Ariane 5 Launch Postponed

Ariane 5 VA254 lifts off on July 30, 2021. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Due to additional checks on the ground support equipment, the flight VA255 – initially scheduled for October 22 – has been scrubbed. Investigations are ongoing in order to identify a new launch date. The Ariane 5 launch vehicle and its two spacecraft are in stable and safe conditions on the launch pad.

Arianespace will orbit two geostationary satellites: SES-17, a high throughput satellite operated by SES and SYRACUSE 4A, a telecommunications satellite developed for the French Ministry of Armed Forces.

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NASA Sets Coverage for SpaceX Crew-3 Briefings, Events, Broadcasts

SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Matthias Maurer, Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron pose for a portrait during preflight training at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. (Credit: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission with astronauts to the International Space Station. This is the third crew rotation mission with astronauts on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and the fourth flight with astronauts, including the Demo-2 test flight, as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

The launch is targeted for 2:21 a.m. EDT Sunday, Oct. 31, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Crew Dragon Endurance is scheduled to dock to the space station at 12:10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 1. Prelaunch activities, launch, and docking will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

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ESA Names First Director of Commercialization, Fills Earth Observation & Navigation Posts

Europe and the Mediterranean Basin as seen from the Along Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR) flown on board ERS-2 , the second European Remote-sensing Satellite of ESA. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — As of today, ESA has appointed three new Directors – for Commercialisation, Industry and Procurement, Earth Observation Programmes and Navigation. The new Directors were appointed by ESA Council at its meeting on 21 October; they will support the Director General with responsibility for activities and overall objectives in their respective directorates.

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Hear Sounds From Mars Captured by NASA’s Perseverance Rover

This illustration of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover indicates the location of its two microphones. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Two microphones aboard the six-wheeled spacecraft add a new dimension to the way scientists and engineers explore the Red Planet.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Thanks to two microphones aboard NASA’s Perseverance rover, the mission has recorded nearly five hours of Martian wind gusts, rover wheels crunching over gravel, and motors whirring as the spacecraft moves its arm. These sounds allow scientists and engineers to experience the Red Planet in new ways – and everyone is invited to listen in.

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Join the #Crew3 Virtual Social Celebrating NASA & ESA Astronauts Launching to the Space Station

SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Matthias Maurer, Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron pose for a portrait during preflight training at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. (Credit: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Social media users are invited to take part in another global virtual NASA Social for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission set to launch on Oct. 31 at 2:21 a.m. ET, now cohosted along with our partners at European Space Agency (ESA). This is the third crew rotation flight with astronauts on the Crew Dragon spacecraft as part of the Commercial Crew Program.

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Kepler Awarded ÆTHER Contract by ESA

TORONTO, October 18th, 2021 (Kepler Communications PR) — Kepler Communications announced today that ÆTHER, Kepler’s recently announced solution for in-space connectivity, is continuing to build momentum and has been validated with a contract win with the European Space Agency (ESA).  The value of the contract, which will see the delivery of hardware terminals capable of connecting other space assets to Kepler’s LEO communication network, is €500,000 [CAD $717,297/USD $582,725].  This contract was awarded under a programme of and funded by the European Space Agency.

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With First Martian Samples Packed, Perseverance Initiates Mars Sample Return Mission

This composite of two images shows the hole drilled by NASA’s Perseverance rover during its successful sample-collection attempt. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA, along with the European Space Agency, is developing a campaign to return the Martian samples to Earth.

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — On Sept. 1, NASA’s Perseverance rover unfurled its arm, placed a drill bit at the Martian surface, and drilled about 2 inches, or 6 centimeters, down to extract a rock core. The rover later sealed the rock core in its tube. This historic event marked the first time a spacecraft packed up a rock sample from another planet that could be returned to Earth by future spacecraft.

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NASA, SpaceX Adjust Next Crew Launch Date to Space Station

SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Matthias Maurer, Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron pose for a portrait during preflight training at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. (Credit: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA and SpaceX now are targeting 2:21 a.m. EDT Sunday, Oct. 31, for the agency’s Crew-3 launch to the International Space Station to allow additional time for spacecraft processing. The backup launch time and date is 1:10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3.

NASA astronauts Raja Chari, mission commander, Tom Marshburn, pilot, and Kayla Barron, mission specialist as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, also a mission specialist, will launch on the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft and its Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The international crew entered their official quarantine Oct. 16, and will travel to Kennedy in the coming days for final training and preparations prior to launch.

Crew-3 astronauts are scheduled for a long-duration science mission aboard the orbiting laboratory, living and working as part of what is expected to be a seven-member crew. Launch on Oct. 31 would have Crew-3 arriving at the space station early on the morning of Monday, Nov. 1, for a short handover with the astronauts who flew to the station in April as part of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission.

With the Crew-3 launch date adjustment, return of Crew-2 with NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, currently is planned for early November with splashdown of Crew Dragon Endeavour at one of seven landing zones off the coast of Florida.

SSTL Secures ESA InCubed Funding to Improve Data Throughput for Small EO Satellites

GUILDFORD, UK (Surrey Satellite PR) — Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has secured European Space Agency InCubed programme financial and technical support to demonstrate a high throughput, flexible and intelligent payload downlink chain for small Earth Observation satellites. Currently advanced and innovative satellite imaging payloads are producing data with ever increasing dimensionality, volume and rates which can exceed small satellite’s downlink bandwidth.

