N° 56–1999

ESA's Hubble duo back on Earth after successful servicing mission

28 December 1999

ESA astronauts Claude Nicollier and Jean-François Clervoy and their five fellow crew members on the Space Shuttle Discovery returned to Earth today (28 December at 0001 GMT) after a spectacular mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. European astronomers breathed a collective sigh of relief as the giant orbiting observatory was gently returned to orbit at the end of the busy eight-day mission.

N° 55–1999

European astronaut duo on their way to Hubble Space Telescope

20 December 1999

The Space Shuttle Discovery made a perfect lift-off today carrying ESA astronauts Claude Nicollier and Jean-François Clervoy and five US astronauts into space. Lift-off from launch pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, occurred at 19:50 EST local time on Sunday 19 December (01:50 Central European Time on Monday 20 December) at the beginning of a 42-minute launch window.

N° 54–1999

XMM flying beautifully

20 December 1999

The European Space Agency's new X-ray space telescope has reached its operational orbit less than a week after being launched from Kourou on 10 December. The XMM spacecraft, which is being controlled by teams at the ESA's Space Operations Centre, ESOC in Darmstadt Germany, is functioning admirably.

N° 52–1999

European astronauts set for Hubble challenge

08 December 1999

Two of the European Space Agency's most experienced astronauts are preparing to board the Space Shuttle Discovery as part of the international crew to be launched on an end-of-the-year mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. Lift-off is now set for Saturday 11 December 1999 at 23:42 local time (Sunday 12 December at 05:42 CET) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

N° 51–1999

European Astronaut Centre gears up for new era

08 December 1999

In preparation for its new role in the training of ISS astronauts, whether European or otherwise, the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne/Germany has strengthened its management, with the appointment of two astronauts to key positions. Two experienced French astronauts have joined the European astronaut corps. A Belgian trainee is set to join in January.

N° 50–1999

Portugal becomes ESA's 15th Member State

08 December 1999

On 15 December, Mr José Mariano Gago, Minister of Science and Technology, and Mr. Antonio Rodotà, Director General of ESA, will sign an Agreement on Portugal's accession to the ESA Convention. The ceremony will take place at ESA Headquarters in Paris at 11:00.

N° 49–1999

The European Space Agency and the European Commission sign contracts for the Galileo programme

07 December 1999

In Paris today, the European Space Agency (ESA) signs the contract for the GalileoSat study, the ESA's contribution to the definition phase of the Galileo satellite navigation programme, agreed last May by the ESA Council at ministerial level. On the same week, in Brussels, the European Commission will give its green light to sign four major contracts with industry. Together, these contracts will cover the definition phase of the Galileo programme (November 1999- December 2000) agreed in June by the European Union Council of Ministers of Transport.

N° 48–1999

Europeans to build a series of satellites to contribute to the global wheather watch

06 December 1999

On 7 December 1999, the Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA), Antonio Rodotà, together with the Director of the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), Dr. Tillmann Mohr, will sign a contract with Matra Marconi Space for the development and production of a series of three Metop satellites.

N° 47–1999

Ozone hole - cold spell in the European stratosphere ?

02 December 1999

On Tuesday 30 November 1999 the European Space Agency's ERS-2 remote sensing satellite detected abnormally low ozone levels over north western Europe. Above the UK, Belgium, Netherlands and Scandinavia ozone levels were nearly as low as those normally found in the Antarctic. Individual point measurements made from the ground in the Netherlands confirm that local values were almost 2/3 of the normal level at this time of year.

N° 46–1999

European Space Agency's control centre ESOC is certified to the ISO 9001 Standard

30 November 1999

On 30 November 1999, Antonio Rodotà, Director General of the European Space Agency, accepted the ISO 9001 certificate from the Chairman of National Quality Associates (NQA), on behalf of the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany. ESA/ESOC, including the ground stations at Redu, Belgium and Villafranca, Spain, has been certified to comply with ISO 9001, the international quality standard. ESA thus became the first space agency in Europe to have one of its facilities certified to ISO 9001.

N° 45–1999

First time viewing of Europe's future geostationary meteorological satellite

11 November 1999

On 23 November 1999, the first flight model of Europe's Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellite will be on display at the Cannes facility of Alcatel Space, the Prime Contractor. MSG is the new geostationary meteorological satellite system and is the result of close cooperation between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). The launch of MSG-1 is scheduled for the end of 2000 on an Ariane launcher.

N° 44–1999

Cluster II nears countdown

10 November 1999

On Wednesday 24 November, the four satellites of the Cluster II mission will be on display - for the last time together in Europe - at the IABG Space Test Centre in Ottobrunn, near Munich, Germany. Media representatives are also invited to attend a press conference with specialists from the European Space Agency, Dornier Satellite Systems - the prime contractor for the spacecraft - and scientists involved in the mission.

