What’s it like witnessing the launch of an Ariane 5 rocket first hand? It’s “unbelievable”, say the members of team Tumbleweed. “We will never forget this experience.” The three young scientists from Austria – Moritz Stephan, Stefan Rietzinger and Julian Rothenbuc with their teacher Mr Josef Pürmayr– were among the winners of this year’s Odysseus space contest, earning them an all-expenses-paid trip to the Spaceport at Kourou in French Guiana to see the launch of Ariane 5 rocket on December 12. Having won first-place honours in the Pioneers category , the three Austrians were joined at the launch viewing platform in South America by Catarina Alves and Tomás Silva of Portugal, who claimed first prize in the Explorers category of competition.
The first-place international prize-winners were also joined by international Pioneers finalists Florent Casagrande, Marti Dupouy, Nicolas Picard, Maciej Ciszewski, Cezary Troska, Piotr Moska from France and Poland with their teachers Mr Pierre Marquestaut and Mr Tomasz Andreasik
In addition to witnessing the rocket launch, the Odysseus contestants were also treated to a wide program of activities in and around Kourou. They were given a behind-the-scenes tour of the Ariane launch site, providing a valuable chance to talk with the engineers and technicians involved and helping them understand more about the sophisticated challenge of putting a rocket into space.