28 December 2005
The first Galileo demonstrator is in orbit, marking the very first step to full operability of Europe’s new global navigation satellite system, under a partnership between ESA and the European Commission (EC) .
The first Galileo demonstrator is in orbit, marking the very first step to full operability of Europe’s new global navigation satellite system, under a partnership between ESA and the European Commission (EC) .
The second satellite in the Meteosat Second Generation family is due to be launched on 21 December at 23:33 CET onboard an Ariane 5 (generic version) from Europe’s spaceport at Kourou, French Guiana. The launch window will last 28 minutes.
Galileo, Europe's global navigation satellite system, will start becoming concrete reality the day after Christmas with the launch of Galileo In-Orbit Validation Element GIOVE-A on top of a Soyuz-Fregat rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
When the first women astronauts set foot on Mars, they may spare a thought for the 24 women who paved the way for lengthy space trips by giving three months of their lives to space science, two months of which involved staying in bed.
The Ministers responsible for space in the European Space Agency's 17 Member States and Canada today concluded a two-day meeting of ESA's ruling Council in Berlin by deciding on a coherent plan for discovery and competitiveness for Europe in space. They accordingly endorsed the continuation of a set of ongoing programmes and agreed to undertake major new initiatives designed to give Europe a clear vision and tangible means to further strengthen its space exploration and exploitation activities. They emphasised the need for Europe to maintain a competitive space sector able to lead the search for new discoveries, guarantee access to strategic data and new services, and consolidate its share of the global commercial market.
The IMPRESS project saw the first launch of an experimental payload, the Electromagnetic Levitator, onboard an ESA/DLR-funded Texus 42 sounding rocket, from the Esrange launch site near Kiruna in northern Sweden, on 1 December at 10:06 hours CET. This experimental payload, jointly developed by ESA and the DLR, enables accurate measurement of the properties of highly-reactive liquid metal alloys. Such measurements are unattainable on Earth and will greatly benefit the project.
The third meeting of the Space Council – a joint and concomitant meeting of the ESA Council at ministerial level and of the European Union Competitiveness Council (Internal Market/ Industry/ Research) – was held in Brussels today (Monday 28 November).
This has been a triumphant year for science at the European Space Agency.
At MEDICA 2005, the European Space Agency (ESA) will present the European Commission funded SURE project (The International Space Station: a Unique REsearch Infrastructure), an initiative which opens up extraordinary new research opportunities in space primarily for East European countries, a community of researchers and industry that so far did not have access to the International Space Station.
The next ESA Council meeting at ministerial level will take place on 5/6 December in Berlin, Germany at the Conference Centre of the Foreign Ministry (Auswärtiges Amt). The entrance to the Press Centre is located at Oberwasserstrasse 12.
GIOVE - standing for “Galileo In-Orbit Validation Element” - is the name that has been chosen for the two satellites which are currently being prepared to take the first step of the In-Orbit Validation phase towards full deployment of Galileo, the European satellite navigation system.
The European spacecraft Venus Express has been successfully placed into a trajectory that will take it on its journey from the Earth towards its destination of the planet Venus, which it will reach next April. A virtual twin sister of the Mars Express spacecraft which has been orbiting the Red Planet since December 2003, Venus Express is the second planet-bound probe to be launched by the European Space Agency.
Galileo, Europe’s novel satellite navigation system, is getting ready for launch, preparing the way for the delivery of a new and advanced global civil positioning service for the benefit of citizens in Europe and worldwide.
On 27 October ESA’s Director of Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration Mr Daniel Sacotte signed a contract for the launch preparations and first operations of the European Robotic Arm (ERA) on the International Space Station (ISS). The contract, worth 20 million Euro, was signed with Dutch Space, the Industrial Prime Contractor leading an industrial consortium of European companies. The contract signing took place at the Erasmus User Centre at ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
SSETI Express, a low Earth orbit spacecraft designed and built by European university students under the supervision of ESA’s Education Department, was successfully launched this morning at 08:52 hrs from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on a Russian Cosmos 3M launcher. At 10:29 hrs this morning, the ground control centre at the University in Aalborg (DK) received the first signals from the satellite.
At the 40th IAF congress in Beijing, China, in October 1989 the then NASA Associated Administrator for Safety and Mission Assurance, George Rodney, concluded his presentation on Space Station safety with the following remark: "Over the long run, the safety of all human beings in the global commons of space is a responsibility that must be shared by all space-faring powers."
