News archive

News archive

On 18 May 2000, the European Space Agency (ESA) will inaugurate the VIL-1 antenna that will be used for the Cluster II mission to the magnetosphere. The newly refurbished antenna, which is located at the Villafranca del Castillo Satellite Tracking Station site (VILSPA) near Madrid, has been selected as the prime communication link with the Cluster II spacecraft.
Published: 10 May 2000
A major landmark in the Rosetta development programme will be reached thisweek when the final tests on the Structural Thermal Model (STM) arecompleted.Since last year, the 3 tonne STM has been subjected to an extensive seriesof tests at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) inThe Netherlands, in order to ensure that the spacecraft can survive therigours of interplanetary space travel. The final sequence of checks beganon 2 May when an emergency separation test was conducted on the RosettaLander.
Published: 9 May 2000
Calibration of XMM-Newton's science instruments is continuing at a steady pace in view of the start of the operational phase of the mission next month. Since the end of commissioning, ESA's new X-ray space observatory has been viewing an average of one or more calibration target every day.One such target has been NGC 2516, a young open cluster in the southern hemisphere.
Published: 8 May 2000
A development full-scale model of the European Space Agency's Huygens probe greeted those attending the General Assembly of the European Geophysical Society when they arrived at Nice airport last week. The model symbolised ESA's direct involvement in a very large number of the issues being discussed at the EGS's millennium conference on Earth, Planetary and Solar System Sciences which attracted 4500 participants from 50 nations between 24-29 April. Many of the principal investigators and scientists working on current and future ESA missions were present, as were representatives of other space agencies.
Published: 5 May 2000
With ESA's SMART-1 leading the way in 2002, the first half of this decade will be seeing a small flotilla of spacecraft exploring the Moon. These projects and their lunar science objectives were evoked with enthousiasm at the Annual General Assembly of the European Geophysical Society held in Nice, France between 24-29 April.
Published: 5 May 2000
Updated 8 MayA very successful session entitled "The Jovian and Saturnian systems: surfaces and atmospheres - The Cassini/Huygens mission to Saturn and Titan" took place from 28 to 29 April, as part of the 2000 Assembly of the European Geophysics Society in Nice. The audience included mission scientists and their collaborators and many other scientists not directly involved with the mission, who shared the same feelings that the swingbys around Venus and the Earth had not only allowed an unique opportunity for instrument calibration operations, but had also been bringing a considerable amount of new and unique science data.
Published: 4 May 2000
For followers of Nostradamus, this is a chance to relish. What better time than the year 2000 - prelude to the new millennium -- to predict all sorts of catastrophes driven by celestial objects? And the planets, jointly taunting the doomsayers, have chosen to dance together before their eyes. Mars, Jupiter and Saturn clustered for the first time on 6 April, within a circle 9 degrees wide. On 14 April, they gathered again in a 5-degree circle. And last month's dance was just a prelude to this month's fiesta. On 5 May, Mercury, Venus, the Moon and the Sun join in too, grouping in a circle of 26 degrees.
Published: 4 May 2000
Where to land?If you're going to send a lander to look for life on Mars, you need to choose a landing site with a good chance of harbouring life - preferably a place where water once deposited layers of sediment. "But even with MOC data (MOC is the high resolution camera on board NASA's Mars Global Surveyor), we don't know exactly which kind of environment we're going to meet," Gian Ori from the Universita d'Annunzio, Pescara, Italy told a session of the European Geophysical Society's millennium conference in Nice, France, last week (25-29 April 2000).
Published: 3 May 2000
After more than two weeks of being boiled and then frozen, the Rosetta spacecraft has shown that it can withstand the extreme temperatures to be encountered on its 11 year odyssey to Comet Wirtanen.On 16 April, the Rosetta Structural Thermal Model (STM) completed a prolonged series of tests in the Large Space Simulator, a giant thermal-vacuum chamber at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) at Noordwijk in TheNetherlands. Preliminary results show that the spacecraft behaved as expected, and engineers are confident that ESA's comet chaser will be ableto survive successfully its journey beyond the asteroid belt and back.
Published: 3 May 2000
