human behaviour and performance training.

"I am proud of the work done by the ESA/EAC teams to bring this heterogeneous group of six outstanding persons to an equivalent level knowledge certifying them as career astronauts," said Michel Tognini, Head of the European Astronaut Centre.

Video material

The several phases of the Basic Training have been documented. A camera team has followed the new ESA recruits for the last year on their way to becoming certified astronauts. Video documentation of the different phases of the Basic Training is available at the following location:

http://multimedia.esa.int/Videos/2010/11/ESA-Astronaut-Class-2009

More rushes can be found by FTP at:

ftp://esa-download:vid4down@upload.hwcdn.net
Server: upload.hwcdn.net
User: esa-download
Password: vid4down
Folder name: cds

A Video News Release will be released 22 November.
Details at: http://television.esa.int/sche.cfm#
Programme:

Moderator: Michel Tognini, Head of EAC
10:00 Door Opening
10:30 Introduction, Michel Tognini, Head of EAC
10:35 Keynote address, Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director General
10:45 Human Spaceflight in Europe, Simonetta Di Pippo, ESA Director of Human Spaceflight
10:55 Movie: Highlights of the Basic Training
11:10 Graduation ceremony
11:25 Photo opportunity
11:35 End of event
11:45 Interview opportunities with:
- Samantha Cristoforetti, ESA astronaut, languages: English, Italian, French, German
- Alexander Gerst, ESA astronaut, languages: English, German
- Andreas Mogensen, ESA astronaut, languages: English, Danish
- Luca Parmitano, ESA astronaut, languages: English, Italian, French
- Timothy Peake, ESA astronaut, language: English
- Thomas Pesquet, ESA astronaut, languages: English, French
- Simonetta Di Pippo, ESA Director of Human Spaceflight, languages: English, Italian
- Michel Tognini, Head of EAC, languages: English, French
- Hans Bolender, Head of the EAC Training Division, languages: English, German
- Horst Schaarschmidt, Head (acting) of the EAC Astronaut Division, languages: English, French, German
- Volker Damann, Head of the EAC Crew Medical Support Office, languages: English, German

Media representatives wishing to attend this event are kindly requested to complete the form located at:

http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMRLCDR5GG_index_0.html

For more information, please contact:

Jean Coisne, Jean.Coisne@esa.int
or
Jules Grandsire, Jules.Grandsire@esa.int

PR & Communications, European Astronaut Centre (EAC)
TEL: +49(0)2203 6001 205,
FAX: +49(0)2203 6001 112


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