ESA’s Venus Express spacecraft is to be launched on a Soyuz-Fregat launcher from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday 26 October at 06:43 CEST (04:43 GMT, 10:43 local time).
Today at 21.00 h CEST Mr. Yury Bakhvalov, First Deputy Director General of the Khrunichev Space Center on behalf of the Russian State Commission officially confirmed that the launch of CryoSat ended in a failure due to an anomaly in the launch sequence and expressed his regret to ESA and all partners involved.
As of 1 October, the second 2005 campaign of the Women's International Space Simulation for Exploration (WISE) study has been fully under way. All 12 female participants are now lying in bed tilted head down at an angle of 6º below horizontal, so that their heads are slightly lower than their feet. The participants will undertake all activities in this position for 60 days. Remaining in this head-down, tilted position results in physiological changes that also occur in astronauts during spaceflight. The study will assess the roles of nutrition and combined physical exercise in countering the adverse effects of extended gravitational unloading through bed rest.
ESA’s Cryosat spacecraft is to be launched on a Rockot vehicle from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia on Saturday 8 October
Based on the recommendations of asteroid experts, ESA has selected two target asteroids for its Near-Earth Object deflecting mission, Don Quijote.
ESA’s new deep space radio antenna in Cebreros (Ávila, Spain) will be officially inaugurated on 28 September. The new 35-metre antenna is ESA’s second facility devoted to communications with spacecraft on interplanetary missions or placed in very distant orbits. Cebreros’ first task will be that of tracking ESA’s Venus Express spacecraft, due for launch in October.
SSETI Express, a low Earth orbit spacecraft designed and built by European university students under the supervision of ESA’s Education Department, is to be launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on a Russian Cosmos 3M launcher on 27 September in the morning.
Marsis, the sounding radar onboard ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft, is collecting the first data about the surface and ionosphere of Mars.
Following today's successful launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain said: ”The Space Shuttle is again flying high. Congratulations to the NASA Administrator and to all his staff and contractors who have contributed to this success. The Shuttle is a fundamental tool for assembling and servicing the International Space Station, in which Europe is a partner together with the United States, Russia, Japan and Canada. Columbia was our tragedy, this flight is our success.”
The US Space Shuttle is poised to lift off from the Kennedy Space Center as of 13 July on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The success of that mission will give new momentum to the ISS, as future Shuttle missions will be transporting large modules from ESA, notably the Columbus laboratory, Japan and the US into orbit to continue the Space Station’s construction. Eleven European countries, represented by ESA, together with the US, Russia, Japan and Canada are building the ISS.
Sigmar Wittig, currently Chairman of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), is the new Chair of the ESA Council for the next two years (as from 1 July). Professor Wittig was unanimously elected at the 179th Council meeting, held at the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany on 21-22 June. He will take over from Mr Per Tegnér of Sweden, whose term of office ends on 30 June.
MARSIS, the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding onboard ESA’s Mars Express orbiter, is now fully deployed, has undergone its first checkout and is ready to start operations around the Red Planet. With this radar, the Mars Express orbiter at last has its full complement of instruments available to probe the planet’s atmosphere, surface and subsurface structure.
On 4 July 2005 at 07:52 CEST (Central European Summer Time), NASA’s Deep Impact mission, launched on 12 January this year, will start exploring a comet's interior by producing a crater with an impactor spacecraft, allowing another spacecraft to look deep inside the comet during a fly-by immediately afterwards.
On 26 June, the 9th European Symposium on Life Sciences Research in Space will commence its proceedings at the Maternushaus in Cologne, Germany. During the four-day gathering, biologists and medical researchers will present the latest results of their current space research. The event is being hosted by the European Space Agency (ESA) together with the International Society for Gravitational Physiology (ISGP) and coincides with the 26th International Gravitational Physiology Meeting.
Today at the Paris Air Show/Le Bourget, the contract was signed for the development of Alphabus, the new European platform for the next generation of telecommunications satellites.
For the 46th Paris Air Show, which runs from 13 to 19 June, the European Space Agency - while not itself participating this time round - has been invited by some of its partners to share media activities.
