News archive

News archive

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
Over the weekend of 8-10 January, a fortunate turn of events enabled the SOHO/EIT instrument to capture a magnificant solar firework display. Spectacular movies and high-resolution images are available on the SOHO hot shots page.
Published: 27 January 2000
The Beagle 2 team has selected two potential landing sites on Mars for further study. In the latest issue of the Beagle 2 Bulletin, John Bridges from the Natural History Museum, London, who is leading the landing site study, writes: "The prospective areas are within the Chryse and Tritonis Lacus regions. Both are at low elevation, which gives more opportunity for the parachutes to brake the descent of Beagle 2. The latitude of the two sites, about 190N, means that the mission will begin during the Martian late spring, when there is more solar energy to charge batteries and nighttime temperatures are relatively high, making it easier to keep the spacecraft warm.
Published: 25 January 2000
The Mars Express project has moved from the drawing board to the test bench. The first piece of hardware, a unit for the on-board computer, has been delivered to the prime contractor, Matra Marconi Space (MMS), Toulouse.
Published: 23 January 2000
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is back in business, as made dramatically evident in stunning new celestial pictures of remote galaxies and a colourful dying star released today.
Published: 23 January 2000
Exactly three years to go before launch! That was the challenge facingapproximately 80 scientists and mission managers from ESA member countriesand the United States as they gathered this week at the European SpaceResearch and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in The Netherlands for a progressreport on the Rosetta mission to Comet Wirtanen.
Published: 23 January 2000
Once upon a time astronomers were passionate star-lovers who were eagerto climb up a mountain just to get the clearest view of the night sky.Not anymore. It seems that the climbing - though not the passion -can now be avoided. On 12 January a supernova explosion was discovered byan Italian amateur astronomer who was operating a telescope from his homecomputer, via the Internet. And it is not the first time it has happened: the samegroup found another supernova in the same way just before Christmas. "Of coursewe are very excited about these findings!", says Alessandro Dimai, one of the happy discoverers.
Published: 20 January 2000
The clouds of gas and dust grains in interstellar space contain complex organic molecules made of hundreds of chained carbon atoms. The European Space Agency's infrared space telescope, ISO, has detected these molecules in many different environments and is now unveiling the chemical paths leading to their formation in space. A group of Spanish astronomers have detected for the first time outside the Solar System two molecules that could be the precursors for the formation of the more complex organic compounds. The newly found molecules, detected in two very old stars, are diacetylene and triacetylene (C4H2 and C6H2).
Published: 19 January 2000
11-Aug-2020 05:00 UT

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