N° 43–1999

Reaching out to youth -and the winners are..

29 October 1999

In recent weeks ESA has been actively promoting a series of activities addressing the younger generation, in a concerted effort to stimulate their interest in space and involve as many young Europeans as possible in the Agency's activities.

N° 42–1999

ESA parabolic flights to prepare for the International Space Station

21 October 1999

On 25 October, a specially adapted Airbus A-300 will take off from Bordeaux-Mérignac airport in France on the first of a week-long (25-29 October) campaign of parabolic flights designed to carry out experiments in weightlessness and to test instruments and equipment before they embark on a real spaceflight. These campaigns observe how technical systems and biological, chemical and physical processes function in the absence of gravity and this one, the 27th organised by the European Space Agency (ESA), will focus mainly on how the human respiratory system works and how new materials can be produced.

N° 41–1999

World experts on space debris meet in Europe on 11-13 October

04 October 1999

Space debris experts from around the globe will gather from 11 until 13 October 1999, at the European Space Agency Operations Centre (ESOC) Darmstadt/Germany for the 17-th meeting of the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC). IADC is concerned with all technical issues of the space debris problem. The main objectives of IADC are to exchange results of research in the field of space debris, to cooperate in research activities and to identify debris mitigation options.

N° 40–1999

ESA's Mercury mission named BepiColombo in honour of a space pioneer

30 September 1999

Meeting in Naples last week (20-23 September), the European Space Agency's Science Programme Committee recognised the achievements of the late Giuseppe Colombo of the University of Padua by adopting his name for the Mercury project now being planned. Almost everything known until now about the planet Mercury comes from three passes by NASA's Mariner 10 in 1974/75, which were inspired by Colombo's calculations. He suggested how to put that spacecraft into an orbit that would bring it back repeatedly to Mercury. The Italian scientist also explained, as an unsuspected resonance, Mercury's peculiar habit of rotating three times in every two revolutions of the Sun.

N° 39–1999

IAF anniversary Congress reaches out to the next generation

22 September 1999

More than 2000 space experts, scientists, engineers, managers and students from around the world are gathering early in October for the 50th anniversary Congress of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), to present and attend over 900 papers on the main theme: "Space - an integral part of the information age".

N° 38–1999

A room with a view .... on space

20 September 1999

N° 37–1999

XMM classroom competitions : reaching for the stars!

13 September 1999

To celebrate the December launch of XMM, its new X-ray space observatory, the European Space Agency is challenging young Europeans to reach for the stars!

N° 36–1999

Russian capsule carries European experiments into space

10 September 1999

A Russian Soyuz launcher lifted off from Plesetsk in Northern Russia at 20:00 hours Central European Time, yesterday, Thursday 9 September carrying the Foton-12 capsule loaded with 240 kg of European scientific experiments designed to study biological and physical processes under weightlessness. Nine minutes later, Foton-12 separated from Soyuz, heading for a 16-day mission in low Earth orbit, before returning and landing on the Kazakhstan steppe. The first experiments were activated 32 minutes after lift-off.

N° 35–1999

ERS and SPOT satellites provide images for Turkey disaster relief operations

25 August 1999

Images of the earthquake-struck regions of Turkey are being provided by European observation satellites: ESA's ERS satellites and SPOT satellites of the French national space agency CNES.

N° 34–1999

Cassini-Huygens swings by Earth and accelerates towards Saturn

18 August 1999

The NASA/ESA Cassini-Huygens spacecraft bid goodbye to Earth as it completed a highly accurate pass by our planet and swung away towards its encounter with Saturn in 2004. The Earth flyby occurred at 5:28 CEST (3:28 UT) on 18 August and gave the space probe a 5.5 km per second boost in speed, propelling it towards the ringed planet, more than 1 billion kilometres away.

N° 33–1999

Come to Noyon (France) and follow the solar eclipse with ESA

05 August 1999

On 11 August, the day of the eclipse, a special event is planned in Noyon, some 100 km North East of Paris. The City of Noyon and the Société Astronomique de France have organised an observation site where 4000 European amateur and professional astronomers will share the eclipse experience with over 8000 enthusiasts from the general public.

N° 30–1999

Eyes in space monitor floods in Bangladesh

20 July 1999

Since July 11, when river levels rose dramatically due to heavy monsoon rains and several embankments gave way, Bangladesh has once again been battling against floods, affecting half a million people and one tenth of the nation's territory. To assist local authorities in coping with this natural disaster, a local receiving and processing station is ready to provide near real-time flood information derived from data transmitted by radar imaging systems on board ESA's ERS Earth observing satellites.

N° 29–1999

Solar winds surfs waves in the Sun's atmosphere!

