[Boca Chica, September 6, 2023, rke. English below] – Dans les coulisses vertigineuses de Starship à Boca Chica – alors que l’excitation monte pour son lancement imminent – deux flash d’actualité spatiale européenne s’invitent dans mon quotidien texan.
Pendant que je suis affairé autour de Starbase à Boca Chica, j’y fais ma ronde en auto, j’apprends que mon article sur le nouveau chef de l’exploration spatiale humaine européenne, le Romand Daniel Neuenschwander, a paru dans les colonnes du quotidien fribourgeois La Liberté.
Au cœur du sanctuaire de la conquête spatiale, le Kennedy Space Center (KSC) de la NASA à Cap Canaveral, il évoque son parcours avec émotion, ambition et attachement. Et ce, quelques instants après le décollage impeccable de la mission Crew-7 qui a eu lieu le 26 août dernier à 9h27, heure suisse. Cette mission a mis en vedette Andreas Mogensen, le premier pilote européen — mais pas le premier astronaute européen — à bord d’une capsule Dragon. Un entretien qui a également permis de plonger dans les défis et les responsabilités liés à son nouveau poste. Mon interview: cliquez sur l’image
Sur les ondes de l’Arc jurassien… suisse
Par ailleurs, j’avais oublié de vous le signaler dans une précédente News, un son a été diffusé dans la radio suprarégionale RJB-RTN-RFJ aussi à propos de Daniel Neuenschwander. – Cliquez sur l’image
Ça bouge au sud du Texas. On attend le décollage de cette Starship de 120 m de haut, suspendu à la décision de la FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), pour un lancement espéré ce vendredi 8 septembre dans la journée. À suivre, je me fais une petite pause…
European Whispers Deep in the Heart of Texas: Press Round-Up
[Boca Chica, September 6, 2023, rke] – Down here behind the scenes of the mighty Starship in Boca Chica – with folks buzzin’ about its upcomin’ launch – got me some European space news breakin’ into my Lone Star state day.
Daniel Neuenschwander: Between Space Emotions, European Ambitions, and Swiss Roots
The new head of European human space exploration, Fribourg native Daniel Neuenschwander, witnessed, a week ago in Florida, the launch of “his” pilot, the Dane Andreas Mogensen. An exclusive post-launch interview.
At the heart of the sanctuary of space conquest, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Cape Canaveral, Daniel Neuenschwander reflects on his journey with emotion, ambition, and attachment. This, moments after the flawless lift-off of Crew-7 mission that took place on August 26th at 3:27 AM ET. This mission featured Andreas Mogensen, the first European pilot — but not the first European astronaut — aboard a Dragon capsule. A discussion that also delved into the challenges and responsibilities associated with his new position.
Daniel Neuenschwander, what did the launch of the Crew-7 mission mean to you in terms of emotions and responsibilities?
DN: The launch was an emotionally charged moment for me, not just because of the technical stakes, but also the human element. Having overseen nearly 60 unmanned launches, having a colleague onboard, Andreas Mogensen, brought a level of responsibility and seriousness I’d never felt before. The tension was palpable, and every second counted, especially in emergency situations we always hope to avoid.
What factors were most on your mind during this launch?
Two aspects especially caught my attention. First, having a colleague right atop the rocket added an emotional element and a very tangible responsibility. Next, I was extremely impressed by SpaceX’s technology, particularly the landing of the rocket’s first stage. The technological prowess on display left me speechless, especially compared to other attempts I’ve seen.
Where did you watch the launch from?
I had the privilege of viewing the launch from NASA’s observation platform, where all the VIPs were gathered. Not only could I watch the launch live, but I also had an emergency room available to handle any unforeseen situations.
What’s your take on the Falcon 9 rocket?
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 is one of the most reliable rockets globally. SpaceX has demonstrated end-to-end mastery in launch technologies, securing them a dominant position in the global launch market.
How has your new role affected your daily life?
My current role is heavily focused on the strategy and long-term development of European space programs. This includes proposing strategies to member states and getting their backing for future decisions regarding various space initiatives.
What are your aspirations for the future of space technology in Europe?
To accelerate technological development in Europe to compete with companies like SpaceX. It’s vital for Europe to advance quickly, not just in terms of cargo launchers but also regarding manned flights.
What are the benefits for Switzerland in participating in these space projects?
Switzerland can benefit on multiple levels. First, in terms of knowledge, especially in fields like biotechnology, materials, and medicine. Second, in terms of technology, with potential applications like 3D printing in microgravity. This research is crucial to laying the scientific groundwork necessary for our technological advancement. Studies on microgravity’s effects on the musculoskeletal and neurological systems could lead to more effective treatments for diseases like osteoporosis or neurological disorders on Earth.
Do you get to go back to Switzerland often?
For family or professional reasons, perhaps? Indeed, I return to Switzerland every year, if only to ski and spend time with my extended family. I believe it’s vital to maintain strong ties with one’s home country.
Have you had the opportunity to work on space projects in Switzerland in previous roles? Absolutely. Before my current position, I led the Swiss delegation in Leysin. In that capacity, I had the chance to collaborate with numerous academic institutions, including the Polytechnic School and various universities.
What about your recent collaboration with the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (EPFZ)?
Of course. Last June, I was at EPFZ working on projects related to pharmaceutical applications. This shows there’s a very tangible industrial interest in Switzerland for this field.
Do you anticipate collaborations or projects in Switzerland in your current role? Currently, I don’t have a specific space project ongoing in Switzerland. However, I’m convinced that new opportunities will emerge in the future. And, of course, I’m always thrilled at the prospect of returning to Switzerland, be it to Biel or elsewhere.
For Daniel Neuenschwander, the sky isn’t the limit; it’s rather a new frontier for innovation and discovery.
Interviewed by Roland J. Keller Cape Canaveral (Florida)
Over on the Swiss Jura Arc airwaves…
By the by, forgot to give y’all the heads up in my last Newsflash – they aired somethin’ on that big regional station RJB-RTN-RFJ ’bout Daniel Neuenschwander.
Holdin’ our horses Things are stirrin’ down south in Texas. All eyes are on that towering 120m Starship, waitin’ on the word from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to see if she’ll launch come this Friday, September 8. Stay tuned, I’m takin’ a quick breather…