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Ecsite Space Group 2023 Annual Meeting Review

The European Space Operations Centre (ESA ESOC) in Darmstadt served as the vibrant venue for the Ecsite Space Group 2023 Annual Meeting. From 30 November to 1 December, attendees immersed themselves in the lively atmosphere of ESA's mission control centre.

This dynamic space is where skilled engineering teams supervise spacecraft maneuvers, oversee a global tracking station network, and design ground support for ESA’s missions all across the Solar System. It is also the epicenter of ESA's Space Safety program, addressing the threats posed by space debris, solar activity, and potential asteroid impacts on our planet.

Since its creation in 2012, the Ecsite Space Group constitutes a collective initiative that unites representatives from ESA, science centres, museums, and private enterprises, all sharing a common mission: to uncover innovative and impactful ways of sharing the marvels of space with the public. A decade after this mission’s launch, the fruits of this collective endeavour were evident as 40+ space professionals from 16 different countries – gathered at ESOC.

The meeting kicked off with insightful remarks from Rolf Densing, ESA ESOC Head of Establishment, Maria Menéndez, Head of Outreach Coordination Office at ESA, and Catherine Franche, Executive Director at Ecsite. Engaging panels and presentations followed, delving into themes such as public engagement and the future trajectory of European space missions

Thus, contributions from Austria, France, Germany and beyond ventured into matters such as storytelling in exhibitions, visualization in science communication, and knowledge accessibility. Participants also had the opportunity to undertake a guided tour around the heart of European space operations. Have a look at the speakers' presentations!

The meeting concluded with a forward-looking discussion on the upcoming activities of the Space Group, extending a warm invitation to all attendees for the next rendezvous: the 2024 Ecsite Conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

We gaze into the future of space exploration and public outreach. If you feel intrigued by the ongoing initiatives of the Ecsite Space Group, you are encouraged to join its bi-monthly newsletter. Furthermore, do not forget to mark your calendars for the 2024 Ecsite Conference, where the Space Group plans to reconvene in person on 5–8 June, for deeper insights into space science, research and communication.

Thematic group

The Space Group

The Space Group improves and extends communication about space science by helping science centres, space professionals and non-specialists to develop collaborative projects and events.