Launch of the Belgian Space Week at ULiège

The Belgian Space Week took off at the University of Liege, this Monday, October 17, 2022. Accompanied by seven astronauts, Dirk Frimout participated in a school morning that gathered more than 500 schoolchildren around questions related to their space travels and in a meeting with space professionals at Centre Spatial de Liège (CSL) to discuss the future of the sector in Belgium.

On March 24, 2022, we celebrated the flight in space of the first Belgian ... after Tintin! It is indeed on this date that Dirk Frimout left for space in the shuttle Atlantis. The year 2022 also marks the 20th anniversary of Frank De Winne's first space flight.

These anniversaries should not go unnoticed, which is why the Network has set up the Belgian Space Week: an event that puts space travel in the spotlight, with a triple objective: to raise awareness, to interest, and to highlight the important Belgian contributions to the space industry and research. The objective of this week is to awaken vocations among young people, to make them aware of the space domain as a future profession, and to highlight the Belgian contributions to the space industry and research.

A week that took off at the University of Liege which hosted two events. The first one was intended for primary and secondary school students. A morning of exchanges organized by Réjouisciences - the ULiège science diffusion unit - during which the young students who came in great number were able to ask their questions to the delegation present on site. The second meeting, organized at the Space Center of Liege, in the presence of the Minister Valérie Glatigny(Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of the Walloon-Brussels Federation ) and Thomas Dermine(Secretary of State in charge of Scientific Policy, Willy Borsus, Vice-president of the Walloon Region and Minister of Economy, Research and Innovation), and many professionals of the space domain, opened the debate on the future of space in Belgium and the current projects.

The TeachingWithVR team of the ULiège had, for this event, recreated a virtual reality environment which allows to relive the space conquest and to walk on the lunar ground to discover the work Fallen Astronaut, of the Belgian artist Paul Van Hoeydonck, the only artistic work deposited on the Moon.

The astronauts present

  • Dirk Frimout (Belgium), mission Atlantis STS-45 (1992). Dirk Frimout is doctor honoris causa of the ULiège. Initiator of the Belgian Space Week.
  • Charles Bolden (USA), commander of the Atlantis STS-45 mission of which Dirk Frimout was part. 4 space flights in total. NASA Administrator from 2009 to 2017. Charles Bolden has an honorary doctorate from ULiège.
  • Nicole Stott (USA), two space flights STS-128 and STS-133 to the International Space Station, 10th woman to perform a spacewalk.
  • Robert Thirsk (Canada), several space flights including Soyuz TMA-15 with Frank De Winne to the International Space Station.
  • Reinhold Ewald (Germany), mission Soyuz TM-25 (1997).
  • Anna Fisher (USA), shuttle mission Discovery STS-51 (1984), first mother in space.
  • Frantz Viehböck(Austria), missions Soyuz TM-13 and TM-12 (1991).
  • Vladimir Pletser (Belgium), astronaut candidate having worked at the ESA for microgravity projects and parabolic flights.

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