Prince Gabriel makes his first official visit as he accompanies the King to Guyana for the satellite launch.

On Tuesday morning, King Philippe traveled from Melsbroek to French Guiana to attend the launch of the Ariane 5 rocket on Thursday at the Kourou space center. The rocket will be carrying a satellite that is dedicated to the exploration of Jupiter. Prince Gabriel, who is the king’s eldest son and second in line to the throne, is accompanying him on the official visit for the very first time.

The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer – or Juice, is a mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) aimed at exploring the giant planet and three of its icy moons. On Wednesday, the King will be invited to visit the Kourou site, which will include a visit to the launch pad and the Ariane 5 launcher.

King Philippe is a space enthusiast and has had previous experiences witnessing significant departures and returns of astronauts. Some examples include Dirk Frimout’s departure in 1992, Frank De Winne’s first trip in 2002, and his departure for his second trip in 2009. In the previous year, the King also met with Josef Aschbacher, Director General of ESA, and Raphaël Liégeois, a new Belgian astronaut during his visit.

King Philippe flew on Tuesday morning from Melsbroek to French Guiana. He will attend Thursday, from the Kourou space center, the launch of the Ariane 5 rocket, which will put into orbit a satellite dedicated to the exploration of Jupiter. His eldest son, Prince Gabriel, 19 and second in line to the throne, accompanies him. This is the first time he has taken part in an official visit.

Juice – short for Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer – is a European Space Agency (ESA) mission to explore the giant planet and three of its icy moons. The day before the launch, Wednesday, the King will be invited to visit the Kourou site, in particular the launch pad and the Ariane 5 launcher.

The sovereign, passionate about space, had witnessed the departure of Dirk Frimout in 1992, the return of Frank De Winne from his first trip in 2002 and his departure for his second trip in 2009. Last year, the King received Josef Aschbacher, Director General of ESA, and Raphaël Liégeois, the new Belgian astronaut.



As King Philippe embarks on his trip to French Guiana to witness the launch of the Ariane 5 rocket, we can’t help but be reminded of his passion for space exploration. With his eldest son joining him on an official visit for the first time, this marks a milestone moment for the royal family. The Juice mission, dedicated to exploring Jupiter and its icy moons, is a remarkable feat of engineering and we look forward to learning about its findings in the future. We wish King Philippe and Prince Gabriel a safe and memorable journey.

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