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CMG @ ESOC
 
CMG at ESOC announcement
 
CMG Reunion at the European Space Agency
 
Background
 
The forum Canada Meets Germany was invited for a special network reunion at the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), the satellite control centre of the European Space Agency (ESA). The visit to ESOC on 07-March-2008 was a unique opportunity for the CMG young leaders to gain insight into European space activities.

On a guided tour through ESOC premises the ground segment infrastructure and the mission control facilities have been explained. Adjacent to the tour CMG was meeting key figures of ESA. Dr. Claudio Sollazzo, ESA Mission Director for the ISS module Columbus, and Dr. Frank Danesy, Head of Human Resources at ESOC, were speaking about "Europe's Engagement in Human Spaceflight".

During a reception and a dinner event the CMG visitors had the chance to meet with representatives from the European space community to develop social and business contacts.
 
CMG @ ESOC: Young Leaders Reunion in Space
 
The European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) is the control facility for satellite missions of the European Space Agency (ESA). Located in Darmstadt, Germany, it is an international centre of expertise for spacecraft navigation. In this position, ESOC is employer to several hundred space flight specialists and main business partner for the space industry from ESA member states – and Canada. The project work at ESOC is marked by international collaborations and complex business relationships between contractor firms from various countries. This makes the control centre a unique place where mutual cultural understanding needs to be practised on a daily basis to cope with different business philosophies. The curiosity about cultural diversity within the ESA environment but in particular the fascination to learn about endeavours in space made the Canada Meets Germany (CMG) network members to follow an invitation to ESOC on 07-March-2008.

A guided tour on ESOC premises offered the CMG guests a first visual impression of the spacecraft control facilities and ESA's ground segment infrastructure. Multiple aspects of satellite operations have been addressed on the walkabout. The visitors had the chance to learn about the complexity of mission preparations and the subtleties of interplanetary orbit design as well as the excitement of launch campaigns. A glimpse into the dedicated control areas was conveying an idea of satellite routine operations – the day-to-day business at ESOC. The highlight of the tour was a glance at ESOC's main control room from where critical mission phases are supported.

Equipped with a basic understanding of unmanned space flight the CMG group was heading for a meeting with selected guests from the space community. ESOC experts and executives, representatives of industrial partners and Young Graduate Trainees, the offspring of the Europeans space program, have been introduced to the visitors from Canada and Germany to jointly engage in a discussion on "Europe's Engagement in Human Space Flight". The event featured a theme session with two distinguished guest speakers. Dr. Claudio Sollazzo, ESA mission director for the space laboratory Columbus (which recently docked to the International Space Station ISS) was sharing his expertise on human space flight with the audience. Not only the CMG visitors but also ESOC-internal guests had the chance to gain insight into exciting aspects of ESA's cornerstone missions to the ISS. The talk about operations on-board of the space station was followed by a speech delivered by Dr. Frank Danesy, head of ESOC's human resources division, on the recent recruitment campaign for European astronauts. Subsequently, both lecturers answered sedulously the many questions from an audience eager to hear more about human space flight first-hand.

The reception adjacent to the Q&A session gave the opportunity to resume the vivid discussions on space-related topics. At the same time the participants from the ESOC environment showed increased interest to know more about the concept of Canada Meets Germany. In particular the guests travelling from Canada have been pleased to learn about the Canadian ties of the invited guest speakers and their German-Canadian links. Mr. Sollazzo spoke enthusiastically about his time as post-doctoral fellow at the University of Victoria and the Memorial University of Newfoundland while Mr. Danesy exchanged stories about his home town Toronto with other Torontonian guests. The jolly atmosphere was not fading away during the dinner party making it the perfect conclusion of a felicitous day when CMG met ESOC.
 
CMG Bethinks Its Potential as Business Network
 
The CMG @ ESOC event was a joint effort of actors affiliated with CMG and ESOC in collaboration with partners from industry. The involvement of space companies beyond financial sponsorship was adding a second focus to the Young Leaders gathering in Darmstadt: reviving the CMG forum as a platform to raise business opportunities.

The economics bureau of New Brunswick, Business New Brunswick (BNB), was officially attending a series of industrial fact finding meetings arranged by the CMG @ ESOC organizers. CMG member Raj Venugopal, representing BNB as investment officer, was officially introduced to executives from ESOC and partner companies engaging in the space sector. The aim of the sideline business meetings held on 06/07-March-2008 was contact building between key players in the European space industry and Canadian companies intending to direct their attention towards a participation in the European space program.

The focus on business aspects during the CMG reunion made Raj Venugopal's trip from New Brunswick to the state of Hesse a worthwhile decision from a professional point of view. This type of "satellite" meeting on industrial issues was a novelty for all participants – it was marking the launch of a new format of CMG activities. The meetings were paving the way for entrepreneurs from New Brunswick to enter the European space market. In the aftermath of the sideline meetings the network of initiated contacts keeps expanding clearing space for opportunities. The organizers are excited to learn more about tangible business relations footing on these professional get-togethers.
 
What's Next?
 
The structure of the CMG forum has been proven to be suitable to connect the professional networks of its members to leverage business potentials. This is an important observation at a time that the CMG forum is faced to reconsider its future role as a network of Young Leaders. A focus on business topics on the CMG agenda will be helpful to attract sponsors from the private sector and to keep the German-Canadian exchange going.
 
Ackowledgements
 
The organizers acknowledge the financial support from the sponsor companies Solenix GmbH and EDS Operations Services GmbH to carry out the CMG @ ESOC event. Read also the EDS press release about the event.
 
Welcome address
Welcome address

 
Group Photo in front of XMM
CMG in front of the XMM satellite

 
MCR
Glimpse into Main Control Room

 
Dr. Claudio Sollazzo
Dr. Claudio Sollazzo speaking about the ISS module "Columbus"

 
Dr. Frank Danesy
Dr. Frank Danesy speaking about European astronaut recruitment campaign

 
Q&A
Q&A session with Dres. Danesy and Sollazzo

 
CMG meets ESA
CMG members and ESA community after a socializing afternoon at ESOC

 
Reception
CMG mingling with the ESA community

 
Sideline Business Meetings
Sideline business meetings

 



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