The second meeting of the Space Council – concomitant meeting of the ESA Council at ministerial level and of the European Union Competitiveness Council (Internal Market/ Industry/ Research) – was held at the Kiem Conference Centre in Luxembourg today (Tuesday 7 June).
René Oosterlinck was appointed Director of External Relations by the ESA Council in December 2004. He takes up duty today.
On 31 May 2005, the European Space Agency, whose Member States pool their resources to pursue common goals for space utilisation and research, turned 30. Thanks to an impressive mission record, the Agency has placed Europe and European industry at the forefront of space activities around the world.
An unmanned Foton-M spacecraft carrying a mainly European payload was put into orbit by a Russian Soyuz-U launcher today at 14:00 Central European Time (18:00 local time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Following the launch and nine minutes of propelled flight, the Foton-M2 spacecraft is now in low-earth orbit where it will remain for 16 days before its reentry module lands close to the Russian/Kazakh border.
The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded the independent arts organisation the Arts Catalyst in London a contract to carry out a 6-month study on possible future cultural utilisation of the International Space Station (ISS), the European aspects of the Station in particular.
Following 60 days of "bedrest" simulating the effects of weightlessness on the body, the first volunteers in the WISE (Women International Space Simulation for Exploration) study have been getting back on their feet, They all speak of having had a wonderfully enriching experience both in scientific and human terms. A press conference attended by those in charge of the study and volunteers is to be held on 2 June.
This July, ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter from Germany is about to become the first European to live and work on the International Space Station (ISS) on a long-duration mission.
The Eneide mission to the International Space Station (ISS) has come to a successful end with the landing of ESA astronaut Roberto Vittori, accompanied by the ISS Expedition 10 crew. The command module of the Soyuz TMA-5 spacecraft touched down near the town of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan at 04:07 local time (00:07 Central European Summer Time) on Monday 25 April.
The Soyuz TMA-6 spacecraft carrying European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori on the ENEIDE mission and the two members of the ISS Expedition 11 crew docked with the International Space Station (ISS) today at the Russian docking compartment Pirs at 4:20 Central European Summer Time (CEST). Following the scheduled post-docking checks, the hatch between the spacecraft and the ISS was opened at 06:45 CEST.
The ENEIDE mission, with European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori and the ISS Expedition 11 crew, lifted off today in the Soyuz TMA-6 spacecraft on Flight 10S to the International Space Station (ISS). The launch, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, took place at 06.46 local time (02.46 Central European Summer Time).
European space scientists have strongly recommended a mission equipped with a Rover as the next scientific mission to Mars as part of the European Space Agency’s [ESA] Aurora programme of planetary exploration. The mission would conduct a detailed analysis of the Martian environment and search for traces of past or present life. A launch in June 2011, followed by a two year journey, would arrive on the Red Planet in June 2013. A detailed proposal will be prepared for consideration by ESA member states at the agency’s Council Meeting at Ministerial Level in December 2005.
April 2005 is important in two ways for ESA science. It marks a significant anniversary for Europe’s role in space science but it is also a point of departure for the next 15-20 years of exploring the universe from space. The anniversary in question is the 15th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA and ESA’s joint initiation of a new generation of space astronomy. But new vistas continue to open up. Even more breathtaking than the past achievements of Hubble are the prospects offered by the ideas put up by the European science community for the next 15-20 years. These form ESA’s Cosmic Vision plan.
The European Space Agency hosts the 4th European Conference on Space Debris, 18-20 April, at ESA's Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany. The conference, one of the world's most important events dedicated to space debris issues, is co-sponsored by the British, French, German and Italian space agencies (BNSC, CNES, DLR, ASI), the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) and the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), and is expected to attract over 200 leading experts from all over the world.
Launch pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida will soon see the Shuttle blasting off again for a new exciting mission in space. According to NASA’s current schedule, this will be between 15 May and 3 June (the precise date will be set once the flight readiness review process has been completed at the end of April).
On Friday 8 April, media representatives wishing to know more about ESA’s Aurora programme and its future development are invited to a press briefing in London to share with European space scientists the results of an international workshop to be held in Birmingham on 6 and 7 April.
