50th Anniversary

17th - 18th April 2024

ESSC 50th Anniversary celebration

The European Space Sciences Committee (ESSC) recently celebrated a momentous milestone as it marked its 50th anniversary with a series of events held in Strasbourg. From captivating speeches to insightful discussions and a breathtaking planetarium show, the celebrations were a fitting tribute to five decades of remarkable achievements in the field of space sciences.

Evening Planetarium Show: A Journey Through the European Space Race
A highlight of the anniversary celebrations was an evening planetarium show that delved into the history of European space race activities and the invaluable contributions of the ESSC. Produced by the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium and screened in Strasbourg, the show provided a fascinating glimpse into of the significance of Europe’s endeavors in space science. The ESSC Chair, Prof Chris Rapley CBE, welcomed the participants, and paid homage to the genius, historic accomplishments, and extraordinary prescience of the ESSC’s founding Chair, Sir Harrie Massey.

18th April – A Day of Reflection and Inspiration
On the 18th of April, the festivities continued with a series of speeches and discussions by distinguished guests and members of the ESSC community. Notable speakers included Kai-Uwe Schrogl, who provided a perspective from the European Space Agency (ESA). Nicholas Walter shed light on the ESSC’s role within the European Science Foundation (ESF), while Prof David Southwood CBE reminisced about the early days of European space science and some pivotal interventions by the ESSC. Jean-Claude Worms (COSPAR) offered reflections on the recent past, setting the stage for personal reminiscences of the ESSC delivered by a Panel of distinguished past members and guests. The session culminated with ESSC Chair Chris Rapley presenting a vision for the future.

Daytime Event at Villa Sturm: Showcasing Five Decades of Excellence
During the daytime event held at Villa Sturm in Strasbourg, attendees had the opportunity to explore an exhibition showcasing the ESSC’s work over the past five decades. From groundbreaking research to collaborative initiatives, the exhibition offered a comprehensive overview of the ESSC’s enduring legacy in advancing space sciences.

The anniversary celebrations provided a unique opportunity for past and current members, as well as friends of the ESSC, to come together, network, and share memories. The event was not only a celebration of past achievements but also a chance to envision the future trajectory of the ESSC and its role in shaping the future of space science.

As we reflect on the 50th anniversary celebrations, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who contributed to making this milestone event a resounding success. Here’s to 50 years of excellence, innovation, and inspiration, and to the countless discoveries that lie ahead as we continue to explore the wonders of the Universe together.

Invited Speakers

Kai-Uwe Schrogl

Special Advisor for Political Affairs at ESA

Nicolas Walter

ESF Chief Executive Officer, ex-officio member

David Southwood

Imperial College London

Jean-Claude Worms

Executive Director, COSPAR, ex-officio member