NASA Astronaut’s Record-Setting Mission Helps Scientists for Future Missions

Christina Koch aboard the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA astronaut Christina Koch is set to return to Earth on Thursday, Feb. 6, after 328 days living and working aboard the International Space Station. Her mission is the longest single spaceflight by any woman, which is helping scientists gather data for future missions to the Moon and Mars.

NASA TV Coverage https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html#public

  • Wed., Feb. 5, 9 p.m. EST: Expedition 61 Crew Farewell and Soyuz Hatch Closure
  • Thurs., Feb. 6, 12:15 a.m., 3 a.m. EST: Expedition 61 Soyuz Undocking, Deorbit Burn and Landing Coverage
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NASA to Broadcast Solar Orbiter Launch, Prelaunch Activities

In this image, taken by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory on Feb. 27, 2000, a coronal mass ejection is seen erupting from the Sun, which is hidden by the disk in the middle, so the fainter material around it can be seen. (Credits: ESA/NASA/SOHO)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA is targeting 11:03 p.m. EST Sunday, Feb. 9, for the launch of Solar Orbiter, an international collaborative mission between ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA. The spacecraft will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 411 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida.

Live coverage will begin on NASA Television and the agency’s website  Friday, Feb. 7, with prelaunch events.

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ExoMars 2020 Aerodynamic Shield Flight Sample Delivered to ESA

Mars 2020 shield (Credit: Roscosmos)

CANNES (Roscosmos PR) — ExoMars-2020 aerodynamic shield flight sample delivered from NPO Lavochkin (part of Roscosmos) to Thales Alenia Space (Cannes, France).

The TASinF specialists unpacked the shield, cleaned and placed it in the clean area ISO7, performed all the necessary equipment checks. At the moment, preparatory works to install the aerodynamic shield are underway to conduct further joint tests as part of the spacecraft.

ExoMars-2020 mission is the second stage of Roscosmos largest international project together with the European Space Agency to explore Mars surface and subsurface in the area next to the landing site, geological research and searching for traces of possible life existence on the planet. The spacecraft is to open a new stage in space exploration for the world scientific community.

NPO Lavochkin acts as the general contractor and works coordinator from the Russian side, as well as designer and manufacturer of the descent module with the landing platform. The mission is scheduled for launch in the window between July 26 – August 13, 2020.

UK Space Cluster Expands at Harwell

The European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT) is ESA’s facility in the United Kingdom. It is based at the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire. (Credit: Harwell Campus)

OXFORDSHIRE, UK (ESA PR) — More than 1100 people now work in the space industry at Harwell in Oxfordshire – up 16% over the past 12 months – according to figures released today.

Some 105 companies are based on the campus, which is Europe’s most concentrated space cluster. The growth rate is on target to deliver 5000 jobs in 200 organisations by 2030.

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Twin Rovers Could Lead Search for Life Supporting Elements

TRAILER robotic system (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA’s Technology Development Element (TDE) has signed a contract on the development of the TRAILER robotic system with COMEX, France. TRAILER is a two-year project to test a novel architecture of robotic cooperation based on a tandem of two rovers for lunar surface exploration missions.

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ESA, Airbus Sign Contract for Bartolomeo Platform on ISS

Bartolomeo with laser (Credit: Airbus)

BREMEN, 23 January 2020 (Airbus PR)  – The Bartolomeo platform from Airbus gives new opportunities for research on the International Space Station (ISS). The European Space Agency ESA has now firmly booked a payload slot for a Norwegian instrument to monitor plasma density in the Earth’s atmosphere.

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Astronauts Wrap Up Spacewalk Repair Job on Cosmic Ray Detector

A helmet cam attached to the spacesuit of astronaut Andrew Morgan pictures astronaut Luca Parmitano during the final spacewalk to repair a cosmic ray detector. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON — Expedition 61 crew members Andrew Morgan of NASA and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) concluded their spacewalk at 1:20 p.m. EST. During the 6 hour, 16 minute spacewalk, the two astronauts successfully completed leak checks for the cooling system on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) and opened a valve to being pressurizing the system. Preliminary testing shows AMS is responding as expected.

