Forward to the Moon… and beyond

17 June 2019


Tune in on 21 June at 18:00 CEST (16:00 GMT) as OasISS mission astronauts talk about their mission to the International Space Station on the tenth anniversary of the flight, live from Belgium’s Planetarium of the Royal Observatory.

Soyuz TMA-15 crew in spaceAccess the image

The three astronauts from three countries – Belgian ESA astronaut Frank De Winne, Canadian Space Agency astronaut Robert Thirsk and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko – will also discuss the past and future of human and robotic exploration, kicking off this summer’s edition of the Space Talks initiative.

On 27 May 2009 the Soyuz TMA-15 spacecraft was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome, docking two days later with the International Space Station and starting Frank's six-month OasISS mission.

HTV-1 unberthingAccess the image

The OasISS mission had a number of firsts, including the first time the Space Station had a six-member crew and a European commander. During the half year the trio were in space, they captured and berthed the first Japanese cargo vessel HTV-2 as well as oversaw the arrival of the Russian Mini Research Module 2 airlock and docking compartment.

A decade later, ESA’s future for human spaceflight and robotic exploration programme includes three destinations where humans will work with robots to gather new knowledge: low-Earth orbit, the Moon and Mars. This includes continued research and demonstration of technology advancements on the International Space Station, Europe’s service module for NASA’s Orion spacecraft, a landing on the Moon with Roscomos’ Luna and drilling into Mars with ESA’s ExoMars rover.

Exploration for ESA continues its focus as a sustainable and international endeavour to visit new places and discover new things – travelling further and coming back with new experiences and knowledge to help us on Earth.

Frank is now head of the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany.

Talking about space

Moon seen from Space StationAccess the image

The event marks the start of Space Talks. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of humankind’s first step on the Moon, this year’s edition of Space Talks is dedicated to this historic event and how it has inspired all of us and changed our lives.

From 21 June until 31 October 2019, space professionals and enthusiasts will present their research, applications and passions during a Space Talk.

The event at Belgium’s Planetarium of the Royal Observatory is organised by the Belgian Science Policy Office.

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