News archive

News archive

A lot of down-to-Earth preparations have to take place before the ambitious Cluster II mission to study the magnetosphere can be launched into space this summer. One of the most difficult stages was completed at the weekend when a high security cargo of explosive fuel arrived under armed guard at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Published: 20 March 2000
Following the recent visit of a Chinese delegation to ESA Headquarters and ESTEC, European scientists are looking forward to participation in a 'mini-Cluster' mission, known as Double Star.
Published: 17 March 2000
On 9 March, after a successful stack test with its sister spacecraft (FM 8), the fourth and final Cluster II satellite (FM 5) completed its rigorous series of environmental tests. With the successful culmination of their assembly, integration and verification programme, the Cluster II quartet are now ready for transportation to Baikonur Cosmodrome, the next major landmark on the road towards launch this summer.
Published: 12 March 2000
An interest in space exploration is frequently considered to be the preserve of scientists, but, as a concert last night demonstrated, this is not necessarily the case. A packed audience at St Patricks College, Maynooth, near Dublin, enjoyed a unique aesthetic experience in which space science and music were intertwined.
Published: 5 March 2000
1. Contest rulesThe European Space Agency (ESA) is launching a public competition to find the most suitable names for its four Cluster II space weather satellites. The quartet, which are currently known as flight models 5, 6, 7 and 8, are scheduled for launch from Baikonur Space Centre in Kazakhstan in June and July 2000.
Published: 22 February 2000
The first qualification flight of the new Fregat ('Frigate' in English) upper stage on the Russian Soyuz rocket was completed today. This is thefirst time that the Fregat has flown on a Soyuz and represents a major milestone on the road towards the launch of ESA's four Cluster II satellites this summer.
Published: 8 February 2000
Three and a half years ago, after the tragic loss of four Clustersatellites in the Ariane 501 launch failure, European scientists andengineers came together in an effort to salvage something from thewreckage. Their proposal was to assemble a fifth Cluster from spare partsleft over from the ill-fated mission.
Published: 3 January 2000
ESA's mission to study space weather has successfully overcome moredown-to-Earth weather problems. Despite major transportation difficultiescaused by a three-day-long blizzard, all four Cluster II satellites werefinally gathered together today for the first and only time in Europe.
Published: 23 November 1999
Visitors to the test and integration facilities at IABG near Munich, Germany, on 24 November may be excused for thinking they are suffering from multiple vision. On display there, in a giant clean room, will be not one but four identical cylindrical spacecraft. This is the only occasion on which all four of ESA's Cluster II spacecraft will be on display together in Europe.
Published: 14 November 1999
On Wednesday 24 November, the four satellites of the Cluster II mission will be on display - for the last time together in Europe - at the IABG Space Test Centre in Ottobrunn, near Munich, Germany. Media representatives are also invited to attend a press conference with specialists from the European Space Agency, Dornier Satellite Systems - the prime contractor for the spacecraft - and scientists involved in the mission.
Published: 9 November 1999
Following completion of its ground qualification test programme in August, the new Fregat upper stage for the Russian Soyuz launch vehicle last week passed an ESA Design Review.
Published: 8 November 1999
For the last four decades, thousands of rockets have taken off from thelaunch pads atBaikonour Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, but few Westerners have had theopportunityto see the facilities at close quarters. During a recent visit to the oncesecretcosmodrome, members of the Cluster II project management team andrepresentativesof industry were given a VIP tour of the Soyuz launch complex. (*) Nextsummer, thissite will be a scene of frenetic activity as the four Cluster II satellitesare carried intoorbit in dual Soyuz launches.
Published: 27 October 1999
The Cluster II mission to explore near-Earth space has attracted a greatdeal ofinterest from scientists in all parts of the world, not least the Chinese.Apart fromdirect participation in the exciting ESA mission, Chinese researchers arehoping to flytheir own 'mini-Cluster' mission, known as Double Star.Last month a team from ESA, which included Project Manager John Ellwood,ProjectScientist Philippe Escoubet and three scientific principal investigators,spent nine daysin Beijing discussing possible collaboration in Double Star with theirChinesecounterparts from the Centre for Space Science and Applied Research.
Published: 7 October 1999
On 22 September, members of the Cluster II team took time off from athree-dayworkshop at Imperial College, London, to meet the press. During thebriefing, whichwas jointly organised by ESA and the UKs Particle Physics and AstronomyResearchCouncil (PPARC), members of the media were given an overview of the uniquemission to map the Earths magnetosphere in three dimensions, and informedof theprojects current status.
Published: 24 September 1999
We are all familiar with normal gravity which holds us to the ground andpulls us backto Earth when we try to jump or fly. However, as images of space missionsshow,people and objects become 'weightless' once they enter orbit. Over theyears,spacecraft engineers have been obliged to develop various ways of copyingsuchunusual conditions.
Published: 6 August 1999
What happens to a spacecraft when it has been assembled and tested, and its launch date is still almost a year away? For Cluster II engineers and technicians, pushing the spacecraft into a dusty cupboard and forgetting about it is not an option.The satellite has to be continually monitored and looked after with tender, loving care.
Published: 2 August 1999
Well over 200 scientists around the world are looking forward to receivingthe vast flow of data that will start streaming back next year from ESA'sfour Cluster II spacecraft. Apart from the ESA member states, they includeCo-Investigators from the United States, Russia, Czech Republic, Hungary,India, Israel and Japan.Since 44 instruments on the four Cluster II spacecraft will return about330 Gigabytes (330,000,000,000 bytes) of data over two years - equivalentto 165 million pages of printed text - the efficient worldwide distributionof this vast amount of information is of major concern to the sciencecommunity.
Published: 29 June 1999
A steady stream of scientists and engineers coming and going. A strangewooden building hidden behind a high wire fence deep in the Bavarianforests. Unusual humming sounds coming from inside the structure. Asuitable case for an X-Files investigation by Mulder and Scully? Far from it.
Published: 14 June 1999
How can anyone be sure that communications between the four satellites and the Earth will not break down once the Cluster II spacecraft are placed in orbit? The obvious answer is to test the system and see whether itworks.
Published: 28 May 1999
Some 60 scientists and engineers from most of the ESA member countries andthe United States gathered at ESTEC in The Netherlands, 18-19 May, for the latest meeting of the Cluster II Science Working Team (SWT). With a little over one year to go before the dual launches of the four Cluster II spacecraft, the message coming across loud and clear was "Two Down, Two To Go".
Published: 20 May 1999
15-Jul-2020 13:11 UT

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