423 Teams Selected for Phase 2 of Astro Pi Mission Space Lab 2019/2020

Astro Pi Ed and Astro Pi Izzy in space. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA Education and the Raspberry Pi Foundation congratulate all the entries of this year’s European Astro Pi Challenge: Mission Space Lab for their outstanding proposals. This has been another record-breaking year with Phase 1 receiving a grand total of 545 entries from 23 countries! The 423 selected teams will now have a chance to write computer code for the scientific experiments they want to send up to Astro Pi Ed or Astro Pi Izzy to run aboard the International Space Station!

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Suitcase-sized Spacecraft to Explore Asteroid

Model of M-Argo spacecraft . (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — This replica model of ESA’s ‘Miniaturised Asteroid Remote Geophysical Observer’, or M-Argo, was on display at the Agency’s recent  Antennas workshop. It is the one of numerous small missions planned as part of in ESA’s Technology Strategy, being presented at this month’s  Space19+  Council at Ministerial Level.

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Plasma Crystal Research Conducted on the ISS

ISS and the Columbus module. (Credit: ESA/NASA)
  • Plasma research on the ISS – Cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov will be carrying out a new series of experiments from 10 to 16 November 2019
  • Important knowledge for tomorrow – the plasma crystal laboratory PK-4 provides insights into fundamental physical processes
  • Plasma is ionised gas and is considered to be the fourth state of matter in addition to solids, liquids and gases. Complex plasmas are formed when dust particles are present in the neutral gas

TOULOUSE, France (DLR PR) — More plasma research is being conducted on the International Space Station (ISS). From 10 to 16 November 2019, the Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov will be carrying out a new series of experiments with the PK-4 plasma crystal laboratory. Under the direction of scientists from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), Skvortsov will record how microparticles move through a neon plasma in microgravity, forming structures and thus providing insights into basic physical processes.

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NASA Instrument to Probe Planet Clouds on European Mission

This artist’s concept shows the European Space Agency’s ARIEL spacecraft on its way to Lagrange Point 2 (L2) — a gravitationally stable, Sun-centric orbit — where it will be shielded from the Sun and have a clear view of the sky. NASA’s JPL will manage the mission’s CASE instrument. (Credits: ESA/STFC RAL Space/UCL/Europlanet-Science Office)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA will contribute an instrument to a European space mission that will explore the atmospheres of hundreds of planets orbiting stars beyond our Sun, or exoplanets, for the first time.

The instrument, called the Contribution to ARIEL Spectroscopy of Exoplanets, or CASE, adds scientific capabilities to ESA’s (the European Space Agency’s) Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey, or ARIEL, mission.

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Luca Parmitano to Lead Most Challenging Spacewalks Since Hubble Repairs

The second Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02) on the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The date is set for ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano’s first spacewalk of his Beyond mission. Friday 15 November marks the start of a series of complex spacewalks to service the cosmic-particle-hunting Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02).

It is the first time a European astronaut will take a leading role and the full spacewalk will be streamed live via ESA Web TV from 12:50 CET (11:50 GMT).

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RUAG Space’s New Payload Fairing Provides Quieter Ride to Orbit

faring separation system pillars (Credit: RUAG Space)

ZURICH, Switzerland (RUAG Space PR) — RUAG Space, a leading supplier to the space industry, has successfully developed and tested a new low shock jettison system for payload fairings. This enables a quieter and smoother journey to space for satellites or other payload.

The required payload fairings for the European launchers Ariane and VEGA have been produced by RUAG Space in Emmen, Switzerland, since the 1970s. As part of the Future Launchers Preparatory Programme (FLPP) of the European Space Agency (ESA),

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Craving for Cold Isolation – Research Doctor Rotation in Antarctica

ESA research medical doctor Nadja Albertsen views the first sunlight in Antartctic research station Concordia after four months of darkness. (Credit: ESA/IPEV/PNRA–N. Albertsen)

CONCORDIA RESEARCH BASE, Antarctica (ESA PR) — Did you know the largest desert in the world is also the coldest place in the world? In the heart of Antarctica, where temperatures can drop to –80°C, life is so hard there is no life to be found as even bacteria cannot survive.

