Tag: ESA

ESA Approves 10.3 Billion Euro Budget; ISS Extended, ExoMars Funded

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ESA logoMinisters from 22 ESA member countries approved a multi-year spending plan of €10.3 billion ($11 billion) for the European space agency, a reduction from the  €11 billion ($11.74 billion) that Director General Jan Dietrich Woerner had sought.

The budget includes an extension of the International Space Station to 2020 to 2024. ESA was the last of the international partners to approve the extension after the United States, Russia, Japan and Canada.

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ESA Releases Findings of Citizens’ Space Debate

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

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

PARIS, 28 November 2016 (ESA PR) — On 10 September, about 2000 Europeans helped to shape the future of space by taking part in a world first: the Citizens’ Debate on Space for Europe.ESA organised the event to gather opinions and ideas to help develop and nurture the future strategy for space in Europe.

When Jan Woerner was elected as Director General of ESA by its Member States he expressed the wish to boost dialogue with all stakeholders and to open up space to a broader public. This Citizens’ Debate translated his intention into practice, by including people from all walks of life around Europe.

About 2000 people representing a broad diversity of citizens in 22 countries debated space issues during the day-long event.

This consultation exercise, on an unprecedented scale, was organised in all ESA Member States simultaneously, following the same approach.
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Is Arca Space to Blame for Failure of ESA’s ExoMars Lander?

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) imaged the ExoMars Schiaparelli module’s landing site on 25 October 2016, following the module’s arrival at Mars on 19 October. The zoomed insets provide close-up views of what are thought to be several different hardware components associated with the module’s descent to the martian surface. These are interpreted as the front heatshield, the parachute and the rear heatshield to which the parachute is still attached, and the impact site of the module itself. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) imaged the ExoMars Schiaparelli module’s landing site on 25 October 2016, following the module’s arrival at Mars on 19 October. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

Accusations are flying that ESA’s ExoMars Schiaparelli lander crashed into the Red Planet due to poor ground testing conducted by a Romanian company named ARCA Space.

ESA released the preliminary conclusions after the Italian Space Agency had accused that the decisive tests for the Sciaparelli lander simulations had been entrusted to an organization “which hadn’t enough expertize”. It’s about Arca Space Romanian company, based in Las Cruces, USA, as La Repubblica reported.

In retort, the Arca Space Corporation manager, Dumitru Popescu warned the Italian space agency to be more careful, as they don’t have proves to support their accusations. “They could pay the price. We are at ease that we did all we could do: to run a specific test we should have flown very closely to the Russian base in Sevastopol. Russia has just annexed Crimea and we risked generating a conflict between the Russian Federation and NATO,” the Romanian manager argued.

ESA said last week that an inertia measurement unit became saturated with data during descent, providing data that made the lander’s computer believe the vehicle was either about to land or had already landed. The computer ordered the release of the parachute even though the lander was still 3.7 km above the martian surface.

Schiaparelli was designed to test the landing system for a rover that ESA plans to place on the surface. Agency officials have said they gained valuable data from the test.

Arca Space has set up operations in Las Cruces, NM, where it is making hover boards.

ESA Inaugurates Space Data Highway With Laser Communications

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ESA logoPARIS (ESA PR) — The European Data Relay System began servicing Europe’s Earth observing Copernicus programme yesterday, transferring observations in quasi-real time using cutting-edge laser technology.

The EDRS–SpaceDataHighway will now begin providing a commercial service to the European Commission’s Copernicus Sentinels – the first and only of its kind. EDRS is a public–private partnership between ESA and Airbus Defence and Space, with ESA supporting the initial technology development and the company providing the commercial service. The European Commission is EDRS’s anchor customer through its Sentinel-1 and -2 missions.

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Seraphim Space Fund Offers Venture Capital for European Start-ups

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ESA logoPARIS (ESA PR) — The Seraphim Space Fund of venture capital, currently worth £50 million, is set to boost European small, medium and start-up companies developing space-based applications, services and technologies.

