News archive

News archive

For three years Swiss physicist Hans Balsiger has been chairman of ESA'sScience Programme Committee (SPC). On May 19 and 20Balsiger chaired his last meeting of the SPC in his hometown of Berne. Askedabout his experiences, he was enthusiastic about ESA's successfulscientific missions but also criticized the budgetary constraints.
Published: 21 May 1999
In addition to its well-known role as explorer of the region of space above the poles of our star the Sun, ESA's Ulysses spacecraft has provided scientists with a glimpse of conditions in the distant reaches of space beyond the boundary of the heliosphere. Instruments on board the out-of-ecliptic pathfinder are making unique measurements of dust particles and gas from the cloud of interstellar material surrounding the heliosphere, allowing scientists to learn more about the history of our solar system. These and other results from the Ulysses mission, now in its ninth year of highly successful operations, are featured in an article by the ESA project scientist, Richard Marsden, in the June issue of the popular astronomy magazine, Astronomy Now.
Published: 21 May 1999
Some 60 scientists and engineers from most of the ESA member countries andthe United States gathered at ESTEC in The Netherlands, 18-19 May, for the latest meeting of the Cluster II Science Working Team (SWT). With a little over one year to go before the dual launches of the four Cluster II spacecraft, the message coming across loud and clear was "Two Down, Two To Go".
Published: 20 May 1999
Extraordinary efforts made by individuals who take part in ESA's scientific missions are now to be recognized by a special ESA award called the Director ofScience Medal. At a ceremony in Bern, Switzerland, on 19 May 1999, thefirst four medals were presented to "stars" of the Hipparcos mission,Catherine Turon and Jean Kovalevsky from France, Lennart Lindegren fromSweden and Erik Høg from Denmark.
Published: 19 May 1999
Helioseismology is the study of seismic waves in the Sun; it enables us tolearn the internal structure and the rotation from the solar surfacealmost all the way to the centre. The methods by which the data areanalysed are similar to those that geoseismologists use to diagnose thestructure of the Earth.The Space Science internal seminar on 7 May, "Dynamical consequences of helioseismological inferences from SOHO', was given by Douglas Gough, Professor of Theoretical Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge, and co-investigator on all three helioseismological investigations aboard SOHO.
Published: 17 May 1999
Three months after a challenging, long-distance space rescue, the European Space Agency's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) is preparing for two important cosmic events: the 11 August solar eclipse in Europe and Asia - the last of this millennium - and an increase in solar activity on the Sun itself, called a solar maximum - thefirst of the next millennium.
Published: 17 May 1999
Ministers of the Member States of the European Space Agency (ESA) today set challenging objectives for the future of European space activities and approved major new programmes to achieve them.Meeting in Brussels on 11 and 12 May, the 14 member countries of ESA, together with Canada, which has a co-operation agreement with the Agency, approved investments in new space-related development programmes. Newly elected ESA Ministerial Council Chairman Lord Sainsbury, the UK space minister, told waiting international journalists :"The ESA Member States have given a great boost to the whole European space community. The new investments agreed will underpin the development of new jobs in multi-billion euro knowledge-based industries in the next decade".For more information, see ESA Press Release No. 17-99
Published: 12 May 1999
Near-Earth Asteroids - asteroids whose orbits bring them close to Earth - very likely originate from collisions between larger asteroids thatorbit the Sun between the planets Mars and Jupiter. This result, obtained byESA's infrared space telescope, ISO, was presented yesterday at the workshop onISO results on Solar System, held at ESA's Villafranca SatelliteTracking Station in Spain. Other findings related to the atmosphere of Mars and the giant planets - Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune and Uranus - were also presented during a press conference yesterday morning.
Published: 11 May 1999
With the spacecraft's launch on Ariane-5 only just over half a year away, a delegation from the XMM team has just returned from a visit to Kourou. XMM is presently undergoing last verification tests at ESTEC and the next milestone towards launch - the mating of its two halves - will take place on 26 May.
Published: 11 May 1999
