ASE XXIX Planetary Congress, 03-07 Oct 2016, Vienna

The Association of Space Explorers (ASE) brings together over 400 astronauts and cosmonauts from 37 nations. In 2016, the annual ASE congress – the XXIX Planetary Congress- was held in Austria between 03-07Oct2016. During the Community Day on 05Oct2016, 100 astronauts and cosmonauts conveyed the fascination of space activities across Austria.

Since 1985, the ASE convenes for the Planetary Congress each year in a different country. This event in 2016 was scheduled for 5 days in Vienna and is a mixture of technical/scientific lectures and cultural activities. Due to their extraordinary public outreach potential, the participants engaged in education activities, met with opinion leaders, the media and industry as well as the general public during the Community Day. The ASE 2016 was hosted by Austria’s cosmonaut Franz Viehböck in cooperation with the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF).

The Planetary Congress is a highly renowned international event, one of its highlights is the traditional “ASE Crystal Helmet” ceremony – one of the most prestigious awards in astronautics. In 2016 the Crystal Helmet was awared to Prof. Johannes Ortner. The congress combines the experience and results from human spaceflight activities with challenges of our society ranging from health, environmental concerns and biodiversity, future technologies to space exploration and the quest for new horizons.

A major focus was on inspiring the next generation of explorers in STEM subjects. In particular, school visits and the interaction with young professionals –which were carefully prepared by preceding projects- were a central element of the ASE 2016. Traditionally, space exploration also offers a leverage for gender topics and is known to encourage a more balanced gender diversity on the STEM fields.

During the Community Day itself, the astronauts were split into small groups and visited 129 events across Austria, visiting schools and universities, encouraging representatives of the industry to consider space activities, meet and greet regional and local decision makers and opinion leaders whilst enjoying Austrian hospitality and visiting key locations. In total 12,000 people in Austria met personally with an astronaut or cosmonauts.

ASE 2016 Project Report Public (13 MB)

ASE 2016 Project Report Public V3.2


ASE 29 key messages:

  • From 03-07Oct2016, Austria hosted the Association of Space Explorers XXIX Planetary Congress 2016 upon invitation of Franz and Vesna Viehböck. The Austrian Space Forum was selected as the organizing committee and was supported by industry, academia and governmental entities.
  • Astronauts are highly respected global ambassadors for research, development and culture. They fascinated the next generation of explorers during the Community Day where 100 astronauts were welcomed in dozens of events across the nation.
  • The ASE congress was a platform for showcasing R&D topics in and from Austria and was an efficient leverage mechanism for boosting Austria’s image, catalyzing industrial and policy networking within the aerospace sector and promulgating STEM gender balance in the field.
  • The event sparked a stimulus for a positive attitude of the general public and the next generation towards research, technology and innovation.

ASE 29 Social Media #ASE29 #BornToXplore:

Besides classic media outreach an important aspect was to cover the ASE congress via Social Media. Therefore we created the Social Media Ambassadors Program which invited Social Media affine people with a high interest in space topics to the congress in Vienna.  The OeWF #ASE29 Social Media Team reported about the #ASE29 congress via OeWF and ASE channels and via Twitter & Instagram generated 16 Mio impressions and reached 4.9 Mio people via the main hashtag #ASE29

Social Media Reichweite 24Sep - 24Okt 2016. Getrackt via Keyhole

Social Media reach 24Sep – 24Oct 2016. Tracked via Keyhole


Born To Explore student contest:

With the Born to Explore contest the OeWF called for both elementary, high-school and university students to voice their vision on where space exploration will take us.  From mehr then 100 applications we found 3 main winners and in addition several school classes and groups won an astronaut visit during the community day.  Learn more: Born to Explore Contest – a short summary of the winning entries

ASE Award Dinner

Born to Explore Winners with Mag. Ingolf Schädler (BMVIT) (left) and Dr. Gernot Grömer (OeWF) (right). (c) OeWF (Thomas Weilguny)

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The ASE2016 wouldn’t be possible without the support of our partners. They not only enabled us to offer all public sessions for free moreover they supported us to bring astronauts, cosmonauts and taikonauts to all federal regions in Austria during the Community Day on 5th October 2016.

ASE 2016 Partners

This article is available in: German

Austria/ASE 2016