ESA kosmose uudised
Swirling fragments of past space endeavours are trapped in orbit around Earth, threatening our future in space. Over time, the number, mass and area of these debris objects grows steadily, boosting the risk to functioning satellites.
ESA’s Space Debris Office constantly monitors this ever-evolving debris situation, and every year publishes a report on the current state of the debris environment.
Week in images: 05-09 October 2020
Discover our week through the lens
Holding over 80% of Earth’s surface freshwater, lakes support and sustain communities across the planet. A new study uses satellite data to underline the vulnerability of these inland water bodies to climate change and warns of serious future consequences for many freshwater species worldwide.
In this week's edition of the Earth from Space programme, we explore part of the Laguna San Rafael National Park, Chile, with Copernicus Sentinel-2.
See also Laguna San Rafael National Park, Chile to download the image.
ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer plans to take a small slice of Saarland to the International Space Station.
Later this month, chefs from his home region in south-western Germany will whip up a selection of spaceworthy dishes and put these out for public vote. The most popular will be added to Matthias’ space menu for his future mission, but he will not taste the winning Saarland speciality until he is on board.
The qualification model of the P120C motor configured for Ariane 6, has been static fired on the test stand at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana in a final test to prove its readiness for flight.
P120C final test firing
Watch Ariane 6's P120C booster hot firing at Europe's Spaceport in a final test before flight
September 2020 - ESA's Kiruna ground station in northern Sweden celebrates 30 years of space excellence. Near the top of the world, at a latitude of almost 68° north and sited 38 kilometres east of Kiruna town, the Kiruna ground station has been operational for 30 years. Ideally positioned to support polar-orbiting missions, the station is a crucial gateway for much of the data enabling us to study our planet's oceans, water and atmosphere, forecast weather and understand the rapid advance of climate change. With its two sophisticated antennas, it also supports some of ESA’s scientific missions such as Integral and Cluster. The station is part of ESA’s Estrack network linking all Agency missions to the ESOC mission control centre in Darmstadt, Germany.
The ESA-JAXA BepiColombo mission is getting ready to fly by Venus. It will make a close approach of the planet on 15 October at 03:58 GMT (05:58 CEST) at a distance of approximately 10 720 km. Gravity assist flybys are needed to set the spacecraft on course for Mercury orbit.
BepiColombo launched 20 October 2018 and made a flyby of Earth on 10 April 2020. It will make two flybys of Venus and six of Mercury before entering orbit around the Solar System’s innermost planet in 2025.
Even though the spacecraft will be quite far away from Venus during the first flyby, some science instruments onboard the Mercury Planetary Orbiter and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter will be activated to study the planet’s atmosphere and space environment. It is not possible to use the Mercury Planetary Orbiter’s main science camera during the flyby, but the monitoring cameras, or “selfie-cams”, onboard the transfer module will try to capture images of Venus as it speeds past.
JAXA’s Akatsuki Venus Climate Orbiter and its Earth-orbiting Hisaki Spectroscopic Planet Observatory, together with ground-based observatories on Earth, will also make simultaneous measurements of the planet, taking advantage of this unique opportunity for coordinated observations.
Space technology is serving at the heart of the French Open. The tennis players’ showers at Roland Garros Stadium near Paris recycle their water to flush the locker room toilets, harnessing technology originally developed by ESA for astronauts on long-duration space missions, and employed operationally in Antarctica for the last 15 years.
Meet the people behind the third European Service Module that will power and propel the next astronauts to land on the Moon in decades. The team at Thales Alenia Space in Turin, Italy pose with the now completed structure that acts as a backbone to the Service Module of the Orion spacecraft.
Most of them have personally worked on the side of ESA and NASA to provide the habitable pressurized structures for a large number of the International Space Station’s elements, acquiring hands on experience to apply to upcoming Moon and other crewed exploration missions.
Since 2014, this team has worked on the Artemis missions, manufacturing until today a total of five structures: from the two Structural Test Articles (delivered to Airbus in Bremen in 2015 and 2016), to the three Flight Unit Structures (delivered in 2016, 2018, and 2020).
However, the structure in the image is extra special, as it will fly the first woman and next man to land on the Moon and return on the Artemis III mission by 2024.
Much like a car chassis, this structure forms the basis for all further assembly of the spacecraft, including 11 km of wiring, 33 engines, four tanks to hold over 8000 litres of fuel, enough water and air to keep four astronauts alive for 20 days in space and the seven-metre ‘x-wing’ solar arrays that provide enough electricity to power two households.
The completed service module is due to arrive at the Airbus integration hall in Bremen, Germany, at the end of the week for integration with all the elements listed above and more. This third European Service Module will be united with the second in the series that is already in Bremen, and nearing completion; the second European Service Module will then be sent to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center next year.
The first service module is already finished and has been integrated with the Crew Module and rocket adapters to sit atop the Space Launch Systems rocket. The first completed Orion craft is scheduled for a launch and fly-by around the Moon, without astronauts, next year on the first Artemis mission.
The countdown to the Moon starts in Europe with 16 companies in ten countries supplying the components that make up humankind’s next generation spacecraft for exploration. Follow the latest on Orion developments on the blog.
In the meantime, a round of applause for (starting from the left) Andrea, Davide, Antonio, Alessandro, Stefano, Annamaria, Gianluca, Massimiliano, Alessandro, Michele and Giorgio.
Ulysses continues to inspire on its 30th anniversary
The 71st International Astronautical Congress (#IAC2020) ‘CyberSpace Edition’ will take place on 12-14 October, and ESA will be one of the main sponsors of this major digital event, to support this important annual gathering of the space community.
The Arctic is one of the most rapidly changing regions in the world. Diminishing sea ice, thawing permafrost and melting glaciers are all direct effects of rising global temperatures – driven by human-made emissions. Learn more about how satellites flying 800 km above our heads can help us monitor and understand the changes occurring in this remote region.
Week in images: 28 September - 02 October 2020
Discover our week through the lens
Earlier this year, ESA launched a contest asking the general public to submit ideas on how Earth observation data can help mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, one of the two winning ideas is being officially released to the public via the ‘Rapid Action on COVID-19 with Earth Observation’ dashboard – a joint initiative from ESA and the European Commission. This citizen-contributed indicator involves an innovative solution for detecting and quantifying the number of trucks using imagery from the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission.