News archive

News archive

The Mars Express lander, Beagle 2, is technically ready to go to the nextstage. That is the conclusion of two reviews held in Stevenage, UK lastweek. The reviews' recommendations will go before ESA's Science ProgrammeCommittee (SPC) for endorsement on 10 November.
Published: 26 October 1999
Mars Express is the outcome of more than ten years of planning by ESA and the European space science community, Agustin Chicarro, Mars Express Project Scientist told the 30th Symposium on Comparative Planetology in Moscow last week.
Published: 20 October 1999
The object shown in these ESA/NASA Hubble Space Telescope images is a remarkable example of a star going through death throes just as it dramatically transforms itself from a normal red giant star into a planetary nebula. This process happens so quickly that it is quite rare to observe such objects, even though astronomers believe that most stars like the Sun will eventually go through such a phase.
Published: 19 October 1999
ESA's Director of Science has invited proposals for the next flexi-missions of the ESA Science Programme. The briefing for the F2/F3 proposers takes place on 28 October 1999 at ESTEC, in the Copernicus conference room, from 10:00 to 13:00 hours.Each proposer can beaccompanied by a maximum of two co-proposers.
Published: 18 October 1999
It is exactly two years since ESA's Huygens Probe set off on its remarkable journey towards Saturn's mysterious moon Titan, aboard NASA's Cassini Orbiter. Since its launch on 15 October 1997, Cassini/Huygens has now travelled 1.863 billion kilometres, and is en route for the final gravity-assist manoeuvre around Jupiter in December 2000.
Published: 15 October 1999
The contract for the Proton Launcher Adaptation for Integral was signed today at the ESA Permanent Mission in Moscow. This followed the successful completion of a lengthy approval process for the Arrangement between ESA and Russia on Cooperation on the Integral Project.
Published: 14 October 1999
Thousands of scientists, students, industrialists and representatives ofspace agencies flocked to the RAI Congress Centre in Amsterdam this week to attend the 50th International Astronautical Congress. As ever, one of themain areas of interest for the visitors was an update on global unmannedspace exploration.
Published: 8 October 1999
The Cluster II mission to explore near-Earth space has attracted a greatdeal ofinterest from scientists in all parts of the world, not least the Chinese.Apart fromdirect participation in the exciting ESA mission, Chinese researchers arehoping to flytheir own 'mini-Cluster' mission, known as Double Star.Last month a team from ESA, which included Project Manager John Ellwood,ProjectScientist Philippe Escoubet and three scientific principal investigators,spent nine daysin Beijing discussing possible collaboration in Double Star with theirChinesecounterparts from the Centre for Space Science and Applied Research.
Published: 7 October 1999
The low cost of Mars Express will have "no impact on the mission's success", Philippe Moulinier, Manager of the Division for New Generation Programmes at Matra Marconi Space, Toulouse, told a session of the 50th International Astronautical Congress in Amsterdam on Monday. Moulinier has overall responsibility for the Mars Express contract at MMS, the prime contractor. He was presenting information in support of a talk given by Rudi Schmidt, Mars Express Project Manager at ESTEC.*
Published: 6 October 1999
The Hubble Space Telescope is uncovering important new clues to a galaxy's birth and growth by peering into its heart - a bulge of millions of stars that resemble a bulbous centre yolk in the middle of a disk of egg white. Hubble astronomers are trying to solve the mystery of which came first: the stellar disk or the central bulge? Two complementary surveys by independent teams of astronomers using Hubble show that the hubs of some galaxies formed early in the Universe, while others formed more slowly, across a long stretch of time.
Published: 6 October 1999
The scientists who are building instruments for Mars Express met in ESTEC last week for the final science working team meeting before the spacecraft and instrument designs are frozen at the end of the year. Over the next few weeks, each instrument and the spacecraft itself will undergo a "preliminary design review" (PDR), which marks the end of the design phase (Phase B) before construction (Phase C) begins early next year. The meeting was an opportunity for the science team to discuss progress on resolving the few remaining hardware design issues and to move on to the difficult task of planning the mission and science operations in detail.
Published: 5 October 1999