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Second Space Data Highway Satellite Set to Beam

EDRS-C is prepared for launch. (Credit: ESA-CNES-Arianespace Optique Vidéo du CSG – S Martin)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The second satellite in the European Data Relay System has reached its intended orbit and completed its in-orbit tests.

Dubbed the “SpaceDataHighway” by its commercial operator Airbus, EDRS uses innovative laser technology to enable Earth-observation satellites to deliver their information to users on the ground in near real-time, accelerating responses to emergency situations and spurring the development of new services and products.

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Watch Live This Weekend: Final Spacewalk for AMS

Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) attached to the Canadarm during the first Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer repair spacewalk on Nov. 15, 2019. (Credit: NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan will exit the International Space Station airlock together for the fourth time Saturday 25 January. It is the ninth spacewalk for Expedition 61 – the most spacewalks ever performed during a single Space Station expedition – and the last in a complex series to maintain the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer AMS-02.

During this final #SpacewalkForAMS, Luca and Drew will check the particle detector’s upgraded pump system. After approximately three hours, their checks should reveal whether it is now leak-tight, ready to support further research into the origins of our Universe.

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Shape the Future of European Biology Research in Space

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti working with ESA’s Biolab facility on the International Space Station for the Triplelux experiment. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — What biology research would you conduct on the International Space Station? As the world celebrates 20 years of astronauts living and working on the International Space Station, ESA is preparing for another decade of European research in humankind’s weightless laboratory.

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European Commission, EIB Group Invest EUR 200 Million in Space Sector

Artist’s view of the configuration of Ariane 6 using four boosters (A64) (Credit: ESA – D. Ducros)
  • EUR 100 million contingent loan for the new Ariane 6 launcher programme, a European Space Agency programme with ArianeGroup as Industrial lead contractor and design authority
  • First EUR 100 million venture capital programme under InnovFin to support innovation and growth of European smaller and medium-sized space technology companies

LUXEMBOURG (EIB PR) — The European Commission is partnering with the European Investment Bank Group, announcing EUR 200 million of investments into the EU space sector, supporting ground-breaking innovation in the industry. During the European Space Policy Conference  in Brussels, EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle is signing an agreement with André-Hubert Roussel, CEO of ArianeGroup, confirming a EUR 100 million loan for the new Ariane 6 launcher programme.

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ESA Opens Oxygen Plant – Making Air Out of Moondust

ESA research fellow Alexandre Meurisse and Beth Lomax of the University of Glasgow preparing to make oxygen and metal out of simulated moondust inside ESA’s Materials and Electrical Components Laboratory. (Credit: ESA–A. Conigili)

ESA’s technical heart has begun to produce oxygen out of simulated moondust.

NOORDWIJK, The Netherlands (ESA PR) — A prototype oxygen plant has been set up in the Materials and Electrical Components Laboratory of the European Space Research and Technology Centre, ESTEC, based in Noordwijk in the Netherlands.

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First Spacebus Neo Satellite Launched

Spacebus Neo Konnect in the thermal vacuum test chamber. (Credit: Thales Alenia Space)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — Ariane 5’s first launch of 2020 has delivered two telecom satellites, Konnect and GSAT-30, into their planned transfer orbits. Arianespace announced liftoff at 21:05 GMT (22:05 CET, 18:05 local time) this evening from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Konnect, with a launch mass of 3619 kg, was the first to be released after about 27 minutes.

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ExoMars Rover Completes Environmental Tests

ExoMars rover undergoing environmental testing. (Credit: Airbus)

TOULOUSE, France (ESA PR) — The Rosalind Franklin rover of the joint ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars mission completed a series of environmental tests at the end of 2019 at Airbus, Toulouse, France. This included final thermal and vacuum tests where the Rover is heated and cooled to simulate the temperatures of its journey through space and on the surface of Mars.

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