BepiColombo: preparations & launch (timelapse)

This year saw ESA’s science exploration mission BepiColombo begin its seven year cruise to the innermost planet of our Solar System: Mercury. This timelapse recalls some of the preparations that went into readying the mission at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

The mission, a joint endeavour between ESA and JAXA, comprises three spacecraft modules: ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter and JAXA’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter that will study all aspects of Mercury from their complementary orbits around the planet, and ESA’s Mercury Transfer Module that will bring them to the planet using a combination of solar electric propulsion and nine planetary flybys.

The video includes testing of the individual spacecraft units, stacking of the three modules and a protective sunshield into their launch configuration, integration of the spacecraft inside the launcher fairing, roll out to the launch pad, and finally launch itself. The mission lifted off at 01:45:28 GMT on 20 October 2018.

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Soyuz spacecraft launch time-lapse seen from space

This is what three astronauts being launched into space looks like – seen from space. ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst took this time-lapse sequence from the International Space Station’s Cupola observatory on 3 December 2018.

Inside the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft were NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques and Roscosmos astronaut and Soyuz commander Oleg Konenenko. The trio blasted into orbit at 11:31 GMT from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and docked with the International Space Station just six hours later.

Spacecraft are launched after the Space Station flies overhead. This allowed Alexander to set up a camera to take regular pictures at intervals that are played back to create this video.

The rocket leaves behind a trail of exhaust as it gains altitude and passes through the layers of Earth’s atmosphere.

Download the video from ESA’s space in videos: http://www.esa.int/spaceinvideos/Videos/2018/12/Soyuz_spacecraft_launch_timelapse_seen_from_space

Follow Alexander and the #Horizons mission on social media via http://bit.ly/AlexanderGerstESA and on http://bit.ly/HorizonsBlogESA.

Credits: ESA/NASA.

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Vega: 13 launches 13 successes

Europe’s Vega launch vehicle operating from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, has a flawless record.

Vega serves a wide range of missions and payload configurations, responding to different market opportunities. It is the ideal launcher for most scientific and Earth observation missions, benchmarked to loft 1500 kg into a 700 km-altitude circular orbit at 90° inclination.

Based on this success a more powerful #Vega, Vega-C, now in development is set to launch in mid-2019 offering greater performance at no additional cost.

Vega-C shares technology with Europe’s other new launcher Ariane 6. The P120C solid fuel motor will be used as the first stage for Vega-C and two or four will be used as strap-on boosters for Ariane 6.

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European Student Earth Orbiter

The European Student Earth Orbiter (ESEO) is an educational micro-satellite, which involved European university students during the whole project lifecycle. This 50-kilogram microsatellite is now ready and waiting for launch on 19 November aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher from California.
The student teams developed experiments on board ESEO include cameras for Earth imaging, a radiation dosimeter, a plasma detector, and demonstrators of technologies that can be used for future education satellite missions.

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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 http://www.esa.int/ESA to get up to speed on everything space related.

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European Student Earth Orbiter

The ESEO satellite will be set into space on board the Spaceflight’s SSO-A: SmallSat Express dedicated rideshare mission on a SpaceX Falcon 9 launcher from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, (US), on 19 November 2018. ESEO will be a passenger together with about 70 other micro, nano, and pico satellites from several countries from all over the world.

ESEO is an ESA micro-satellite project with an educational objective: for the participating university students to acquire hands-on experience of a real space project, in order to prepare a well-qualified technical workforce for the European space sector. This was achieved by offering the student the opportunity to develop the payload (scientific instruments or technology demonstration experiments), key satellite subsystems and the ground segment (ground stations and Mission Control) to the mission, under the coordination of ESA and SITAEL, the Industrial Prime Contractor, responsible for the satellite platform, system integration and testing, and the technical coordination of the student teams.

Run by the ESA Education Office, ESEO is part of ESA Academy’s Hands-on Space Programme.

Ten Universities from eight ESA Member States (Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, UK) have participated in ESEO, with more than 600 university students involved in the project since its inception.

The ESEO mission will validate in-orbit the SITAEL S-50 platform (50kg including the payload), the smallest within the SITAEL products portfolio, and hence it represents a crucial milestone of the intensive hard work in designing, developing and manufacturing innovative multi-purpose small satellites platforms’

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BepiColombo launch highlights

Highlights from the days up to and including the exciting launch of the ESA-JAXA BepiColombo mission to Mercury.

BepiColombo launched at 01:45 GMT from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. It will make a seven year cruise to Mercury, flying by Earth once, Venus twice and Mercury six times before entering orbit.

It is the first European mission to Mercury, the smallest and least explored planet in the inner Solar System, and the first to send two spacecraft to make complementary measurements of the planet and its dynamic environment at the same time. The mission comprises two science orbiters: ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and JAXA’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO). The ESA-built Mercury Transfer Module (MTM) will carry the orbiters to Mercury using a combination of solar electric propulsion and gravity assist flybys.

Learn more about #BepiColombo: http://bit.ly/ESAsBepiColombo

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BepiColombo liftoff

BepiColombo lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on an Ariane 5 rocket at 01:45 GMT on 20 October 2018

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BepiColombo mission to Mercury

BepiColombo is scheduled for launch at 01:45 GMT (03:45 CEST) on 20 October on an Ariane 5 from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou.

Final assembly of the two orbiters and transfer module has taken place, ready for the spacecraft to be integrated into its Ariane 5 launcher.

BepiColombo is Europe’s first mission to Mercury, the smallest and least explored planet in the inner Solar System. It is a joint endeavour between ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA, and consists of two scientific orbiters: ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and JAXA’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO). The mission will study all aspects of Mercury, from the structure and dynamics of its magnetosphere and how it interacts with the solar wind, to its internal structure with its large iron core, and the origin of the planet’s magnetic field.

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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 http://www.esa.int/ESA to get up to speed on everything space related.

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Preparing for Vega-C

At the end of 2019 Vega-C will be launched from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana increasing performance from Vega’s current 1.5 t to about 2.2 t in its reference 700 km polar orbit, with no increase in launch costs.

Vega-C’s first stage is based on the P120, the largest single segment carbon fibre solid-propellant rocket motor ever built. It was successfully tested in July 2018. Its development relies on new technologies derived from Vega’s current first stage P80 motor. Two or four P120C motors will also be used for the liftoff boosters on Ariane 6.

Vega-C’s 3.3 m diameter fairing will accommodate larger payloads such as Earth observation satellites of more than two tonnes, and ESA’s Space Rider reentry vehicle.

The Vega launch pad and mobile gantry are being modified to accommodate Vega-C leading into a period when launch facilities will accommodate both vehicles.

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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 http://www.esa.int/ESA to get up to speed on everything space related.

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Aeolus quick steps to launch

This time-lapse video shows ESA’s #Aeolus satellite being prepared for liftoff. It includes shots from the cleanroom in France, its arrival by ship in French Guiana, preparations at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, roll out to the launch pad and, finally, liftoff on a Vega rocket on 22 August 2018.

Aeolus carries one of the most sophisticated instruments ever to be put into orbit. The first of its kind, the Aladin instrument includes revolutionary laser technology to generate pulses of ultraviolet light that are beamed down into the atmosphere to profile the world’s winds – a completely new approach to measuring the wind from space.

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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 http://www.esa.int/ESA to get up to speed on everything space related.

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Credits of this video: Directed and realised by Stephane Corvaja, ESA; Realised and edited by Manuel Pédoussaut, Zetapress; Music by Hubrid – GALACTIC

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