09 July 1999

Solar scientists believe they may have solved yet another long-standing enigma about the Sun. Working on data first gathered from the ESA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) and then by NASA's Spartan 201 spacecraft, researchers have found that the solar wind streams out of the Sun by "surfing" waves in the Sun's atmosphere.

N° 28–1999

New dates set for assembly of the International Space Station

25 June 1999

New dates were announced for the remaining 43 missions required to build the International Space Station, when the heads of the space agencies representing the project's five international partners met at the European Space Agency's headquarters in Paris on 18 June. The partners are the United States, Russia, Japan, Canada and Europe, represented by ESA.

N° 27–1999

UNISPACE III, an international conference on the peaceful uses of outer space

25 June 1999

The third United Nations conference on the exploration and peaceful uses of outer space (UNISPACE III) will be held in Vienna (Austria) from 19 to 30 July 1999.

N° 26–1999

ESA Council elects new Chairman

24 June 1999

Alain Bensoussan, currently President of the French Space Agency CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales), is the new Chairman of the ESA Council for the next two years (as from 1 July 1999).

N° 25–1999

ESA opens user centre for the International Space Station

23 June 1999

On Monday 28 June, the European Space Agency (ESA) will open the International Space Station User Centre at ESA's technology and research establishment ESTEC in Noordwijk, The Netherlands. The Dutch State-Secretary of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, Monique de Vries, together with ESA Director General Antonio Rodota' will inaugurate the facility, a resource centre for those interested in conducting research on board the European elements of the International Space Station.

N° 24–1999

Another windfall discovery from SOHO

22 June 1999

SOHO shows us the far side of the sun!

A truly astounding discovery about our sun is to be unveiled by a European team of scientists headed by Jean Loup Bertaux, of the CNRS Service d'Aronomie in France, when he reports to the SOHO-8* workshop in Paris (22 to 25 June). They have found a way of studying the hidden far side of the sun, allowing us, among other things, to predict the imminent appearance of solar storms originating out of view behind the sun.

N° 23–1999

Successful engine test firing for the Vega small launcher

18 June 1999

The second test firing of the Zefiro engine has successfully taken place on Thursday 17 June, at the Salto di Quirra launch range in Sardinia, Italy. The Zefiro solid propellant engine will be used to power the second stage of the small launcher Vega.

N° 22–1999

Europe is going to Mars

10 June 1999

The European Space Agency's Mars Express mission has won unanimous approval. It will be the first mission Europe has sent to the red planet.

N° 21–1999

A butterfly-shaped 'Papillon Nebula' yields secrets of massive star birth

10 June 1999

Newborn stars are difficult to observe because they are always hidden within dense clouds of dust. And if the star is really a massive one, say 10 times heavier than our Sun, spotting the starbirth is almost impossible : massive stars evolve so quickly that by the time the dust disperses they are 'teenagers', not babies any more, 20 of their lifetime has already passed. Using the ESA/NASA Hubble Space Telescope a team of European astronomers (*) has been able to pinpoint several of these massive baby stars, one of which has created - while evolving - an impressive butterfly-shaped nebula of dust around it during its early life.

N° 20–1999

Rosetta - ESA's new comet chaser

18 June 1999

At a press event to be held on Thursday 1 July at the Royal Society in London (6 Carlton House Terrace), the European Space Agency's Director of Science, Professor Roger Bonnet, will present the next mission in ESA's ambitious comet exploration programme and unveil a quarter-sized high-fidelity model of the Rosetta orbiter and lander.

N° 19–1999

Planet Earth as we have never seen it before

31 May 1999

On Monday, 7 June 1999, the European Space Agency (ESA) will launch its completely new Earth observation programme, the "Living Planet". At an official ceremony at the Institute of Materials in London, the newly elected chairman of ESA's Ministerial Council, UK science Minister Lord Sainsbury, will announce the first project to be carried out as part of the programme.

N° 18–1999

ESA medals mark the Hipparcos revolution in astronomy

20 May 1999

At a gathering of top space scientists the European Space Agency's Director of Science, Roger Bonnet, today conferred medals on four European astronomers for their leading roles in the Hipparcos mission. This pioneering project in space astrometry fixed the positions of the stars far more accurately than ever before.

N° 17–1999

Ministers shape the future of European space activities

12 May 1999

Ministers of the Member States of the European Space Agency (ESA) today set challenging objectives for the future of European space activities and approved major new programmes to achieve them.

N° 16–1999

ESA Council Meeting at ministerial level: Brussels 11 and 12 May 1999

21 April 1999

The seventh ESA Council meeting at ministerial level will take place on 11 and 12 May 1999 at the Palais d'Egmont, in Brussels.

N° 15–1999

A piece of space heritage returns to Europe

13 April 1999

After 22 trips into space, Spacelab - Europe's first step into human spaceflight - has returned to Europe. On 16 April at 10:00, NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin will officially hand the space laboratory over to ESA Director General Antonio Rodota`, in the presence of German Chancellor Gerhard Schr(der, at a ceremony at the Bremen airport in Germany, the city where the module was built more than two decades ago.

