For the 5th year in a row, the beSPACE annual Space Dinner proved to be one of the most important events of the Belgian space scene. This year’s dinner focused on the future of the International Space Station (ISS). Over 220 people attended the event at the Brussels Planetarium, ranging from students (33%) and industry professionals (28%) over representatives of research institutes (12%) and governmental organisations (12%) to space enthusiasts and other affiliations (15%).
The evening began with three lectures on the future of the ISS. Firstly, Alejandro Sela, from Space Application Services, gave an overview of the ICE Cubes project. Next, Dr. Valentina Shevtsova, from the Microgravity Research Centre at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, presented her most recent work on fluids in microgravity. Lastly, artist Lola Meotti took the audience on a journey through her interpretation of space.
Following the presentations, beSPACE presented its first ever awards – for “Personality of the Year” and “Team of the Year” in the Belgian space sector. The purpose of the awards is to inspire and stimulate excellence, innovation, cross-fertilization and leadership.
The beSPACE Award for ‘Personality of the Year 2017’ was given to Dominique Tilmans. It recognises her outstanding efforts for the space sector in Belgium and Europe. Firstly, as a member of the Belgian Senate, as President of the Senatorial Workgroup on Space and as President of the European Interparliamentary Space Conference and, more recently, as President of YouSpace and Eurisy. beSPACE considers YouSpace to be a vital platform for the professional development of the next generation of space professionals. Dominique’s new role at Eurisy, an association of 20 European space agencies aiming to connect space and society by raising awareness on the potential of satellite applications, also illustrates her talent for building bridges: between politics and industry, students and professionals, space and Earth. In an increasingly complex world, these dialogues have become a necessity. In short, her legendary energy and her ability to identify the needs of all different parties and come up with concrete solutions have a genuinely positive impact in all of her many endeavours.
The beSPACE Award for ‘Team of the Year 2017’ was given to the QB50 team from the von Karman Institute. It rewards their success in managing a bold, innovative project that makes original use of the capabilities offered by cubesats. It is an awe-inspiring engineering challenge that also requires immense programmatic prowess. Moreover, the mission carried out by the VKI itself, QARMAN, is a brilliant demonstration of “inside the box” thinking. beSPACE believes the outcomes of the QARMAN and QB50 projects will pave the way towards new technological developments in space. Moreover, VKI started both initiatives from scratch, the core competence of the Institute being fluid dynamics. The VKI is now one of the leading actors in European cubesat research and organiser of one of the most important annual symposia on the topic. Lastly, the QB50 team’s efforts have significantly contributed to the reputation of Belgium on the global space scene.
The evening ended with a free walking dinner, giving the attendees the opportunity to discuss both the presentations and the awards, as well as network in a relaxed atmosphere.
Once again, the beSPACE team wishes to thank its generous sponsors for making this wonderful evening possible: VITO Remote Sensing, Antwerp Space, SpaceTec Partners, the Planetarium of the Royal Observatory of Belgium, ESERO Belgium, Volkssterrenwacht Urania, and Mars Belgium. We hope to see many old and new faces at our next annual dinner – and at numerous other events that will be organised throughout the year.
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P.S. One bracelet appears to have lost its owner during the Space Dinner. Contact us if you think it is yours.