Meet the 2021 ESA Champions

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Passionate, original and talented: that’s what the 2021 ESA Champions look like. After reviewing thousands of profiles, the jury selected 15 space enthusiasts who showed particular passion for space in Europe and skills for communication. Read more about the awards and watch the video to meet the Champions!

The ESA Champions initiative has been set up as a way of recognising and rewarding advocacy for space in Europe among the ESA workforce and beyond. We looked for talented and passionate people to become part of a strong community of space enthusiasts promoting ESA, and we found them!

We looked at five categories (Artwork, Video, Education, Storytelling and Public Speaking) with three Champions per category. The awards are:

  • 1st place: Personal interview with an ESA Astronaut
  • 2nd place: Space-flown ESA mission patch with framed certificate of authenticity
  • 3rd place: Assortment of unique ESA goodies from our ESA Space Shop

Curious to see who won? Check out the winners below!

Category 1: Artwork

  • 1st Place: Chloé Mamet – Student in aerospace engineering doing digital artwork.
  • 2nd Place: Nathalie Boisard – Artist creating jewellery based on ESA Earth Observation calendars.
  • 3rd Place: Marie Nguyen – Artist creating digital artwork.

Category 2: Video

  • 1st Place: Jana Mulacova on behalf of the European Space-ody Team – Product assurance engineer at ESA ESOC who directed a space parody of Bohemian Rhapsody with colleagues.
  • 2nd Place: Chloé Carrière – Physics student doing videos about space with interviews and animations.
  • 3rd Place: Richard Parent (POLY) – Engineer and filmmaker using computer graphics and audio to create short films about space.

Category 3: Education

  • 1st Place: Koen Debeule – ESA engineer organising the ‘Space in a Nutshell’ course to educate ESA employees about space and how ESA works.
  • 2nd Place: Athanasia Nikolaou – Former ESA Research Fellow, she is physicist and co-founder of the NGO Lecturers without Borders.
  • 3rd Place: Niamh Shaw – Science communicator doing lots of outreach work, STEM activities with kids, live chats for space.

Category 4: Storytelling

  • 1st Place: Hans Huybrighs – Research fellow at ESTEC and science communicator, regularly writing and publishing in Dutch and international media.
  • 2nd Place: Valerie Lecuraud – ESA administrative assistant who wrote a short story about space and ESA in the future.
  • 3rd Place: Francesco Paiano – Aerospace engineer who published an Italian book for kids called “Una bimba su Marte” (A little girl on Mars).

Category 5: Public Speaking

  • 1st Place: Jan Spratek – Former space educator at ESA Education Office, currently working at the Planetarium in Prague and co-hosting the Czech Space News Podcast.
  • 2nd Place: Yves Doat – Head of the ESA Ground Stations Infrastructure and Operations sharing space with students across France.
  • 3rd Place: Charlotte Pouwels – Analogue astronaut who does outreach activities, e.g. guest lecturer for the Astronomy Club at Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the 2021 ESA Champions Initiative. We look forward to welcoming the next generation soon!

More information

If you want to know more about the 2021 ESA Champions Initiative, please have a look here and the FAQs.

For any questions, please contact

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