Much to the elation of scientists, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory is back in top gear with its newly installed software running flawlessly. "Everything is just perfect," said Bernhard Fleck, SOHO ProjectScientist. "These engineers have been absolutely fantastic. They puttogether a completely new flight software in less than a year undertremendous pressure. They have been great and this is a tremendousachievement."
Published: 5 October 1999
Rudi Schmidt and Agustin Chicarro, Project Manager and Project Scientist for Mars Express, have a busy month ahead explaining the mission's philosophy and goals at the season's most prominent conferences. Mars Express - ESA's approach to the implementation of a small mission will be the subject of Schmidt's talk to the International Astronautical Federation's (IAF) 50th Anniversary Congress* in Amsterdam next week. Chicarro will outline the mission's scientific goals at the 30th Symposium on Comparative Planetology* in Moscow, also next week, and at the Annual Meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS)* in Padova, Italy the following week.
Published: 1 October 1999
Flexi-missions were introduced into the Horizons 2000 implementation concept in 1997 with the purpose of increasing the flexibility of the programme, basically by splitting each Medium size mission (M-missions) of Horizons 2000 into two Flexi-missions (F-missions). This new concept as well as other contingent reasons make the present call quite different from the M-mission calls which have been previously issued by the Science Directorate of ESA, the last one being the M3 call of 26 November 1992, which eventually resulted in the selection of the COBRAS/SAMBA (Planck) mission.
Published: 30 September 1999
Moon Craters Help us to Understand How Extrasolar Planets FormMore than a dozen planets orbiting other 'suns' have been found in the last few years, but... are they the rule or the exception? The European Space Agency's infrared space observatory, ISO has shown that the formation of extrasolar planets must be a very common event.
Published: 30 September 1999
The 8th Announcement of Opportunity (AO-8) for participation in theASCA (formerly Astro-D) observing program has been announced. This differs fromprevious ASCA AOs in thatit covers the final months in orbit with a more limited capability. Thisis because once Astro-E is launched (currently January 2000), the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) will nothave the manpower to continue ASCA operations at current levels.European observers may participate by submitting proposalsdirectly to the Japanese time allocation. The closing date is 12 October 1999.
Published: 29 September 1999
Meeting in Naples 20-23 September, the European Space Agency's Science Programme Committee recognised the achievements of the late Giuseppe Colombo of the University of Padua by adopting his name for the Mercury project now being planned. Almost everything known until now about the planet Mercury comes from three passes by NASA's Mariner 10 in 1974/75, which were inspired by Colombo's calculations. He suggested how to put that spacecraft into an orbit that would bring it back repeatedly to Mercury. The Italian scientist also explained, as an unsuspected resonance, Mercury's peculiar habit of rotating three times in every two revolutions of the Sun.
Published: 29 September 1999
On 13/14 March 1986, the European Space Agency's Giotto spacecraft obtained the first close-up pictures of a comet nucleus during its close flyby of Halley's Comet. An historic second comet encounter followed on 10 July 1992 when Giotto flew within 200 km of Comet Grigg-Skjellerup.
Published: 28 September 1999
In recent Hollywood blockbusters, asteroids and comets have threatened to collide with the Earth, only to be destroyed at the last minute by astronaut heroics. But such collisions are more than a topic for fiction - the threat from near-Earth objects (NEOs) is remote, but real.
Published: 28 September 1999
Just like personal computers on Earth, ESA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory is getting a software upgrade of its own. After SOHO vanished in space in June 1998, engineers on two continents struggled for several weeks to regain control of the spacecraft. In December1998, the loss of the last working gyroscope caused major orientation problems and rapid fuel depletion. But once again, engineers and ground controllers put the satellite back in working order. By February 1999, an unprecedented solution - emergency software rushed up to SOHO - allowed it to reorient itself. Yet that fix, which has been working perfectly ever since, was only meant to be temporary.
Published: 28 September 1999
28-Sep-2020 19:53 UT

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