European Space Agency Flickr Update

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ATV docking ring
27-07-2016 12:17 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

ATV docking ring

The docking ring used by ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle cargo spacecraft for five missions to the International Space Station is displayed in the laboratory corridor of ESA’s technical heart in the Netherlands.

Supplied by Russia’s space agency, and carried by Russia’s own ferry craft, it is designed to work with docking ports on the Russian part of the Space Station.

The extended probe made contact with the Station’s receptor and then retracted to join the vehicles together.

Sensors on the ring detected that the interface was safely tightened, after which a set of four hooks engaged to strengthen hold of the 20-tonne ATV on the orbital complex. Four further hooks extended from the Station side for a firm grip.

Embedded within the ring are electrical and data connections so that ATV could receive power from the Station and their computers could communicate. Fluid links transferred propellants and air into the Station’s tanks.

The ring also includes the hatch for the crew to enter and unload the ferry. At the end of ATV’s mission, springs gently pushed it away from the Station without the need for firing any thrusters.

Tours of ESA’s site offered by the Space Expo visitor centre include the laboratory corridor. Space Expo also has an example of the Station side of the docking system on display.

The docking ring will also be on show to visitors during this year’s Open Day on Sunday 2 October – to register to visit, click here.

Credit: ESA–G. Porter

Dust storm over the Red Sea
27-07-2016 12:17 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Dust storm over the Red Sea

The Sentinel-3A satellite caught this image of a dust storm blowing east across the Red Sea on 25 July 2016.

Dust storms, or sandstorms, are usually the result of a large mass of cold air moving swiftly across dry ground covered with loose sand and silt. They are remarkable natural phenomena that can cause major ecological and agricultural damage.

Dust storms can be a major contributor to reduced air quality and can cause hazards to human health. Windborne dust particles can invade our respiratory system’s natural defences and lodge in the bronchial tubes, increasing the number and severity of asthma attacks, causing or aggravating bronchitis and reducing the body’s ability to fight infections.

Other visible features include the Nile River on the upper left side of the image, and the orange sands of the Arabian Desert in the upper right.

Sentienl-3 carries a suite of instruments to monitor Earth’s oceans, land, ice and atmosphere for Europe’s Copernicus programme. This image was captured by the Ocean and Land Colour Instrument.

Credit: Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2016), processed by ESA

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