European Space Agency Flickr Update

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GomX-4B with GomX-4A
13-10-2016 02:44 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

GomX-4B with GomX-4A

ESA has signed a contract for its biggest small nanosatellite yet: GomX-4B will be a ‘6-unit’ CubeSat, intended to demonstrate miniaturised technologies, preparing the way for future operational nanosatellite constellations.

GomX-4B is double the size of ESA’s first technology CubeSat, GomX-3, which was released from the International Space Station last year.

“ESA regards CubeSats, based on standardised 10 cm units, as very promising for early testing of new technologies in space at a low cost,” explains Roger Walker, heading ESA’s technology CubeSat initiative.

“GomX-4B’s increased size will accommodate more technology payloads, and enables a higher level of performance.”

The contract with Danish CubeSat specialist GomSpace is supported through the In-Orbit Demonstration element of ESA’s General Support Technology Programme , focused on readying new products for space and the marketplace.

Aiming for flight in late 2017, GomX-4B will be launched and flown together with GomX-4A, designed by GomSpace for the Danish Ministry of Defence under a separate contract.

The two CubeSats will stay linked through a new version of the software-defined radio system demonstrated on GomX-3, while their relative positions along their shared orbit is controlled up to a maximum 4500 km.

Such intersatellite links will allow future CubeSat constellations to relay data quickly to users on the ground. The same radio system will also be used for rapid payload data downloads to Earth.

Nanospace in Sweden are contributing the highly miniaturised cold-gas thrusters for controlling the orbit, allowing future CubeSat-based constellations to be deployed quickly after launch.

Additional technology payloads include a compact hyperspectral imager called HyperScout, developed by Cosine Research in the Netherlands; a miniaturised startracker from Innovative Solutions In Space , also in the Netherlands; an inhouse ESA experiment to test components for radiation hardness; and an ADS-B antenna for aircraft tracking, developed from the GomSpace system tested on GomX-3.

Credit: GomSpace

Spinning station
13-10-2016 02:38 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Spinning station

On 10 October, ESA’s deep-space radio dish in Cebreros, Spain, transmitted an 866 sec interstellar message towards the North Star as part of the international „A Simple Response“ project.

This 30 sec exposure was taken just as the 35 m-diameter dish completed rotating from pointing at the the North Star back to the vertical parked position.

This week and next, the Cebreros antenna will play a crucial role in the arrival of ESA’s ExoMars orbiter and lander at the Red Planet, set for 19 October. It will communicate with both the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and the older Mars Express.

More information on Cebreros station.

Credit: ESA/JL Lopez

Thomas Pesquet during training at GCTC
13-10-2016 10:01 AM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Thomas Pesquet during training at GCTC

ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre near Moscow, Russia, October 2016.

Thomas is currently training for his Proxima mission to the International Space Station, set for launch in November 2016. He will spend six months living and working on the Station at part of Expeditions 49 and 50.

Thomas will be launched into space together with cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and and Peggy Whitson.

Thomas is keen on sharing his experience in the run up to launch and his adventure in space – follow him and the mission via thomaspesquet.esa.int.

Credit: ESA-Stephane Corvaja, 2016

Thomas Pesquet during training at GCTC
13-10-2016 10:01 AM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Thomas Pesquet during training at GCTC

ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet with his crew mates Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Moscow.

Credit: ESA-Stephane Corvaja, 2016

Thomas Pesquet during training at GCTC
13-10-2016 10:01 AM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Thomas Pesquet during training at GCTC

ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet during training in the Soyuz simulator at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre near Moscow, Russia, October 2016.

Thomas is currently training for his Proxima mission to the International Space Station, set for launch in November 2016. He will spend six months living and working on the Station at part of Expeditions 49 and 50.

Thomas will be launched into space together with cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and and Peggy Whitson.

Thomas is keen on sharing his experience in the run up to launch and his adventure in space – follow him and the mission via thomaspesquet.esa.int.

