WASHINGTON (NASA PR) – After a decade-long journey chasing its target, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta, carrying three NASA instruments, became the first spacecraft to rendezvous with a comet. The last of a series of 10 rendezvous maneuvers that began in May, to adjust Rosetta’s speed and trajectory to gradually match those of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, occurred on Aug. 6, 2014.
“After 10 years, five months and four days travelling towards our destination, looping around the sun five times and clocking up 6.4 billion kilometers, we are delighted to announce finally we are here,” said Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA’s director General.
PARIS, 5 August 2014 (ESA PR) – After a decade-long journey chasing its target, ESA’s Rosetta has today become the first spacecraft to rendezvous with a comet, opening a new chapter in Solar System exploration.
Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and Rosetta now lie 405 million kilometres from Earth, about half way between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars, rushing towards the inner Solar System at nearly 55 000 kilometres per hour.
PARIS (ESA PR) — As ESA’s remaining supply ferry to the International Space Station burns up in the atmosphere, its final moments as its hull disintegrates will be recorded from the inside by a unique infrared camera.
An ESA-led team designed and developed the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) Break-Up Camera in just nine months in order to make it on board in time.
PARIS (ESA PR) — All eyes are on ESA’s spaceplane to showcase reentry technologies after its unconventional launch on a Vega rocket this November.
Instead of heading north into a polar orbit – as on previous flights – Vega will head eastwards to release the spaceplane into a suborbital path reaching all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
Space News reports that the future of the Ariane 6 launch vehicle remains uncertain after a meeting in Geneva on Tuesday:
The ministers from France, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland took no formal decision but agreed to reassess the situation in September after further study of the costs associated with the two designs.
4 June 2014
Faced with the challenge of capturing tumbling satellites to clear key orbits, ESA is considering turning to an ancient terrestrial technology: the harpoon.
Used since the Stone Age, first to spear fish and later to catch whales, the humble harpoon is being looked at for snagging derelict space hardware.
- Companies Agree To Reshape Their Space Launcher Business, Create 50-50 Joint Venture
- New Set-up To Increase Sector Competitiveness and Provide Customers With More Cost-Efficient Solutions
- Launch of Ariane 5 ME and Ariane 6 Programmes At the Core of the New Industrial Set-Up
- Signing of Joint Venture Transaction and Initial Start of Operations Expected Before the End of 2014
AMSTERDAM/ PARIS, June 16, 2014 (Airbus/Safran PR) – Airbus Group (stock exchange symbol: AIR) and Safran (stock exchange symbol: SAF) are further strengthening their relationship to propose a new family of competitive, versatile and efficient space launchers, to serve both commercial and institutional needs.
The Bulgarian Parliament has approved a draft Cooperation Agreement with the European Space Agency, according to news reports. The vote authorizes the Minister of Economy and Energy to sign the agreement, which will allow formal cooperation on space projects between Bulgaria and ESA.
A Cooperation Agreement is the first step in a multi-year process of becoming a full member of the space agency, which currently has 20 member nations plus Canada as an associate member. Other steps in the process include:
European Cooperating State (ECS) Agreement: The nation increases its financial contribution and becomes eligible to participate in agency procurements. Under ECS, a country can participate in all ESA activities with the exception of the Basic Technology Research Programme.
Plan For European Cooperating State (PECS Charter): A five-year program of basic research and development activities conducted in cooperation with ESA. The PEC Charter can be renewed.
Full Membership: Negotiations typically begin at the end of the five-year PECS Charter, unless that agreement is renewed.
Bulgaria deepens ESA’s ties with European Union (EU) countries. Of the 28 EU nations, only Croatia lacks some type of formal agreement with the space agency.
Farnborough, 3 June 2014 (QinetiQ PR: QinetiQ Space has won a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for the development of the International Berthing Docking Mechanism (IBDM), a unique soft docking system for use by spacecraft at the International Space Station (ISS).
Under the current contract phase, which will run until 2015, QinetiQ Space will develop and build an engineering model that it is intended to be tested on the ground. The contract is expected to lead to a follow-on development phase lasting until 2017.