The Centre for the Study of Nuclear Energy (CEN) in Mol (Antwerp Province) celebrated 25 years of Belgian space research and 25 years since a Belgian went into space on Friday. The second Belgian to go into space, Frank De Winne, made a speech in front of around 150 people to mark the event.
Just over 25 years ago, on the 24th of March 1992, Dirk Frimout became the first Belgian to go into space. In October 2002 it was the turn of Frank De Winne. He went to the International Space Station (ISS).
To celebrate the anniversary, the CEN invited Frank De Winne to make a speech. “Belgians Scientists and Astronauts play a very important role in space research and development”, the astronaut said. “What we have achieved over the last 25 years is incredible, but we can still do so much more”.
The CEN has been doing space-oriented research for years. It took part in international research into the effects of ionising radiation on the human body. The Centre said this is to prepare for missions to Mars.
At the end of November, the Centre will send a bioreactor to the ISS. Two weeks later, Sarah Baatout will go to the Princess Elizabeth polar station in the Antarctic as head of the CEN’s radiobiology department.
She will do research into how extreme living conditions, stress and isolation affect the human immune system. Her research will also look into the properties of the algae spirulina, which they are thinking of using as a food supplement for Astronauts. “It will give us additional information for our space and medical research”, Sarah Baatout says.