The space bug is catching on in Luxembourg, after the country’s space agency organised a parabolic flight for 35 students to experience gravity on the Moon, Mars and zero gravity.
It wasn’t only students who had the chance to be astronauts for a day. Luxembourg economy minister Franz Fayot also boarded the two-hour parabolic flight, which took off on Thursday 28 September from Findel airport.
“Today I was able to fulfil a childhood dream, as I have always been passionate about space,” Fayot said afterwards, adding: “This flight was a wonderful opportunity for young people, who I hope will now be even more motivated to embark on scientific or technical studies and a career in the space sector. The development of talent and the enthusiasm of the younger generation are key to the continued success of the space sector in Luxembourg.”
The 35 young passengers were selected from 221 applicants and subjected to a series of tests around logic, comprehension and physical fitness, similar to the process facing real astronauts. In November, they will also visit the astronaut training centre in Cologne, Germany.
Luxembourg officially began efforts to diversity its economy with new space activities when it launched the SpaceRessources.lu initiative in 2016. In 2018, the economy ministry launched the Luxembourg Space Agency, one of whose goals is to attract interest and talent to this burgeoning sector. These efforts were aided when, in 2022, the European Space Agency appointed a Luxembourg-Belgian national, Raphael Liégeois, as one of its five active astronauts.