News archive

News archive

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
Icy cores of giant planets revealed by ISOUranus and Neptune are very different from Jupiter and Saturn, according to examinations of the giant planets by ESA's infrared space telescope, ISO. Jupiter and Saturn are mainly balls of gas but the more distant Uranus and Neptune contain relatively large cores of ice. This difference is confirmed by French and German astronomers who used ISO to measure heavy hydrogen in the planet's atmospheres. Although the result fits well with current ideas about planetary origins, it casts doubt on the part played by comets.
Published: 27 September 1999
As scheduled, the Arianespace MN Toucan berthed at Kourou's Pariacabo harbour on the afternoon of 23 September after a ten-day crossing from Europe. A welcoming party was present as the ship lowered its rear access ramp, revealing its full load: the XMM giant container and eight others with various Ariane-4 and Ariane-5 rocket stages.
Published: 27 September 1999
On 22 September, members of the Cluster II team took time off from athree-dayworkshop at Imperial College, London, to meet the press. During thebriefing, whichwas jointly organised by ESA and the UKs Particle Physics and AstronomyResearchCouncil (PPARC), members of the media were given an overview of the uniquemission to map the Earths magnetosphere in three dimensions, and informedof theprojects current status.
Published: 24 September 1999
Russian Prime-Minister Vladimir Putin has signed agovernmental letter approving an arrangement between the European SpaceAgency (ESA) and the Russian Space Agency (RSA). According to thearrangement a Proton launcher will put ESA9s Integral, the InternationalGamma-RayAstrophysics Laboratory, into orbit. The spacecraft will be launched in 2001from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
Published: 24 September 1999
More than 2000 space experts, scientists, engineers, managers and students from around the world are gathering early in October for the 50th anniversaryCongress of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), to present and attend over 900 papers on the main theme: "Space - an integral part of theinformation age".This year's IAF Congress takes place from 4 to 8 October at the RAI Conference Centre in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. In parallel a large internationalexhibition with participants from space agencies and industrial firms and research institutions engaged in space activities around the world will be held at theRAI Centre. The exhibition will be open to the general public on two days, 7 and 8 October.
Published: 23 September 1999
Hosted in the historical building of the Astronomical Observatory of Capodimonte (Naples, Italy), ESA's Science Programme Committee met (22 and 23 September) for the second time since the key Brussels Ministerial meeting in May. The City of Naples gave a warm welcome to this group of eminent scientists not only from Europe but also from the United States, Russia and Japan.
Published: 23 September 1999
During the voyage by sea to French Guiana the XMM spacecraft in its transport container was watched over by two members of the project team, Jan van Dooren, ESA's XMM Quality Assurance Manager and his colleague from Dornier Amin Zumstein.
Published: 22 September 1999
Assembling a spacecraft by taking it to pieces may sound rather illogical,but that is exactly what has happened to the Rosetta Structural and ThermalModel (STM). Since its delivery to the Alenia Aerospazio plant in Turinduring August, the STM was separated into two sections - the payload module(PM), which will carry the scientific experiments, and the service module(SM) which will house the satellite's main subsystems. Over the next fewmonths, engineers will be working in two shifts in order to carry out theassembly, integration and test programmes on each module before they are once again united in late October.
Published: 20 September 1999
Detailed proposals for the construction of the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST) were presented during the yearly NGST meeting. Representatives from the three major participants in the project, NASA, ESA, and CSA discussed scientific ideas and technological possibilities for "the space observatory of the next decade". NGST will be launched in late 2007 or early 2008.
Published: 20 September 1999
Detailed proposals for the construction of the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST) were presented during the yearly NGST meeting. Representatives from the three major participants in the project, NASA, ESA, and CSA discussed scientific ideas and technological possibilities for "the space observatory of the next decade". NGST will be launched in late 2007 or early 2008.
Published: 17 September 1999
The fourth in-flight check-out of the Huygens Probe was successfully completed on 15 September 1999, as planned. All sub-systems and experiments performed as expected. Huygens can now sleep until the next wake-up call in early February 2000.
Published: 15 September 1999
ESA's Huygens probe will be woken from its seven-year sleep shortlyafter midnight tonight for a routine checkout. For the first time sincethe initial checkout just eight days after launch, Huygens flightcontrollers at ESA's control centre in Darmstadt will be able to followthe event in real time. The checkout begins at 01:00 Universal Time 15September.
Published: 14 September 1999
ESA's X-ray space observatory has left Europe for its French Guiana launch site. XMM, nicknamed the 'Black Beauty' by the team and engineers who have built it, sailed from Rotterdam on Sunday 12 September aboard the Arianespace 'MN Toucan'.
Published: 13 September 1999
In view of the enthusiastic response to the XMM schools competition,with the kind cooperation of Arianespace, the deadline for submission ofdrawings has been extended by one week.To celebrate the December launch of XMM, its new X-ray spaceobservatory, the European Space Agency is challenging young Europeans toreach for the stars! Details can befound on the special competition website : http://sci.esa.int/xmm/competition. Francais- Deutsch- Espanol -Italiano- Svenska
Published: 13 September 1999
The ESA Science Programme has been extending its outreach through anincreased effort in communication and provision of information about theProgramme and its missions.
Published: 10 September 1999
One thousand years ago an explosion in the vicinity of a star created a huge bubble of gas, one of those objects that astronomers call a nebula. Some hundred years afterwards a second outburst followed and another nebula was born. Today, European astronomers have pictured the relics of both events with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope: two hourglass-shaped nebulae, one nestled inside the other like Russian dolls. The system, called 'Southern Crab Nebula' (He2-104) because it looks like the body and legs of a crab, is located a few thousand light years from Earth in the Southern Hemisphere.
Published: 3 September 1999
After completing all its mechanical and electrical verifications, XMM is ready for shipping to its launch site in French Guiana. On 1 September ESA's giant X-ray observatory was packed in its special transport container and is now ready to leave the ESTEC integration facility in Noordwijk, Netherlands.
Published: 2 September 1999
An X-ray observation of the 'Winking Demon', one of the sky's nearest and X-ray brightest stars, has revealed that its huge X-ray explosions take place in structures similar in relative size to those of our own Sun - contrary to what had been previously suggested. The study by J|rgen Schmitt at Hamburg University and Fabio Favata at the ESA-ESTEC Space Science Department has just been published by the magazine 'Nature' (dated 1 September 1999) and in 'Astronomy and Astrophysics' (currently in press).
Published: 1 September 1999
An X-ray observation of the 'Winking Demon', one of the sky's nearest and X-ray brightest stars, has revealed that its huge X-ray explosions take place in structures similar in relative size to those of our own Sun - contrary to what had been previously suggested. The study by J|rgen Schmitt at Hamburg University and Fabio Favata at the ESA-ESTEC Space Science Department has just been published by the magazine 'Nature' (dated 1 September 1999) and in 'Astronomy and Astrophysics' (currently in press).
Published: 1 September 1999
5-Jun-2020 13:17 UT

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