The fund offers a springboard for all space technology, emerging products, applications and associated services that have been developed with ESA’s help.

This includes software, hardware and integrated solutions for companies that use satellite data for a wide range of applications such as intelligent transport and smart cities, through to sectors including insurance, maritime, agriculture and oil and gas.

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Trump, Musk, Bezos, Bruno & the Future of America’s Space Program

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Donald Trump (Credit: Michael Vadon)

Donald Trump (Credit: Michael Vadon)

There’s been a lot of speculation since the election on  what president-elect Donald Trump will do with the nation’s civilian and military space programs.

Two Trump advisors laid out some goals before the election: more commercial partnerships, boosting defense spending, increasing hypersonics and slashing NASA Earth science. However, most details remain unclear.

A key question is whether Trump really cares about space all that much. That’s a little hard to discern given his comments during  the campaign.

When first questioned on the subject, he expressed a preference for fixing potholes in America’s crumbling streets over sending people to Mars. Trump has promised a large infrastructure repair program.

During a visit to Florida, he attacked the Obama Administration for allegedly wrecking NASA and the space program. During another appearance in the Sunshine State about a week later, Trump praised the space agency for how well it was performing.

So, NASA is either doing great, a disaster that needs to be made great again, or an obstacle to pothole repair. Assuming Trump actually cares, and he’s willing to spend some money on making NASA great again, what might he do? What major decisions does he face?
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NASA Microthrusters Achieve Success on ESA’s LISA Pathfinder

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An artist's concept of the European Space Agency's LISA Pathfinder spacecraft, designed to pave the way for a mission detecting gravitational waves. NASA/JPL developed a thruster system on board. (Credit: ESA)

An artist’s concept of the European Space Agency’s LISA Pathfinder spacecraft, designed to pave the way for a mission detecting gravitational waves. NASA/JPL developed a thruster system on board. (Credit: ESA)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — A next-generation technology demonstration mission has just passed a big milestone.

The Space Technology 7 Disturbance Reduction System (ST7-DRS) is a system of thrusters, advanced avionics and software managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. It has been flying on the European Space Agency’s LISA Pathfinder spacecraft, which launched from Kourou, French Guiana on Dec. 3, 2015 GMT (Dec. 2 PST). As of Oct. 17, the system had logged roughly 1,400 hours of in-flight operations and met 100 percent of its mission goals.

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New Crew Launches to Space Station

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In this one second exposure photograph, the Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft is seen launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

In this one second exposure photograph, the Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft is seen launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (NASA PR) — Three crew members representing the United States, Russia and France are on their way to the International Space Station after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:20 p.m. EST Thursday, Nov. 17 (2:20 a.m. Nov. 18, Baikonur time).

The Soyuz spacecraft carrying Peggy Whitson of NASA, Oleg Novitskiy of Roscosmos and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency), is scheduled to dock with the space station’s Rassvet module at 5:01 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19. NASA TV coverage of docking will begin at 4:15 p.m. Hatches are scheduled to open about 7:35 p.m., with NASA TV coverage starting at 6:45 p.m.

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Group Seeks More Missions to Near Earth Objects

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Asteroid Eros

Asteroid Eros

BERLIN, Germany, 14 November 2016 (Press Release) – During a press event today at the Museum für Naturkunde (MfN) (Museum of Natural History) in Berlin, a major campaign was launched to support scientific missions designed to increase our knowledge of asteroids and near Earth objects (NEOs), in particular ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission.

The campaign, “I Support AIM (www.isupportaim. com) was initiated by the co-founders of Asteroid Day, the global movement to protect the world from dangerous Asteroids, and the Observatoire de la Côte D’Azur, one of the most important research institutions worldwide in the areas of biological and geological evolution and biodiversity.

