Ciao Darmstadt, Ciao ESOC!

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ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli on the International Space Station sends a video greeting to everyone at the European Space Operations Centre, ESA’s mission control centre in Darmstadt, Germany, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary celebration.

The 8th day of September is a special date in the centre’s history: it’s the day in 1967 when it was inaugurated to serve as ‘mission control’ for what later became the European Space Agency.

Today, 5000 visitors are expected at an open house that included tours of the mission control facilities, presentations by ESA experts on a wide range of topics and a stage programme produced in cooperation with Hessischer Rundfunk (HR) radio and the Darmstädter Echo newspaper.

The sold-out event also included numerous educational, informational and fun activities for all ages presented by DLR SchoolLab, the Astronomy and Space Technology Club of Darmstadt (AAW), the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and information kiosks hosted by the Berlin-based Part-Time Scientists and the Polytechnic University of Milan.

The video greeting from the Space Station is being shown during the stage programme and displayed for the visitors on screens around the centre.

Paolo Nespoli is on a five-month mission to the Station, dubbed the #VITAmission, between July and December this year.

Vita’s extensive scientific programme includes experiments in biology, human physiology as well as space environment monitoring, materials science and technology demonstrations. Learn more and follow Paolo in social media via

More information on ESOC and its 50th anniversary year via #ESOC50

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