Brussels, 20 May 2004
The theme of this year's space exhibit at the Berlin Air Show was 'Space for life'. Presented jointly by the European Space Agency (ESA), the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI), interactive displays took visitors on a journey from the centre of our solar system to the farthest reaches of the universe.
The space pavilion was officially inaugurated by the German Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, accompanied by ESA's Director General, Jean-Jacques Dordain, Sigmar Wittig, Chairman of the Executive Board of DLR, and BDLI President, Rainer Hertrich.
Space, culture and communication
Why 'Space for life? According to ESA communications officer, Volker Kratzenberg-Annies, space enriches citizens' daily lives by providing innovative services, for instance in telecommunications, but the contributions are not limited to material benefits and useful services. The general public's curiosity about human space flight and scientific discovery indicate an ongoing fascination with space.
Visitors entered the 1350-square-metre exhibit through a 'solar tunnel' featuring real imagery from SOHO, the ESA/NASA solar observatory. Next, a mock-up of the Martian surface featured models of rovers and robots. Further along, global monitoring was on display, with images from Europe's latest weather and environmental satellites. Finally, exciting 3D images of the International Space Station (ISS) told the story of Europe's human presence in space, while models of the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), the Ariane 5 and other launchers illustrated the latest in high technology.
Bringing space to the people
Throughout the week, dedicated events drew invited audiences and the general public alike. There were guided tours for school children, televised debates with specialists on GMES and the telecommunications 'digital divide', and opportunities to meet eminent personalities such as ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter.
One workshop addressed equal opportunities in the space sector, as the shortage of women opting for careers in science and engineering remains a European concern. Other events included 3D movies on Earth observation and satellite radionavigation, presentations on ISS and solar system missions, a space quiz with ESA astronauts, and some spectacular images from ESA's Mars Express probe.
About the Berlin Air Show
The International Aerospace Exhibition and Conference (ILA), also known as the Berlin Air Show, ran from 10-16 May. Organised every two years by BDLI, the event highlights the latest developments in the international aerospace industry and in civil, military and private aviation fields.
Organisers say this year's ILA2004 saw the finalisation of large-scale orders and contracts, conferences with high-ranking participants, and an extensive programme of visits by delegations from industry, politics and the armed forces. The underlying mood was one of confidence regarding the continued development of the aerospace sector. Business conducted at the fair included a $900 million order placed by the American carrier Spirit Airlines for 15 aircraft from the Airbus A320 series.
Future bright for Arianespace
Among the Show's major developments was the signing of a contract for 30 Ariane-5 launchers, valued at €3 billion. The contract was signed by Jean-Yves Le Gall, CEO of Arianespace, and Josef Kind and Hervé Guillou, respectively President and CEO of EADS Space Transportation, in the presence of the German Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, and French Minister of Research, François d'Aubert. It effectively ensures Arianespace's launch service continuity, significantly enhancing its performance and competitiveness on the international launcher market.
The contract also solidifies the new role of EADS Space Transportation as the prime contractor for the Ariane 5 system. It is now committed to delivering an integrated launcher to Arianespace. This entails management of the whole range of relations and contracts with subcontractors involved in launch vehicle production.
For its part, Arianespace remains in charge of the commercial launch service operation. As 'prime customer', the company will source the launcher from the prime contractor, adapt it to customer mission requirements, integrate satellites and fairings, and carry out launch operations at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
Ariane 5 was also designated as the exclusive launcher for a new generation of 'space tug' from Orbital Recovery Ltd. The company's ConeXpress Orbital Life Extension Vehicle (CX OLEV) is set to lift off aboard an Ariane 5 in 2007.