How Much Do European Citizens Know About Space?

This graphic from the Harris Interactive survey report on public perceptions of issues related to space activities shows that on average, 83% of the Europeans interviewed (in UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain) had heard of ESA (even though only 37% knew precisely what it is), and the variation of that average by country. (Credit: ESA/Harris Interactive)
PARIS (ESA PR) — Europeans are undeniably interested in space activities, and the idea of pooling resources between European countries is considered important unanimously by European citizens: just two of the fascinating findings from a recent survey of public perceptions of issues related to space.

Carried out on behalf of ESA by Harris Interactive in December 2018, the survey questioned over 5000 people aged 18 or older and representative of the public in Europe’s five most populous countries, Germany, UK, France, Spain and Italy.

The survey found that, almost unanimously, Europeans identified three main uses for space: better understanding the Universe, observing our own planet, for example the effects of climate change, and they recognised the ability to make life on Earth easier, for example in transportation or communications.

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LuxSpace Entering Next Phase with Triton-X Microsat

Betzdorf, Luxembourg, January 9, 2019 (OHB PR) — LuxSpace, a subsidiary of the space and technology group OHB SE, is taking its Triton-X microsatellite platform to the next level. Over the last 12 months it has been designing the architecture for Triton-X, a next generation multi-mission microsatellite designed to enable affordable regional and global LEO constellations. Now work on the hardware is beginning in conjunction with three partner companies.

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Chameleon Satellite Leaving Native British Shores

The SSTL-built Eutelsat Quantum platform is pictured in SSTL’s cleanroom in Guildford, UK. (Credit: SSTL)

GUILDFORD, UK, 9 January 2019 (ESA PR) — The last component of British-built chameleon satellite, Eutelsat Quantum, is getting ready to leave home for good.

The final piece of equipment is part of the new SSTL platform; the chassis that provides a payload with structure, power and the ability to propel itself through space.

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CubeSats Joining Hera Mission to Asteroid System

Hera at Didymos (Credit: ESA–ScienceOffice.org)

PARIS (ESA PR) — When ESA’s planned Hera mission journeys to its target binary asteroid system, it will not be alone. The spacecraft will carry two tiny CubeSats for deployment around – and eventual landing on – the Didymos asteroids. Each companion spacecraft will be small enough to fit inside a briefcase, as compared to the desk-sized Hera.

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Video: ESA Looks Ahead to Busy 2019

Video Caption: ESA is looking forward to another interesting year in 2019.

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano will return to the International Space Station, in Science Cheops will look at exoplanets, while the EDRS-C satellite will start the era of super-fast data relay on orbit.

In Kourou preparation will go full speed for Vega-C, a more powerful version of ESA’s light weight launcher, also paving the way for future Ariane 6.

And in November in Spain at ‘Space 19+’, the Council at Ministerial level, ESA will propose to its Member States a bold vision for a strong Europe in Space.

First Test Campaigns Completed at ESA’s New CubeSat Support Facility

The UoS3 antennas deployed successfully after thermal vacuum testing. (Credit: ESA)

REDU, Belgium (ESA PR) — ESA Academy is proud to announce that the new CubeSat Support Facility (CSF) is now open and has successfully completed its first test campaigns. Its purpose: offer training and test facilities for university students that are part, or aiming to be part, of ESA’s educational CubeSat initiatives such as Fly Your Satellite!

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ESA & DLR Agree on Mission Control Operation

OBERPFAFFENHOFEN, Germany (DLR PR) — The European Space Agency (ESA) and the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have made an agreement to pool their expertise in space operations. The European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt and the German Space Operations Centre (GSOC) in Obepfaffenhofen near Munich have agreed to exploit shared know-how in the fields of mission operations and ground-based infrastructure, jointly developing new concepts, technologies and procedures. The cooperation agreement was signed on 18 December 2018 at DLR’s research facility in Oberpfaffenhofen during an Interoperability Plenary meeting, which brought together representatives from 12 space agencies worldwide.

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Turkey Establishes National Space Agency

Earlier this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a decree formally establishing his nation’s space agency.

“A space agency has been created in our country. This is a landmark step, we have achieved one more goal. The agency will put us at the forefront of space exploration and technology,” Erdogan said during a ceremony honoring scientists in Ankara.