Since last Saturday, 19 March, the study entitled Women International Space Simulation for Exploration (WISE) has been fully under way. All participants in the first of two campaigns have been lying in bed, tilted head down at an angle of 6º below horizontal, so that their heads are slightly lower than their feet. This position results in physiological changes that also occur in astronauts during space flight. The study will assess the roles of nutrition and combined physical exercise in countering the adverse effects of prolonged gravitational unloading by bed-rest.
The European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft yesterday performed ESA's closest-ever Earth fly-by, gaining an essential gravity boost in its ten-year, 7.1 billion kilometre flight to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. At closest approach, at 22:09:14 GMT, Rosetta passed above the Pacific Ocean just west of Mexico at an altitude of 1954.74 km and a velocity relative to the Earth of 38 000 kph.
Preparations for the arrival of "Jules Verne", the first European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), and those for ESA astronaut Roberto Vittori’s mission, took a step forward when the unmanned Russian cargo spacecraft Progress M-52 docked yesterday, 2 March, at 21.10 Central European Time (CET) with the International Space Station (ISS). Launched two days earlier, on 28 February at 20.09 CET from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan by a Soyuz rocket as ISS mission 17P, the Progress supply vehicle carried, among other cargo, a communication system made in Europe that will be used when the ATV docks with the station in 2006.
Over 40 nations and around 20 international organisations, including ESA, have come together in Brussels for two days, today and tomorrow, to exchange views on policies related to international cooperation in space.
After reaching its observational orbit around Mars a year ago, ESA’s Mars Express has already delivered an avalanche of scientific data of unprecedented quality that have completely changed the way in which we think about the Red Planet. In order to compare views and discuss the implications of the new discoveries, over two hundred scientists will be attending the first Mars Express science conference, taking place from 21 to 25 February at ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
The latest version of Ariane 5, designed to loft payloads of up to 10 tonnes to geostationary transfer orbit, successfully completed its initial qualification flight on 12 February. After a perfect lift-off from Europe’s Space Port in French Guiana, at 18h03 local time (22h03 CET), the launcher on Ariane Flight 164 injected its payload into the predicted transfer orbit.
The European Space Agency has given the green light for the MARSIS radar on board its Mars Express spacecraft to be deployed during the first week of May. Assuming that this operation is successful, the radar will finally start the search for subsurface water reservoirs and studies of the Martian ionosphere.
From 12 to 20 February, world leaders, policy makers and space experts will gather in Brussels for a week packed with events organised with a view to the 3rd Earth Observation Summit - taking place for the first time in Europe - and a major conference on international cooperation in space. Earth and Space Week 2005 is being organised by the European Commission in collaboration with the European Space Agency.
The Heads of space agencies from the United States, Russia, Japan, Europe and Canada met in Montreal, Canada, on 26 January to review and further advance International Space Station (ISS) cooperation. At this meeting, the Heads of Agency reviewed the status of ongoing ISS operations and NASA’s plans for Space Shuttle return to flight. The Heads of Agency endorsed the Multilateral Coordination Board approved ISS configuration. The partners reaffirmed their agencies’ commitment to meet their ISS obligations and to complete ISS ssembly by the end of the decade, and to use and further evolve ISS in a manner that meets their research and exploration objectives.
On 14 January ESA's Huygens probe made an historic first ever descent to the surface of Titan, 1.2 billion kilometres from Earth and the largest of Saturn's moons. Huygens travelled to Titan as part of the joint ESA/NASA/ASI Cassini-Huygens mission. Starting at about 150 kilometres altitude, six multi-function instruments on board Huygens recorded data during the descent and on the surface. The first scientific assessments of Huygens' data were presented during a press conference at ESA head office in Paris on 21 January.
One week after the successful completion of Huygens’ mission to the atmosphere and surface of Titan, the largest and most mysterious moon of Saturn, the European Space Agency is bringing together some of the probe’s scientists to present and discuss the first results obtained from the data collected by the instruments.
Today, after its seven-year journey through the Solar System on board the Cassini spacecraft, ESA’s Huygens probe has successfully descended through the atmosphere of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon and safely landed on its surface.
On Friday 21 January, ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain will meet the media at ESA Headquarters in Paris. The gathering will start at 08:30 with breakfast, followed at 09:00 by a press conference to take stock of the Agency's activities in 2004 and announce those planned for 2005.
In 2005, ESA will be involved in a series of events in Europe and elsewhere. The main ones are listed below and can already be pencilled into your diaries.