PARIS (ESA PR) — An ESA-backed project is harnessing satnav to insert an intelligent sense of place and time to power grids, to provide early warning of potentially dangerous electricity network failures.Four years ago an apparent fire from nowhere forced the evacuation of 5 000 people from central London. Thick black smoke and choking fumes emerged from manhole covers as power was cut off to the Holborn neighbourhood. The local London Underground station was shuttered, along with West End theatres and law courts
COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — The European Data Relay Satellite System (EDRS), also known as the ‘space data highway’, is setting a new standard in real-time data transfer. The innovative laser nodes can transport data volumes of up to 1.8 gigabits per second to Earth, with minimal delay. The programme’s first communication node, EDRS-A, was launched on 29 January 2016, and is already providing relay services for data transfer from the four Sentinel satellites of the EU Copernicus Earth observation programme. The advantage is that the Earth observation satellites can deliver significantly more data to the ground faster and thus also better serve the end user (see info box). The first dedicated satellite in the series – EDRS-C – was designed, constructed and tested in Germany. It has been thoroughly tested over the past 11 months and will begin its journey to Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana in June 2019. It will be launched into a geostationary orbit on 24 July 2019 on board an Ariane 5 launch vehicle.
PARIS (ESA PR) — The first commercial microsatellite developed under ESA’s SAT‐AIS programme for tracking ships, called ESAIL, has passed another milestone. On 9 May its Canadian operator exactEarth signed the launch service agreement with Arianespace.ESAIL is part of ESA’s Partnership Projects and has been developed to enhance the next generation of space‐based services for the maritime sector. The spacecraft will track ship movements over the entire globe as it orbits the planet.
Satellite coverage is essential as about 90% of global trade takes place on the oceans. It opens the door to enhanced safety, tracking ships and route provisions for industry, government and maritime authorities.
PARIS (ESA PR) — Solving the growing problem of space debris will require everyone who flies rockets and satellites to adhere to sustainable practices, which doesn’t always happen. Now there will be a way to recognise those who do.
Production of this initial batch of Ariane 6 launchers, which are to fly during the 2021-2023 timeframe, will be in parallel with the final batch of 8 Ariane 5 launchers.
These first series-production Ariane 6 launchers will roll out of the ArianeGroup plants from early 2021.
Ariane 6 is carried out within a European Space Agency (ESA) program. The Ariane 6 maiden flight is scheduled for 2020.
EVRY-COURCOURONNES, France (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace has signed an order with ArianeGroup to begin manufacturing the first series-production batch of 14 Ariane 6 launchers across the European space industry.
PARIS, 1 May 2019 (ESA PR) — Small enough to be an aircraft carry-on, the Juventas spacecraft nevertheless has big mission goals. Once in orbit around its target body, Juventas will unfurl an antenna larger than itself, to perform the very first subsurface radar survey of an asteroid.
ESA’s proposed Hera mission for planetary defence will explore the twin Didymos asteroids, but it will not go there alone: it will also serve as mothership for Europe’s first two ‘CubeSats’ to travel into deep space.
PARIS, 4 May 2019 — Wrinkles, muscle pain, high blood pressure and a clumsy brain are all natural consequences of getting old. As our cells rust over time, a key to fighting chronic disease may be in tiny, smartly designed particles that have the potential to become an anti-ageing supplement. A European experiment seeking innovative antioxidants is on its way to space.
PARIS (ESA PR) — From Earth asteroids appear as little more than dots in the sky. Europe’s miniature APEX spacecraft will operate as a mineral prospector in deep space, surveying the make-up of its target asteroids down to individual boulders, helping prepare the way for future mining missions.
WASHINGTON (ESA PR) — For the first time, ESA will cover a major international asteroid impact exercise live via social media, highlighting the the actions that might be taken by scientists, space agencies and civil protection organisations.
Every two years, asteroid experts from across the globe come together to simulate a fictional but plausible imminent asteroid impact on Earth. During the week-long scenario, participants – playing roles such as ‘national government’, ‘space agency’, ‘astronomer’ and ‘civil protection office’ – don’t know how the situation will evolve from one day to the next, and must make plans based on the daily updates they are given.
For the first time, ESA will cover progress of the hypothetical impact scenario from 29 April to 3 May live via social media, primarily via the @esaoperations Twitter channel. (more…)
PARIS (ESA PR) — Incoming asteroids have been scarring our home planet for billions of years. This month humankind left our own mark on an asteroid for the first time: Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft dropped a copper projectile at very high speed in an attempt to form a crater on asteroid Ryugu. A much bigger asteroid impact is planned for the coming decade, involving an international double-spacecraft mission.
FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (Airbus PR) – Airbus is bringing another experimental system to the International Space Station (ISS) in the form of the photobioreactor (PBR). The PBR, developed by the University of Stuttgart and built by Airbus on behalf of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), is designed to convert part of the CO2 extracted by the ‘LSR’ Life Support Rack on board the ISS into oxygen and biomass, which could help to save valuable resources during future long-term missions into space.
SWINDON, England (UKSA PR) — Collaboration between the UK and France has developed a sophisticated forecasting instrument that will set new standards of accuracy in short term weather prediction.
Using high-performance infrared detectors made in Southampton, the new device will improve short-range weather forecasts by monitoring atmospheric instability and cloud structure. It will also analyse the content of the Earth’s atmosphere, detecting and tracking pollutants around the globe. (more…)
PARIS (ESA PR) — Engineers designing ESA’s Hera planetary defence mission to the Didymos asteroid pair are developing advanced technology to let the spacecraft steer itself through space, taking a similar approach to self-driving cars.
“If you think self-driving cars are the future on Earth, then Hera is the pioneer of autonomy in deep space,” explains Paolo Martino, lead systems engineer of ESA’s proposed Hera mission. “While the mission is designed to be fully operated manually from ground, the new technology will be tested once the core mission objectives are achieved and higher risks can be taken.”
PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA aims to harness a new resource for future space activities: ideas from European researchers, businesses and the general public. Through its new Open Space Innovation Platform (OSIP), anyone is welcome to respond to space-related challenges.
The Agency’s new Open Space Innovation Platform website is a streamlined entry point for novel ideas, both in response to specific problems and open calls. The platform forms part of a wider effort to support the future competitiveness of European space industry with early technology development, implementing the new Space Technology Strategy.