22 July 2014
ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst is sharing beautiful photographs from space on his social media pages. Is there something you want to ask him while he is orbiting our planet? On 22 August you could talk to him in person during ESA’s SocialSpace event.
We are inviting 40 followers to join us at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany for a SocialSpace, with Alexander joining live through a video call from the International Space Station.
The SocialSpace will take place in the homebase for all of ESA’s astronauts. As well as the main event, we will tour the premises to see how astronauts train for their missions.
The event will also include an introduction to the Station and Alex’s Blue Dot mission by an ESA astronaut, and an opportunity to meet ESA’s social media teams.
Think of what you would most like to ask Alexander in space. The 10 most interesting and original questions will be selected and will be posed directly to Alexander by the person who sent the question. People will be chosen based on their question and their presence on social media.
The most original and interesting questions will be chosen by ESA’s social media team, so research your question – every astronaut has already answered “How do you go to the toilet in space?”
How to apply
Please complete the registration form to apply. Be sure to include your name and the question you would like to ask Alexander in English.
Registration is for one person only and is non-transferable. Please do not submit multiple applications. All registrants must be at least 18 years old on 22 August 2014. Please read the full Terms and Conditions before completing your application.
Please note that ESA will not cover travel, accommodation or food expenses. The event will be held in English.
Workspace, free broadband WiFi access and catering will be provided.
Registration closes on29 July at 10:00 GMT (12:00 CEST).
Once all applications have been processed, an email with confirmation information and additional instructions will be sent to those selected and those on the waiting list.
We expect to send notifications by 4 August. Please allow us time to process all the applications. We will keep you posted of progress.
Queries may be addressed to
18 July 2014When ESA astronaut Tim Peake sets off for his six-month space journey next year, he will be flying under the mission name of Principia.
More than 4000 people replied to the call for a mission name earlier this year and Principia was suggested 20 times. The name refers to Isaac Newton’s world-changing three-part text on physics, Naturalis Principia Mathematica, describing the principal laws of motion and gravity.
Famously pondering why apples fall from trees, Newton wrote down the laws of gravity and laid the basis for working with it, a requirement for spaceflight. Tim Peake will spend six months living in weightlessness, the first time a British–ESA astronaut will visit the International Space Station.
“I am delighted with this name that honours one of Britain’s most famous scientists,” Tim says. “I hope it will also encourage people to observe the world as if for the first time – just as Isaac Newton did.
“Our planet Earth is a precious and beautiful place and we all need to safeguard it.”
Tim will be launched from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in November 2015 – and will be able to enjoy Newton’s favourite fruit as supply ships arrive at the international space laboratory. One of his aims is to inspire children during his stay in space, in particular by promoting healthy eating.
The International Space Station is first and foremost a place of science, and the six astronauts there spend much of their time working on experiments that cannot be done anywhere on Earth.
It’s a busy time in space for ESA astronauts, with Alexander Gerst currently working in the Station, Samantha Cristoforetti leaving for it in November this year, and Andreas Mogensen being launched shortly before Tim’s mission for a 10-day stay on the Station.
We visited the Farnborough Air Show yesterday. A great day out as always. Chatted to the various staff members on the ESA stand and the UK Space Agency stand. Listened to a lecture by Tim Peake.
He has had a very busy week and all of the media want a bit of him as the mission reaches the next milestone (mission name chosen-check). Space food chosen-check.
The mission patch is to be designed by children through the Blue Peter TV programme later this year.
Our grandson (space mad, but he also has a passion for steam engines and aeroplanes, especially loud ones) met up with Tim Peake at the airshow.
I was one of the twenty people that proposed the mission name……
Earlier this week with only one day’s notice, Bryar and I were invited to a champagne (neither of drink unfortunately) reception in London. We attended the event at the Royal Society for the official mission naming ceremony.
I had entered the naming competition with ‘Principia’ as my suggestion. As it turned out 19 others had also done so. Some ten winners were able to attend, we met Tim and had a chat, posed with him for some photos. He promised we would all receive a signed mission insignia from the ISS upon his return.
We also managed to get close up to a display of some of the original notes and letters handwritten by Sir Isaac Newton to create the Principia. An original telescope, Newton’s death mask and some space flown apple tree wood. Photo to follow!
We were sworn to secrecy as the name was to be officially released at the Farnborough Air Show the following evening, however events that occurred in the skies above Ukraine quite rightly took precedence. Our thoughts are with the friends and families of all involved.
Onward and upward for Major Tim.
ISSET’s Mission Discovery programme is a great opportunity for ordinary students to do something extraordinary.
High school and university students carry out biomedical research with NASA astronauts, rocket scientists and trainers for a week at one of the best universities in the world. In teams, you will propose an idea for your own biomedical experiment; the best idea will be sent to the International Space Station and put into practice in space.