N° 14–1999

Beyond 2000: investing in space for Europe

12 April 1999

Why should Europe invest in space? What challenges lie ahead? What is Europe doing and could it do in such areas as : the search for Earth-like planets, cheaper access to space, disaster warning from space, the threat of cosmic collisions, space energy and space tourism? These and many other questions are explored in the second report drawn up by ESA's Long Term Space Policy Committee.

N° 13–1999

Shaping the future of Europe in space

01 April 1999

N° 12–1999

Mission to Mars set to revolutionise ESA's working methods

30 March 1999

The European Space Agency (ESA) today signed a contract with Matra Marconi Space (MMS), that pioneers a more flexible way of building space science missions and is, in this way, the first trial as an element of a new and ambitious implementation concept which is currently under development for the ESA's Scientific Programme. The contract, worth about 60 million Euro, is to design and build the Mars Express spacecraft in time for launch in June 2003. Mars Express will allow European space scientists to investigate whether there is, or ever was, life on the red planet.

N° 11–1999

Signature of Mars Express contract and Media Briefing

26 March 1999

On Tuesday 30 March, the Director General of ESA, Antonio Rodota`, and the President and CEO of Matra-Marconi Space, Armand Carlier, will sign a contract that entrusts MMS with the task of building the Mars Express spacecraft for launch in June 2003.

N° 10–1999

Two ESA astronauts named to early Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission

12 March 1999

European Space Agency astronauts Claude Nicollier and Jean-Francois Clervoy will be part of a team of experienced astronauts that will be launched on the Space Shuttle in October of this year on an earlier than planned mission to service the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. Although Hubble is operating normally and continuing to conduct its scientific observations, its pointing system has begun to fail.

N° 9–1999

ESA astronaut Jean-Pierre Haigneré departs for six-month stay on Mir

17 February 1999

ESA astronaut Jean-Pierre Haigneré will blast off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Saturday 20 February at 07:18 Moscow time (05:18 Central European Time) headed for a six-month stay on board the Russian space station Mir. While in orbit, Haigneré will carry out a programme of scientific research designed to take advantage of the long duration of the flight and will make at least one spacewalk outside Mir.

N° 8–1999

Better opportunities for scientific research with Meteosat Second Generation

11 February 1999

At the beginning of February the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) jointly opened a Research Announcement of Opportunity (RAO) for the scientific use of data from the Meteosat Second Generation satellite system. Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) is a meteorological geostationary satellite system developed by ESA and EUMETSAT, the latter representing the European operational meteorological user community.

N° 7–1999

ESA astronaut Umberto Guidoni to be first European on the International Space Station

09 February 1999

ESA astronaut Umberto Guidoni will become the first European to visit the International Space Station, announced ESA Director General Antonio Rodotà, together with NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin and Italian space agency (ASI) President Sergio De Julio, today in Rome.

N° 6–1999

Alenia Aerospazio and ESA sign Cupola contract for the International Space Station

08 February 1999

Following successful completion of negotiations, the Cupola contract for the International Space Station will be signed today in Turin between ESA and Alenia Aerospazio.

N° 5–1999

SOHO Gets Back to Work: Historic First in Space

03 February 1999

For the second time in six months, engineers have revitalised ESA's orbiting solar observatory SOHO, and have also set a space record.

N° 4–1999

European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) Bilateral Agreements signed

21 January 1999

On Thursday 21 January 1999, ESA's Director General, Antonio Rodota', has signed eight Bilateral Agreements with Air Traffic Service Providers, Air Traffic Management Service Providers and other Agencies representing Users (AENA of Spain, ANA, EP of Portugal, CNES & DNA of France, DFS of Germany, ENAV of Italy, NATS of the United Kingdom, NMA of Norway and SWISSCONTROL of Switzerland).

N° 3–1999

crew visits Spain and ESA Centers.

11 January 1999

Following his 9-day flight on Space Shuttle Discovery in late October last year, ESA astronaut Pedro Duque will accompany NASA astronauts Curt Brown, Steve Lindsey, Steve Robinson and John Glenn to Spain and to various ESA centers in Europe for meetings with State officials, public conferences and press conferences.

N° 2–1999

ESA's Director General to meet the international press in Paris

04 January 1999

On Tuesday 12 January, ESA's Director General, Antonio Rodotà, will meet the media at ESA Head Office in Paris for a press breakfast starting at 8:30 am, to talk about the events planned for the new year.

N° 1–1999

ESA's public relations activities in 1999.

04 January 1999

This year will see ESA playing a major role in a series of public relations activities both in Europe and elsewhere. The following events and rendezvous can be pencilled in for 1999.