Video: ESA’s Highlights of 2019

Video Caption: As the year comes to a close, it is once again time to look back and reflect on some of the achievements and highlights of European spaceflight.

The new Gaia star catalogue and the launch of Cheops are keeping ESA at the forefront of space science, as will Solar Orbiter, being prepared for launch next year.

The Copernicus programme continues to be the largest Earth observation programme in the world, with ESA preparing even more missions.

On the Space Station, Luca Parmitano became the third European to command an ISS expedition. During his second mission, he made some of the space programme’s most complex and demanding spacewalks.

At the end of 2019, the ESA Space19+ ministerial conference agreed to give ESA its largest budget ever and expressed continued support for Europe’s independent access to space with Ariane 6 and Vega-C.

Astronauts Wrap Up Third Spacewalk for Cosmic Particle Detector Repairs

Astronauts Luca Parmitano and Andrew Morgan are pictured during a spacewalk to continue upgrading the station’s cosmic particle detector, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Expedition 61 Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan concluded their spacewalk at 12:33 p.m. EST. During the six hour and two minute spacewalk, the two astronauts successfully installed a new cooling system for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS).

The crew completed the primary task to install the upgraded cooling system, called the upgraded tracker thermal pump system (UTTPS), completed the power and data cable connection for the system, and connected all eight cooling lines from the AMS to the new system. The intricate connection work required making a clean cut for each existing stainless steel tube connected to the AMS then connecting it to the new system through a process of metalworking known as swaging.

The astronauts also completed an additional task to install an insulating blanket on the nadir side of the AMS to replace the heat shield and blanket they removed during the first spacewalk to begin the repair work. The flight control team on Earth initiated power-up of the system and confirmed it is receiving power and data.

It is the first long day of a very busy several weeks for the space station crew, with two cargo resupply spacecraft launching to the station loaded with science investigations; a SpaceX Dragon is scheduled to lift off at 12:51 p.m. Wednesday, and a Russian Progress is set to launch Friday at 4:34 a.m. Crew members then will be focused on the spacecrafts’ arrivals and associated work.

Meanwhile, teams on Earth will evaluate the date for the planned fourth spacewalk to conduct leak checks for the spectrometer’s refurbished cooling lines and complete the work to resume operations of the cosmic ray detector.

For more information about the AMS science and spacewalks, listen to the recent podcasts:

Parmitano has now conducted five spacewalks in his career for a total of 26 hours and 53 minutes, and Morgan has logged 39 hours and 32 minutes during six spacewalks since his arrival on the station in July. It was the 11th spacewalk at the station this year.

Space station crew members have conducted a total of 224 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 58 days 15 hours and 43 minutes working outside the station.

Learn more about space station activities by following @space_station  and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Watch Third AMS Repair Spacewalk Live on Monday

Spacewalker Luca Parmitano is guided on the Canadarm2 robotic arm toward the work site on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, the space station’s cosmic particle detector. (Credit: NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano and his spacewalking buddy NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan will venture beyond the International Space Station’s airlock for the third time on 2 December as part of a complex series of spacewalks to service the Station’s cosmic ray detector AMS-02.

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Canadarm2 to Capture Dragon Cargo Ship as Canadian Science Continues

Spacewalker Luca Parmitano is guided on the Canadarm2 robotic arm toward the work site on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, the space station’s cosmic particle detector. (Credit: NASA)

LONGUEUIL, Quebec (CSA PR) — On December 4, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will launch from Cape Canaveral aboard a Falcon 9 rocket, destined for the International Space Station (ISS).

Three days later, European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA’s Jessica Meir will use Canadarm2 to capture the unpiloted vehicle. Robotics flight controllers will then berth it to the Station, where it is expected to remain for about a month.

The resupply mission includes equipment for ongoing Canadian heart study Vascular Aging:

  • two glucose test kits, which help researchers measure insulin resistance in space; and
  • three Bio-Monitor smart shirts, part of an innovative Canadian-made system that simplifies scientific data collection by easily tracking astronaut vital signs in space.

The upcoming cosmic catch marks a return to more typical activities for the 17-metre-long robotic arm. During recent spacewalks to repair the  ISS‘s cosmic particle detector, Canadarm2 served as a support for Parmitano, who was anchored to Canadarm2’s foot restraint. Throughout the operations, Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen guided the spacewalkers from the Mission Control Center in Houston.

Live coverage of Dragon’s launch will be available on NASA TV on  Dec. 4, beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET. Rendezvous and capture operations will also be broadcast on December 7, starting at 4:30 a.m. ET.

Astronauts Complete Intricate Tasks During Second Cosmic Repair Spacewalk

Spacewalker Luca Parmitano is guided on the Canadarm2 robotic arm toward the work site on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, the space station’s cosmic particle detector. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Expedition 61 Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan concluded their spacewalk at 1:35 p.m. EST. During the six-hour and 33-minute spacewalk, the two astronauts successfully cut a total of eight stainless steel tubes, including one that vented the remaining carbon dioxide from the old cooling pump on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS). The crew members also prepared a power cable and installed a mechanical attachment device in advance of installing the new cooling system.