With help from brilliant NASA role models, astronauts, astronaut trainers, scientists and engineers; you will learn about space through a variety of exhilarating hands-on activities, based on themes such as:
- NASA leadership and team building
- How space exploration benefits life on Earth
- Experiencing the environment of space
- Looking at different kinds of experiment & what makes them great
- How you succeed in your dreams and ambitions
To learn more or to share information about Mission Discovery at St. John’s College, Annapolis, download one of our PDF packages:
About NASA Astronaut Ken Ham
NASA EXPERIENCE: Selected by NASA in June 1998, he reported for training in August 1998. His astronaut candidate training included orientation briefings and tours, numerous scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training and ground school to prepare for T-38 flight training as well as learning water and wilderness survival techniques. Initially assigned as Ascent/Entry, Orbit and station Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM), Ham completed his first spaceflight as pilot on STS-124 and logged more than 13 days in space. He completed his second mission as commander of the STS-132 crew and has logged a total of 25 days, 12 hours, 41 minutes and 9 seconds in space. Subsequently, Ham was assigned to the Aircraft Operations Division as a T-38N instructor pilot and WB-57F research pilot. Ham left the agency in June 2012.
SPACEFLIGHT EXPERIENCE: STS-124 Discovery (May 31 to June 14, 2008) was the 123rd space shuttle flight and the 26th space shuttle flight to the International Space Station. STS-124 was launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and docked with the station on June 2, 2008, to deliver the Japanese Experiment Module-Pressurized Module (JEM-PM) and the Japanese Remote Manipulator System. The STS-124 shuttle astronauts delivered the 37-foot (11-meter) Kibo lab, added its rooftop storage room and performed three spacewalks to maintain the station and prime the new Japanese module’s robotic arm for work during the nine days it was docked at the orbiting laboratory. STS-124 also delivered a new station crew member, Expedition 17 Flight Engineer Greg Chamitoff. He replaced Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman, who returned to Earth with the STS-124 crew. The STS-124 mission was completed in 218 orbits, traveling 5,735.643 miles in 13 days, 18 hours, 13 minutes and 7 seconds.
STS-132 Atlantis (May 14 to May 26, 2010) was the 132nd space shuttle flight and the 32nd shuttle flight to the International Space Station. STS-132 launched from Kennedy Space Center and docked with the station on May 16, 2010, to deliver Rassvet, a Russian-built Mini Research Module (MRM1) to the station. STS-132 shuttle astronauts performed three spacewalks to install a spare antenna and a stowage platform, replace batteries on the P6 truss that store solar energy and retrieve a power data grapple fixture for installation at a later date. They used Atlantis’ robotic arm to remove Rassvet from the shuttle payload bay and hand it to the station robotic arm, Canadarm2, for installation on the Zarya module. The STS-132 mission was completed in 186 orbits, traveling 4,879,978 miles in 11 days, 18 hours, 28 minutes and 2 seconds.
Meet NASA Astronaut James (Jim) Dutton
Details here: http://www.thegodquestion.tv/cosmos
NASA EXPERIENCE: Dutton was selected in May 2004 as one of 14 members of the 19th NASA astronaut class. In February 2006 he completed Astronaut Candidate Training that included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in Shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training, T-38 flight training, and water and wilderness survival training. Dutton was initially assigned to the Exploration Branch working on the development of the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) cockpit and to the Capcom Branch as a shuttle capsule communicator. He served as Ascent/Entry Capcom for STS-122 in February 2008, and STS-123 in March 2008. In 2010 Dutton was the pilot on the crew of STS-131 and has logged over 362 hours in space.
SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: STS-131 Discovery (April 5-20, 2010), a resupply mission to the International Space Station, was launched at night from the Kennedy Space Center. On arrival at the station, Discovery’s crew dropped off more than 27,000 pounds of hardware, supplies and equipment, including a tank full of ammonia coolant that required three spacewalks to hook it up, new crew sleeping quarters, and three experiment racks. On the return journey the MPLM (Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module) inside Discovery’s payload bay was packed with over 6,000 pounds of hardware, science results, and trash. The STS-131 mission was accomplished in 15 days, 02 hours, 47 minutes,10 seconds, and travelled 6,232,235 statute miles in 238 orbits.
25 April 2014
Just before NASA’s latest Moon mission ended last week, an ESA telescope received laser signals from the spacecraft, achieving data speeds like those used by many to watch movies at home via fibre-optic Internet.
During an intense, three-day effort starting on 1 April, ESA’s Optical Ground Station in Spain received data signals via laser from the Moon at the stunning speed of 80 megabits per second.
The signals were transmitted from NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, or LADEE, from a distance of 400 000 km. LADEE completed its seven-month exploration and technology mission on 17 April in a planned impact on the Moon.
The speed is high enough to transmit an entire movie DVD in about eight minutes and is many times faster than provided by traditional radio links used by today’s spacecraft.
Faster than traditional radio
“We had already achieved 40 Mbit/s in our first round of laser communication with LADEE in October, so we’re pretty happy that the final test transmissions were able to double that,” says Klaus-Juergen Schulz, responsible for tracking station engineering at ESA’s ESOC operations centre.
“We also demonstrated that we could transmit laser signals to LADEE and even obtain highly accurate range data, just like our traditional but much larger radio tracking stations can. Overall, the test series has been a big success.”
ESA’s station in Spain’s Canary Islands was equipped with advanced technology developed in Switzerland, France and Denmark that could communicate with LADEE using infrared laser beams.