Irradiating an iPhone

Space is a vacuum but it is far from empty, racked with charged particles from the Sun and sources in deep space. Components for space missions therefore have to be tested against radiation at facilities such as ESA’s Cobalt-60 facility at its technical centre, ESTEC, in the Netherlands. So what happens when we test standard issue smartphones against its beam of gamma rays?

On 12-16 November 2018 ESTEC hosts SERESSA, the 14th international School on the Effects of Radiation on Embedded Systems for Space Applications, training engineers on radiation effects on all kinds of embedded systems from space and avionics systems, as well as for critical applications operating at ground level such as automotive, medical or even banking.

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Noordwijk shake

ESA’s Test Centre based in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, simulates every aspect of space for satellite testing – including recreating the equivalent vibration of a rocket launch. This is ESA’s most powerful shaker: the Hydra hydraulic shaker, able to generate vibration equivalent to a 7.5 Richter scale  earthquake.

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ESA is Europe’s gateway to space. Our mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. Check out to get up to speed on everything space related.

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ESA Open Day, ESTEC, 2018

The date is fixed: you are invited to the annual ESA Open Day at ESTEC, ESA’s technical heart in the Netherlands, on Sunday, 7 October.

The theme this year is ‘A voyage through space with Europe’. We’ll have all ESA establishments represented on site, either with speakers giving talks or live link-ups to the different centres. You’ll be able to meet astronauts, scientists and engineers, plus some special guests. You’ll see how we design space missions, how we develop the technologies needed to go into space and how we simulate space on the ground. With the help of our colleagues from the other ESA centres, we’ll complete the life-cycle of a mission and see how it is launched and controlled once in space!

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Shaking Orion’s solar wings

Testing the solar wings of the European service module that will provide power, water, air and electricity to NASA’s Orion Moon module.

The solar arrays Orion will use to produce electricity are tested at ESA’s technical heart in the Netherlands. Folded for launch, the fragile solar panels need to survive the rumbling into space aboard the most powerful rocket ever built, NASA’s Space Launch System.
Orion’s solar panels will be folded inside the rocket fairing on the first leg of the trip around the Moon. Once released from the rocket they will unfold and rotate towards the Sun to start delivering power.
To make sure the solar panels will work after the intense launch, ESA engineers are putting them through rigorous tests that exceed what they will experience on launch day. This includes vibrating them on a shaking table and placing them in front of enormous speakers that recreate the harsh launch conditions.

Orion will eventually fly beyond the Moon with astronauts, the first time a spacecraft will support humans with European hardware will also be the farthest humans ever travel from Earth. The first mission – without astronauts – is getting ready for launch in 2019.

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Space Bites: Resources beyond Earth | Angel Abbud Madrid

Humans will have to breath, drink and eat while living on the Moon. They will need energy to perform tasks using their robotic companions and materials to build structures. For a sustainable approach to space exploration these resources cannot be carried from Earth but have to be found on the Moon itself.

Angel Abbud Madrid is the Director of the Center for Space Resources at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM), where he leads a multidisciplinary research programme on the human and robotic exploration of space and the utilisation of its resources. He is also the Director of the CSM Space Resources Program, the first academic programme in the world focused on educating scientists, engineers, economists, entrepreneurs and policymakers in the developing field of space resources. 

Space Bites hosts the best talks on space exploration from the most inspiring and knowledgeable speakers from the field. Held at the technical heart of the European Space Agency in the Netherlands, the lectures are now also available on YouTube. If you want to know about the present and future challenges of ESA, stay tuned for more.

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ESA Euronews: Gaia’s revolution in astronomy

Astronomy is undergoing a revolution with the release of precision data on 1.7 billion stars in our galaxy from the Gaia space telescope. We head to the historic Observatory of Paris and ESA’s ESTEC base in the Netherlands to find out more.

It’s fair to say that science has been waiting for centuries, or even millennia for such a detailed survey of the Milky Way, and right now star-gazers are swamped with fresh, high-quality data that they can use to answer every question about the galaxy they ever wanted to ask.

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ESA Euronews: Revolução de Gaia na astronomia

Nesta edição de “Space”, a partir do Observatório de Paris, vamos encontrar-nos com astrónomos que trabalham numa missão especial do telescópio Gaia, que tem vigiado mais de mil milhões de estrelas da nossa galáxia, tentando dar resposta a alguns dos mistérios da Via Láctea.

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ESA Euronews: La rivoluzione di Gaia

Abbiamo incontrato all’Osservatorio di Parigi gli astronomi che lavorano per Gaia, una missione eccezionale che ha già mappato oltre un miliardo di stelle della nostra galassia, per cercare di risolvere alcuni dei misteri della Via Lattea.

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ESA Euronews: La revolución de Gaia

Los datos de las 1700 millones de estrellas de nuestra galaxia del telescopio espacial Gaia están revolucionando la astronomía.
En este episodio de Space nos vamos al histórico Observatorio de París y el centro de la ESA en los Países Bajos para saber qué está pasando.

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ESA Euronews: Gaia nous livre les secrets des étoiles

Dans cette édition de Space, nous partons dans les étoiles : les astronomes qui utilisent le télescope spatial européen Gaia ont élaboré un catalogue d’un milliard d’étoiles de la Voie lactée, ouvrant la voie à de nouvelles décennies de découvertes.

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