Ariane 6 launch table moved to pad

The 700 tonne steel table that will support Ariane 6 at liftoff was transferred to the pad at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on 10 September 2018.

It is so large that it arrived in parts by ship in February and was then welded together and fitted with equipment at a preparation area 250 m from the launch pad. Moving this giant 4 m high, 20 m long and 18 m wide table to its permanent position on the centre of the pad is complex.

Four hydraulic jacks lifted the table then two trollies moved the table to the edge of the launch pad. A temporary railway and a mechanical guidance system helped roll the table into position over the centre of the pad where it will be lowered with millimeter precision into its final position.

Further mechanical, fluidic and electrical equipment will be installed inside and outside the table.

Credits: ESA/CNES 2018

Learn more about #Ariane6: http://ariane6.esa.int/

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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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Horizons science – robotics

Flying at 28 800 km/h, 400 km above Earth, from the International Space Station, ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst controlled a robot called Justin on 17 August 2018. Justin was stationed at the DLR German Aerospace Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany.
ESA has run multiple experiments from the Space Station with robots to test the network, the control system and the robots on Earth. This is a new area for everybody involved and each aspect needs to be tested. This is the third in a series of SUPVIS-Justin orbital experiments. The first was carried out by ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli in August 2017.

The SUPVIS-Justin experiment took around four hours in total. This included set-up, software updates and two hours of interaction between Alexander and Justin.

The tests were chosen to enact future scenarios in which astronauts orbiting distant planets and moons can instruct robots to do difficult or dangerous tasks and set up base before landing for further exploration. The experiment fits in ESA’s strategy to prepare for further exploration of our Universe.

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

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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

Iris flight trials for safer air traffic

Iris’s objective is to make aviation more efficient through a new satellite-based air–ground communication system for Air Traffic Management.

Iris is a partnership between ESA and Inmarsat that provides the satellite technology for the so-called Single European Sky ATM Research programme, which aims at boostingthe safety, capacity and performance of Air Traffic Management worldwide.

Currently, aircraft are tracked by radar when over land and in coastal areas, and flight paths are negotiated by radio. However,due to the expected substantial increase in air traffic in Europe, the radio frequencies currently used for ATM communications will be under significant capacity stress in the next 5-10 years.

Iris will relieve pressure on these ground-based radio frequencies by supplementing them with satellite data links, andallowingaircraft trajectories to be optimized with regard to longitude, latitude, altitude and time. This means less cancellations and delays, and flights that are more cost-effective and fuel-efficient.

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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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Earth from Space: Northeast Ethiopia

In this episode of #EarthfromSpace, the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellite takes us over Northeast Ethiopia.

Go to our website to download this image: http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2018/09/Northeast_Ethiopia

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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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Message from ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti

Italian ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, speaking from the European Astronaut Centre near Cologne in Germany, has a message of thanks to all those who’ve entered our Lunar 3D printing competition so far. A new lunar analogue test facility, called Luna for short, is currently being set up at EAC to test the technologies and techniques needed for any future Moon base – with 3D printing high on the list. And a team ESA’s technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, is overseeing a project to research in detail how 3D printing could be used in such a Moon base. We’re also interested in the human factor: what would you 3D print to make the Moon feel like home? That’s why we’re crowdsourcing your ideas through this competition. The closing date is 23 September 2018.

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European Astro Pi Challenge 2018/19 | ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst announcement

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst launches the 2018/19 European Astro Pi Challenge; an ESA Education project run in collaboration with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. He invites students and young people to conduct their own scientific investigations in space, by writing computer programs that run on Raspberry Pi computers on board the International Space Station.

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The European Astro Pi Challenge: Code your experiment. Send it to space!

The European Astro Pi Challenge is an ESA Education project run in collaboration with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. It offers students and young people the amazing opportunity to conduct scientific investigations in space, by writing computer programs that run on Raspberry Pi computers on board the International Space Station.

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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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Earth from Space: North Sea bloom

After a nice summer break, Earth from Space is back and is taking us over the North Sea with the Copernicus Sentinel-3A satellite and a new host.

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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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