On June 6th ESA announced its After Earth Competition. From the ESA site: The European Space Agency has partnered with Sony Pictures International to support the release of their latest blockbuster, After Earth. Both ESA and the film share common themes of concern for Earth’s future and educating the next generation. http://www.esa.int/ESA/Competition/Explore_After_Earth_with_us
Of course I participated in this competition. Who doesn’t want to experience weightlessness. Experience what astronauts experience. I answered all questions correctly and on August 6th I got the following message from ESRIN: we are pleased to inform you that you are the winner of the ‘After Earth’ competition.
At first I couldn’t believe it. Then I did my Yes I won dance and my smile didn’t left my face that day. The first step is to pass the medical exam. So the next day I had an appointment with my general practitioner. Luckily I am as healthy as can be. The next day I went to the hospital for the ECG. Within 15 minutes I was on my way home. The next week I could send the completed medical statement to Avico. Avico is the French organisation who processes all registrations. I got my green light: “So for now everything is ok for your flight. You will receive a detailed briefing about 1.5 month before the flight.”
I contacted ESRIN after that mail and they were glad I was eligible for the flight. Not long after that mail I got a message from Stijn from ESTEC congratulating my with winning this price. He offered a visit to ESTEC where I could meet two very experienced people who flew many times on a Zero G Flight. Vladimir Pletzer (ESA Flight Coordinator) has flown over 5.000 times on a Zero G flight. I will visit ESTEC on September 25th. One month before my real zero G flight. There will be press for interviews and there will be some time for photos in the sensational Erasmus High Bay. http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/Human_Spaceflight_Research/The_Erasmus_Centre
On September 17th the announcement was made that I won. http://www.esa.int/dut/ESA_in_your_country/The_Netherlands/Nederlandse_wint_paraboolvlucht_in_prijsvraag_ruimtevaartfilm_After_Earth
I got many congratulations which made it extra special. Thank you all!