UK Scientists Get $9.25 Million to Study Space Weather

LONDON (UKSA PR) — New national space funding worth £7 million [$9.25 million] will ensure UK scientists play a leading role in a new space weather mission, the Science Minister Chris Skidmore announced on the first day of British Science Week (8 March).

The Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer (SMILE) mission will study how the solar wind interacts with the Earth’s magnetosphere, which can impact on satellites, power grids and communications networks integral to our modern lives.

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Testing the Value of Artificial Gravity for Astronaut Health

Control room of DLR’s short-arm centrifuge (Credit: ESA)

COLOGNE, Germany, 21 March 2019 (EXSA PR) — Test subjects in Cologne, Germany will take to their beds for 60 days from 25 March as part of a groundbreaking study, funded by European Space Agency ESA and US space agency NASA, into how artificial gravity could help astronauts stay healthy in space.

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ESA Completes Further Design Validation of Reaction Engine’s SABRE™ Rocket Engine

SABRE engine (Credit: Reaction Engines)

WESTCOTT, UK (Reaction Engines PR) — The development programme of the world’s first air-breathing rocket engine has taken an additional significant step forward, which will lead to major testing milestones being undertaken within the next 18 months.

Reaction Engines has received further endorsement of its revolutionary SABRE™ engine design via its collaboration with ESA and the UK Space Agency (UKSA). The two agencies recently reviewed the preliminary design of the demonstrator engine core of the Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE), which Reaction Engines will use to undertake ground-based testing at its under-construction test facility at Westcott, Buckinghamshire.

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ESA Helps Business Fly in Space

On 29 April 2016, ESA astronaut Tim Peake controlled, from the International Space Station, a rover nicknamed Bridget at Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage, UK, as part of an international experiment to prepare for human–robotic missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond. In this image, the rover experiment control team located at ESA’s ESOC mission control centre, Darmstadt, Germany, watch closely as Tim commands Bridget. (Credit: ESA)

DARMSTADT, Germany (ESA PR) — New ‘cubesat’ technology and falling launch costs mean that businesses, universities and other organisations are increasingly able to launch their own small satellites. Now ESA is offering facilities and know-how to help them fly.

In an innovative offering for Europe’s emerging space ecosystem, ESA is providing access to ground facilities – control rooms and ground stations – as well as know-how for those aiming to get their own small satellites into space.

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ISS Multilateral Coordination Board Says Lunar Gateway is Next Step

Lunar Gateway concept. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The International Space Station (ISS) Multilateral Coordination Board (MCB), which oversees the management of the ISS, met on March 5th, 2019. Its members[1] acknowledged the recent 20th anniversary of the launch of the first International Space Station module and celebrated the success of the ISS partnership. This international team has not only built the space station and risen to the challenges of its day-to-day dynamic operation, but – most importantly – delivered tangible benefits to humanity.

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Microlaunchers to Grow Europe’s Economy

Five feasibility studies on launch services using microlaunchers in Europe, contracted within ESA’s Future Launchers Preparatory Programme in 2018, proposed solutions for economically viable and commercially self-sustaining microlaunch services. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — A flourishing small satellites market is driving demand for new ways to access space. Recent industry feasibility studies backed by ESA for new microlauncher services, are creating new business opportunities.

ESA intends to strengthen European industry by fostering a globally competitive European space sector with increased industry participation in launcher development.

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The Science Circling Above Us on the International Space Station

The Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor – ASIM – is performing well outside the European Columbus laboratory module on the International Space Station. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The International Space Station orbits Earth, 400 km above our heads, running scientific experiments that cannot be done anywhere else. Read on for our bi-weekly update on European science in space.

This week ESA is highlighting space weather, so let us start with the Atmosphere–Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) that was installed outside Europe’s Columbus laboratory on the International Space Station last year. 

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Mars Rover Gets Work-out Controlled From More than 6,000 Miles Away

The Atacama desert as seen by a Mars rover. (Credit: ExoFit PanCam team)

OXFORDSHIRE, UK (UKSA PR) — A space control centre in the UK has been used to test-drive a prototype Mars rover thousands of miles away in Chile’s Atacama desert.Experts at the European Space Agency’s centre in Oxfordshire completed a series of tests across nearly 6,900 miles (11,000 km) in order to see how the Mars rover reacts to commands across large distances.

When on the surface of Mars, the rover will need to be controlled when it is up to 250 million miles from Earth.

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Geologic Evidence for Extensive Ground Water System on Mars

Artist’s impression of Mars Express. The background image is based on an actual image of Mars taken by the spacecraft’s high resolution stereo camera. Image credit: Spacecraft: ESA/ATG medialab; Mars: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin)

UTRECHT, The Netherlands (Utrecht University PR) — Utrecht University geologist Francesco Salese studied 24 low-lying areas distributed around the northern hemisphere of Mars. Satellite images have provided evidence of large volumes of simultaneous ground water activity connecting the areas. Salese has also found remains of deltas and coastlines on the planet’s surface. “These are strong indications that water was once present in these dried-up basins. There is no evidence that they had been filled from the surface, so upwelling ground water is the only remaining explanation. The deltas are all located at approximately the same elevation, so we are probably dealing with a ground water reservoir that spans the entire planet.”

