Orion Milestone Set for 2014

22 November 2013

A milestone in developing Europe’s contribution to NASA’s Orion crew vehicle, expected to take human crews beyond Earth orbit later this decade, has been set for next May. The period until then will allow for an in depth design analysis for the proposed European hardware.

Using Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) technology proven in flight, Europe will contribute hardware and expertise to the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle.

 The activity highlights the major involvement of ESA and European industry in this cornerstone NASA project, and is based on the long-standing partnership of the two Agencies across many areas of human and robotic spaceflight.

Swarm Launch

 

22 November 2013

ESA’s three-satellite Swarm constellation was lofted into a near-polar orbit by a Russian Rockot launcher this afternoon. For four years, it will monitor Earth’s magnetic field, from the depth of our planet’s core to the heights of its upper atmosphere.

The Swarm satellites will give us unprecedented insights into the complex workings of the magnetic shield that protects our biosphere from charged particles and cosmic radiation. They will perform precise measurements to evaluate its current weakening and understand how it contributes to global change.

The Rockot launcher lifted off from the Plesetsk spaceport in northern Russia at 12:02 GMT (13:02 CET) on 22 November.

Some 91 minutes later, its Breeze-KM upper stage released the three satellites into a near-polar circular orbit at an altitude of 490 km.

Contact was established with the trio minutes later through the Kiruna station in Sweden and the Svalbard station in Norway.

All three satellites are controlled by ESA teams at the European Space Operation Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. In the next hours they will deploy their 4 m-long instrument booms. Over the next three months of commissioning, their scientific payloads will be verified and they will move to their respective operational orbits.

The lower pair will fly in formation side by side, about 150 km (10 seconds) apart at the equator and at an initial altitude of 460 km, while the upper satellite will rise to a higher orbit, at 530 km.

“Swarm is about to fill a gap in our view of the Earth system and in our monitoring of global change issues,” noted Volker Liebig, ESA’s director for Earth observation.

“It will help us to better understand the field that protects us from the particles and radiation coming from the Sun.”

 

Cubesats Released From Space Station

Cubesats released from the ISS

Cubesats released from the ISS

(19 Nov. 2013) — Three nanosatellites, known as Cubesats, are deployed from a Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (SSOD) attached to the Kibo laboratory’s robotic arm at 7:10 a.m. (EST) on Nov. 19, 2013. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata, Expedition 38 flight engineer, monitored the satellite deployment while operating the Japanese robotic arm from inside Kibo. The Cubesats were delivered to the International Space Station Aug. 9, aboard Japan’s fourth H-II Transfer Vehicle, Kounotori-4.

Image Credit: NASA

What might recyclable satellites look like?

A now-derelict satellite

22 November 2013No matter how painstakingly we choose the materials to build satellites, once a mission is over they are just so much junk. But what if one day they could be recycled in space for future missions – perhaps as construction material, fuel or even food?

As part of its Clean Space initiative, ESA is looking for new ideas on materials that could be recycled or converted into different, useful resources for other processes.

It costs a lot to put anything into space – a payload typically costs its own weight in gold – and the further it travels out into the Solar System the more valuable it becomes. So recycling or converting space hardware for follow-on missions could bring significant added value.

Full article here

Full View of Asteroid Vesta

Full View of Asteroid Vesta
As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft travels to its next destination, this mosaic synthesizes some of the best views the spacecraft had of the giant asteroid Vesta. Dawn studied Vesta from July 2011 to September 2012. The towering mountain at the south pole – more than twice the height of Mount Everest – is visible at the bottom of the image. The set of three craters known as the “snowman” can be seen at the top left.
These images are the last in Dawn’s Image of the Day series during the cruise to Dawn’s second destination, Ceres. A full set of Dawn data is being archived at http://pds.nasa.gov/ .
The Dawn mission to Vesta and Ceres is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington D.C. UCLA is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. The Dawn framing cameras were developed and built under the leadership of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany, with significant contributions by DLR German Aerospace Center, Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin, and in coordination with the Institute of Computer and Communication Network Engineering, Braunschweig. The Framing Camera project is funded by the Max Planck Society, DLR, and NASA/JPL.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCAL/MPS/DLR/IDA

NASA, Space Station Partners Announce Future Crew Members

NASA and its international partners have appointed future crew members for the International Space Station.

NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake are scheduled to launch in December 2015 and return to Earth in spring 2016. They will join the Expedition 45 crew members in orbit and will remain aboard as part of Expedition 46 with yearlong expedition Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineer Mikhail Kornienko.

This will be the second long-duration spaceflight for Kopra, a former U.S. Army helicopter pilot and graduate of the U.S. Military Academy. Kopra was a flight engineer aboard the station during Expedition 20 in 2009. This will be the first spaceflight for Peake, a former British Army helicopter pilot and graduate of the Royal Military Academy.

The Expedition 45 crew will be:

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, station commander —

Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, flight engineer —

NASA astronaut Tim Kopra, flight engineer —

ESA astronaut Tim Peake, flight engineer

Apollo 17 Commemorative Medallion Contains Metal Flown the Lunar Surface

Apollo 17 Medallion Minted With Flown To Lunar Surface Metal

 

To celebrate 10 Years of trading Moonpans.com have commissioned their first ever Medallion. They measure 1.75 inch diameter and contain metal that spent 3 days on the Lunar Surface inside Lunar Module, Challenger. The front depicts the Apollo 17 Emblem in a beautiful three dimensional render, with the rear showing the famous Gene Cernan ‘John Wayne’ pose again in three dimensions. Both sides have a black enamel ring behind the text.


The Medallions were minted by space medallion specialists, Winco International. A limited edition of 2000 medallions worldwide.
Each order comes with a protective circular plastic case, and a Moonpans COA card.

Available now from the Spaceboosters Online Store.

apollo-17-medallion-minted-with-flown-to-lunar-surface-metal-[3]-2444-p Apollo 17 limited edition medallion minted with lunar flown metal

ESA Euronews: The re-entry test

ESA Euronews: The re-entry test

European Space Agency sent this email alert on 28-08-2013 12:45 PM CEST

Europe’s newest spacecraft, the IXV, or Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle, has moved a step closer to its planned launch in 2014.

The Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) is a European Space Agency (ESA) experimental re-entry vehicle intended to validate European reusable launchers which could be evaluated in the frame of the FLPP program. The IXV development would be carried out under the leadership of the NGL Prime SpA company. It would inherit of the principles of previous studies such as CNES’ Pre-X and ESA’s AREV (Atmospheric Re-entry Experimental Vehicle).

Andreas Mogensen set for Soyuz mission to Space Station in 2015

Andreas Mogensen

28 August 2013ESA’s Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen has been assigned to be launched on a Soyuz spacecraft from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in September 2015 for a mission to the International Space Station.

This 10-day mission will be Andreas’s first flight into space and the first ever space mission by a Danish astronaut.

The flight is directly connected to the new era in ISS operations: two experienced spacefarers from the USA and Russia will work on the Station for one year from May 2015. During his stay onboard the ISS, he will conduct a series of experiments preparing future missions and testing new technologies.

“I’m happy to announce this mission as this is already the fifth flight assignment for the class recruited in 2009,” said Thomas Reiter, ESA’s Director of Human Spaceflight and Operations.

“With first of the new class, Luca Parmitano, currently working on the Space Station, and three other astronauts already training for their imminent missions, ESA’s new astronauts are very busy.

“Thanks to the decisions of the Member States at the Ministerial Council last November, we will be able to fulfil our commitment to fly all six newly selected astronauts before the end of 2017,” said Mr Reiter.

“This mission is the fulfilment of a life-long dream and the culmination of many years of hard work and training,” said Andreas Mogensen.

“I am excited to be able to participate in ESA’s outstanding programme of science and technology development on board the International Space Station and I am honoured to represent Denmark and Europe in space. The mission is a unique opportunity for Europe to develop and test the technologies necessary for the future of human space exploration.”

