Galileo Navigation Satellites in Place for Dec. 2 Launch From French Guiana

Galileo satellites 27 – 28 being lowered onto their Fregat upper stage ahead of their launch on 2 December 2021. (Credit: ESA-CNES-Arianespace Optique Video du CSG – P Baudon)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — Europe’s next two Galileo satellites have been attached to the dispenser on which they will ride to orbit, and the launcher fairing that will protect them during the first part of the ascent to orbit has been closed around the pair.

Galileo satellites 27 – 28 are scheduled to be launched by Soyuz launcher from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on 2 December at 01:31 CET (1 December at 21:31:27 local Kourou time).

(more…)

Planetary Defenders: After NASA’s DART Comes ESA’s Hera Mission

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirect Test, DART, mission is intended to collide with the smaller of two bodies of the Didymos binary asteroid system in autumn 2022. ESA’s Hera mission will then perform follow-up post-impact observations. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The world will be watching the milestone launch of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, DART, spacecraft on Wednesday, 24 November, intended to alter one small part of the Solar System forever.

DART will collide with the small moon of an asteroid in order to shift its orbit around its parent body – to test the concept of diverting threatening objects away from Earth.

(more…)

Testing Mini-radar to Peer Inside an Asteroid

Juventas CubeSat undergoing tests at ESTEC in The Netherlands. (Credit: ESA-P. de Maagt)

NOORDWIJK, The Netherlands (ESA PR) — A specially upgraded radio-frequency chamber in ESA’s technical heart is testing what is set to become the smallest radar system to be flown in space, hosted aboard a breadbox-sized spacecraft.

(more…)

ESA Scales Up Planetary Defense Facilities

Europe’s Planetary Defenders settle into their new home. (Credit: ESA)

FRASCATI, Italy (ESA PR) — The new heart of ESA’s Planetary Defence Office was inaugurated today, heralding a new chapter in the Agency’s work to protect Earth from dangerous near-Earth objects, aka asteroids.

For years, ESA has been dedicated to opening our eyes to hazards in space, and when it came to asteroids this meant ensuring Europe had the capability to detect, track and understand what’s out there.

(more…)

Studying Wound Healing in Hypergravity

The FORTE team with staff supporting the Educational Campaign Spin Your Thesis! (Credit: ESA)

NOORDWIJK, The Netherlands (ESA PR) — A team of students from the SCK•CEN (Belgian nuclear research centre) located in Mol, Belgium, began their hypergravity research campaign at ESA’s Large Diameter Centrifuge (LDC) at ESTEC on 27 September and successfully completed their experiment on 1 October.

(more…)

Dutch Experiment Adds New Dimension to Research Mission to the Moons of Jupiter

JUICE wants to determine what is under the ice of Jupiter’s moons. (Source: Airbus)

NOORDWIJK, The Netherlands (Netherlands Space Office PR) — ESA’s new space probe JUICE – which stands for Jupiter Icy moons Explorer – will be tested this month at the ESTEC testing centre in Noordwijk. The Netherlands is responsible for powering JUICE with solar panels developed by Airbus in Leiden. Our country is also involved in the mission on a scientific level. Scientists and engineers from Delft University of Technology are preparing for their work on this mission together with their colleagues from JIVE in Dwingeloo. They will use radio telescopes located all over the planet, including in Westerbork in the Dutch province of Drenthe, to closely monitor the planetary explorer’s progress. In this manner, they are paving the way for ground-breaking scientific research of the icy moons of Jupiter.

(more…)

ESA Funds Research into Lunar Cave Explorer

DAEDALUS robot (Credit: Julius-Maximilians-University)

WURZBURG, Germany (ESA PR) — What might look like a dangling hamster ball is actually a robotic sphere to explore the depths of lunar caves.

Designed by a team coordinated by Germany’s Julius-Maximilians-Universität of Würzburg (JMU), the Descent And Exploration in Deep Autonomy of Lunar Underground Structures, DAEDALUS, robot is being evaluated by ESA’s Concurrent Design Facility, as part of a larger study of lunar cave mission concepts.

