Registration now open for ESA Open Day at ESTEC 2023

ESA Open Day at ESTEC: A Space Adventure for All

Space enthusiasts, mark your calendars! The European Space Agency (ESA) is opening its doors to the public on Sunday, October 8th, for the annual ESA Open Day at ESTEC in the Netherlands. This exciting event provides a unique opportunity to meet astronauts, view spacecraft, and get a behind-the-scenes look at Europe’s space adventure. Registration is now open, so don’t miss your chance to be a part of this extraordinary experience.

ESTEC, located in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, serves as ESA’s technical heart and is the largest establishment within the Agency. For over half a century, this facility has been responsible for the birth of new ESA missions and the investigation of novel technologies. Additionally, completed space missions are evaluated here before their flights, making ESTEC Europe’s largest satellite testing facility.

At the 12th annual ESA Open Day, visitors will have the opportunity to meet space scientists and engineers, gaining insight into all aspects of Europe’s extraterrestrial work. You can even pose questions to experts at the Space Citizens Forum, where discussions on various space-related topics will take place. The event will also feature talks and autograph sessions with esteemed astronauts, including André Kuipers and Thomas Reiter. Joining them will be John McFall, a UK Paralympian athlete and member of ESA’s astronaut reserve.

This year’s theme, ‘Science Fiction Gets Real,’ pays homage to the influence of science fiction on ESA’s scientists and engineers. It highlights how once imaginary concepts have been transformed into scientific reality through their dedication and inspiration. Visitors will have a rare chance to view ESA’s next deep space mission, the Hera asteroid mission, before its launch. Currently undergoing checks at the ESTEC Test Centre, Hera will embark on a journey towards the distant Dimorphos asteroid next year.

The full program of attractions, events, and lectures for the ESA Open Day will be published later this month. The event is part of the NL Space Campus’s Space Week and is also partnering with Dutch Weekend van de Wetenschap. Attendees can expect a range of activities and exhibits, including a VR exhibit, which will transport them into the world of space exploration.

In addition to the Open Day, ESTEC’s year-round visitor centre, Space Expo, will be participating in the event. Space Expo will host a series of events and talks from Space Rocks, an organization that celebrates the art and culture of science and space. Moreover, André Kuipers will officially kickstart the NL MOONSHOTS ’24 program, powered by the Netherlands Space Office. This program is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for student pioneers in the Netherlands to come up with innovative and ambitious ideas related to space.

The ESA Open Days in the Netherlands attract thousands of visitors every year. To ensure that everyone gets the chance to explore ESA’s facilities, there will be an Open Day specifically designed for people with disabilities on Saturday, the day before the general Open Day. This allows individuals with disabilities to explore the sprawling site at their own pace, emphasizing ESA’s commitment to inclusivity and the belief that space is for everyone.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to be a part of Europe’s space adventure. Register now for your tickets and join us at the ESA Open Day at ESTEC on October 8th. Book early to secure your spot and avoid disappointment. We look forward to welcoming you to this unforgettable event!