Tag: ESA

New ESA Director General Takes Over

Johann-Dietrich Wörner (Credit: DLR, CC-BY)

Johann-Dietrich Wörner (Credit: DLR, CC-BY)

PARIS (ESA PR) — As of today, 1 July 2015, ESA has a new Director General: Johann-Dietrich Woerner, who has taken up duty at ESA Headquarters in Paris, France.

“I am in the favourable position to nurture the seeds of Jean-Jacques Dordain’s work,” said Mr Woerner during a recent media briefing at the Paris Air Show, expressing his thanks to the parting Director General.

Mr Woerner called for the continuation of ESA’s ongoing programmes, projects and missions in cooperation with Member States, as well as preparing for ESA’s future, among the many important tasks he has to fulfil.

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A Look at the ISS Flight Manifest

Credit: NASA

Credit: NASA

There was a lot of discussion on Sunday about the impact of the loss of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft on the International Space Station. NASA officials said the ISS crew was in no danger from a supply standpoint, and they said they would stick to the existing schedule for crew rotation but might change the cargo manifest.

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ESA, CSF Weigh in on Failed Falcon 9 launch

Dragon capsule separated from Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

Dragon capsule separated from Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain

Hearing the news of today’s loss of SpaceX CRS-7 cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station, ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain stated: “We at the European Space Agency deeply regret this failure that shows that sending launchers into space is a very hard job. However a failure does not undermine all the previous successes. We wish our colleagues on the other side of the ocean all our best in fixing the problem and getting back into flight again soon”.

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UrtheCast Announces World’s First Commercial SAR And Optical 16-Satellite Constellation


urthecast-logoVANCOUVER, June 19, 2015 (UrtheCast PR) — UrtheCast Corp. (TSX:UR) (“UrtheCast” or the “Company”) today announced plans to build, launch and operate the world’s first fully-integrated, multispectral optical and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) commercial constellation of Earth Observation satellites (the “Constellation”), to be deployed over multiple launches expected in 2019 and 2020.

The Constellation is expected to comprise a minimum of 16 satellites (8 optical and 8 SAR) flying in two orbital planes, with each plane consisting of four satellite pairs, equally-spaced around the orbit plane. Each pair of satellites will consist of a dual-mode, high-resolution optical satellite (video and pushbroom) and a dual-band high-resolution SAR satellite (X-band and L-band) flying in tandem.

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ESA Fires First 3D Printed Platinum Combustion Chamber and Nozzle

Hot firing of world's first 3D-printed platinum thruster chamber. (Credit: Airbus Defence & Space)

Hot firing of world’s first 3D-printed platinum thruster chamber. (Credit: Airbus Defence & Space)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The world’s first spacecraft thruster with a platinum combustion chamber and nozzle made by 3D printing has passed its baptism of fire with a series of firings lasting more than an hour and 618 ignitions.

“This is a world first,” explains Steffen Beyer of Airbus Defence & Space, managing the project. “The firings included a single burn of 32 minutes, during which a maximum throat temperature of 1253°C was attained.

“It demonstrates that performance comparable to a conventional thruster can be obtained through 3D printing.”

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French Government Prepares to Sell Shares in Arianespace

Ariane 6 variants (Credit: Airbus Defense and Space)

Ariane 6 variants (Credit: Airbus Defense and Space)

The French government is preparing to get out of the rocket business as Airbus Safran Launchers gears up to build the new Ariane 6 rocket:

Airbus Safran Launchers took ownership of 39 percent of Arianespace in January. A statement from the French prime minister’s office Wednesday confirmed government’s plans to sell its nearly 35 percent stake in Arianespace to Airbus Safran Launchers, which would give the company control of 74 percent of the Evry, France-based launch provider.

The French space agency CNES holds the government’s stake in Arianespace, which flies the heavy-lift Ariane 5 rocket, a Europeanized version of Russia’s Soyuz booster and the Italian-led Vega launcher from the French-run Guiana Space Center on the northern coast of South America.

More than a quarter of Arianespace shares will remain in the hands of smaller subcontractors spread across France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark.

The selloff by the French government will end more than 50 years of CNES leadership in rocket design and development, which included the Diamant launcher in the 1960s, making France the third nation after the Soviet Union and the United States to send its own satellite into orbit.

For the first time in Europe’s space program, the new Ariane 6 rocket is designed by the private sector, and will be funded in a public-private partnership between Airbus Safran Launchers and the European Space Agency.

New ESA Head Wants India, China Involvement in ISS

Johann-Dietrich Wörner (Credit: DLR, CC-BY)

Johann-Dietrich Wörner (Credit: DLR, CC-BY)

The incoming head of ESA wants to open up the International Space Station to participation by India and China.

“We need to get away from the principle of being a closed club,” Johann-Dietrich Woerner told German magazine Spiegel.

The space station is funded through 2020 and an extension until 2024 is under discussion….

NASA’s costs for operating the station, which flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, run about $3 billion a year.

Woerner also said that Europeans, who currently rely on Russia to travel into space, could launch their own manned rockets in five years. “I don’t give up hope that we Europeans will manage our own take-off into orbit.”

ESA’s Rip Van Philae Awakes After Long Nap

Credit: ESA

Credit: ESA

PARIS, 14 June 2015 (ESA PR) — Rosetta’s lander Philae has woken up after seven months in hibernation on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.The signals were received at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt at 22:28 CEST on 13 June. More than 300 data packets have been analysed by the teams at the Lander Control Center at the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

“Philae is doing very well: It has an operating temperature of -35ºC and has 24 Watts available,” explains DLR Philae Project Manager Dr. Stephan Ulamec. “The lander is ready for operations.”

For 85 seconds Philae “spoke” with its team on ground, via Rosetta, in the first contact since going into hibernation in November.

When analysing the status data it became clear that Philae also must have been awake earlier: “We have also received historical data – so far, however, the lander had not been able to contact us earlier.”

Now the scientists are waiting for the next contact. There are still more than 8000 data packets in Philae’s mass memory which will give the DLR team information on what happened to the lander in the past few days on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Philae shut down on 15 November 2014 at 1:15 CET after being in operation on the comet for about 60 hours. Since 12 March 2015 the communication unit on orbiter Rosetta was turned on to listen out for the lander.

ESA Designing Spacecraft to Remove Space Debris

ESA has performed a system study for an Active Debris Removal mission called e.Deorbit. (Credit: ESA)

ESA has performed a system study for an Active Debris Removal mission called e.Deorbit. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA’s goal of removing a derelict satellite from orbit is picking up pace, as a mission design is assembled to be put before European ministers next year for approval.

The e.Deorbit mission came through ESA’s Clean Space initiative, tasked with reducing the environmental impact of the space industry in both the terrestrial and orbital realms.

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ESA Celebrates 40th Birthday


ESA logoPARIS, 29 May 2015 (ESA PR) — After the 50th anniversary of the European space cooperation in 2014, we now celebrate 40 years since the signing of the Convention for the creation of a single European Space Agency in May 1975.

The idea of building an independent space capability in Europe dated back to the early 1960s when six European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) formed the European Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO) to develop a heavy launcher, later called ‘Europa’.

Those same countries, plus Denmark, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, established the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO) soon after, to undertake mainly scientific satellite programmes. Signed in 1962, their Conventions entered into force in 1964.

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