News archive

News archive

The Cluster mission will be booming over the next six weeks. During a carefully planned series of operations, 16 wire booms, each almost 50metres in length, will gradually be released from the spinning satellites. Once they are fully deployed and begin to sweep out a giant circle aroundthe spacecraft, these booms will provide a flood of data for the five wave experiments on each Cluster satellite.
Published: 7 September 2000
ESA Press Release N0 55-2000.Just as solar storms are brewing, the European-built space probe, Ulysses, is venturing over the Sun's south pole for the second time in its 10-year life. The intrepid spacecraft will pass 70 degrees south on 8 September, shortly before the Sun's 11-year activity cycle is due to peak. Solar storms are already numerous and the high latitude solar windwind (the stream of charged particles blowing away from the Sun) is chaotic and blustery.
Published: 6 September 2000
The ESA/NASA Hubble Space Telescope has made the first detailed optical observations of an example of a remarkable class of galaxies by using the additional magnifying power of a huge galaxy cluster to extend its range. The galaxy, named J1/J2, belongs to a remote population of galaxies. Although extremely luminous, the galaxies are obscured by enormous quantities of dust - the smoky residue of the life cycle of massive stars - and have so far only been seen by sub-millimetre telescopes. The Hubble observation has enabled astronomers to investigate the connection between this distant population of 'hidden' dust-enshrouded, intensely star-forming galaxies and the less dusty galaxies that are readily observed with optical telescopes.
Published: 6 September 2000
Observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope show a previously unknown richness of detail in the intriguing proto-planetary nebula CRL 618. CRL 618 is a superb example of the transition taking place in the later stages of the life of a star like the Sun after it has lost most of its mass and before it emerges as a fully-fledged butterfly-like planetary nebula. CRL 618 is evolving so rapidly that we can literally watch through Hubble's eyes the hatching of one of these heavenly butterflies from its dusty cocoon. This snapshot of cosmic evolution provides important clues for current theories of the origin and evolution of planetary nebulae.
Published: 31 August 2000
Doom and gloom are currently affecting the Cluster project team, but there's no need for concern. It's just the start of the eclipse season for the four Cluster spacecraft. Over the next week, the quartetwill periodically cease to be illuminated by the Sun as they sweep through the Earth's shadow.
Published: 30 August 2000
ESA Press Release N0 54-2000.The Cluster quartet, Salsa, Samba, Rumba and Tango, now flying in their final orbit around the Earth in tetrahedral formation, are ready to enter the scientific commissioning and operation phase. Thus Cluster is at last joining the SOHO spacecraft and making the first cornerstone of ESA's "Horizons 2000" programme a reality.
Published: 23 August 2000
With the four Cluster spacecraft safely assembled in their operationalpolar orbits, and the rigid booms (two experiment booms and one antennaboom for each spacecraft) deployed, the instrument commissioning phase isnow about to get under way.
Published: 21 August 2000
The assessment studies for the second and third flexi-mission are now completed and their results are being published in reports to the ESA advisory bodies. An open presentation of the six study results will be made on 12th September 2000 at UNESCO, Paris.
Published: 18 August 2000
Europe's mission to Mars is assuming a tangible form at the Astrium SAS (formerly MMS) integration facilities in Toulouse, France. "We're down to the real work. It's not paperwork anymore - it's a real spacecraft," says Vincent Poinsignon, Mars Express project manager at Astrium SAS.
Published: 17 August 2000
Members of the Astrophysics Division of the Space Science Department at ESTEC Noordwijk have developed a new detector system for X-ray imaging and spectroscopy applications.
Published: 16 August 2000
Following the completion of the orbital manoeuvres on Spacecraft FM5 (Rumba) and on FM8 (Tango) on Tuesday 15 August and successfully achieving the GO/NO-GO criteria relative to orbit accuracy, the Main engine of all four spacecraft has been declared not needed anymore. From now on, all manoeuvres will be performed using the 10 N thrusters.
Published: 16 August 2000
Like a giant Lego construction, the Rosetta Electrical Qualification Model(EQM) is slowly shaping up at the Turin plant of Alenia Aerospazio.
Published: 16 August 2000
After five major orbital manoeuvres per spacecraft executed in five days, the second pair of Cluster spacecraft have been successfully inserted into their operational polar orbits.
Published: 14 August 2000
Following the successful launch of the second pair of four ESA Clustersatellites at 13:13 CEST on 9th August, Rumba and Tango are heading towards their final operational orbits.
Published: 11 August 2000
The tiny digital camera on board Cluster spacecraft FM 5 (Rumba) made a piece of space history earlier today.The 430 gramme Visual Monitoring Camera (VMC) attached to the base of FM 5 sent back the first colour pictures ever taken from space as two unmanned satellites separated and drifted apart from each other. (The only other known occasion was a test flight using dummy spacecraft and a prototype camera.)
Published: 9 August 2000
ESA Press Release N0 52-2000 The second pair of Cluster satellites are now safely in separation orbit around the Earth after today's successful launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. At 13.13 CEST, (17.13 Baikonur Time - 13.13 CEST) ) a Soyuz-Fregat launch vehicle provided by the French-Russian Starsem consortium lifted off with Cluster satellites FM 5 (Rumba) and FM 8 (Tango). Approximately 75 minutes into the mission, the Fregat transfer module fired for a second time to insert the spacecraft into a 250 km x 18,000 km separation orbit. About 20 minutes later, the ground station in Kiruna, Sweden, confirmed that the satellites had successfully separated from the Fregat and were now flying in good health.
Published: 9 August 2000
At 17.13 local time (13.13 CEST) today, the second pair of Cluster spacecraft lifted off from pad 6 at Baikonur Cosmodrome aboard a Soyuz-Fregat launch vehicle. On a scorching summer afternoon, with temperatures well over 40°C, conditions were perfect for this second act in the Cluster launch drama.
Published: 9 August 2000
All times are in CEST (UT + 2 hours)Wednesday 9 August 15:20 "The team are very happy!" said Alberto Gianolio from Baikonur. "The injection went as expected, the solar aspect angle is nominal and all units are on the prime chain - no switchovers were required. There has been nothing unexpected, telemetry is being received and commands sent to the spacecraft." The Baikonur team are now on the move, and reporting continues fromESA's Operations Centre in Darmstadt, from where the 4 Clusters are controlled.
Published: 9 August 2000
Two successful launches in less than a month. That is the proud record of the European Space Agency's Cluster programme and the Soyuz-Fregat launch vehicle provided by the French-Russian Starsem consortium after today's blast-off from Baikonur Cosmodrome."I am very proud to let you know that all four satellites are now in orbit," said Professor Roger Bonnet, ESA Director of Science. "The launch today was absolutely nominal. After so many years of expectations, ESA has kept its promises to the scientists."
Published: 9 August 2000
Following the successful completion of the Launch Readiness Review and of the Transfer Readiness Review on 5 August, the go-ahead for the final launch preparations was given by the Russian State Commission on the evening of the same day.
Published: 6 August 2000
19-Apr-2021 19:25 UT

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