ESA Choosing CubeSats for Hera Asteroid Mission

Hera CubeSats deployed. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — As the world marvels at the hopping mini-rovers deployed on asteroid Ryugu by Japan’s Hayabusa2, ESA is due to decide on the CubeSats planned for delivery to a binary asteroid system by its proposed Hera mission.

CubeSats are nanosatellites based on standardised 10 cm-sized units. This week an ESA evaluation board decides which two ‘6-unit’ CubeSat missions will ride with the next-decade Hera mission to the Didymos asteroid system. The CubeSats will be deployed around the smaller of the two bodies for eventual landing.

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ExoMars Highlights Radiation Risk for Mars Astronauts

ExoMars orbiter and rover (Credit: ESA/ATG medialab)

BERLIN, Germany (ESA PR) — Astronauts on a mission to Mars would be exposed to at least 60% of the total radiation dose limit recommended for their career during the journey itself to and from the Red Planet, according to data from the ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter being presented at the European Planetary Science Congress, EPSC, in Berlin, Germany, this week.

The orbiter’s camera team are also presenting new images of Mars during the meeting. They will also highlight the challenges faced from the recent dust storm that engulfed the entire planet, preventing high-quality imaging of the surface.
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Orion’s First Service Module Integration Complete

Orion Service Module-1 radiator installation (Credit: ESA–A. Conigli)

BREMEN, Germany (ESA PR) — Last week at the Airbus integration hall in Bremen, Germany, technicians installed the last radiator on the European Service Module for NASA’s Orion spacecraft marking the module’s finished integration.

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Bone Cells Round Trip to Space, Rinse and Repeat

Alexander Gerst exercising on the International Space Station. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

Noordwijk, The Netherelands (ESA PR) — The bones in your body are constantly dissolving – but don’t worry, healthy people naturally create new cells daily to repair and keep your bones strong. This process of disappearing bone is called osteoclast and its rebuilding at the cellular level is called osteoblast.

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GKN Aerospace Wins ArianeGroup Contract for Ground-breaking Additively Manufactured Rocket Engine Turbines

Rocket engine (Credit: ArianeGroup)

Trollhättan, Sweden (GKN Aerospace PR) — GKN Aerospace will develop and manufacture two full-scale turbines for the Prometheus* low-cost re-usable rocket engine demonstrator on liquid oxygen and methane propellants. The turbines will generate power for the methane fuel system, with the first turbine to be delivered at the end of 2019. Manufacturing will take place in cooperation with partners and at GKN Aerospace’s highly automated engine systems centre of excellence in Trollhättan, Sweden.

The new state of the art turbine with all its challenging loads – including very high pressure, high speed and high temperatures – incorporates the latest additive manufacturing (AM) technologies with higher performance, lower lead times and significant cost reduction. This innovative development will support the next step in AM: the use of this technology for future higher loaded critical components in terms of pressure, temperature and rotational speed.

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Space is Hard: Tough Testing for 3D Printed Parts

Laser-based 3D printing (Credit: AMAZE – Fraunhofer ILT/Airbus)

HARWELL, UK (ESA PR) — 3D-printed metal parts produced through a Europe-wide collaboration of high-performance industrial sectors have undergone extensive testing for space use – tested to destruction in many cases – by ESA’s specialist advanced manufacturing lab in the UK.

ESA’s Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory based in Harwell, UK, took delivery of the sample parts, produced as an output of the four-year AMAZE programme, harnessing metal 3D printing to produce lighter, cheaper, better products.

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Understanding the Earth’s Weather: Arianespace Launches Europe’s Aeolus Wind-monitoring Satellite

Ariane 5 launches the Aeolus satellite. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace marked another mission accomplished for the Earth’s sustainable development as its light-lift Vega vehicle successfully orbited Europe’s Aeolus – the first satellite designed to profile wind profiles on a global scale.

Lifting off from the Spaceport’s Vega Launch Complex at 6:20:09 p.m. local time in French Guiana – the planned precise moment of launch – Vega lofted its passenger during a flight lasting just under 55 minutes, with Aeolus placed into a Sun-synchronous orbit.

Built by Airbus Defence and Space, the satellite carries a laser Doppler wind LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) system called Aladin that will probe the lowermost 30 km. of the atmosphere in measuring winds around the Earth.
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Researchers Make Bricks From Simulated Moon Dust


1.5 tonne building block produced as a demonstration (Credit: ESA)

COLOGNE, Germany (ESA PR) — Lunar masonry starts on Earth. European researchers are working with Moon dust simulants that could one day allow astronauts to build habitats on our natural satellite and pave the way for human space exploration.

