May 2014

NASA Signs Space Act Agreement with ISEE-3 Reboot Project

NASA has given a green light to a group of citizen scientists attempting to breathe new scientific life into a more than 35-year old agency spacecraft.
NASA, ISEE-3, spacecraft

Venus Express aerobraking

Visualisation of the Venus Express aerobraking manoeuvre, which will see the spacecraft orbiting Venus at an altitude of around 130 km from 18 June to 11 July. In the month before, the altitude will gradually be reduced from around 200 km to 130 km. If the spacecraft survives and fuel permits, the elevation of the orbit will be raised back up to approximately 450 km, allowing operations to continue for a further few months. Eventually, however, the spacecraft will plunge back into the atmosphere and the mission will end.

Origami-Style Solar Arrays to Power Up Future Satellites and Space Stations

A group of mechanical engineering students at Brigham Young University (BYU), working with scientists from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in Pasadena, California, have enlisted the help of an origami master to create foldable solar arrays that can unfold to several times their stored size. 

Dance of the X-rays in Space

Like car tail lights streaking through a busy city at night, this unique image – a mosaic of 73,178 images – records over a thousand movements made by ESA’s Astrium-built XMM-Newton space telescope as it shifts its gaze from one X-ray object to another.

Orbiting in space since 1999, XMM-Newton is studying high-energy phenomena in the Universe, such as black holes, neutron stars, pulsars and stellar winds.

Calabria, Italy, 19 August 2013

This stunning photo was captured from the International Space Station (ISS) by Italian ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano. It shows sea currents and a summer storm hitting Calabria, a region of Italy located on the far south-west of the peninsula.

(© ESA)

Somewhere on Earth, 11 September 2013

ESA astronaut Jean-François Clervoy and astronaut instructor Hervé Stevenin recently slipped into the roles of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin for an underwater simulation of the historic Apollo 11 mission to the Moon. This exercise used an underwater environment to simulate spacewalk manoeuvres similar to those performed 44 years ago by Armstrong and Aldrin on the moon.

ESA, astrinaut, spacesuit

The world’s biggest belt

Who said that breaking up is always hard to do? The clamp band developed by Astrium Spain is four times larger than that used for satellites to ensure flawless separation of the ATV-4 from its launcher.

ATV, ATV-4, Ariane, launcher

Ariane 5: Accommodating Galileo

Ariane 5’s series of 57 consecutive successful launches might lead people to forget that every launch is always a challenge. For Galileo Ariane must, for the first time, orbit four satellites simultaneously!

Ariane 5, launchers, ATV, ISS, ESA, Galileo, Astrium

ATV In Space… June 2013

ATV-4 ‘Albert Einstein’, Europe’s ISS supply and support ferry primed by Astrium, is shown docking with the International Space Station. Taken from the Station, the image captures the exhaust plumes as the 20-tonne craft fires some of its 24 thrusters to adjust its approach.At the end of this delicate and automated procedure, ESA’s largest spacecraft made contact with humanity’s largest orbital outpost as they travelled at 28 000 km/h.