European Space Agency Flickr Update

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CubeSats at ESA
23-10-2018 09:11 AM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

CubeSats at ESA

Over the last twenty years, miniature satellites called CubeSats have been shaking up the space industry, making accessing space easier and cheaper for those who could previously only dream of it. Having initially been developed as educational tools, CubeSats are increasingly being put to active use in orbit for technology demonstration, scientific studies, and even commercial purposes. And just like typical satellites, they are custom built to fulfil the specific requirements of their mission.

ESA began giving university students the chance to develop their own space mission when it kicked off its CubeSat education programme — Fly your Satellite!— in 2013. But ESA is now also using CubeSats for professional space missions. Under ESA’s Discovery and Preparation activities many CubeSat-focussed studies have been funded and “technology challenges” are regularly opened to get the most brilliant proposals for new space technology.

More information: www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Preparing_for_the_Future/Disco…

Credit: ESA -The ScienceOffice.org

Tastes of space

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Tastes of space
23-10-2018 09:31 AM CEST

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There is nothing quite like the taste of home – especially when you live on the International Space Station. For ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst that taste comes in the form of chicken ragout with mushrooms, or lentils spätzle and sausage, specifically developed by Lufthansa chefs for maximum flavour and a long shelf-life.

European Space Agency Flickr Update

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BepiColombo images medium-gain antenna
21-10-2018 11:44 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

BepiColombo images medium-gain antenna

The BepiColombo Mercury Transfer Module (MTM) has returned its first image of the deployed medium-gain antenna onboard the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO). The actual deployment took place yesterday, and was confirmed by telemetry.

The medium-gain antenna and part of the Sun-illuminated antenna boom is clearly seen at the top left; the cone-shaped antenna points to the right. At the very top right of the image the honeycomb structure of the MTM is visible, where the camera is mounted and looks out into space. One of the hold-down release mechanisms of the MTM solar array is also seen – this is the cone-like structure facing down. A glimpse of the MPO is seen in the background; its white multi-layered insulation is overexposed in the image. A section of one of the solar arrays of the MTM is seen at the bottom of the image, together with a hold-down bracket on the yoke.

The transfer module is equipped with three monitoring cameras, which provide black-and-white snapshots in 1024 x 1024 pixel resolution. This image was taken by the ‘M-CAM 2’ camera (click here to see the location and field of view of all three monitoring cameras.)

The monitoring cameras will be used on various occasions during the cruise phase, notably during the flybys of Earth, Venus and Mercury. While the MPO is equipped with a high-resolution scientific camera, this can only be operated after separating from the MTM upon arrival at Mercury in late 2025 because, like several of the 11 instrument suites, it is located on the side of the spacecraft fixed to the MTM during cruise.

BepiColombo launched at 01:45 GMT on 20 October on an Ariane 5. BepiColombo is a joint endeavour between ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA. It is the first European mission to Mercury, the smallest and least explored planet in the inner Solar System, and the first to send two spacecraft to make complementary measurements of the planet and its dynamic environment at the same time.

Credits: ESA/BepiColombo/MTM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

BepiColombo images high-gain antenna
21-10-2018 11:44 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

BepiColombo images high-gain antenna

The BepiColombo Mercury Transfer Module (MTM) has returned its first image of the deployed high-gain antenna onboard the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO). The actual deployment took place earlier today, and was confirmed by telemetry.

The back side of the high-gain antenna is clearly seen at the top of the image. The side of the MPO with the low-gain antenna, which protrudes from the side of the module, is also visible, together with some detail of the MPO’s multi-layered insulation. One of the hold-down release mechanisms of the MTM solar array is also seen between the antenna and the MPO. The dark outline in the top left corresponds to the inside of the MTM where the camera sits and looks out into space. A section of one of the solar arrays of the MTM is seen at the bottom of the image, together with a hold-down bracket on the yoke.

The transfer module is equipped with three monitoring cameras, which provide black-and-white snapshots in 1024 x 1024 pixel resolution. This image was taken by the ‘M-CAM 3’ camera (click here to see the location and field of view of all three monitoring cameras.)

The monitoring cameras will be used on various occasions during the cruise phase, notably during the flybys of Earth, Venus and Mercury. While the MPO is equipped with a high-resolution scientific camera, this can only be operated after separating from the MTM upon arrival at Mercury in late 2025 because, like several of the 11 instrument suites, it is located on the side of the spacecraft fixed to the MTM during cruise.

BepiColombo launched at 01:45 GMT on 20 October on an Ariane 5. BepiColombo is a joint endeavour between ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA. It is the first European mission to Mercury, the smallest and least explored planet in the inner Solar System, and the first to send two spacecraft to make complementary measurements of the planet and its dynamic environment at the same time.

Credits: ESA/BepiColombo/MTM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

BepiColombo images antennas
21-10-2018 11:44 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

BepiColombo images antennas

The BepiColombo Mercury Transfer Module (MTM) has returned its first images of the deployed antennas onboard the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO).

The ‚M-CAM 2‘ camera captured the medium-gain antenna, while ‘M-CAM 3’ looked towards the deployed high-gain antenna. Glimpses of the MTM solar arrays are also visible in both images (follow the links to full descriptions of what can be seen in each image).

These two images follow the view obtained by ‘M-CAM 1’ yesterday, which imaged one of the deployed solar arrays of the transfer module. The successful deployments had all been confirmed by telemetry before the images were taken.

The transfer module’s three monitoring cameras provide black-and-white snapshots in 1024 x 1024 pixel resolution. The location and field of view of ‘M-CAM 2’ and ‘M-CAM 3’ are indicated in this graphic.

The monitoring cameras will be used on various occasions during the cruise phase, notably during the flybys of Earth, Venus and Mercury. While the MPO is equipped with a high-resolution scientific camera, this can only be operated after separating from the MTM upon arrival at Mercury in late 2025 because, like several of the 11 instrument suites, it is located on the side of the spacecraft fixed to the MTM during cruise.

BepiColombo launched at 01:45 GMT on 20 October on an Ariane 5. BepiColombo is a joint endeavour between ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA. It is the first European mission to Mercury, the smallest and least explored planet in the inner Solar System, and the first to send two spacecraft to make complementary measurements of the planet and its dynamic environment at the same time.

More about the monitoring cameras.

Credits: ESA/BepiColombo/MTM , CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Two teams selected for the Fly Your Thesis! 2019 campaign

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Two teams selected for the Fly Your Thesis! 2019 campaign
22-10-2018 02:25 PM CEST

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Last week, ESA’s Education Office invited six student teams to ESA ESTEC in Noordwijk to present their experiment ideas to the Fly Your Thesis! 2019 Selection Board. The six student teams were from Poland (CANCER), Germany (Grain Power 3D-Printing and TARDIS), the United Kingdom (PHP3) and Italy (BAMBI), respectively. Eventually, two teams were selected to participate in the parabolic flight programme of the Fly Your Thesis! 2019 campaign.