Oferte Emag

13-Mile Practice Skydive for Record-Breaking Space Jump

Copyright Red Bull Stratos

Austrian adventurer Felix Baumgartner is hoping to make the world’s highest skydive this summer, in an event backed by energy drink company Red Bull. As a practice run, he leaped from a custom built capsule at an altitude of 71,581 feet (21,818 meters), marking his personal highest-jump ever.

Baumgartner’s ultimate goal is to jump from 120,000 feet (36,576 m) later this year in what he hopes will also be the first supersonic skydive.

ESA and Thales Alenia Space establish agreement for development of Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV)

esa-and-thales-alenia-space-establish-agreement-for-development-of-intermediate-experimental-vehicle

Copyright ESA

Today at the Paris Air Show being held at Le Bourget, ESA and Thales Alenia Space have established the agreement for the authorisation to proceed with the development of the Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) atmospheric reentry demonstrator.

The IXV project is part of the ESA Future Launchers Preparatory Programme (FLPP). The objective of IXV is to develop a European autonomous atmospheric reentry demonstrator system, characterised by high aerodynamic performance due to its lifting body shape, equipped with a high-performance control system based on propulsion and aerodynamic surfaces and having advanced thermal protection for atmospheric reentry.

The vehicle will weigh about 1800 kg and will be launched by Vega from the European Spaceport in Kourou. The launcher will place the IXV vehicle at an altitude around 450 km from which IXV will start its flight back to Earth, smoothly and safely splashing-down in the Pacific Ocean. With an entry velocity of approximately 7.5 km/s, the IXV system will perform a mission fully representative of a Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) reentry mission.

Thales Alenia Space will be responsible for the design consolidation, development and integration of the vehicle and will lead a team formed by major European industries and integrated [...]

Human space exploration in the future

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Copyright ESA

In February 2008, the Agency’s long-awaited Columbus science lab was successfully delivered to the International Space Station, and on 3 April, the first Automated Transfer Vehicle – the Jules Verne – made a spectacular automated docking to the Russian ISS module, establishing ESA as a full partner in ISS operations.

To land, first, on the Moon and, later, on Mars – in the 2030 timeframe – scientists need a mix of human and robotic missions to know in advance what challenges must be met – to know how humans can survive for years under microgravity, to scout landing zones and to develop precise navigation and artificial intelligence techniques.

What is the overall concept of a human mission to Mars? And what is the right mix of human/robotic missions and international partners for future missions to the Moon and Mars?

Russian fuel flows in Jules Vernes veins

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Copyright ESA

Fuelling of the Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle has started at Europe’s Spaceport. ATV is being loaded with Russian refuelling propellant destined for the International Space Station. After a month of fuelling operations, the launch and maiden voyage of the first European resupply spaceship is scheduled for the second half of February.

Early this month, the 20-tonne Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) was transferred to the huge fuelling chamber within the giant S5 integration building at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Inside the fuelling chamber, the spacecraft was prepared for loading operations, which began as scheduled on 8 January and will continue until early February.

ATV moved to S5B area

Jules Verne is moved to the fuelling chamber In cooperation with ESA’s ATV project experts and Russian engineers on site, a dozen specialised technicians from Astrium sites in Bremen, Lampoldshausen (Germany), Stevenage (United Kingdom) and Les Mureaux (France) are in charge of these time-consuming and delicate operations.

Copyright ESA

“We are pleased with how well the schedule is progressing so far. This week, as planned, two identical tanks on the ATV were successfully loaded with 296 kg of Russian UDMH (Unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine) which is the [...]

ESA prepares for a human mission to Mars

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Copyright ESA

Starting in spring next year, a crew of six will be sent on a 500 day simulated mission to Mars. In reality the crew will remain in a special isolation facility in Russia. To investigate the psychological and medical aspects of a long-duration mission, such as to Mars, ESA is looking for experiment proposals for research to be carried out during their stay.

During the simulated Mars mission, known as Mars500, the crew will be put through all kinds of scenarios as if they really were travelling to the Red Planet – including a launch, an outward journey of up to 250 days, arrival at Mars and, after an excursion to the surface, they will face the long journey home.

Locked in the facility in Moscow, the crew will have tasks similar to those they would have on a real space mission. They will have to cope with simulated emergencies; they may even have real emergencies or illnesses. Communication delays of as much as 20 minutes each way will not make life any easier.

Instead of having a spacecraft as their home, the crew will live in a series of metal tanks. Using narrow connecting passages, they can [...]

Students and young professionals from Europe and Canada design planetary habitats

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Copyright ESA

The MoonMars Habitat Student Design Workshop is underway at ESA/ESTEC – working in the inspiring setting of the Erasmus User Centre, the 30 participants have until the end of the week to study, discuss and design a Moon, Mars or other planetary habitat.

The 30 students selected come from 13 different countries and a broad range of background (including engineering, space science, architecture, industrial design, ergonomics, medicine and psychology).

They have been working since Sunday in the Erasmus User Centre High-Bay, with its Columbus Module and International Space Station mock-ups on display along with a Foton capsule that has actually flown in space – an appropriate location for a group of young space enthusiasts designing tomorrow’s bases on distant worlds.

With the sponsorship of ESA’s Directorate for Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration as well as the Science Directorate, the MoonMars Working Group has put together an intense one-week programme based around lectures and group work.

The students are divided into five teams, two of which are concentrating on the Moon, two on Mars and one on the Martian moon Phobos. They are focusing on innovative concepts for the design of safe, modular, expendable and ergonomic habitats that will [...]

ARD on show at Cité de l’Espace

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Copyright ESA

ESA’s Atmospheric Re-entry Demonstrator has now arrived at Cité de l’Espace in Toulouse, France where it will form part of the Ariane 5 launcher exhibit. The ARD is Europe’s first step towards developing a re-entry vehicle so that people and equipment can be sent into space – and brought back safely.

The ARD was launched in October 1998 by an Ariane 5 from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana. After performing a sub-orbital flight and reaching an altitude of 830 km it landed in the Pacific Ocean within 5 km of the predicted touchdown point. On recovery the ARD underwent post-flight testing at the EADS Launch Vehicles premises in Bordeaux. EADS LV is the main contractor concerned with this project which also involved many other European industries.

Only by carrying out actual tests of demonstration vehicles can Europe improve its knowledge of re-entry vehicles. Another benefit of the ARD test, for both ESA and Europe, is that the technology employed onboard the ARD is a prototype of the technology that will be used in future exploration missions to planets such as Mars, Titan and one of the Saturn moons.

Now that the test results and analysis of the mission [...]

First European astronaut visits the International Space Station

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Copyright ESA

ESA astronaut Umberto Guidoni from Italy will be the first European to visit the International Space Station when he lifts off aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour on 19 April with an international crew of seven, including Canada’s Chris Hadfield and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Lonchakov.

On this ninth shuttle mission to the International Space Station the large Canadian robotic arm and a UHF antenna will be installed and the Italian-built logistics module Raffaello will deliver equipment, consumables and scientific experiments to the station’s Destiny laboratory module. At least two space walks will be needed to install the arm and antenna.

Launch of Endeavour from Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida is scheduled for Thursday 19 April with a ten-minute launch window opening at 14:41 local time (20:41 Central European Summer Time). It should land again at the Kennedy Space Center on 30 April.

This eleven-day mission will be Umberto Guidoni’s second spaceflight; he gained valuable experience on the 16-day Tethered Satellite Mission (STS-75) in 1996. His first job this time, will be to assist his fellow astronauts in attaching the Canadian robotic arm to the US laboratory. Following this, the Raffaello module will be steered from inside [...]