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New ISS Crew Set to Launch on Thursday

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A Soyuz rocket ready to launch a new crew to the International Space Station. (Credit: ESA–Manuel Pedoussaut)

A Soyuz rocket ready to launch a new crew to the International Space Station. (Credit: ESA–Manuel Pedoussaut)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (ESA PR) — On Thursday, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and Roscosmos commander Oleg Novitsky will take a lift to the top of this 50 m-tall rocket, climb aboard and wait for the trip of a lifetime. At 20:20 GMT the engines will ignite and propel the trio 1640 km in less than 10 minutes – averaging a 50 km/h increase every second for nine minutes.

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ESA Ministers Get Ready to Rumble in Lucerne

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ESA logoPARIS (ESA PR) — The Ministers in charge of space within the 22 ESA Member States and Canada gather typically every three years to set the Agency’s strategy and policies. During these ESA Council meetings at Ministerial Level, decisions are taken on the main direction for the coming years and on the additional budget for the future. Ministers agree to start new programmes or eventually to bring them to an end. This time, the ‘space ministers’ will meet on 1–2 December in Lucerne, Switzerland.

The meeting this year will define ESA’ objectives based on the vision of a United Space in Europe in the era of Space 4.0.
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Space Agencies Combine Efforts to Study Earth’s Hydrology

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The SMOS mission makes global observations of soil moisture over Earth’s landmasses and salinity over the oceans. (Credit: ESA/AOES Medialab)

The SMOS mission makes global observations of soil moisture over Earth’s landmasses and salinity over the oceans. (Credit: ESA/AOES Medialab)

MARRAKESH, Morocco, 11 November 2016 (ESA PR) — Heads of space agencies are meeting today in Marrakesh, Morocco at the COP22 climate change summit to reaffirm their commitment to a coordinated approach for monitoring Earth’s climate, with particular focus on the water cycle.

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Airbus Safran Launchers, ESA Sign Confirmation of Ariane 6 Program

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Ariane 6 variants (Credit: Airbus Defense and Space)

Ariane 6 variants (Credit: Airbus Defense and Space)

  • This amendment to the agreement signed in August 2015 between Airbus Safran Launchers and ESA commits the entire €2.4 billion planned for the development and production of the new European launcher. i.e., €1.7 billion to be deployed between now and 2023.
  • On 13 September, the ESA Member States unanimously confirmed the continuation of the Ariane 6 program, following an in-depth review of the program’s technical and financial situations.

Issy-les-Moulineaux, France (Airbus Safran Launchers PR) — The European Space Agency and Airbus Safran Launchers, industrial prime contractor of the Ariane 6 launcher, have today signed the amendment to the agreement of 12 August 2015 committing the entire €2.4 billion planned for the development, production and operation of the two versions of the Ariane 6 launcher, Ariane 62 and 64.

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Airbus Appoints New Head of On-Orbit Services and Exploration

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Handing over the key: Bart Reijnen symbolically hands over the Bremen key to his successor Oliver Juckenhöfel. (Credt: Airbus)

Handing over the key: Bart Reijnen symbolically hands over the Bremen key to his successor Oliver Juckenhöfel. (Credt: Airbus)

BREMEN, Germany (Airbus Group PR) — Oliver Juckenhöfel (46) is taking over as the new Head of the Airbus space site in Bremen, with effect from 1 November 2016. At the same time, he is assuming responsibility for On-Orbit Services and Exploration. Bart Reijnen, whom he is replacing in both roles, is in turn taking charge of the Airbus subsidiary Satair Group.

Juckenhöfel will be responsible for all Airbus activities relating to the field of manned space flight and space exploration: all tasks connected with the operation and use of European ISS components, the European Service Module for the NASA Orion mission, space robotics, research in zero-gravity conditions and the development of future service spacecraft.

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15,000 Asteroids Discovered

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The asteroid Lutetia during a flyby by ESA's Rosetta spacecraft (Credit: ESA)

The asteroid Lutetia during a flyby by ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The international effort to find, confirm and catalogue the multitude of asteroids that pose a threat to our planet has reached a milestone: 15,000 discovered – with many more to go.

The number of catalogued asteroids approaching Earth has grown rapidly since the count reached 10,000 only three years ago.

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