Envisat Winners Look Forward to Launch
Envisat competition winners touched down in French Guiana yesterday evening, and are set to begin their visit to the Guiana Space Centre this morning.
Thirteen-year-old Anke Hartsmanns from Oldenberg, Germany won a contest to design an ‘Earth flag’ Emblem painted on the side of the 17 m high launch fairing of the Envisat spacecraft. Her emblem – pictograms symbolising emblems of life on Earth contained with a sunflower, looked down upon by a star - was chosen first out of 13,000 from across 15 European states and Canada.
The basic idea came simply from a bottle of sunflower oil, but ended up sufficiently complex that Anke was still working on it six hours before the final deadline. She was thrilled to win - although she did have to double-check where Kourou was on a map! She has seen the finished spacecraft emblem on the internet but said she is very much looking forward to glimpsing it on the launch pad with her own eyes.
Accompanied by her parents, Anke will visit the Jupiter control centre as well as the Kourou space museum. She’ll return to the spaceport tonight to watch the launch. With her are two Spanish children, Elizabeth Rossello (12) and Gerard Cabanas (9), who won a school drawing contest organised with television station TV3 and British girl Juliet Blumm (17), who entered a British contest to write a slogan for the mission.
“I’d forgotten all about it until I received an envelope saying I’d won - and so had my physics teacher who’d suggested I enter!” Juliet said. “I could hardly believe I’d actually get to come here.”
Juliet, who is interested in a career in space and has been offered a natural sciences place at Cambridge University, has taken her mother with her, while her father and twin sister have been invited to watch the launch live from the London Science Museum. Anke’s sixteen-year-old brother will also be with the rest of his family in spirit - he will witness the launch from the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany.
Once the launch is over, the winners return home on Saturday, having visited Kourou zoo as well as taken a boat trip to Devil’s Island. Anke is especially looking forward to the boat trip – she’d like to work as a marine biologist one day.