Brussels, 10 Oct 2003
From 20 October, bidding will open on three sets of euro banknotes and fifteen sets of euro coins with a difference: all have been into space and flown onboard the international space station (ISS) as part of the Belgian Soyuz mission in 2002.
The 'Euro from Space' initiative is the result of cooperation between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Central Bank (ECB). The aim is to raise funds for the ISS education programme, set up by ESA to encourage students from its 15 member states to study, understand and support science using the resources of space.
The sets of coins and notes were transported to the international space station by Belgian astronaut Frank De Winne. All have been certified by him as having travelled onboard the ISS.
Willem F Duisenberg, President of the ECB, said: 'I hope these coins and banknotes will [...] raise a substantial sum, to be used for educational purposes, since education is the key to our future.'
ESA's director of human spaceflight, Jörg Feustel-Büechl, said: The future belongs to knowledge based societies. Fully aware of this, ESA spends a considerable amount on education. The first euro sets to have travelled in space are unique symbols of the importance for Europe investing in the education of its youth.'
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