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Space Weather Kicks Up a Social Storm

Space weather effects. (Credit: ESA/Science Office)

PARIS, 1 March 2019 (ESA PR) — One of the most visible — and fabulously beautiful — effects of this ‘space weather’ on our planet are the aurora borealis, the famous ‘northern lights’ that dance across the high (and low) latitudes.

Throughout human history, spectacular auroral eruptions have given rise to fearful beliefs of mythological creatures, have driven folklore and have influenced culture, religion and art.

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Astrobotic Team Selected by ESA to Study Delivery of Lunar Resources Mission

Peregrine lander on the moon. (Credit: Astrobotic)

A team including Astrobotic and Airbus competitively selected in partnership to study the delivery of a European Space Agency mission to the Moon onboard the Peregrine lunar lander

Astrobotic now the only lunar delivery service to be selected by NASA and ESA

Pittsburgh, PA (Astrobotic PR) – Astrobotic announced today that a team led by Airbus has been competitively selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to study the delivery of a payload package onboard the Peregrine lunar lander around 2025. The study will analyze Europe’s first mission to demonstrate in-situ resource utilization on the Moon.

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UK Space Agency Provides $23.5 Million to OneWeb for Global Communications Constellation

LONDON (UKSA PR) — Affordable worldwide internet coverage is one step closer today, after £18 million [$23.5 million] of UK Space Agency funding was awarded to OneWeb through the European Space Agency, to aid the development of its next generation satellite constellation.

A global communications network in space, the system will be comprised of approximately 650 satellites initially and scale to more than 900 satellites over time.

Science Minister Chris Skidmore is visiting the European Space Agency in the Netherlands today. He will say:

Fast internet access is something many people take for granted but in many areas of the world connectivity is still hit and miss.

This new £18m investment will go towards meeting the significant technical challenges of the project, putting the UK at the forefront of cutting-edge research and development.

The commercial potential for a cost effective worldwide telecoms satellite system is huge, and the UK space sector is playing a leading role in delivering it. It is made possible by our ongoing commitment to the European Space Agency and our world-leading capabilities in space and telecommunications, which we are supporting through our modern Industrial Strategy.

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Rosetta’s Comet Sculpted by Stress

Single frame enhanced NavCam image taken on 27 March 2016, when Rosetta was 329 km from the nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The scale is 28 m/pixel and the image measures 28.7 km across. (Credit:  ESA/Rosetta/NavCam)

18 February 2019

MARSEILLE, France (ESA PR) — Feeling stressed? You’re not alone. ESA’s Rosetta mission has revealed that geological stress arising from the shape of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko has been a key process in sculpting the comet’s surface and interior following its formation.

Small, icy comets with two distinct lobes seem to be commonplace in the Solar System, with one possible mode of formation a slow collision of two primordial objects in the early stages of formation some 4.5 billion years ago. A new study using data collected by Rosetta during its two years at Comet 67P/C-G has illuminated the mechanisms that contributed to shaping the comet over the following billions of years.

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Nanosat to Serve the Internet of Things Tested for Space

Evaluation of a test Hiber nanosatellite took place in ESA’s metal-walled Hybrid European Radio Frequency and Antenna Test Zone (Hertz) at the Agency’s technical centre in the Netherlands, shut off from all external influences for radio testing.  (Credit: ESA–G. Porter)

NOORDWIJK, the Netherlands (ESA PR) — The Netherlands’ latest space firm brought its newest design for testing in ESA’s largest antenna test facility. The Hiber company has already launched its first two nanosatellites into orbit, and is busily preparing its next generation.

Dutch space company Hiber is building an orbital constellation of CubeSats – small modular satellites based around 10 cm units – to provide global low-cost connectivity for the ‘Internet of Things’, tracking and harnessing data from modem-linked objects such as haulage vehicles, power cables, pipelines or sensors for precision agriculture.

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ExoMars Rover Named After Co-Discoverer of DNA Structure

Rosalind Franklin (Credit: Jewish Chronicle Archive/Heritage-Images)

STEVENAGE, UK, February 7, 2019 (UKSA PR) — The UK made ExoMars rover, due to roam the surface of the red planet in 2021, has been named after UK scientist and co-discoverer of the structure of DNA – Rosalind Franklin.

The name was revealed this morning by Science Minister Chris Skidmore and British European Space Agency (ESA) Astronaut Tim Peake in the ‘Mars Yard’ at Airbus Defence and Space UK in Stevenage, where the rover is being built.

Chris Skidmore, UK Science Minister said:

“It is a tremendously fitting tribute that the rover has been named after Rosalind Franklin as she helped us understand life on Earth and now her namesake will do the same on Mars.

“Just as Rosalind Franklin overcame many obstacles during her career, I hope ‘Rosalind the rover’ will successfully persevere in this exciting adventure, inspiring generations of female scientists and engineers to come.

“This is a big moment for British science and through our modern Industrial Strategy we are embracing this moment as part of our ambition to be the world’s most innovative economy, creating opportunities for business through science.”

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