News archive

News archive

Construction of the Mars Express spacecraft can now begin, after final approval for the design was granted on Tuesday. A meeting chaired by Roger Bonnet, ESA's Director of Scientific Programmes, and Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director for Science Strategy and Technical Assessment, gave the approval after hearing a presentation on the findings of the science and engineering review team. The review team had endorsed the Mars Express design last December, after spending a week poring over the plans at the offices of Matra Marconi Space (MMS) in Toulouse. Starsem, the company that is providing the Fregat-Soyuz launcher, and MMS also presented their latest activities yesterday.
Published: 12 January 2000
Planck, ESA's satellite to study the Universe as it was shortly after the Big Bang, is quickly taking shape. Its conceptual design has been settled and was presented to the Planck scientific community just before Christmas. A full size wooden mock-up of the satellite built according to this design has arrived at ESA's Scientific and Technical Research Centre (ESTEC) in The Netherlands and will be assembled in the course of January.
Published: 9 January 2000
All of XMM's instruments have been switched ON and their computer software loaded on board. The first task has been to check the health of the instruments repeating the engineering test procedure used on the ground before launch. This has confirmed that all instruments remain in the same condition as before launch. This was also the 'acid test' to verify that the instrument data sent by the spacecraft were reaching Villafranca and were being processed correctly. On 4 January, to everyone's relief, the first data arrived and were processed correctly by the new software installed at the XMM Science Observations Centre. Watching this important event, XMM project manager Robert Laini commented: "I saw big smiles all around when EPIC and later test images appeared on the screen."
Published: 6 January 2000
Three and a half years ago, after the tragic loss of four Clustersatellites in the Ariane 501 launch failure, European scientists andengineers came together in an effort to salvage something from thewreckage. Their proposal was to assemble a fifth Cluster from spare partsleft over from the ill-fated mission.
Published: 3 January 2000
ESA astronauts Claude Nicollier and Jean-Frangois Clervoy and their five fellow crew members on the Space Shuttle Discovery returned to Earth today (28 December at 0001 UT) after a spectacular mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope.
Published: 28 December 1999
The Director of Science, Roger Bonnet, sends a New Year greeting to thetaxpayers in the 14 Member States of the European Space Agency who makepossible the challenging projects of the space science programme.The latest Science Newsletter (n0 38) is now available
Published: 21 December 1999
The Space Shuttle Discovery made a perfect lift-off today carrying ESA astronauts Claude Nicollier and Jean-François Clervoy and five US astronauts into space. Lift-off from launch pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, occurred at 00:50 UT on Monday 20 December at the beginning of a 42-minute launch window.
Published: 20 December 1999
The European Space Agency's new X-ray space telescope has reached its operational orbit less than a week after being launched from Kourou on 10 December. The XMM spacecraft, which is being controlled by teams at the European Space Operations Centre, ESOC Darmstadt Germany, is functioning admirably.
Published: 19 December 1999
On 16 December at 11:30 UT, the final orbit trim for XMM was performed on schedule, bringing the spacecraft into its operational orbit, from where it will be ready to start the instrument commissioning phase, due to commence in the new year. XMM Ground Segment Manager Howard Nye describes the atmosphere during this final manoeuvre...
Published: 17 December 1999
The force of sunlight is keeping part of our solar system dust free - at least free from a particular type of dust. Markus Landgraf, now working at ESA's operations centre ESOC in Germany and his international team of colleagues, made this discovery after poring over data collected by the dust detector on board the Ulysses spacecraft. In a paper published in Science today, they show how their findings lend support to the view that our solar system is moving through a cloud of dust and gas that is made of the same stuff as interstellar clouds observed elsewhere in our galaxy.
Published: 17 December 1999
The 15th Member State joins ESA and the Science Programme is proud to welcome Portugal to share our adventure. This is a country of great explorers who have made a huge contribution to the knowledge of our planet. Now Portugal joins us in our exploration of the Universe and we are sure that their contribution will be in line with this fine tradition.O 15: Estado Membro aderiu ` ESA e o Programa Cientifico orgulha-se de acolher Portugal a partilhar a nossa aventura. Este i um pams de grandes descobridores que contribumram imenso para o cenhecimento da nossa planeta. Agora que Portugal nos juntou na exploragco do Universo estamos certos que a sua contribuigco seguira em termos com esta boa tradigco.
Published: 16 December 1999
During the XMM early orbit phase manoeuvres, which have raised the orbit perigee to 7000 km, small micro-cameras on the outside of the spacecraft have been able to take exceptional views of XMM and of its thrusters in action.
Published: 16 December 1999
After its safe delivery to the European Space Research and TechnologyCentre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands, the Structural Thermal Model (STM) ofthe Rosetta spacecraft is ready to start an exhaustive series ofenvironmental tests.
Published: 14 December 1999
With the Sun now entering its season of maximum sunspot counts, theworld's engineers have reason to be nervous. Blustery space weatherstirred up by the Sun can disrupt technological systems on the Earth andespecially in orbit, where 75 communications satellites worth about 15billion euros are at risk from solar storms. So the engineers will beglad to know that the world's chief watchdog for the Sun, the ESA-NASASOHO spacecraft, is now fully back on duty after a technicalinterruption from 28 November to 10 December that curtailed some of itsobservations.
Published: 14 December 1999
Astronomers have just realised that news of a planet orbiting a distant star came from ESA's Hipparcos satellite eight years ago, although noone noticed it until now. The first observation, on 17 April 1991, was made long before Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz of the Observatoire de Genève astounded the world in 1995 with their discovery of a planet around the star 51 Pegasi. Since then the search for alien planets has become a highly competitive theme in astronomy, and the present tally of stars known to possess planets is 28.
Published: 13 December 1999
Some very special "rocket fuel" was awaiting the B-team XMM flight controllers when they came off shift, midday on December 13. Swedish staff had organised a gathering to celebrate Santa Lucia, Sweden's traditional remembrance of the Sicilian saint.
Published: 12 December 1999
Over the weekend, the extreme tension of the launch itself disappeared. The XMM satellite is now in the safe hands of the ESOC control teams. In their Main Control Room, XMM has yet to be chalked up on the record board. It is the 42nd mission to be handled by ESOC since 1968.
Published: 12 December 1999
During the first hours after XMM's acquisition by the Perth groundstation, the spacecraft control teams at ESOC nursed their babythrough its initial in-orbit sequences. Triggered by the onboardtimer, the two wings of the solar array opened faultlessly, thetelescope sunshield equally well. The star trackers were switched onand the spacecraft's reaction wheels were spun up.
Published: 10 December 1999
The XMM spacecraft, launched on 10 December from Kourou, has sent back pictures of itself in space.The photographs were taken by two micro-cameras placed on the exterior of the spacecraft's focal plane assembly. Provided by Optronic Instruments and Products (OIP) - Delft Sensor Systems, and IMEC, Belgium, the two cameras (10 x 6 x 6cm) each weigh but 430 grams.
Published: 10 December 1999
The world's most powerful observatory for X-ray astronomy, the European Space Agency's XMM satellite, set off into space from Kourou, French Guiana, at 14:32 UTC on 10 December. The mighty Ariane 5 launcher, making its very first commercial launch, hurled the 3.9-tonne spacecraft into a far-ranging orbit. Within one hour of lift-off the European Space Operations Centre at Darmstadt, Germany, confirmed XMM was under control with electrical power available from the solar arrays.
Published: 10 December 1999
27-Sep-2021 01:21 UT

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