Science and Exploration

Help Name Europe’s Next Astronaut Mission

By Keith Cowing
May 24, 2013
Filed under

ESA’s Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli will soon visit the International Space Station, and he needs your help to name his mission.

ESA’s Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli will soon visit the International Space Station, and he needs your help to name his mission.

Paolo Nespoli is now in intensive training for his challenging 6-month mission that will start next November. He will be launched in a Soyuz TMA spacecraft from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 30 November with Dmitri Kondratyev and Catherine Coleman. After docking two days later, they will stay on the International Space Station (ISS) as members of Expeditions 26/27.

This will be Paolo’s second time aboard the ISS: he flew in 2007 on a Space Shuttle to deliver and install the Node-2 module.

This will be the third six-month mission by a European astronaut on the Station. Between December 2010 and June 2011 he will be part of the ISS crew as a flight engineer.

In addition to his technical and operational duties, he has an extensive programme of scientific experiments and educational activities. He will use a novel 3D camera to show realistic views from inside and outside the ISS.

The ISS has many more years of use ahead – at least until 2020 – and the European astronaut missions contribute significantly to the scientific exploitation of Europe’s Columbus laboratory. Paolo’s mission is currently known as ‘E3’, Europe’s third long-duration mission on the ISS.

Paolo’s previous mission was called Esperia from the Ancient Greek name for the Italian peninsula. Following the enthusiastic response to earlier competitions, ESA is again inviting European citizens to suggest names for his new mission.

The competition is open to all citizens and residents of ESA’s Member States. The winning name will become the official name of Nespoli’s mission and the winner will receive a frame with the mission logo signed by European astronauts.

The name should reflect the following aspects:

* Europe’s important role in the global undertaking of human spaceflight and exploration, as demonstrated by the many missions and hardware delivered to the ISS;

* The three ‘dimensions’ of astronaut missions that serve science, technology and education, as well as the 3D pictures and videos that Paolo will be taking during his mission;

* Astronauts need to stay fit on the ground and in space. As Paolo’s educational activities will focus on the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle, the mission name has to reflect this;

* Paolo is Italian, so the mission name may also reflect Italian culture as an ingredient of the pan-European outlook.

How to submit?

* Send your proposal to by 18:00 CEST (16:00 GMT) on 30 June 2010 with the subject line ‘Paolo Nespoli Mission Name Competition’.

* The name should be a word or a short combination of words. Do not use a personal name, unless it is a mythological name with a commonly known symbolic meaning.

* Include your real full name, age, home address and phone number in your email.

* Read the full conditions carefully (see link on the right).

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.