STATEMENT: Belgium supports a new frontier in space research between Europe and the United States

(Information sent by the signatory company).

STATEMENT: Belgium supports a new frontier in space research between Europe and the United States

(Information sent by the signatory company)

- Belgian partnership commitment supports a new frontier in space research between Europe and the United States

BRUSSELS, December 10, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo traveled to Houston, United States, to meet Raphaël Liégeois, the Belgian career astronaut selected as part of the 2022 astronaut class by the European Space Agency (ESA). De Croo's visit coincides with the ESA cohort's familiarization trip to NASA's Johnson Space Center, which is the precursor to another two years of training, held in Houston, to prepare the astronauts for their respective missions in the International Space Station. The visit marks a new phase in the long-standing collaboration between Europe and the United States on space research, and exemplifies Belgium's commitment to partnerships to address global challenges.

Belgium's experience in the aerospace sector and, in general, in the scientific sector, enjoys international recognition, both in terms of training and industry. Belgium is a founding member of the ESA and its fifth largest funder. The country's support for ESA shows its commitment to shaping the development of the space sector in Europe and ensuring that investment in space continues to generate benefits for the citizens of Europe and the world.

"For Belgians, the sky is not the limit, but the universe," said De Croo. "Today we are very proud to see Raphaël take this important step in his career as an astronaut. He will be an important role model for many generations of STEM students to come. Space research and innovation are of particular importance for Belgium; they are powerful economic drivers that "They encourage the growth of high-tech industries and create jobs, as demonstrated by the number of Belgian companies at the forefront of aeronautics."

The 17 members of ESA's astronaut class of 2022 were selected from a pool of more than 23,000 applicants. The process, designed to bring together the best scientific minds Europe has to offer, took place over a period lasting 18 months.

The selection of Raphaël Liégeois is testament to Belgium's focus on embracing openness, driven by innovation, partnerships and diversity to create solutions that drive progress for all.

About Belgium

Located in the heart of Europe, Belgium is one of the most open economies in the world, with 11.5 million people and a reputation for innovation, hard work, collaboration and multilingualism. Strategically located between Germany, the Netherlands, France and Luxembourg, and just a stone's throw from the United Kingdom, it is located in the center of the richest and most densely populated area of ​​Europe. As a member of the European Union, Belgium enjoys full access to the world's most advanced single market and customs area, ensuring extensive frictionless trade.

Belgium has a highly developed transport infrastructure, including the second largest seaport in Europe (Antwerp). Belgium is home to world-leading research and innovation facilities, multinational corporations and artisanal businesses supported by the investor-focused approach to public services.

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