Today’s work clears the way for Parmitano and Morgan’s next spacewalk in the repair series Monday Dec. 2. The plan is to bypass the old thermal control system by attaching a new one off the side of AMS during the third spacewalk, and then conduct leak checks on a fourth spacewalk.

For more on the AMS science and spacewalks, listen to the recent podcasts:

Space station crew members have conducted 223 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 58 days 9 hours and 41 minutes working outside the station. Parmitano has now conducted three spacewalks in his career and Morgan has now logged four spacewalks since his arrival on the station in July.

Keep up with the crew aboard the International Space Station on the agency’s blog, follow @ISS on Instagram, and @space_station on Twitter.

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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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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Controlling Robots Across Oceans and Space

A prototype rover is commanded to drive in and sample a quarry resembling a lunar site. The image shows a virtual reality impression of the test. The rover is a key element of the ESA-led Heracles mission in cooperation with the Canadian Space Agency CSA and Japan’s JAXA space agency. (Credit: Canadian Space Agency)

PARIS (ESA PR) — This Autumn is seeing a number of experiments controlling robots from afar, with ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano directing a robot in The Netherlands and engineers in Germany controlling a rover in Canada.

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ISS Report: Station Science Returns and a Spacecraft Shuffle

Space station cupola view (Credit: ESA/NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano’s Beyond mission has kicked into high gear during the last two weeks. He has been keeping the International Space Station running smoothly as well as working remotely with European researchers – with even Luca’s mealtimes the subject of experimental scrutiny.

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Soyuz MS-13 Re-docks with Space Station; Soyuz MS-14 to Try Again

Soyuz MS-13 re-docked to the International Space Station. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On August, 26 the Soyuz MS-13 piloted spacecraft was successfully redocked from the Zvezda module to the Poisk module of the Russian segment of the International Space Station.   

Earlier the crew including Alexander Skvortsov, Luca Parmitano and Andrew Morgan transferred into the spacecraft and closed the transfer hatches. After checking the sealing and carrying out the necessary preparations the crew prepared for undocking.   

At 03:35 UTC the Soyuz MS-13 detached from the ISS. After making a fly-around of the ISS, at 03:59 UTC it docked to the Poisk module. All the operations were performed by Alexander Skvortsov using the manual control system.   

The freed up Zvezda module berth will be used to dock the Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft, which is scheduled for August, 27 at 03:12 UTC. The spacecraft test launch took place on August, 22 with its automatic docking to the ISS called off due to technical issues.

Satellite Software Contest on Space Station as Crew Tests Organ Printing

The International Space Station as it appears in 2018. Zarya is visible at the center of the complex, identifiable by its partially retracted solar arrays. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The International Space Station is the setting today for a student competition to control tiny, free-floating satellites aboard the orbiting lab. Meanwhile, the Expedition 60 crewmembers conducted a variety of research operations and continued configuring a pair of spacesuits.

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Two Weeks of Science and Beyond

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano performs a European experiment called GRIP that studies astronauts’ perception of of mass and movement and how they interface with the human body and change in microgravity. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Over two weeks have flown by since ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano was launched to the International Space Station for his second six-month stay in orbit. His arrival, alongside NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan and Roscosmos Soyuz commander Alexander Skvortsov, boosted the Station’s population to six and the crew has been busy ever since – performing a wide range of science in space.

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Three Expedition 60 Crew Members Heading to Station on Apollo 50th

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Expedition 60 crew members Drew Morgan of NASA, Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) pose for pictures July 5, 2019, in front of their Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft during prelaunch preparations. (Credits: Roscosmos/Andrey Shelepin)

Update: The crew arrived safely at the space station six hours after launch.

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (NASA PR) — Fifty years to the day that astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped on the Moon in a giant leap for humanity, NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan and two fellow crew members arrived Saturday for their mission aboard the International Space Station, where humans have lived and worked continuously for more than 18 years.

The Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft carrying Morgan, Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) and Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos launched at 12:28 p.m. EDT July 20 (9:28 p.m. Kazakhstan time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and has safely reached orbit.  At the time of launch, the station was flying about 254 miles over southern Russia between Kazakhstan and Mongolia, 646 miles ahead of the Soyuz as it left the launch pad.

The crew has begun their six-hour trip to the orbital laboratory where they will live and work for their mission. Coverage of the Soyuz docking to the International Space Station will begin on NASA TV and the agency’s website at 6 p.m., with the spacecraft docking expected at 6:50 p.m.

Coverage of the hatch opening between the Soyuz and the space station will begin at 8 p.m.

For continued coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

NASA to Broadcast Launch, Arrival of Astronaut Andrew Morgan at Space Station

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Expedition 60 crew members Drew Morgan of NASA, Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) pose for pictures July 5, 2019, in front of their Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft during prelaunch preparations. They will launch July 20, 2019 from Baikonur for their mission on the International Space Station. (Credits: Roscosmos/Andrey Shelepin)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (NASA PR) — A multinational crew of space travelers, including NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, is scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station on Saturday, July 20 – the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s historic landing on the Moon. NASA Television and the agency’s website will provide live coverage of the crew’s launch and arrival.

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