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Marseille-Mediterranean Group Day Château de Mille Luberon

15 December 2023 Article
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Saturday, December 2nd 2023 - Château de Mille- Luberon

On Saturday December 2, 2023, the Marseille-Provence group's ISAE-SUPAERO alumni day was held at the medieval Château de Mille, near Apt in the Luberon.

One of the highlights of the day was to welcome the new ISAE-SUPAERO class of 2023 to our association.

Mrs. Constance Slaughter and her husband, owners of the château, a former summer residence of the popes in Avignon dating back to the 13th century, welcomed our group of 33 fellow students and spouses from the various departments of the PACA region, from Menton to Avignon via Toulon, including 7 representatives of the outgoing ISAE-SUPAERO class of 2023, for a lecture on the history of the nearby Plateau d'Albion, a tour of the château and its cellars, including wine tasting, and a cocktail lunch.

The talk focused on the nuclear strike force installed and deployed on the plateau between 1968 and 1996, then on the reconversion of the facilities and the socio-economic fabric up to the present day, and the use of the infrastructures by the low-noise sub-terrain laboratory (LSBB) of the CNRS and the University of Avignon.

Daniel Boyer, deputy director of the LSBB, gave a full history before detailing the many scientific applications offered by the laboratory's exclusive environment, nestled 500 m below the mountain's surface: seismology, wave propagation, nuclear physics.

Philippe Jung (SUPAERO 1978) took the opportunity to highlight the development of French excellence in launchers and missiles, including SSBS missiles carrying nuclear warheads, which have been "buried" for over 20 years in the 2X9 launch pads on the plateau.

Claude Leloustre (ENSICA 1972) shared his unique experience as a member of the development team for the nuclear firing order software he tested and tested in the tunnels of the Plateau d'Albion. He drew the audience's attention to the philosophical issues surrounding nuclear deterrence, and in particular to the psychological burden of having to invest several years in the development of excellent software, while telling oneself that, above all, it should never be used!

Paul Cornu, former intendant of the base, concluded by shedding further light on the complex logistics that had to be deployed to support over 1000 military personnel and their families around the base, the socio-economic consequences for the Pays d'Apt, with the population of Apt doubling in the space of a few years. But also the political and financial difficulties involved in dismantling the base and ensuring its conversion, while avoiding a major economic and human crisis for Apt and the surrounding area. A successful gamble, if we compare the living environment and economic fabric of the region today with that of the time.

After this appetizer, we gathered around a buffet to taste the estate's organic wines, followed by a convivial cocktail lunch. Questions and comments were then exchanged with the speakers, as alumni shared their varied experiences with the new graduates. For some of us, it was a reunion, while for others it was an opportunity to get to know each other.

The day continued and ended with a guided tour of the Blachère Foundation, an institution that supports African contemporary artists. After science and gastronomy, it was time for culture. Everyone was able to admire or imagine in their own way what the works exhibited around the theme of chimeras conveyed. By the end of the day, the group had reached a symbiosis, and we turned to our neighbor and asked him or her how they felt about this or that work of art.

It was a very full day, rich in activities and human exchanges. We're looking forward to seeing you in 2024, with the aim of welcoming even more alumni, in a convivial atmosphere.

Gilles Arnaud (S 1988)


Marseille-Méditerranée regional group

Château de Mille

Route de Bonnieux 84400 Apt

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1 Comment

Marc ALLONGUE (SUPAERO Engineer, 1983)
6 months ago
Superbe journée, organisée de mains de maître par Gilles et sa compagne, à la découverte des trésors passés et présents d'Apt et sa région. À renouveler...

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