History of ESA Symposium, London
15 November 1998Space support will help European competitiveness and economic performance.Europe's space programme can make a major contribution to improving Europe's competitiveness and economic performance, according to Mr AntonioRodota', Director General of the European Space Agency. It can also contribute to UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's vision of a 'people's Europe', he said. 'Weneed to convince Europeans that they have reasons to be proud of themselves and of what they can achieve through the pooling of their talents and resources'.
Speaking at the Science Museum on Wednesday, during the opening by UK Science Minister, Lord Sainsbury, of a joint ESA and Science Museum international symposium on the history of ESA, Mr Rodota said that European space cooperation had often been accompanied by uncertainty, yet Europe's space programme continued to be pursued with a large measure of success.
'Projects such as Ariane have come to symbolise the value of excellence and of true European collaboration in high technology. The latest example is the flawless final qualification flight of Ariane 5 on 21st October,' he said.
The international symposium forms the culmination of the ESA History Project, which has for the past eight years researched the history of European space initiatives between 1964 and 1987. The symposium, which was held at the Science Museum on 12 and 13 November, brought together leading players of that period. Speakers included former Government Ministers such as Mr Michael Heseltine of the UK, Mr Hubert Curien of France and Mr Antonio Ruberti of Italy.
Sir Neil Cossons, Director of the Science Museum, spoke of the importance of space both to the Museum's visitors and to its research community. 'Space is the most popular topic of science amongst our visitors', he said. 'Understanding the history of the European space programme is vital to our presentation of achievement and aspirations in space exploration.'
Sir Neil announced that the Museum was planning a refurbishment of its Exploration of Space gallery next year, thanks to contributions from Matra Marconi and the British National Space Centre. 'Visitors to the Science Museum, from the UK, Europe, and across the world, expect us to present the latest information about space science and technology in an inspirational and accessible way,' he told symposium delegates. 'We are determined to rise to that challenge'.
A key element in the drive to record the history of ESA was the establishment of the official ESA archive in Florence. A brochure on 'the Archives of the European Space Agency' was prepared for especially for the Symposium and can be ordered from ESA Publications Division (ESA BR-139).
ESA Publications Division will also publish the Proceedings of the symposium within three months of the meeting (ESA SP-436).