The Cité de l'espace (City of Space) is a theme park oriented towards space and the conquest of space. It was inaugurated in June 1997 and received more than 4 million visitors after 13 years of exploitation. The park makes it possible to visit full scale models of the rocket Ariane 5 (55 metres in height), Mir space station, and Soyuz modules. A 140 seat and a 280 seat planetarium presents spectacles throughout the day. Cité de l'Espace is also equipped with numerous exhibits, often interactive, for example, the control room close to the model of Ariane 5, makes it possible to prepare the launching of a rocket, help with its flight and then place a satellite in orbit! Terradome (a terrestrial half-sphere 25 m in diameter) presents the history of the space from the Big-bang to the solar system. The building of Australia, opened in 2005, includes a new 280 seat planetarium, equipped with a hemispherical screen of 600 m ², an IMAX cinema presenting Space Station 3D, a 3D film on board the International Space Station, the Stellarium, and conference rooms.
Acknowledged in Europe as a centre of excellence for the dissemination of scientific and technological culture, the Cité de l’espace welcomes a huge number of visitors (families, schoolchildren, seniors, etc…) every year wanting to know more about space exploration, its objectives and its impact on their lives. The array of facilities placed at their disposal (interactive terminals, Planetarium shows, guided tours, hands-on experiments, discovery courses, etc…) helps them to acquire new knowledge.
The Cité de l’Espace is also an active member of the ECSITE European Network of Science Centers and Museums (http://www.ecsite.eu/). It will host the 23rd ECSITE conference in June 2012.
Cité de l'espace people
Christophe Chaffardon is Head of Education of la Cité de l’espace. He supervises all the activities dedicated to education, for schools and universities. He is also in charge of different projects of development to help visitors discover contents in the science centre, in complement of exhibitions: scientific demos, workshops, editorial devices, mobile devices… Member of the program committee of several exhibitions, he led also different projects of planetarium shows. He participated in the PENCIL project (FP6, 2004/2007) and takes part of the ECSITE activities. He is also author of books for children on space and astronomy topics. He graduated engineer in INSA Toulouse (National Institute for Applied Sciences) in 1996, and worked in la Cite des Sciences et de l’Industrie (Paris) before getting his position in la Cité de l’espace.
Ines Prieto is a project manager and exhibition designer at la Cité de l’espace. She has managed the conception and production of travelling and permanent exhibitions and is interested in exploring the use of new media in exhibitions and science centres and the changes of framework they represent. She is managing European projects such as ORIGENES (Poctefa-Feder) in partnership with 5 other institutions in Spain and France. She also works for the PLACES project, for both the City of Toulouse and la Cité de l’espace, a project coordinated by ECSITE, EUSEA and ERRIN (FP7). She can also work as a consultant from la Cité de l’espace, and took part in the Master Planning of an Aerospace Science Centre in Qatar in 2008 and 2011. She graduated in Signal Processing at Université Paul Sabatier in 2000, and has worked for the Vancouver planetarium (Canada) in 2005-2006.
Elodie Herrero graduated in Communication Sciences at University of Bordeaux in 2013 and did a memory of research based on the impact of digital and multimedia museum strategies on teenagers. She works on reflections and projects around the integration of new medias in museums : mobile applications, QR codes, RFID… In Cité de l'espace, she is involved in the mobile application development.
Ilaria Valoti is an exhibit designer at la Cité de l’Espace. She is involved in the renewal of the permanent exhibitions, especially of the Astronomy and the Solar System spaces. Specialized in scientific exhibit creation, she has worked for several museums and institutions as the “Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie” in Paris, the Vaisseau in Strasbourg or the University of Paris XIII. She has collaborated as an independent consultant with different public studies and exhibition analysis. She has focused her career path in the past years on integrating new media in museum exhibitions. She graduated in Communication Sciences at University of Bologna in 2005 and she obtained her Master Degree in Scientific Exhibition creation at the University of Paris XIII in 2008.