When Jan Woerner was elected Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2015, he made the wish to open up Space to a broader public. The Citizens’ debate on Space for Europe is the answer to his plea. Organized by Missions Publiques, it consisted in bringing together groups of citizens reflecting the social and demographic diversity of each ESA member state. For a day, they were able to dialogue together on space-related issues.

In a nutshell

On September 10th 2016, groups of 100 participants met simultaneously over 22 countries in Europe. For a day, they sat at tables of 5 to 8 persons and worked on 5 different sequences covering 5 to 6 questions each. The results of those dialogues were presented to the European Space Agency and at the International Astronautical Congress in Bremen in October 2018.

The debate’s teaser video

Key numbers


debates in the
22 ESA members states


different languages


participating citizens
from 15 to 89 years old


of satisfied participants
after the debate

In their words

Jan Wörner
Director General of the European Space Agency

“This is a great success, this is how Europe should work. It’s a dream come true.

About the method
Why are the Citizens’ Debates on Space for Europe results trustworthy and unique?
Preliminary information
Before the debate, each participant is given a magazine on Space matters and a leaflet about ESA
Deliberation method
They can be summarized as: introductory videos, group discussions and votes
Demographic diversity
Selected citizens are representative of their country's diversity
A mix of participants
Citizens showed varying interests and knowledge about Space
Detailed analysis
The chosen methodology allowed stakeholders to compare the results between selected groups

Local partners