Space Expo arrives in Brussels after Helsinki triumph

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18 September 2012

The European Space Expo continues its tour: fresh from its showcase in the Finnish capital, it now makes its way to Brussels.

Visitors at the Space Expo were greeted by the Space Expo's hostessesIt dazzled crowds in Copenhagen and Toulouse in June, and drew hordes in Helsinki over August, now the European Space Expo is arriving in Brussels, the capital of Europe.

The European Space Expo has been generating a buzz as it showcases the impressive array of applications that satellite technology offers us. The latest stop was in Helsinki, from August 17 to 21, a moment that would normally be seen as a quiet holiday period yet still managed to attract interest from a wide range of visitors.

Indeed, over just five days, some 23,000 people visited the Helsinki European Space Expo, surpassing even the most optimistic hopes of the organisers from the European Commission and the European GNSS Agency (GSA). “We weren’t expecting to turn up half an hour before the opening to find a queue people already there,” says Antoine Borg, from the GSA. “Or turning people away at the end of the day. In fact, we actually extended our opening hours on the last day because there were so many people there.”

School interest

Borg noted some key factors driving the interest. “We had a large number of school visits – two or three visits a day – and strong enthusiasm from teachers,” he says. “This translated to families, and we saw some children coming on Friday with their school and then on Sunday with their families.”

Another aspect that helped was the location: the Space Expo was located at the Narinkkatori square, which is the intersection of the main bus station, the train station, metro stop and a shopping mall. In addition, there was strong coverage of it on local media, including television broadcasts of the opening of the event.

Guests at the official opening included Pekka Plathan, the Director General at the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communication (left), and Jarkko Koskinen, the Director General of the Finnish Geodetic Institute (right)The Space Expo shows the many ways space technology has changed our lives, from how in-car satellite navigation systems can help direct us to aiding emergency services during natural disasters. Through its interactive displays space’s wide range of innovative technologies and services are laid out, showing how many ingenious applications use satellites today, including the fields of traffic management, farming and fisheries supervision, environmental protection, and land mapping.

Brussels stop

The next European Space Expo will take place in Brussels from September 26 until October 11. It will be located next to the upmarket Toison D'or shopping district, just a short walk from the European quarter.

The Space Expo will host a public event organised for the launch of the second pair of Galileo satellites from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, currently scheduled for the evening of October 10. The twin satellites will be hitching a ride aboard the Soyuz ST-B rocket, and then will meet up with the first two Galileo satellites currently in orbit. They will be operating from medium orbit 33 about 140 miles above the Earth.

After Brussels, the Space Expo then travels to Vienna (October 22-26, during the ITS World Conference), Larnaca, Cyprus (at the November 10-16 Second FP7 Space Conference) and London (December 1-6, coinciding with the December 3-5 'European Space Solutions' conference).

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Updated: Jan 30, 2018