News archive

News archive

The road towards final acceptance for a Cluster II spacecraft can be ratherrough. Having completed its assembly at the Friedrichshafen plant ofDornier Satellitensysteme, the first Cluster II flight model (FM6) is nowundergoing a rigorous series of systems and environmental tests at IABG (Industrie Anlagen Betriebsgezellschafte) near Munich. For the next few months, the drum-shaped spacecraft willundergo all sorts of indignities - vibrations, temperature changes, rapidrotation and magnetic monitoring.
Published: 28 April 1999
Members of the Cluster II project team had front row seats for the launchof a Soyuz rocket during a recent visit to the Baikonur Cosmodrome inKazakhstan. The team of visitors included Cluster II project manager JohnEllwood, project controller Looc Bourillet, Gerard Melchior from ESA'sLaunchers Department, doctor Albert Koopman and Tatyana Suslovarepresenting ESA's Moscow Office. The aim of the visit was to check out thelocal facilities and logistics in preparation for the Cluster II launchcampaign during March - July 2000.
Published: 19 April 1999
Over the past few months, a major relocation exercise has been taking place in preparation for the Cluster II launches next year. The result is the creation of a new structure on the site of an elderly 15 metre dish antenna (VIL-1) at the European Space Agency's Villafranca del Castillo Satellite Tracking Station (VILSPA) in Spain.
Published: 18 March 1999
Shooting of the first scene in the Cluster II 'road movie' started on 3 Marchwith the departureof the FM (flight model) 6 spacecraft on its 350 km journey fromFriedrichshafen toMunich. FM6 was the first of four identical Cluster II spacecraft to bedespatched fromthe Dornier Satellitensysteme assembly building in Friedrichshafen to theIABG testfacility in Ottobrunn, near Munich.
Published: 3 March 1999
The fleet of Cluster II spacecraft is growing daily inside the giant cleanroom at theDornier Satellitensysteme plant in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Three of thefour spacecraftare now visible in various stages of construction
Published: 15 February 1999
New photographs and details of the dual launches involving the four Cluster spacecraft have now been posted on the Cluster web site. The new pages include information on launch preparations, the launch site, the spacecraft orbits and the Soyuz launcher with its newly developed Fregat upper stage which will boost the Cluster spacecraft into their preliminary parking orbit.
Published: 2 February 1999
Cluster II has successfully passed the Mission Validation Review which washeld at ESTEC in The Netherlands on 8 December 1998. No major problems or 'show stoppers' were identified.
Published: 12 January 1999
Preparations for the dual Soyuz launch of the four Cluster IIspacecraft have advanced during the past few weeks. During a recentvisit to Moscow, a high level team of ESA officials, led by ESA's Head of Scientific Projects,John Credland, received an update from their Russian partners on howthe launch vehicle was progressing.
Published: 16 December 1998
Some 60 scientists and engineers pose for a rare photo opportunity besidequarter scale models of the four Cluster II spacecraft. The happy groupcame together during the latest meeting of the Cluster II Science Working Team(SWT) atthe European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany. Thosepresent included representatives from the United States and China as wellas most ESA member states.
Published: 23 November 1998
Inside a giant clean room in Friedrichshafen, Germany, ESA's first new Cluster II spacecraft is starting to take shape. On 2 November, some six weeks after assembly firstbegan, engineers from Dornier Satellitensysteme began to mate thering-shaped main equipment platform of Cluster flight model #6 with its cylindrical central section.
Published: 10 November 1998
The race to construct and test four identical Cluster II spacecraft in 18months is now under way after engineers from the European Space Agency and Dornier Satellite Systems successfully completed their Pre-Integration Review on 22 September. This cleared the way for work to begin on Flight Model #6 atDornier's Friedrichshafen plant.
Published: 28 September 1998
The contract between Starsem and ESA for the launch of the four Cluster II satellites was signed on Friday 24 July 1998 at ESA Headquarters. At the signing ceremony, Starsem was represented by Jean-Yves Le Gall, its Chairman and CEO. Roger Bonnet, Director of the Scientific Programme, represented the Agency.
Published: 18 August 1998
Members of the Cluster II team visited the Baikonur launch site inKazakhstan at the end of May. The team were able to inspect the newStarsem facilities for spacecraft integration.
Published: 12 June 1998
The contract to provide the four Cluster II spacecraft has been signed with the Prime Contractor Daimler Benz Aerospace (Dornier), Germany. Agreements with all their sub-contractors for the provision of all the project elements.
Published: 27 November 1997
The four Cluster II spacecraft are to be launched in two pairs by two Soyuz launchers. A preliminary contract has been signed with Starsem, the French/Russian joint venture handling Soyuz launches.
Published: 27 November 1997
ESA's Science Programme Committee, meeting at ESA Headquarters in Paris today, has agreed on the reflight of a full Cluster mission by mid-2000. After months of intense negotiations and an impressive display of solidarity by all ESA member States and the scientific community at large in supporting the reflight, this mission to investigate the physical interaction between the Sun and our planet is back on track.
Published: 26 March 1997
On 4 June 1996 the maiden flight of the Ariane 5 launcher ended in a failure. Only about 40 seconds after initiation of the flight sequence, at an altitude of about 3700 m, the launcher veered off its flight path, broke up and exploded.
Published: 23 July 1996
At its meeting on 25 and 26 June 1996, the ESA Council was informed in detail of the measures taken after the Ariane 501 failure and of the proposed approach to revive the scientific objectives of the Cluster mission. Council noted that following the Ariane 501 flight failure on 4 June, the ESA Director General, Jean-Marie Luton, and the CNES Chairman, Alain Bensoussan, set up an Enquiry Board to determine the causes, investigate whether the qualification and acceptance tests were appropriate and recommend corrective action to eliminate the causes of the anomaly and other possible weaknesses in the system(s) found to be at fault.
Published: 27 June 1996
Investigation of the flight 501 failure has been under way since 4 June. In particular, a large part of the equipment contained in the vehicle equipment bay has been recovered and inspected. This has revealed the existence of a malfunction relating to the inertial platforms in Ariane-5 operating mode. The relevant information has been conveyed to the Inquiry Board, which will take it into account in its further deliberations.
Published: 14 June 1996
Following the failure of flight 501, Mr Jean-Marie Luton, the Director General of ESA and Mr Alain Bensoussan, Chairman of CNES have decided:
Published: 10 June 1996
15-Jul-2020 12:01 UT

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