Setting the stage for the launch of XMM
7 December 1999Whilst the engineers and technicians are making final preparations for the XMM launch on 10 December, ESA is setting the stage for the public and media launch coverage, both in French Guiana and in Europe.
Hinging around the joint Arianespace-ESA video transmission being broadcast from Kourou (starting 50 minutes before liftoff at 13:42 GMT, 14:42 CET), coverage plans include invitations addressed to selected guests by ESA and its partners to attend several public events.
The launch events will also be broadcast live on the Internet.
The focus in Europe will be at the European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, where the XMM control centre is located. ESOC will also be ESA's main European press centre for the launch. Some 300 people are expected to attend, including special guests representing ESA member states, national space agencies, and European industry. Also present will be members of the ESA and Dornier XMM project teams and the scientists who will be using the new space telescope. ESA Director General Antonio Rodotà will there to welcome everyone.
Other viewing sites across Europe include Noordwijk, Villafranca, Paris, Friedrichshafen, Jena, London, Toulouse.
The liftoff and first acquisition of the XMM spacecraft telemetry will of course be the key moments of the launch coverage. But the television broadcast from Kourou, and the public event at ESOC will also feature the children who participated in ESA's first two XMM competitions.
In Kourou, the new XMM logo, drawn by children from ESA's 14 Member States, will be officially unveiled on the Ariane-5 launch fairing. This symbolic act connects the new European generations with the excellence of European space science. The children chosen to represent the winning classes from the 'Draw me a telescope' competition' are in Kourou to watch the launch. Some of their questions, and those of the older children who won the 'What's new Galileo?' essay competition, will be featured in the launch transmission.