EAS Special Meeting Report


Last Wednesday we were delighted and honoured to have a very special guest speaker – Thomas Ormston, from the European Space Agency. There was a good turnout for the meeting, and the members who came along were able to take home with them a large selection of ESA material – posters, booklets and leaflets – which Thomas had very kindly arranged to be sent to us in advance…



But back to the talk! Thomas very generously gave up a night of his precious holiday time in the Lakes to come to Kendal Museum to give us a fascinating and very entertaining presentation describing what it’s like to work at ESA. We heard just how difficult and challenging it is to operate and control the spacecraft flown by ESA, how they are planned and launched, how they are rescued if things go wrong with them and long a process it is to get them to do – well, just about anything!


Thomas is a very gifted speaker, and his presentation was a masterclass in how to entertain, educate and inspire an audience. Everyone who came to the meeting learned an enormous amount and what ESA is and does, its history, its many successes to date – including an update on the end of the ROSETTA mission – and its bold and ambitious plans for the future, such as the ExoMars mission. There were lots of questions afterwards, always a sign of a good speaker, and then, totally out of the blue, Thomas surprised me by presenting me with this, a model of Comet 67P, as a “thank you” from ESA for my Outreach work on their behalf, which I will treasure forever…


After the meeting Thomas and his wife Mila joined some of us in the pub across the road for a couple of drinks, to thank him for his excellent talk, and he was happy to answer lots more questions…


I think everyone who came along to the meeting last week will agree it was one of our best ever, so thanks to everyone who came along to support it – as I’ve said many times before, it’s always great for a visiting speaker to see a big audience when they arrive – and special thanks to Anna Hall for opening up the Museum for us, making the event possible in the first place. And, of course, a huge thank you to Thomas for taking time out of his holiday to come and speak to us. We really appreciated it.

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