European Space Agency Flickr Update

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Over the rainbow
16-06-2016 04:37 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Over the rainbow

Operations image of the week is this beauty captured on Tuesday, 14 June, by Diego Aloi, working as part of the local engineering team at Malargüe station. The dish is located 30 km south of the city of Malargüe, about 1200 km west of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Malargüe is ESA’s newest deep-space tracking station; it was inaugurated in December 2012 and entered full service in early 2013. Currently, it provides links to missions such as Gaia, Mars Express, Rosetta and ExoMars.

Its main functions are to download scientific data, receive onboard status information and transmit telecommands sent by the mission controllers. Signals collected by the stations are also used for navigation and to determine the precise positions of spacecraft.

Like ESA’s two other deep-space tracking stations, Malargüe sports state-of-the-art technology.

The dish is 35 m in diameter and the entire structure is 40 m high; its dish weighs 610 tonnes. Engineers can move the antenna at up to 1º per second in all axes. The servo control system ensures the highest possible pointing accuracy under the site’s harsh environmental, wind and temperature conditions.

Credit: ESA/Telespazio Argentina/Diego Aloi

BepiColombo Mercury Magnetosphere Orbiter
16-06-2016 02:18 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

BepiColombo Mercury Magnetosphere Orbiter

Technology image of the week is this shining face of the Mercury Magnetosphere Orbiter, Japan’s contribution to the BepiColombo mission to the Solar System’s innermost planet.

The octagonal spacecraft is seen here at ESA’s test centre in the Netherlands, where it is being tested alongside the other elements of this dual-spacecraft mission.

During cruise, it will sit above ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter at the top of the BepiColombo stack, to be launched in April 2018. The Mercury Transfer Module will deliver them to Mercury using highly efficient electric propulsion .

While ESA’s craft will go into a 480 x 1500 km mapping orbit around Mercury, Japan’s will enter a highly elliptical 590 x 11 640 km orbit to study the planet’s environment and its magnetic field.

The two spacecraft employ differing strategies to cope with the temperatures in excess of 350°C involved in operating around the closest world to the Sun. Japan’s octagonal orbiter will spin 15 times per minute to distribute heat evenly across its surface. But since it cannot spin during BepiColombo’s seven-year journey from Earth, it will be protected within the Magnetospheric Orbiter Sunshield.

ESA’s orbiter, meanwhile, will maintain a steady attitude, covered with high-temperature insulation with a deep space-facing radiator behind protective louvres that will dump waste heat into space.

Credit: Airbus DS GmbH 2015

Charles F. Bolden Jr and Jan Woerner
16-06-2016 10:48 AM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Charles F. Bolden Jr and Jan Woerner

Charles F. Bolden Jr, NASA Administrator, and Jan Woerner, ESA Director General, on 15 June 2016, at ESA’s Headquarters.

Credit: ESA–Philippe Sebirot, 2016

Charles F. Bolden Jr addresses ESA’s Council
16-06-2016 10:48 AM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Charles F. Bolden Jr addresses ESA's Council

NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr addressing the ESA Council at ESA Headquarters on 15 June 2016.

Credit: ESA–Philippe Sebirot, 2016

Charles F. Bolden Jr addresses ESA’s Council
16-06-2016 10:48 AM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Charles F. Bolden Jr addresses ESA's Council

NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr addressing the ESA Council at ESA Headquarters on 15 June 2016.

Credit: ESA–Philippe Sebirot, 2016

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