The new year has started and I am back in the office. These first few days are always so very nice and quiet; I confess that I do not even try to attack my email backlog, but instead I focus on in-depth tasks that are hard to find time for during our busy working weeks.
2019 ended in a very busy manner with the launch of the French satellite CSO-1 on December 19th. The French Minister of Defence could not be present here at the spaceport, but instead participated in the event from Paris and gave an excellent speech after the successful separation of the spacecraft. My final “official” engagement for the year was to act as member of the Jury at the Foreign Legion’s annual Christmas Crib ceremony, which was a thought provoking experience.
Over the holidays, our NASA colleagues zipped past Ultima Thule: an impressive feat by the New Horizons space probe, launched in 2006, that has already completed its primary mission to Pluto. For the occasion, founding member of Queen and guitarist Brian May created a piece of music that was released on January 1. What a way to start the year!
The next important event out here at Europe’s Spaceport includes the P120C test firing currently planned for January 18th.
2019 promises to be another busy year!
Head of the ESA Space Transportation Office in Kourou