How can space provide important knowledge and new solutions for many of the major challenges on Earth today? This was one of the issues discussed at the Executive Roundtable that kicked off the Esrange's 50th anniversary celebration on Saturday. The roundtable was followed by a gala dinner in the evening and a well visited Open House on Sunday.
After a guided tour at the center for the invited guests an Executive Roundtable was held at Kiruna City Hall. Key Note speakers were Prof Dr Ing Jan Wörner, Director General, ESA, Mrs Helene Hellmark Knutsson, Swedish Minister for Higher Education and Research, Minister for Space, Dr Olle Norberg, Director General at Swedish National Space Board and Prof Dr Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of Executive Board, German Aerospace Center/DLR. Mr Jan Nygren, who recently released a report to the Swedish Government about future investments in Esrange Space Center, also participated at the Roundtable.
The changes in the space industry, "New Space", and how to increase the benefit for the science community were among the issues discussed, under the headline "Utilizing Space for the benefit of Earth". How space can provide important knowledge and new solutions on many of the major challenges on Earth, not at least to combat climate change, was highlighted. And all agreed Esrange plays a very important role in all this today and for the future, not at least by establishing capability to launch small satellites into orbit.
The Roundtable was followed by a well appreciated gala dinner at the city hall with lots of entertainment and several speeches.
On Sunday the gates to Esrange opened to the public and around 720 people visited the center, most of them families. They participated in activities like guided tours, launching small balloons and meeting Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper.
See and read all the tweets and photos from the weekend at our Twitter; https://twitter.com/SSCspace
Photos: Upper right corner: Opera singer Carina Henriksson at the gala dinner on Saturday evening, 22 October.
Below: Gala dinner in Kiruna City Hall