Astro-E is the fifth in the series of Japanese astronomy satellitesdevoted to observations of celestial X-ray sources.Astro-E is a joint Japanese-US mission and its launch is planned forFebruary 2000. The broad bandpass of Astro-E, combined with high resolution spectroscopy capabilities,makes it a unique tool to study manyproblems in astrophysics, such as the origins of elements andstructures in the Universe as well as the evolution of these structures.
Published: 10 May 1999
This year's UK Royal Astronomical Society George Darwin Lecturewill be given by Dr Michael Perryman, Astrophysics Division, ESTEC, on 'A Stereoscopic View of our Galaxy'.On Friday 14 May, the Royal Astronomical Society will hold their179th Annual General Meeting at the Scientific Societies Lecture Theatre,in Savile Row, London. The annual George Darwin Lecture, establishedin 1927, covers all fields of astronomy excluding planetary science,and preference is given to a lecturer normally resident outside the UK.This year's lecturer is Dr Michael Perryman, from ESA's Space ScienceDepartment, known for his work as Hipparcos Project Scientistbetween 1981 and 1997. He will talk on the scientific results from theHipparcos mission, and will use a series of novel three-dimensionalstereo images of star fields to illustrate his talk.
Published: 10 May 1999
No spacecraft has yet landed on the surface of a comet. But this will change in 2012 when the Rosetta lander will set down on the nucleus of Comet Wirtanen and return a flood of unique data about this primitive chunk of dirty ice.In order to ensure the success of such an ambitious project, a full-size structural-thermal model of the spacecraft has been undergoing anexhaustive series of tests at the Ottobrunn (Munich) facilities of IABG.
Published: 10 May 1999
On 11 and 12 May, ESA's governing body, the Council, will meet at its ministerial level in Brussels. The main objective of thismeeting is to shape the future of the space sector in Europe by setting a space policy that will allow the Old Continent to continueplaying a major role in space activities.The Ministers in charge of space activities will be asked to endorse ESA's new strategy and its role in working with national players,intergovernmental organisations, EU institutions and industry to respond to the challenges of the next millennium.
Published: 10 May 1999
A very successful "Open Session on Lunar Exploration" took place at The Hagueon 22 April, as part of 1999 Assembly of the European Geophysics Society . Itwas convened by B.H. Foing (ESA) and co-convened by H. Hoffmann (DLR, Berlin).
Published: 4 May 1999
At the close of a century, and after 35 years of our scientific missions, the Science Programme Directorate of the European Space Agency decided to show how well the science programme has used the resources made availableby the Member States, on behalf of the space scientific community. Looking back, we can say with pride that these resources allowed us to produce true discovery machines.
Published: 3 May 1999
The road towards final acceptance for a Cluster II spacecraft can be ratherrough. Having completed its assembly at the Friedrichshafen plant ofDornier Satellitensysteme, the first Cluster II flight model (FM6) is nowundergoing a rigorous series of systems and environmental tests at IABG (Industrie Anlagen Betriebsgezellschafte) near Munich. For the next few months, the drum-shaped spacecraft willundergo all sorts of indignities - vibrations, temperature changes, rapidrotation and magnetic monitoring.
Published: 28 April 1999
On a clear night over the coming week, you should be able to spot the planet Mars shining brightly with a reddish glow in the direction of the constellation Virgo in the south of the northern sky. Only the Moon and Venus will outshine it. Mars is making its closest approach to Earth for nine years, so viewing conditions will be good - but not as good as they can be.
Published: 27 April 1999
Most chemical elements in the Universe are produced in the stars, and thus the stars' environments act as huge chemical factories. The European Space Agency's infrared space telescope, ISO, has detected, in the dust surrounding a star, the chemical signature of a mysterious compound made of carbon, whose nature is being actively debated by astronomers all over the world. While some say it could be a very tiny diamond, others think it is the famous football-shaped molecule called "fullerene" or "buckyball". If either of these hypotheses is confirmed it will be interesting news for industry as well.
Published: 23 April 1999
The seventh ESA Council meeting at ministerial level will take place on 11 and 12 May at the Palais d'Egmont, Brussels.
Published: 22 April 1999
The Optical Monitor instrument arrived back at ESTEC today, Tuesday 20April, after two weeks ofhectic work at MSSL (UK) and CSL (B) to repair and restest it following an electronic anomaly observed during thermal vacuum tests.
Published: 20 April 1999
28-Sep-2020 19:27 UT

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