Not many people enjoy the privilege of having their name displayed inlights. Even fewer people have their name immortalised by having a heavenlyobject named after them. One of this select company was a Dutch astronomer,Jan Oort, who was born 100 years ago today.
Published: 28 April 2000
Queen's Day in Holland will be celebrated on Saturday 29 April with visitsby Queen Beatrix to the coastal towns of Katwijk and Leiden. One of theevents planned for this day of national celebration is the launch of15 000 Cluster balloons from the ESA - Space Expo site on the KatwijkBoulevard.
Published: 28 April 2000
For the Hubble Space Telescopes 10th anniversary on 27 April, ESA opens a new service. The Hubble European Space Agency Information Centre offers information about Hubble from a European perspective. Not only has Hubbles first 10 years produced a rich harvest of scientific results, it has also touched the man in the street with its beautiful images of the sky. With this initiative ESA shows its commitment to public outreach and to the communication of science.With an expected life time of 20 years, Hubble is now at the midpoint of its life. It has so far been one of the most successful scientific space missions, and the continuous maintenance and upgrade of the observatory through the Servicing Missions makes Hubbles next ten years appear even more promising
Published: 27 April 2000
The earliest stages of formation of planetary systems remain very poorly known because of thethick layers of opaque dust that hid them. The European Space Agency's infrared spacetelescope, ISO, has measured the size of a proto-planetary system, surrounding a newly-born star, a Spanish team ofastronomers report in tomorrow's issue of the journal Science. ISO sees a very young'baby-star' surrounded by a disk of the same diameter as Jupiter's orbit, in which planetsare likely to form in the future.
Published: 27 April 2000
The 'Boomerang' (Balloon Observations Of Millimetric Extragalactic Radiation ANd Geomagnetics) project, whose results appear in 'Nature' tomorrow [27 April 2000], will provide "exciting high quality data" for cosmology, says ESA astronomer Jan Tauber, project scientist of ESA's next mission to study the origin and evolution of the Universe, Planck.
Published: 26 April 2000
Why is it that meteors - popularly known as shooting stars - are seen ingreater numbers from an aircraft than from the ground? It's an absorbingtale, according to ESA's Detlef Koschny, one of the speakers at theInternational Leonid Multi-Instrument Aircraft Campaign (Leonid-MAC)Workshop, which is currently being held in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Published: 26 April 2000
An extraordinary opening for the 44th National Congress of the Italian Astronomical Society (SAIt) in Monte Porzio, Italy this week - pupils of an elementary school Giosue Carducci (Monte Porzio) danced the Origin of the Universe set to the music of Strauss. This original event was part of the opening session of the Congress, co-sponsored by ESA, entitled: Astronomy in town, on Sunday 9 April 2000.Thanks to a series of educational initiatives by the Astronomical Observatory of Monte Porzio, roman schools are becoming familiar with space science and astronomy. Dr Roberto Buonanno, Director of the Observatory, has for many years been promoting lectures addressed to schools, in order to complement the science curriculum and to make astronomy accessible to students of all ages.
Published: 25 April 2000
Following the authorisation from the ESA Flight Acceptance Review Board on 18 April, members of the Cluster II team are preparing for the Cluster II spacecraft's long trip to the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan.
Published: 21 April 2000
Following a detailed status review of ESAs gamma-ray observatory a new launch date has been selected. A Russian Proton rocket will put Integral into orbit on 22 April 2002.
Published: 19 April 2000
To mark the Hubble Space Telescope's tenth anniversary, ESA is hosting a press conference at the Space Telescope-European Coordinating Facility (ST-ECF) in Munich on Thursday 27 April. With the astronauts who took part in the most recent Servicing Mission (SM3A) in attendance, ESA is taking the opportunity to give a - first - complete overview of Europe's major contribution to the HST mission. It will also review the first ten years of operations and the outstanding results that have changed our vision of the cosmos.
Published: 17 April 2000
Mars Express on target and forging links with JapanProgress on building the Mars Express spacecraft is proceeding according to plan. We are following our schedule, Rudi Schmidt, Mars Express project manager, said last week at a science working team meeting attended mainly by scientists who are building payload instruments.
Published: 17 April 2000
19-Sep-2020 03:43 UT

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