“Our aim is to turn Turkey into a center of attraction for all scientists. Scientific research and project centers established in almost every part of Turkey are particular examples of these efforts,” he added.

Mustafa Varank, minister of Industry & Technology, said

Priority targets of the agency are to guide and coordinate the Turkish space sector, and manage international relations [concerning space] through a single desk,” he added, stating that the new agency will pave way for the establishment of a competitive indigenous industry.

Varank also recalled that Turkey has developed R&D activities in satellite technology since early 2000s and produced observation satellites BİLSAT, RASAT and GÖKTÜRK-2. Wide-scale satellite projects of TÜRKSAT 6A and İMECE followed them, he said.

A research center for optical systems will start operating under the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), Varank added.

It is not clear whether Turkey will attempt to deepen ties with the European Space Agency (ESA). In 2004, Turkey signed a five-year framework cooperation agreement with ESA, which was a first step toward cooperation between the two parties. The agreement was not renewed or expanded upon.

Reflecting on Earthrise 50 Years Later

Earth rise from Apollo 8. (Credit: NASA)

Frank De Winne in the Soyuz-TMA spacecraft (Credit: ESA — STAR CITY)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Monday 24 December marks 50 years since Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders snapped an iconic image of Earth rising above the lunar surface.

The image, known as Earthrise, has been credited with sparking an environmental movement. Now, head of ESA’s Astronaut Centre in Cologne Germany Frank De Winne shares his perspective on our planet seen from space.

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Mars Express Gets Festive: A Winter Wonderland on the Red Planet

Perspective view of Korolev crater (Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin)

PARIS (ESA PR) — This image shows what appears to be a large patch of fresh, untrodden snow – a dream for any lover of the holiday season. However, it’s a little too distant for a last-minute winter getaway: this feature, known as Korolev crater, is found on Mars, and is shown here in beautiful detail as seen by Mars Express.

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Butane-powered GomX-4B CubeSat Accomplishes Mission

GomX-4B with GomX-4A (Credit: GomSpace)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The cereal-box sized GomX-4B – ESA’s biggest small CubeSat yet flown – has completed its mission for the Agency, testing out new miniaturised technologies including: intersatellite link communication with its GomX-4A twin, a hyperspectral imager, star tracker and butane-based propulsion system.

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Self Driving Rovers Tested in Mars-like Morocco

SherpaTT rover during Morocco field test. (Credit: DFKI GmbH, Florian Cordes)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Robots invaded the Sahara Desert for Europe’s largest rover field test, taking place in a Mars-like part of Morocco. For two weeks three rovers and more than 40 engineers tested automated navigation systems at up to five different sites.

This marked the end of the first phase of the strategic research cluster on space robotics technologies, a scheme funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme.

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Winning Ideas for New European Space Transport Services

Spain’s PLD Space, Miura 5 microlauncher (formerly Arion 2) aims to provide dedicated launches for an emerging small satellites market in 2021.
 (Credit: PLD Space)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Imagine moving satellites to higher orbits, collecting space debris, and dedicated launches for small satellites. These are the winning entries of ESA’s call for ideas on new commercial space transportation services.

This campaign aimed to foster open innovation and offer encouragement to those with new ideas within the privately-funded space sector.

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NASA TV to Air International Space Station Crew Landing

The three Expedition 57 crew members are gathered inside the cupola, the International Space Station’s “window to the world,” for a portrait wearing t-shirts displaying their home in space. From left are Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos, Serena Auñón-Chancellor of NASA and Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency). The space station was orbiting nearly 253 miles above the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Three residents of the International Space Station, including one NASA astronaut, are scheduled to wrap up their stay aboard the orbital laboratory Wednesday, Dec. 19. Live coverage of their return to Earth will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

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ESA Council Welcomes Bridenstine, Reviews Ongoing Programs

DARMSTADT, Germany (ESA PR) — The ESA Council held its 277th meeting at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt on 12 and 13 December 2018.The Council welcomed NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, who presented NASA’s vision for future space exploration. Mr Bridenstine praised the long-standing cooperation between ESA and NASA over the past 40 years through more than 260 major agreements including the iconic Hubble Space Telescope.

He strongly advocated international cooperation with ESA regarding space science, Earth science, the extension of the International Space Station operations and recognised the leading role of ESA on space safety and protection of space assets.

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