(more…)

ESA Develops Breakthrough Mesh Reflector for Shaped Radio Beams

A prototype 2.6-m diameter metal-mesh antenna reflector. (Credit: Leri Datashvili/Large Space Structures GmbH)

NOORDWIJK, Netherlands (ESA PR) — This prototype 2.6-m diameter metal-mesh antenna reflector represents a big step forward for the European space sector: versions can be manufactured to reproduce any surface pattern that antenna designers wish, something that was previously possible only with traditional solid antennas.

(more…)

ESA Selects New CubeSat Missions for Fly Your Satellite Program

Fly Your Satellite! selection workshop (Credit: ESA)

NOORDWIJK, Netherlands (ESA PR) — Three university teams have been selected for the third edition of the Fly Your Satellite! programme following a call for proposals open in the second half of 2019. The CubeSats’ evaluation and selection was carried out by a CubeSat Evaluation Panel, consisting of ESA experts from a range of disciplines. 

(more…)

Qarman CubeSat: Falling Into a Fireball

ESA’s next CubeSat mission seen enduring the scorching heat of simulated atmospheric reentry inside the world’s largest plasma wind tunnel. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA’s latest mission will enter the vacuum of space, not aboard a rocket but by being released from the International Space Station. The first task of the shoebox-sized Qarman CubeSat is simply to fall. While typical space missions resist orbital decay, Qarman will drift down month by month until it reenters the atmosphere, at which point it will gather a wealth of data on the fiery physics of reentry.

(more…)

ESA Opens Oxygen Plant – Making Air Out of Moondust

ESA research fellow Alexandre Meurisse and Beth Lomax of the University of Glasgow preparing to make oxygen and metal out of simulated moondust inside ESA’s Materials and Electrical Components Laboratory. (Credit: ESA–A. Conigili)

ESA’s technical heart has begun to produce oxygen out of simulated moondust.

NOORDWIJK, The Netherlands (ESA PR) — A prototype oxygen plant has been set up in the Materials and Electrical Components Laboratory of the European Space Research and Technology Centre, ESTEC, based in Noordwijk in the Netherlands.

(more…)

ESA Calls for Industry to Extend ISS Columbus Lab Capabilities

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano sets up University of Edinburgh experiment Biorock by installing experiment containers in the small temperature-controlled Kubik incubators onboard the International Space Station. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The International Space Station is open for business and ESA is calling on industry to help extend the capabilities of Europe’s Columbus laboratory to support science and technology in space beyond 2024.

Columbus is Europe’s single largest contribution to the International Space Station. Launched in 2008, it is the first permanent European research facility in space.

(more…)

Jumping Space Robot Flies Like Spacecraft

Spacebok jumping in simulated lunar gravity. (Credit; ETH Zurich/ZHAW Zurich)

NOORDWIJK, The Netherlands (ESA ) — Astronauts on the Moon found themselves hopping around, rather than simply walking. Switzerland’s SpaceBok planetary exploration robot has followed their example, launching all four legs off the ground during tests at ESA’s technical heart.

SpaceBok is a quadruped robot designed and built by a Swiss student team from ETH Zurich and ZHAW Zurich. It is currently being tested using robotic facilities at ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in the Netherlands.

(more…)











ESA Sets Up CubeSat Central for Smaller Space Missions

Qarman CubeSat in Hertz chamber (Credit: ESA)

NOORDWIJK, Netherlands, 2 April 2019 (ESA PR) — ESA has set up a dedicated unit to work on the standardised nanosatellites called ‘CubeSats’, teaming up with European companies to develop low-cost technology-testing missions. Missions in preparation include a double CubeSat to test rendezvous and docking techniques, and one to explore near-Earth asteroids.

(more…)











Reaction Engines Signs ESA Contract

Skylon concept (Credit: Reaction Engines)
Skylon concept (Credit: Reaction Engines)

FARNBOROUGH, UK (Reaction Engines PR) — Reaction Engines Ltd., today announces the signing of a €10m European Space Agency (ESA) contract which will enable the development of a ground based demonstrator of SABRE™, a new class of aerospace engine which is highly scalable with multiple potential applications in hypersonic travel and space access.

(more…)