To tackle the onboard data bottleneck SSTL is leading a consortium that includes the University of Surrey and Craft Prospect Limited to develop and demonstrate new capabilities for SSTL’s Flexible & Intelligent Payload Chain (FIPC) solution. The FIPC’s advanced hardware architecture enables a new intelligent and adaptive data downlink and a state-of-the-art framework for software defined onboard data processing to realise a payload chain capable of handling the throughput rates of future small Earth Observation satellites. The framework enables processing applications which include data calibration and image compression to Machine Learning (ML) for image classification and information extraction towards greater satellite autonomy. 

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Funding the Future of European Space Through OSIP in 2021

Credit: ESA

PARIS (ESA PR) — What do high-tech sponges, aircraft shaped like falcons and 3D printers on the Moon have in common?

They can all be found among the topics of the 87 research and development activities funded by ESA’s Discovery & Preparation programme between November 2020 and April 2021.

ESA set up the Open Space Innovation Platform (OSIP) to discover and invest in new unconventional ideas that could greatly benefit and advance European space industry and academia.

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Putting Earth Observation into ‘the Market Perspective’

GOES-16 full disk GeoColor image from October 16, 2019. GeoColor is an RGB that approximates what the human eye would see from space. (Credit: NOAA/CIRA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — With a boom in the global market for Earth observation information and data products, participants at this year’s Φ-week conference have been digging deep into the ‘market perspective’. This important topic includes how to gain a better understanding of what governments, industry, the public and other users of Earth observation products and services need and expect to create value for society and the economy.

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Tethered Satellites for Propulsion Without Fuel

Tethered satellites for propulsion without fuel (Credit: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

MADRID, Spain (ESA PR) — How to propel a spacecraft without propellant? Use electrodynamic tethers. These are long, strong conductors connecting two spacecraft. When direct current is applied to the tether, the tether exerts a force on the spacecraft, causing it to either accelerate or brake.

Such tethers might be used to perform fuel-free orbital manoeuvres, or deorbit satellites at the end of their working lifetime to prevent buildup of orbital debris.

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in Spain has proposed an improved tether design incorporating thin film solar cells to harvest added power for the tether plasma circuit, intended for end-of-life deorbiting.

The idea was proposed through ESA’s Open Space Innovation Platform (OSIP) Open Discovery ideas Channel, seeking novel ideas for new space research activities. This innovative concept has been accepted by ESA for implementation, along with numerous others.

Amazing Winners of the First-ever Virtual European CanSat Competition

AGENCY 2021 European CanSat Competition Virtual Awards Ceremony (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Nothing could stop the 19 finalist teams of the 2021 European CanSat competition – not the Covid restrictions, nor the fact that this year’s challenge had to be run in a fully virtual mode – from performing as top space professionals and impressing the jury of experts!

The 2021 European CanSat Competition virtual edition took place from 29 September to 8 October 2021. The teams took part in this virtual campaign after either winning their national competition or being selected by ESA to represent their country in this exciting championship.

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Hubble Finds Evidence of Persistent Water Vapor in One Hemisphere of Europa

This photograph of the Jovian moon Europa was taken in June 1997 at a range of 776,700 miles by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft. Slightly smaller than Earth’s moon, Europa has a very smooth surface and the solid ice crust has the appearance of a cracked eggshell. The interior has a global ocean with more water than found on Earth. It could possibly harbor life as we know it. Hubble Space Telescope observations of Europa have revealed the presence of persistent water vapor in its very tenuous atmosphere. Hubble observations, spanning 1999 to 2015, find that water vapor is constantly being replenished throughout one hemisphere of the moon. This is a different finding from Hubble’s 2013 observations that found localized water vapor from geysers venting from its subsurface ocean. This water vapor comes from a different process entirely. Sunlight causes the surface ice to sublimate, transitioning directly into gas. This color composite Galileo view combines violet, green, and infrared images. The view of the moon is shown in natural color (left) and in enhanced color designed to bring out subtle color differences in the surface (right). The bright white and bluish part of Europa’s surface is composed mostly of water ice, with very few non-ice materials. Long, dark lines are fractures in the crust, some of which are more than 1,850 miles long. The Galileo mission ended on Sept. 21, 2003, when the spacecraft was intentionally commanded to dive into Jupiter’s atmosphere, where it was destroyed. However, to this day scientists continue to study the data it collected. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California managed the Galileo mission for NASA’s Office of Space Science, Washington, DC. JPL is an operating division of California Institute of Technology (Caltech). This image and other images and data received from Galileo are posted on the Galileo mission home page. Background information and educational context are also available for the images. (Credits: NASA, NASA-JPL, University of Arizona)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope observations of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa have revealed the presence of persistent water vapor – but, mysteriously, only in one hemisphere.

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ESA, European Defence Agency Team Up to Improve Space Cyber Security

PARIS (ESA PR) — The European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Defence Agency (EDA) today agreed to further deepen their already close cooperation around cyber-resilience, aiming to strengthen Europe’s capacity to protect systems and networks critical for space.

Why it matters: Cyber-attacks can target individuals, companies and public institutions and civil services such as energy grids, water treatment and distribution, financial markets, autonomous vehicles and supply chains for food and medical goods like vaccines. And these all increasingly reply on satellites and space-based services.

ESA is committed to protecting its space assets and those of its partners and Member States. To that end, cyber-resilience is an on-going project, and includes activities such as ESA’s Cyber Centre of Excellence and Cyber Security Operations Centre. 

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