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Aerospace

ESA: Landing on an asteroid

This is the micro-lander that ESA’s proposed Asteroid Impact Mission would put down on its target asteroid. The asteroid body in question is just 170 m in diameter – the smaller body of the binary Didymos system – so roughly the same size as the Great Pyramid of Giza. It orbits just 1.2 km above […]

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Aerospace

ESA: Sentinel-3A fully tanked

With the launch of Sentinel-3A confirmed for 16 February, preparations for liftoff are charging full speed ahead. The tricky task of fuelling the satellite has now been ticked off the ‘to do list’ and the propulsion team is already decontaminating their equipment before returning home. Official confirmation of the new launch date had to come […]

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Aerospace

Galileo signals covering more of the sky

Europe’s ninth and tenth Galileo satellites have started broadcasting working navigation messages. These two satellites were launched together on 11 September last year. Once safely in orbit and their systems activated, their navigation payloads and search and rescue transponders were subjected to a rigorous process of in-orbit testing, to ensure their performance reached the necessary […]

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Aerospace

EDRS launch in short

The first laser node of the European Data Relay System was launched from Baikonur, Kazakhstan atop a Proton rocket on 29 January at 22:20 GMT. Dubbed the ‘SpaceDataHighway’, EDRS will uniquely provide near-realtime Big Data relay services using cutting-edge laser technology. It will dramatically improve access to time-critical data, aiding disaster response by emergency services […]

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Aerospace

Ariane 5’s first launch of 2016

An Ariane 5 last night delivered telecom satellite Intelsat-29e into its planned orbit. Liftoff of Ariane flight VA228 occurred on 27 January at 23:20 GMT (20:20 local time, 00:20 CET on 28 January) from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Intelsat-29e was the sole passenger on this launch. With a mass at liftoff of 6552 […]

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Aerospace

ESA: Inside a rocket’s belly

An unusual view of a spacecraft – looking from below, directly into the thruster nozzles. This is a test version of ESA’s service module for NASA’s Orion spacecraft that will send astronauts further into space than ever before. The European Service Module provides electricity, water, oxygen and nitrogen, and thermal control as well as propelling […]