Credit: ESA-Stephane Corvaja, 2016

Thomas Pesquet during training at GCTC
13-10-2016 10:01 AM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Thomas Pesquet during training at GCTC

ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet sitting in the left seat of the Soyuz simulator at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre near Moscow, Russia, October 2016.

Thomas is currently training for his Proxima mission to the International Space Station, set for launch in November 2016. He will spend six months living and working on the Station at part of Expeditions 49 and 50.

Thomas will be launched into space together with cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and and Peggy Whitson.

Thomas is keen on sharing his experience in the run up to launch and his adventure in space – follow him and the mission via thomaspesquet.esa.int.

Credit: ESA-Stephane Corvaja, 2016

Thomas Pesquet during training at GCTC
13-10-2016 10:01 AM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Thomas Pesquet during training at GCTC

ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet during training on Soyuz docking simulator at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre near Moscow, Russia, October 2016.

Thomas is currently training for his Proxima mission to the International Space Station, set for launch in November 2016. He will spend six months living and working on the Station at part of Expeditions 49 and 50.

Thomas will be launched into space together with cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and and Peggy Whitson.

Thomas is keen on sharing his experience in the run up to launch and his adventure in space – follow him and the mission via thomaspesquet.esa.int.

Credit: ESA-Stephane Corvaja, 2016

Thomas Pesquet during training at JSC
13-10-2016 09:52 AM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Thomas Pesquet during training at JSC

ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet during training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, in Houston, USA, on 8 September 2016.

Thomas is travelling the world preparing for his six-month adventure on the International Space Station.

He will be launched into space together with NASA’s Peggy Whitson and cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy in November 2016.

Follow Thomas via thomaspesquet.esa.int

Credit: ESA–Stephane Corvaja, 2016

Thomas Pesquet during training at JSC
13-10-2016 09:51 AM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Thomas Pesquet during training at JSC

ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet participating in underwater spacewalk training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, USA, on 9 September 2016.

Thomas is currently training for his Proxima mission to the International Space Station, set for launch in November 2016. He will spend six months living and working on the Station at part of Expeditions 49 and 50.

Thomas will be launched into space together with cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and and NASA’s Peggy Whitson.

Follow Thomas via thomaspesquet.esa.int

ESA–Stephane Corvaja, 2016

Thomas and Peggy during training at JSC
13-10-2016 09:51 AM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Thomas and Peggy during training at JSC

ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet and NASA’s Peggy Whitson participating in underwater spacewalk training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, USA, on 9 September 2016.

Thomas is currently training for his Proxima mission to the International Space Station, set for launch in November 2016. He will spend six months living and working on the Station at part of Expeditions 49 and 50.
Thomas and Peggy will be launched into space together with cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy.

Follow Thomas via thomaspesquet.esa.int

ESA–Stephane Corvaja, 2016

Sloshing fluids
12-10-2016 10:27 AM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Sloshing fluids

Have you ever tried walking while carrying a full cup of water? Your steps invariably cause the water to slosh about, making spills hard to avoid. Now imagine a satellite turning – the fuel inside will slosh, affecting the satellite’s stability.

France’s CNES space agency Fluidics experiment will run during ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet’s Proxima mission on the International Space Station to probe how fluids behave in weightlessness. Co-funded by Airbus DS, the experiment will help to improve the performance of satellite propellant systems, extending their working lives by using every last drop in their tanks.

A second part of Fluids will look at surface turbulence in liquids. On Earth, gravity and surface tension influence how energy dissipates in waves or ripples. In space, scientists can observe how surface forces behave without gravity – removing one factor simplifies our understanding.

The experiment consists of three small transparent spheres in a centrifuge. One sphere holds water for the wave-turbulence research; the other two carry a special liquid with low viscosity and little surface tension for sloshing.

Credit: CNES–E. Grimault, 2016

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