News archive

News archive

Last Monday, Valentine's Day, NASA's NEAR satellite achieved a notable'first' when it entered orbit around a near-Earth asteroid named 433 Eros.While this romantic rendezvous should provide a host of new informationabout the potato-shaped little world, Eros is just one out of many millionsof asteroids roaming the Solar System.
Published: 15 February 2000
At the beginning of October 1999, ESA issued a call for ideas for the next flexi-missions (F2 and F3). A large number of proposals have been received and are being evaluated.Flexi-missions were introduced into the Horizons 2000 implementation concept in 1997 to increase the flexibility of the programme, basically by splitting each of the two Medium-size missions of Horizons 2000 into two Flexi-missions (F-missions).
Published: 15 February 2000
New images taken by the camera onboard the Saturn-bound Cassini spacecraft are giving scientists the first size estimates on asteroid 2685 Masurskyand preliminary evidence that it may have different material propertiesthan previously believed, NASA reports.
Published: 14 February 2000
The success of ESA's Hipparcos satellite in mapping many stars with amazing accuracy takes another stride this week. The Tycho-2 Catalogue, giving positions, motions, brightness and colours of 2 539 913 stars, more than doubles the number of stars in the original Tycho Catalogue.Included are 99 per cent of all stars down to magnitude 11, which means almost 100 000 times fainter than the brightest star, Sirius.
Published: 10 February 2000
At the press conference to present XMM-Newton's first images, ESA announced its third XMM-Newton competition, Stargazing. This competition is open to young Europeans between 16 and 18 years old, in the final two years of secondary school. The challenge is to make a proposal for a scientific observation with ESA's XMM-Newton Space Observatory.
Published: 10 February 2000
The first pictures from ESA's new X-ray space observatory fully demonstrate the capabilities of the spacecraft's telescopes and its science instruments. The images were officially presented on 9 February at the XMM-Newton Science Operations Centre in Villafranca, Spain.
Published: 9 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
The Huygens S-band Probe Relay test was successfully completed during the night of 4 to 5 February. The test started on 4 February at 21:45 UTC and finished on 5 February at 05:15 UTC.
Published: 8 February 2000
The first Soyuz-Fregat launch vehicle, of the type that will launch Mars Express in June 2003, was launched successfully from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan today.
Published: 8 February 2000
Calculations completed today confirm that a comet spotted by a Lithuanian astronomer on 4 February is a previously unknown object, making it the 100th comet discovered with the SOHO spacecraft. Launched four years ago as a project of international cooperation between theEuropean Space Agency and NASA, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatoryhas revolutionized the science of the Sun. It has also revealed anamazing number of kamikaze comets plunging into the solar atmosphere, which help to make SOHO the most prolific comet finder in the history of astronomy. But SOHO-100 is an ordinary comet, and so are two others that have appeared in the past few days.
Published: 7 February 2000
Ulysses, the joint ESA/NASA spacecraft to explore the region of space above the Sun's poles, is poised on the edge of new discoveries as it prepares to pass over the poles of the Sun for the second time in its ten year lifetime. The first passage occurred at solar minimum, a time of low solar activity. But the second will occur at solar maximum when the Sun is at its most turbulent. New findings are expected about the effects of this turbulence on the heliosphere, the vast volume of space that engulfs all the planets and over which the Sun exerts its influence.
Published: 6 February 2000
Silicate crystals, the most abundant minerals on Earth, are also found in great quantities around old stars and in protoplanetary discs -the discs where planets form. This finding, presented today at a press conference at ESA's Villafranca station in Madrid, is considered by experts in space chemistry as one of the main results of ESA's infrared space telescope, ISO.
Published: 3 February 2000
The fifth in-flight Huygens checkout was successfully completed during the night of 2 to 3 February. The Probe was switched on at 23:00 UTC on 2February and switched OFF at 02:50 UTC on 3 February. The data came down with a 25 min delay due to the propagation time of the radio signal from Cassini/Huygens to the Earth. The telemetry data were made available to the Huygens Flight Operations Team at HPOC at ESOC in Darmstadt (D). A preliminary evaluation of the data by the Flight Operations Team indicates that all subsystems and experiments performed as expected.
Published: 2 February 2000
The fifth in-flight Huygens checkout was successfully completed during the night of 2 to 3 February. The Probe was switched on at 23:00 UTC on 2February and switched OFF at 02:50 UTC on 3 February. The data came down with a 25 min delay due to the propagation time of the radio signal from Cassini/Huygens to the Earth. The telemetry data were made available to the Huygens Flight Operations Team at HPOC at ESOC in Darmstadt (D). A preliminary evaluation of the data by the Flight Operations Team indicates that all subsystems and experiments performed as expected.
Published: 2 February 2000
It was with added enthusiasm that the key players in the SMART-1 mission gathered at ESTEC on 31 January and 1 February for their sixth Science and Technology Working Team meeting. It was the first reunion since ESA's lunar mission and its science and technology payload were given the final go-ahead last November. SMART-1 is the first of the Agency's Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology.
Published: 2 February 2000
In high-speed-approach landings on distant planets having an atmosphere, space probes are usually protected by rigid heat shields, while their descent is slowed down by parachutes to reduce the impact. In recent years, new technologies have been developed to replace these bulky heat shield and parachute systems.
Published: 2 February 2000
The European Space Agency's X-ray space observatory has taken its very first pictures giving new views on the Universe. The commissioning images confirm that the XMMspacecraft, its X-ray telescopes and science instruments are functioning perfectly, to the great satisfaction of all involved.
Published: 2 February 2000
The 5th Huygens Probe in-flight checkout and other Huygens test activities take place 2-5 February. The checkout will be activated tonight at 23:00 CET and lasts for 4 hours. Yesterday, the spacecraft was successfully re-oriented so as to point its High Gain Antenna (HGA) towards Earth. This makes it possible to get high-rate telemetry in real time. The Probe checkout will be executed in direct visibility from the Goldstone Deep Space Network (DSN) station and thus data will arrive in quasi-real time (at 300 000 kms-1 radio waves take about 20 minutes to reach in Earth) at the Huygens Probe Control Centre at ESOC, Darmstadt (D) through the Cassini Control Centre at JPL.
Published: 1 February 2000
Press conference 4 FebruaryThe stars are the chemical factories of the Universe: they synthesise intheir cores new chemical elements that combine in the stellar outskirtsto produce new molecules, and these will become part of the raw materialout of which more stars, planets, and maybe even living organisms willform. ESA's infrared space telescope, ISO, has identified many of thesecompounds in space. About 150 astronomers, including many experts in space-chemistry, will present and discuss results in the field at ESA's Villafranca station, in Madrid, Spain, from 2 to 4 February.
Published: 30 January 2000
Environmental tests on the Structural Thermal Model (STM) of the Rosettaspacecraft are back in full swing after the long break for Christmas andMillennium celebrations. The latest endurance trial, known as a Sine (orSinusoidal) Test, was successfully completed today in the giant check-outroom at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in theNetherlands.
Published: 30 January 2000
31-May-2020 08:07 UT

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