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Apollo Astronaut Rusty Schweickart Champions ESA’s Hera Mission for Planetary Defense

Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart at Noordwijk’s Walk of Space, where his handprint joined those other space luminaries, during his visit to the Netherlands in October 2019. (Credit: ESA)

NOORDWIJK, Netherlands (ESA PR) — Having spent much of the 21st century developing planetary defence techniques, Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart is a strong supporter of ESA’s proposed Hera mission. In general, when it comes to asteroid deflection, he says, two spacecraft are better than one.

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Europe’s JUICE Spacecraft Begins to Take Shape

Unpacking of JUICE primary structure in Lampoldshausen. (Credits: Airbus, ArianeGroup)

LAMPOLDSHAUSEN, Germany (ESA PR) — The assembly of the flight model of ESA’s JUICE spacecraft began in September, with the delivery of the spacecraft’s primary structure, followed by integration of the propulsion system that will enable the mission to reach and study Jupiter and its moons.

On 2 September, the main skeleton of JUICE was delivered to the Arianegroup facility in Lampoldshausen, Germany.

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Scientists Experiment with Growing Tissues in Space

Components of human endothelial cells stained for identification. In red is the ‘actin’ protein that allows the cells to move, adhere, divide and react to stimuli. In blue are the cell nuclei containing DNA. (Credits: Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg – Daniela Grimm)

MAGDEBURG, Germany (ESA PR) — Tissue engineering is a fast-developing field reaching new heights thanks to space research. An experiment on the International Space Station is opening up possibilities to grow artificial blood vessels for surgery on humans.

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Cygnus Vehicle Delivers Crucial Components for Upcoming Spacewalks

The Cygnus NG-12 cargo vehicle hangs out after arriving to the International Space Station on 4 November. (Credit ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The Cygnus NG-12 cargo vehicle was berthed with the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday.

The latest resupply mission includes over 4 tonnes of science experiments, crew supplies, and station hardware. It also crucially includes components essential for the series of spacewalks taking place this month.

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Space Agencies Sign Agreements to Advance Artemis Lunar Program, Commercial Space Activities

Updated Nov. 4, 2019 at 12:45 PST to include agreement between U.S. Department of Commerce and CNES.

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The world’s space agencies were busy signing agreements last month to advance lunar exploration and commercial space activities during the International Astronautical Conference in Washington, DC.

NASA signed agreements with the European Space Agency (ESA) and three national agencies in Europe focused on advancing America’s Artemis program, which aims to land astronauts on the moon in 2024.

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How ISS is Helping Pave the Way for the Moon

The moon from the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The International Space Station is a stepping stone for NASA’s Artemis  program that will land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024. As the only place for conducting long-duration research on how living in microgravity affects living organisms, especially humans, as well as testing technologies to allow humans to work at the Moon, the space station serves as a unique asset in the effort establish a sustainable presence at the Moon.

Missions to the Moon will include a combination of time aboard the  Gateway, on the lunar surface, and in multiple spacecraft including Orion and the human landing system. The skills and technologies developed to explore the Moon will help build the capabilities needed for future missions to Mars. Here are some of the ways this orbiting laboratory is contributing to the path forward to the Moon and Mars.

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Reaction Engines Awarded Contract by Nammo UK

ABINGDON, UK (Reaction Engines PR) — Reaction Engines and Nammo UK have signed an agreement for the supply of a rocket plume heat exchanger for the UK’s new National Space Propulsion Test Facility.

Nammo UK has recently been awarded a multi-million Pound contract by the European Space Agency to construct and operate the UK National Space Propulsion Test Facility at Westcott Venture Park, Buckinghamshire, UK.

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ESA’s Electromagetic Levitator Used to Melt Metals on Space Station

A free-floating molten metal suspended by electromagnetic force during 20 seconds of weightlessness on a parabolic flight. (Credit: DLR)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The Blue Dot mission saw the installation of the electromagetic levitator on the International Space Station in ESA’s Columbus laboratory. This is a furnace that can heat metals up to 2100°C and then cool them rapidly. Blacksmiths have been using this technique for centuries, creating steel tools and weapons by heating, hammering and quenching in water. This process sets the steels structure and causes it to be hard and stay sharp.

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