New technology and science mission

The launch of the mission will take place on 30 September, 2015 with the launch of Soyuz TMA-18 (44S) and it will end on 10 October, when Andreas will land with Soyuz TMA-16 (42S).

During his flight, Andreas will test novel ways of interaction between the ground and space crews with a mobile device that allows astronauts to operate it hands-free and with several multi-user communication techniques. The system will have also advanced 3D visualisation and augmented reality –features that will be fully exploited with added wearable computers and cameras to allow the general public to follow activities on the ISS ‘through the eyes of an ESA astronaut’ potentially in real time.

Andreas’s short mission is an excellent opportunity for several science studies, particularly in life science. By adding samples and measurements from a short-duration mission astronaut to material gathered and being collected during long-duration missions, the value of the biomedical statistics is increased. All the instrumentation needed for physiology, biology and material science experiments is already available in the Columbus laboratory and samples can be returned quickly back to Earth for further analysis.

A short-duration mission is also perfect for testing a new generation of health sensors, vital measurement devices and electro-muscle-mobility devices. These have direct benefit for future exploration missions and even sooner on Earth, for instance with operators of heavy machinery or with rehabilitation after sports injuries.

Andreas will be specially suited too: he will assess a new ‘skinsuit’ during normal daily activities. This is tight garment made from elastic material mimicking Earth gravity and thus passively mitigating deconditioning of an astronaut’s body during spaceflight.

Along with the Soyuz arrival, the ISS will host up to nine persons for a while – a record that has not been broken since retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011.

Between Luca’s ongoing mission and flight of Andreas in 2015, ESA astronauts Alexander Gerst and Samantha Cristoforetti, are scheduled for launch in 2014 for long-duration missions to the Station. After Andreas, the next European destined for space will be Tim Peake, who will start his long-duration mission on the ISS as a member of the Expedition 46/47 in December 2015.

High-flying engineer

This new technology packed mission will be a dream flight for an aerospace engineer like Andreas. Not only will the mission include many firsts and demonstrations, but also Andreas will fly as the flight engineer in the ‘left seat’ of Soyuz, making him second-in-command of their vehicle.

Andreas was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 2 November 1976, and he received a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Imperial College London, UK, in 1999, followed by a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas, Austin, USA, in 2007.

He was selected as an ESA astronaut in May 2009 and completed the astronaut basic training programme in November 2010 with the five other astronauts of the 2009 class. Andreas is a qualified Eurocom at the Columbus Control Centre in Munich, where he has been communicating with the astronauts on the International Space Station.

In addition to his training and work activities, Andreas worked for ESA on the Lunar Lander programme at ESTEC, Noordwijk, the Netherlands, where he was involved in the design of the guidance, navigation and control system for a precision lunar landing.

From his homebase at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, Andreas will start his mission training with the partners of the International Space Station. This will take him to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, USA, and Star City, near Moscow, Russia, as well as Japan and Canada.

Andreas blogs about space exploration and his astronaut training activities in Danish at videnskab.dk/profil/andreas-mogensen.

Luca Skywalker

this_sure_beats_any_selfie_I_ve_done_up_to_now_fullwidth changing_the_socket_on_my_PGT_after_recovering_the_CPLA_fullwidth my_wrist_mirror_refects_my_visor_which_reflects_the_Earth_fullwidth on_the_Canadarm_on_the_way_to_the_port_side_fullwidth photo_op_before_reentry_fullwidth ready_to_install_the_Starboard_RGB_fullwidthLuca Parmitano Spacewalker

These images were captured during the spacewalk of ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, together with NASA’s Chris Cassidy, 9 July 2013. The spacewalk, the first for Luca and the fifth for Chris, lasted 6 hours 7 minutes.

This was the first of two Expedition 36 excursions to prepare the International Space Station for a new Russian module and perform additional installations on the station’s backbone. The second spacewalk is scheduled for 16 July; Luca, working again with Chris Cassidy, will egress the Quest airlock at around 12:15 GMT (14:15 CEST).