The French capital has been chosen to host a celebration of space, 'Paris fête l'Espace', to be held on the place du Trocadéro on 15 June starting at 21.30.
With its 'Night of the Astronauts' in Cologne (Germany) in 2004 and then in Barcelona (Spain) in 2006, ESA introduced a new kind of attraction designed to inform the public of and share with it advances to date in the conquest of space. In order to cater for the huge public interest in space demonstrated by these repeatedly successful events, ESA decided to organise, in partnership with the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and with the support of the City of Paris, an altogether novel celebration of space on the place du Trocadéro.
The stage specially set up for the purpose will be graced by many distinguished guests. Astronauts and experts from the world of science will in turn appear before the public from 21.30 onwards, in what promises to be a richly eventful evening.
TV presenter Jérôme Bonaldi and ESA astronaut Jean-François Clervoy of France will host the show. Together with their guests, they will tackle various topics, such as the huge importance of application satellite operations, for telecommunications as well as for observing climate change, with Pascale Ultré-Guérard of CNES; there will then be a session on 'How to become an astronaut', featuring ESA astronaut Léopold Eyharts of France, who is due to fly to the International Space Station at the end of the year on a mission to install Europe's Columbus space laboratory.
Space exploration programmes geared to discovering planets in our Solar System will also be highlighted. Then will come the official presentation to ESA of an original first edition of the Jules Verne classic 'From the Earth to the Moon'. This is due to be carried to the ISS onboard the European supply vessel, the Automated Transfer Vehicle. For the inaugural flight, the first ATV has been named Jules Verne in honour of this visionary writer.
At 22.30, the public will be treated to a 'son et lumière' laser spectacular, featuring special effects, space music and images produced from science satellite data projected onto a giant 350m2 screen.
Private reception, Eiffel Tower first level
As a prelude to this public event, a private reception starting at 19.00 will be held on the first level of the Eiffel Tower, arranged by Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director General, and Yannick d'Escatha, CNES President.
Inauguration of the corresponding space exhibition on the first level of the Eiffel Tower
Official handing-over to ESA of the first-edition Jules Verne classic From the Earth to the Moon
After cocktails and a buffet dinner, the evening's proceedings will continue with the public festivities starting at 21.30.
Guests arriving are asked to make their way to the ESA/CNES stand located at the Eiffel Tower north base, as from 18.00.