From 16 to 20 october 2017, the 30th World Congress of Astronauts will be held at the Cité de l’Espace in Toulouse. A congress which will also be aimed at the general public, students and academics.
On 11 March, 5 astronauts attended the Cité de l’Espace to make the official announcement, together with Jean-Luc Moudenc in his capacity as President of Toulouse Métropole, that their 30th congress eptembrecheduled for 2017 would take place in a city recognised as the European capital of space.
In the video below, the 5 astronauts who attended on this day (Jean-François Clervoy, Claudie Haigneré, Jean-Pierre Haigneré, Dorin Prunariu and Michel Tognini) explain what their congress entails and the reasons why Toulouse and the Cité de l’Espace were selected for this event.
Around one hundred astronauts in Toulouse
Jean-Pierre Haigneré says that “this is the opportunity for all those involved in exploration from all countries (…) to meet annually.” Indeed, the congress is a chance for astronauts to discuss future space programmes. It is an initiative of the Association of Space Explorers which brings together around 400 members who have all been into space. During the congress, a group of about one hundred meet for a week at a chosen venue. For 2017, from 16 to 20 october, this will be the Cité de l’Espace in Toulouse. Consequently, the Cité de l’Espace and Toulouse Métropole will be co-organisers of this prestigious event together with the Association of Space Explorers, all under the patronage of the French space agency, CNES.
Michel Tognini stresses that this event “promotes international exchanges since 37 countries are represented in this association (Association of Space Explorers), including countries that are not members of the ISS (International Space Station) like China for example.”
Sharing the passion for adventure
While the congress has an obvious professional component, as Claudie Haigneré who is also patron of the Cité de l’Espace points out, the astronauts are mindful to “share the passion for adventure and the discovery of space.” In fact, several of these space men and women will meet the general public, but also school children and students. Dorin Prunariu, who is President of the Europe Chapter of the Association of Space Explorers highlights that this is surely a way of “promoting education among the young generation”. A mission that fits with the knowledge sharing approach of Toulouse Métropole known for the attractiveness of its universities and its excellent training facilities. Jean-François Clervoy thus describes Toulouse as “a city symbolic of space” when setting out the reasons for choosing this destination for the 30th World Congress of Astronauts. President of Toulouse Métropole, Jean-Luc Moudenc also observes that it “was natural that international astronauts would one day hold their congress here”. This congress will also coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Cité de l’Espace which in the words of Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of the French Space Agency, CNES “is the ultimate venue for European space culture”.
Below, the video of the entire press conference of 11 March at the Cité de l’Espace which saw the official announcement about the 30th World Congress of Astronauts.
Below, press and media questions.