On 26 March, as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Rome Treaties, an event with ESA’s astronauts will take place at the University of Rome Sapienza, with the participation of Italian Research Minister Fabio Mussi.

The event, dubbed ‘A night in space: meet the European astronauts’, is being organised jointly by the European Commission Representation in Italy, the French Embassy in Italy, the European Space Agency, the University of Rome Sapienza and the Italian Space Agency.

Members of the European Astronaut Corps will guide the audience – students, representatives from European embassies in Rome, European industry, Italian and European institutions and media representatives – through a wonderful adventure in space exploration, providing answers to questions such as “What is the International Space Station (ISS) for?”, “What is it like living in space?” and “How does one work in the absence of gravity?” and many more.  

The astronauts will share their experiences through videos and personal anecdotes about their past missions to the Space Station. The audience will also learn how scientific experiments are conducted in space in cooperation with universities, scientific research institutes and schools.

This event will be an opportunity to demonstrate how international cooperation in space has successfully contributed over the past five decades to the construction of a sustainable process of peace and prosperity in Europe and how space is one of the ‘success stories’ of European integration. The event will be opened at 18:00 by the first European astronaut to have stayed onboard the ISS and now a Member of the European Parliament, Umberto Guidoni, and will be moderated by the well-known Italian RAI TV science journalist, Silvia Rosa Brusin.

Claudie Haigneré, former ESA astronaut, who logged one mission on Mir and one on the ISS, and was the first woman to qualify as a Soyuz Return Commander, in 1999, will close the event, retracing the history of the fantastic achievements of humans in space over the last 50 years, since the first Sputnik flight.

In addition to the event, an exhibition entitled ‘The Europe of space and aerospace’, will be put on in Rome from 27 March to 7 April, at the CIDE (European Information and Documentation Centre), Via IV Novembre, 149, as a showcase of European excellence in the field of research and technology. Media representatives wishing to attend the event are kindly requested to fill in the attached registration form.

For further information, please contact:

Ms Franca Morgia
ESA/ESRIN Corporate Communication Office
Tel: + 39 06 94180951
Fax: + 39 06 94180352



  • Umberto Guidoni, European Member of Parliament
  • Renato Guarini, Dean of Sapienza University
  • Piervirgilio Dastoli, Director of the European Commission Representation in Rome
  • Daniel Sacotte, ESA’s Director for Human Spaceflight, Exploration and Microgravity Programmes
  • Vincenzo Roppo, Italian Space Agency Commissioner
  • Yves Aubin de La Messuzière, France’s Ambassador to Italy


18:20-18:30 Michel Tognini – The European Space Agency, recent missions by astronauts, and the International Space Station as a step forward in exploration

18:30-18:40 Gerhard Thiele- The European Astronaut Corps and its Charter: The European Spirit in Space

18:40-18:55 Roberto Vittori – My missions to the International Space Station

18:55-19:10 Christer Fuglesang – My work in space

19:10-19:20 André Kuipers – Educational activities during my mission

19:20-19:30 Claudie Haigneré, Advisor to the ESA Director General – 50 years of Rome Treaties and 50 years of Sputnik