High Dutch Civil Honours received within ESA’s Human Spaceflight Directorate
Following the successful conclusion of the European DELTA mission to the International Space Station from 19 to 30 April 2004, ESA astronaut André Kuipers from the Netherlands and ESA’s Human Spaceflight Director Jörg Feustel-Büechl have been appointed Officers in the Order of Oranje-Nassau, one of the highest civil honours in the Netherlands.
The Order of Orange-Nassau is awarded to people who are deemed to have rendered outstanding service to the community. The awards are conferred by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
On Monday 17 May André Kuipers received the insignia of Officer in the Order of Oranje-Nassau in a ceremony at the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. This honour was conferred for Kuipers’ exceptional work as part of the DELTA mission to the ISS. The award was presented by the Minister of Economic Affairs, Laurens van Brinkhorst.
Kuipers accepted his award in front of his parents, his partner Helen and a select group of ESA representatives. He dedicated the award to all the people that worked hard on the mission. “I may be the most visible member of the mission, but behind me are a team of hundreds of people without which this would not have been possible. This moment is very important for them as well”.
Kuipers thanked the sponsors of the mission in turn, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, for making the mission financially possible. Kuipers presented Minister Brinkhorst with a scale model of the European Robotic Arm, which was built under a Dutch industrial lead, with a photo to show that it had been with Kuipers on the ISS during the DELTA mission.
The following day on 18 May it was for ESA’s Human Spaceflight Director Jörg Feustel-Büechl to receive the title of Officer in the Order of Oranje-Nassau. The ceremony took place on the occasion of the ESA Human Spaceflight, Research and Application Programme Board meeting at the Huis ter Duin Hotel in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. The award was presented by Chris Buijink, acting Director General of Innovation within the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Mr Feustel-Büechl has been instrumental in bringing to fruition many European human spaceflight missions, including the DELTA mission with André Kuipers, since his appointment as Director of Human Spaceflight in April 1994. He received the award for his exceptional work in the area of Human Spaceflight in the Netherlands.
In 1996 he established the Human Spaceflight directorate at ESTEC in Noordwijk, the largest ESA facility. He was also responsible for setting up the Erasmus User Centre at ESTEC to create closer and easier communication ties between ESA and the European scientific community. This had a very positive affect on the relationship between ESA and the Dutch space community and established Noordwijk as a reference centre of European Human Spaceflight activities.
Mr Feustel-Büechl previously had an extensive role from 1986 until March 1994 as ESA’s Director of Space Transportation Systems during which time he was responsible for the Ariane programmes and for ESA activities concerning human space transportation.
“I am very honoured to receive this title on behalf of all the team in Human Spaceflight”, said Mr Feustel-Büechl. “I have always tried to fulfil my duties to the utmost of my capabilities, and this award is an honour to receive at this stage in my career. The DELTA Mission in April 2004 was a prime example of how the Dutch authorities have shown a great enthusiasm for Human Spaceflight and the role that the European Space Agency plays within the Netherlands and Europe as a whole.”
ESA’s Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain who was also present at the presentation added “I have 20 years experience in Manned Spaceflight with many good memories involving Jörg Feustel-Büechl. This award is highly deserved”.
Beside his wife Renate, other figures present to see Mr Feustel-Büechl receive his award were the Mayors of Noordwijk and Rijnsburg, the hometown of Mr Feustel-Büechl in the Netherlands, and ESA astronauts André Kuipers and Reinhold Ewald, the Payload Operations Manager for the DELTA mission.