European Space Agency Flickr Update

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Thumbs up
27-10-2016 03:03 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Thumbs up

Spacecraft operations manager Peter Schmitz gives the thumbs up in the main control room at ESA’s control centre in Darmstadt, Germany, on 19 October 2016, shortly after the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter arrived at the Red Planet.

The spacecraft fired its main engine for 139 minutes to slow it down to be captured by Mars, entering an elliptical 101 000 x 3691 km orbit (with respect to the centre of the planet). It is in excellent health and will start making observations to calibrate its science instruments during two circuits in November 2016.

More information on ExoMars/TGO operations.

Credit: ESA/J. Mai

Proba-1 view of Lena River Delta
27-10-2016 02:24 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Proba-1 view of Lena River Delta

An icy close-up view of part of Russia’s Lena River Delta acquired by ESA’s veteran Proba-1 microsatellite, celebrating 15 years in orbit.

The Lena River is the 11th longest river in the world. It empties into the Laptev Sea through a 32 000 sq km delta, the largest such delta in the Arctic.

Protected as a wilderness reserve and nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Lena River Delta spends much of the year frozen, but blossoms into a verdant wetland during the brief polar summer.

The cubic-metre Proba-1 is the first in ESA’s series of satellites aimed at flight-testing new space technologies. It was launched on 22 October 2001 but is still going strong, having since been reassigned to ESA’s Earth observation duties.

Proba-1’s main hyperspectral CHRIS imager records 15 m-resolution scenes across a programmable selection of up to 62 spectral bands, from a variety of viewing angles. CHRIS is supplemented by a 5 m-resolution black-and-white microcamera.

Other innovations included what were then novel gallium-arsenide solar cells, the use of startrackers for gyroless attitude control, one of the first lithium-ion batteries – now the longest such item operating in orbit – and one of ESA’s first ERC32 microprocessors to run Proba-1’s agile computer.

For more background on Proba-1, read this celebration in the ESA Bulletin.

Proba-1 led the way for the Sun-monitoring Proba-2 in 2009, the vegetation-tracking Proba-V in 2013 and the Proba-3 precise formation-flying mission planned for 2019.

Credit: ESA

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