Editor’s note:These brief extracts are paraphrased from live webcast and may not be fully correct.

Heinz Riesenhuber is a Member of Parliament and a former Federal Minister for Research and Technology in Germany.

A historical presentation on Europe’s decision to participate in the ISS

  • In 1987, other projects were also running: Hermes, Ariane, Columbus. Participation in the ISS was not self-evident.
  • How to cope with costs and competing projects? 25 years ago a conference was organised to come to an agreement. Hermes and some other projects were abandoned. The key was that the ESA community stuck together. ESA’s competence kept the costs down and the return on investments high.
  • This was over 25 years ago, Europe has shown itself to be a competent and reliable ISS partner. As long as what we are doing is good for science, the future of mankind or our planet. Beyond that, as long as we are cooperating it makes us stronger.
  • What will happen in the next 25 years is in our hands.
  • This conference will help decide on that. The future is open, what happens depends on us and on our ability to cooperate with everybody who is prepared to cooperate with us.