Jumping Space Robot Flies Like Spacecraft

Spacebok jumping in simulated lunar gravity. (Credit; ETH Zurich/ZHAW Zurich)

NOORDWIJK, The Netherlands (ESA ) — Astronauts on the Moon found themselves hopping around, rather than simply walking. Switzerland’s SpaceBok planetary exploration robot has followed their example, launching all four legs off the ground during tests at ESA’s technical heart.

SpaceBok is a quadruped robot designed and built by a Swiss student team from ETH Zurich and ZHAW Zurich. It is currently being tested using robotic facilities at ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in the Netherlands.

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ESA Sets Up CubeSat Central for Smaller Space Missions

Qarman CubeSat in Hertz chamber (Credit: ESA)

NOORDWIJK, Netherlands, 2 April 2019 (ESA PR) — ESA has set up a dedicated unit to work on the standardised nanosatellites called ‘CubeSats’, teaming up with European companies to develop low-cost technology-testing missions. Missions in preparation include a double CubeSat to test rendezvous and docking techniques, and one to explore near-Earth asteroids.

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Reaction Engines Signs ESA Contract

Skylon concept (Credit: Reaction Engines)
Skylon concept (Credit: Reaction Engines)

FARNBOROUGH, UK (Reaction Engines PR) — Reaction Engines Ltd., today announces the signing of a €10m European Space Agency (ESA) contract which will enable the development of a ground based demonstrator of SABRE™, a new class of aerospace engine which is highly scalable with multiple potential applications in hypersonic travel and space access.

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Fly Your Satellite! CubeSats Phone Home

CubeSats (Credit: ESA/Medialab)
CubeSats (Credit: ESA/Medialab)

PARIS (ESA PR) — All three satellites of ESA’s Education Office Fly Your Satellite! programme have established their first contact with the ground.
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ESA Prepares More Student CubeSats for Space

Installation of OUFTI-1 on the electrodynamic shaker at ESTEC (Credit: ESA)
Installation of OUFTI-1 on the electrodynamic shaker at ESTEC (Credit: ESA)

NOORWIJK, The Netherlands (ESA PR) — While waiting for the first ESA student CubeSat to be deployed from the International Space Station at the beginning of October, the three Fly Your Satellite! CubeSats candidate for rocket launch are completing their environmental test campaign.

During the past few months, the student satellites had to pass a number of tests in order to make sure they would be able to perform properly in the harsh conditions encountered during launch and in orbit. This test campaign represented Phase 2 of the Fly Your Satellite! educational programme.

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ESA Astronaut Controls Ground Robot From ISS

ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen controls the Interact Rover at ESA’s ESTEC technical centre from the International Space Station. (Credit: ESA)
ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen controls the Interact Rover at ESA’s ESTEC technical centre from the International Space Station. (Credit: ESA)

NOORDWIJK, the Netherlands — Putting a round peg in a round hole is not hard for someone standing next to it. But yesterday ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen did this while orbiting 400 km up aboard the International Space Station, remotely operating a rover and its robotic arm on the ground.

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XCOR Signs Agreements with DLR, ESA-ESTEC

Credit: XCOR
Credit: XCOR

Here are a couple of short XCOR press releases related to agreements signed by CEO Jay Gibson in Europe back in May. One is an agreement with the German space agency DLR relating to medical screening protocols for Lynx passengers. The second involves a multi-party letter of intent Gibson signed with ESA-ESTEC and two other organizations to jointly develop a new space mission concept.

XCOR didn’t publicize the trip at the time, and the information only recently appeared on the company’s revamped website.

COLOGNE, Germany — XCOR’s CEO Jay Gibson signed an agreement with Professor Rupert Gerzer, General Director of the prestigious DLR Institute for Aerospace Medicine in Cologne, Germany on May 20.

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UK Space Update: Astronaut Training, Space Station Designs, Microsats and More

Four brief updates on developments in the UK, courtesy of Rocketeers.co.uk….

UK-based Worldview Spaceflight is offering astronaut training in collaboration with Rocketplane Global. “We can offer the full package, from trainee to astronaut, Worldview will take you through every step of your training and your eventual spaceflight in 2010,” Worldview says. Rocketplane, based in Oklahoma, will apparently fly from bases in Europe.

The N-prize is offering a £9,999.99 prize to any group capable launching a satellite between 9.99 and 19.99 grams into orbit for no more than £999.99. The spacecraft must complete at least 9 orbits in order to win the prize, which seems awkwardly named (to American ears, anyway). The “N” stands for “Nanosatellite” or “Negligible Resources,” BTW.

The Space ’08 conference will be held at the Barbican Conference Centre in London on 4th September 2008. The conference “will identify and examine the key rationales” of the British National Space Centre’s Civil Space Strategy 2008-2012.

ESA will conduct the Space Station Design Workshop in collaboration with the Institute of Space Systems of the Universitaet Stuttgart on July 13-18, 2008. The event – held at ESTEC, in Noordwijk, the Netherlands – is open to university students (up to Masters level or equivalent) from ESA member states. The ESA website has more information.