News archive

News archive

The three instruments on board ESA's space observatory FIRST (the Far InfraRed and Submillimetre Telescope), due to be launched in 2007, were formally approved on 17 February by ESA's Science Programme Committee (SPC). As proposed by the scientific community in February last year, FIRST's payload will consist of two cameras and a high-resolution spectrometer.
Published: 10 March 1999
A full size model of the Rosetta lander was presented to the public for the first time today. The unveiling ceremony took place at the Institute for Space Simulation in Cologne-Porz, a facility operated by the German Aerospace Research Centre (Deutschen Zentrums für Luft und Raumfahrt or DLR).
Published: 10 March 1999
Shooting of the first scene in the Cluster II 'road movie' started on 3 Marchwith the departureof the FM (flight model) 6 spacecraft on its 350 km journey fromFriedrichshafen toMunich. FM6 was the first of four identical Cluster II spacecraft to bedespatched fromthe Dornier Satellitensysteme assembly building in Friedrichshafen to theIABG testfacility in Ottobrunn, near Munich.
Published: 3 March 1999
The fate of the Universe depends on the total amount of existing matter.New clues on this value have been obtained by an international team ofastronomers using the European Infrared Space Observatory, ISO, bymeasuring for the first time the abundance of a particular chemicalelement, deuterium, in a very active star-forming region in the Orionnebula. Their result confirms that the total amount of normal matter isnot enough to stop the expansion of the Universe and cause it to collapseinto a Big Crunch in the future.
Published: 3 March 1999
Dr David Lario, Research Fellow in the Solar System Division of the Space Science Department of ESA has been selected as the winner of the 1999 Scarf Award.This award given to the graduate student judged to have presented and defended the best PhD dissertation in the period under review.
Published: 2 March 1999
The XMM Upper Module, bearing the Focal Plane Assembly, is currently being tested in the Large Space Simulator (LSS) at ESTEC. Before closing the chamber and starting the pump-down for theThermal-Balance/Thermal Vacuum (TB/TV) tests, some final checks were made on the facility motion system. The TB/TV tests are scheduled to lastten days.
Published: 2 March 1999
The period January-February has been a busy one for the SMART-1 project, with a succession of key science, technical and management meetings, culminating in a number of recommendations concerning the launcher, electric propulsion system and payload, presented to ESA's Science Programme Committee (SPC) on 17 February.
Published: 1 March 1999

Researchers who feel they have an astronomical scoop based on data from the European infrared space telescope, ISO, must now work against the clock. They risk being overtaken by other groups, especially now that the ISO Data Archive, a goldmine of discoveries filled with nearly 30 000 scientific  ISO observations, is open and easily...

Published: 27 February 1999
On the occasion of an official visit to Leicestershire on 26 February, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh visited the Space Research Centre at Leicester University where much of the development work of the XMM EPIC cameras has taken place.
Published: 25 February 1999
The XMM upper module, bearing the focal plane assembly with imaging cameras and spectrometer detectors, was carefully placed in the Large Space Simulator at ESTEC, where it will undergo thermal vacuum tests.
Published: 22 February 1999
If you want an asteroid named after you, make a valuable scientific contribution to the study of these rocky mini-planets of the Solar System. That is what 32 year old ESA astronomer Thomas Müller did, and now the International Astronomical Union has rewarded him by giving the name 'Thomasmüller' to asteroid number 8793.
Published: 16 February 1999
On Saturday 13 February 1999, the Space Science Department (SSD) of ESA hosted the "Meteorendag 1999", the annual meeting of the 'Werkgroep Meteoren'. About 40 people participated in this highly successful meeting, which concentrated on reports from the Leonid observations last year. Members of the Werkgroep, the Dutch Meteor Society, and the German ArbeitskreisMeteore presented results from their expeditions to South Korea, China, and Mongolia.
Published: 15 February 1999
The fleet of Cluster II spacecraft is growing daily inside the giant cleanroom at theDornier Satellitensysteme plant in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Three of thefour spacecraftare now visible in various stages of construction
Published: 15 February 1999
XMM passed an important milestone on 9 February, with the arrival at ESTEC of the upper half of the spacecraft, from Dornier, Friedrichshafen, Germany. The journey from southern Germany to the Netherlands, with the Black Forest pass deep in snow, was quite an adventure in itself for the two extra-wide trucks carrying the upper module and the delicate high-tech imaging camera built by European scientists.
Published: 9 February 1999
Congratulations from the Rosetta team on the successful launch of Stardust!What do the Giotto, Vega, Stardust, Contour and Rosetta comet missionsall have in common? The answer is they all carry European-builtinstruments designed to study what comet dust is made of.
Published: 7 February 1999
Like water gushing through cracks in a dam, scientists observed "fountains" of electrified gas, called the solar wind, flowing around magnetic regions on the Sun to begin their 3-million-kilometre-per-hour rush into space. Scientists have identified regions on the Sun where the high speed solar wind - a stream of electrified gas affecting Earth's space environment - originates.
Published: 3 February 1999
On 2 February, the Astrophysics Division's S-CAM instrument saw 'firstlight' at the 4.2m William Herschel Telescope on La Palma, observing thepulsar at the centre of the Crab nebula.S-CAM, a totally new instrument concept, is equipped with an array of'superconducting tunnel junctions' (STJ), small chips of the metaltantalum, cooled with the help of a bath of liquid helium to a temperaturewithin a degree of absolute zero.The Crab Pulsar provides an ideal target for verifying the camera's photoncounting and timingcapabilities. The figure shows the characteristic 'light curve' signatureof the pulsar: two beams of light which shine out, like a lighthouse, oneweak and long the other bright and short, in each revolution. These datawere obtained from just one of the 36 tantalum chips in S-CAM in a fourminute exposure.
Published: 3 February 1999
New photographs and details of the dual launches involving the four Cluster spacecraft have now been posted on the Cluster web site. The new pages include information on launch preparations, the launch site, the spacecraft orbits and the Soyuz launcher with its newly developed Fregat upper stage which will boost the Cluster spacecraft into their preliminary parking orbit.
Published: 2 February 1999
For the second time in six months, engineers have revitalised ESA's orbiting solar observatory SOHO, and have also set a space record.The spacecraft went into a self-protection mode (called Emergency Sun Reacquisition - or ESR) on 21 December, when the last of its three gyroscopes failed. Having lost a fundamental orientation system, SOHO continually fired onboard jets to keep its sensors pointed toward the sun.
Published: 2 February 1999
More than 400 planetary scientists from 18 countries, including a strong participation from the US scientific community, are attending the International Symposium on 'Mars Exploration Programme & Sample Return Missions', which is being held this week, in Paris, in the conference centre of the Ministry of Education, Research and Technology.
Published: 1 February 1999
31-Oct-2020 07:59 UT

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