Mars500 â€˜arrivesâ€™ in orbit around Mars ESA Press Release 2 February 2011
The first full-duration simulation of a manned voyage to Mars has reached a major milestone: the â€˜spacecraftâ€™ yesterday â€˜arrivedâ€™ at Mars after 244 days of virtual interplanetary flight. Three crewmembers will â€˜landâ€™ on Mars on 12 February and make three sorties onto simulated martian terrain.
Mars500, a pioneering international study of the complex psychological and technical issues that must be tackled for long spaceflights, has been running for more than eight months in hermetically sealed modules imitating a Mars spacecraft at the Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP) in Moscow.
ESA Budget Rises to $4B as 14 Nations Boost Contributions Space News
Fourteen of the European Space Agencyâ€™s (ESA)18 member nations have agreed to raise their contributions for 2011 despite public debt concerns that have reached near-crisis levels in some of them, ESA officials said.
ATV-2 is almost ready for launch on 15 February from Europeâ€™s Spaceport. It will be the heaviest load ever lofted into space by the Ariane 5 rocket, making the 200th flight of the European launcher even more spectacular.
ESA’s latest Automated Transfer Vehicle space ferry, named after the German astronomer and mathematician Johannes Kepler, is now fully fuelled, its oxygen tanks are filled and most of the cargo from ESA and NASA is placed inside.
ESA Putting Arianespace Finances Under the Microscope Space News
European governments have ordered a detailed audit of the sources and uses of money at the Arianespace commercial launch consortium and its industrial suppliers as a condition of granting the companyâ€™s request for what may be a permanent financial aid package to assure its ongoing financial viability, European government and industry officials said.
Of emergencies and Christmas trees – an exciting end to 2010 12 January 2011 In the 10th Mars500 Mission Diary, Romain writes about end-of-year excitements in the crewâ€™s spacecraft mockup on their virtual journey to Mars. With almost half the mission completed, the crew is now counting the days to their â€˜arrivalâ€™ in orbit around the red planet, on 1 February.
During the last few weeks we experienced two major events inside our Mars500 modules. First, an off-nominal situation left us for 20 hours without water, electricity and ventilation during the first two days of December. The second event is merrier: Christmas! Let me share with you how we went through these both.
As Arianespace celebrates a successful year in which it went 6-for-6 with Ariane 5 launches and looks forward to the introduction of the Soyuz and Vega rockets in Guiana later this year, European officials have been trying to figure out how to help the consortium avoid a loss:
Europeâ€™s Arianespace commercial launch consortium on Jan. 4 said revenue for 2010 dropped by about 10 percent compared to 2009 and that the company will report a loss unless it receives requested financial aid from European governments.
The Evry, France-based company conducted six launches of its heavy-lift Ariane 5 rocket in 2010, down from seven in 2009, and this is the main reason for the revenue drop, to slightly more than 900 million euros ($1.2 billion), in 2010.
ESA Unable To Secure Commitment to Station Extension Space News
The European Space Agency (ESA) was unable to win its member governmentsâ€™ approval of NASAâ€™s proposed five-year extension of operations of the international space station because of an unrelated dispute over financial support for Europeâ€™s Arianespace commercial launch services consortium, ESA and European government officials said….
SpaceX’s success in launching two Falcon 9 rockets and recovering a Dragon capsule from orbit last year has captured the attention of foreign space officials, who are eager for the services the company can provide and believe that valuable lessons can be learned from how the California-based start-up operates. Simonetta di Pippo, ESA’s director of human spaceflight, said:
â€œSpaceX certainly got our attention. This is a kind of revolution. We now know they can make it, and so we have to concentrate, on the government side, on new developments. We cannot just stick with our ATV now that the commercial sector is able to do this. Having visited the SpaceX facilities, I am not surprised by their success. But we need to react to it.â€
This evening, an Ariane 5 launcher lifted off from Europeâ€™s Spaceport on a journey to place two telecommunications satellites, Hispasat-1E and Koreasat-6, into their planned transfer orbits. Flight V199 was the sixth Ariane 5 launch of 2010 and the last of the year.
ESA has decided to extend the productive lives of 11 of its operating space science missions. This will enable ESAâ€™s world-class science missions to continue returning pioneering results until at least 2014.
ESAâ€™s Science Programme Committee (SPC) had to make significant decisions at its 18-19 November meeting in Paris: 11 science missions, all of them still working beyond their planned lifetimes, all of them still delivering exceptional science, and yet all coming to the end of their funding.