The surface of the Moon is covered in grey, fine, rough dust. This powdery soil is everywhere – an indigenous source that could become the ideal material for brickwork. You can crush it, burn it and compress it.

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NASA Statement on Possible Subsurface Lake near Martian South Pole

Detecting buried water with radar. (Credit: ESA/NASA/JPL/ASI/Univ. Rome; R. Orosei et al 2018)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — A new paper published in Science this week suggests that liquid water may be sitting under a layer of ice at Mars’ south pole.

The finding is based on data from the European Mars Express spacecraft, obtained by a radar instrument called MARSIS (Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding). The Italian Space Agency (ASI) led the development of the MARSIS radar. NASA provided half of the instrument, with management of the U.S. portion led by the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

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Mars Express Detects Liquid Water Beneath Planet’s South Pole

Mars Express detects water buried under the south pole of Mars. (Credit: Context map: NASA/Viking; THEMIS background: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State University; MARSIS data: ESA/NASA/JPL/ASI/Univ. Rome; R. Orosei et al 2018)

PARIS, 25 July 2018 (ESA PR) — Radar data collected by ESA’s Mars Express point to a pond of liquid water buried under layers of ice and dust in the south polar region of Mars.

Evidence for the Red Planet’s watery past is prevalent across its surface in the form of vast dried-out river valley networks and gigantic outflow channels clearly imaged by orbiting spacecraft. Orbiters, together with landers and rovers exploring the martian surface, also discovered minerals that can only form in the presence of liquid water.

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What Would You 3D Print on the Moon to Make it Feel Like Home?

3D printed food produced by the TNO research centre in the Netherlands, a member of the URBAN consortium investigating 3D printing in support of a lunar base. (Credit: TNO/URBAN)

PARIS, 20 July 2018 (ESA PR) — A new ESA-led project is investigating the ways that 3D printing could be used to create and run a habitat on the Moon. Everything from building materials to solar panels, equipment and tools to clothes, even nutrients and food ingredients can potentially be 3D printed. But if you were headed to the Moon, what would you want to 3D print, to turn a lunar base into a place that feels like home? Tell us your idea, to win a chance of actually getting it printed.

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Name Europe’s Mars Rover Competition

ESA’s Exo Mars Rover (Credit: ESA)

FARNBOROUGH, UK — 20 July 2018 (ESA PR) — The UK Space Agency has launched a competition to name a rover that is going to Mars to search for signs of life.Due to launch in 2020, the UK-built rover is part of ESA’s ExoMars mission. It will investigate how Mars has evolved and whether there may be conditions for life.

The ExoMars rover will be the first of its kind to travel across the martian surface and drill down to determine if evidence of life is buried underground, protected from the Sun’s radiation that bombards the surface of the ‘Red Planet’.

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Seeing Titan with Infrared Eyes

The moon Titan in infrared. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Stéphane Le Mouélic, University of Nantes, Virginia Pasek, University of Arizona)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA/JPL/Caltech PR) — These six infrared images of Saturn’s moon Titan represent some of the clearest, most seamless-looking global views of the icy moon’s surface produced so far. The views were created using 13 years of data acquired by the Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) instrument on board NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. The images are the result of a focused effort to smoothly combine data from the multitude of different observations VIMS made under a wide variety of lighting and viewing conditions over the course of Cassini’s mission.

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Goonhilly Unveils Roadmap for Commercial Space Communications, Exploration & More

Highlights:

  • Goonhilly to launch new services thanks to recent £32.4 million in investment and contract wins
  • Space and satellite industries, video service providers, enterprises and universities to benefit from new applications on Earth, in near space and deep space
  • Expansion plans include facilities in US and Australia to support deep space ambitions
  • Green data centre will offer co-location with satellite, sub-sea cable and fibre connectivity

CORNWALL, UK (Goonhilly Earth Station PR) — Satellite communications innovator and space gateway, Goonhilly Earth Station, today launched its roadmap and outlined developments which will galvanise its position in the satellite industry and place it firmly at the vanguard of the new space economy driven by private investment and solid growth performance. With the agility of a start-up yet with many science and technology firsts under its belt, this roadmap underpins the firm’s ambition to become a world-leading space connectivity nexus and centre of innovation.

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ESA Issues Call for Ideas on Future Space Transportation


PARIS, 16 July 2018 (ESA PR) —
ESA is calling for ideas that will shape the future of space transportation services – to space, in space and returning from space.

“The changing world we live in requires a space agency to anticipate. Now is the time for ESA to reach out to our citizens in the Member States and listen to their ideas and take them on board Europe’s greatest adventure,” commented Jan Wörner, ESA Director General.

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