European Space Agency Flickr Update

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Irish Minister with Irish ESA employees
25-04-2017 12:08 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Irish Minister with Irish ESA employees

On 24 April 2017 ESA’s technical centre in the Netherlands was honoured with a visit by John Halligan, Ireland’s Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation. Minister Halligan and his group were greeted by Franco Ongaro, Head of ESTEC and ESA’s Director of Technology, Engineering and Quality.

The Minister was joined by Private Secretary Katrina Flynn; James Lawless T.D, Spokesperson on Science, Research and Development for the Fianna Fail Party; Michael Davitt, Head of the Irish Delegation to ESA and fellow members of the Delegation and Enterprise Ireland, as well as Kevin Kelly, Ireland’s Ambassador to the Netherlands.

The visitors were shown ESTEC’s satellite Test Centre, the Planetary Robotics Laboratory and Erasmus Human Spaceflight Centre, where they met Irish ESA employees and representatives of partner companies.

Credits: ESA–G. Porter

Irish visitors shown Columbus mockup
25-04-2017 12:08 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Irish visitors shown Columbus mockup

On 24 April 2017 ESA’s technical centre in the Netherlands was honoured with a visit by John Halligan, Ireland’s Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation. Minister Halligan and his group were greeted by Franco Ongaro, Head of ESTEC and ESA’s Director of Technology, Engineering and Quality.

The Minister was joined by Private Secretary Katrina Flynn; James Lawless T.D, Spokesperson on Science, Research and Development for the Fianna Fail Party; Michael Davitt, Head of the Irish Delegation to ESA and fellow members of the Delegation and Enterprise Ireland, as well as Kevin Kelly, Ireland’s Ambassador to the Netherlands.

The visitors were shown ESTEC’s satellite Test Centre, the Planetary Robotics Laboratory and Erasmus Human Spaceflight Centre, where they met Irish ESA employees and representatives of partner companies.

Credits: ESA–G. Porter

Signing ESTEC visitor’s book
25-04-2017 12:08 PM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Signing ESTEC visitor's book

On 24 April 2017 ESA’s technical centre in the Netherlands was honoured with a visit by John Halligan, Ireland’s Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation. Minister Halligan and his group were greeted by Franco Ongaro, Head of ESTEC and ESA’s Director of Technology, Engineering and Quality.

The Minister was joined by Private Secretary Katrina Flynn; James Lawless T.D, Spokesperson on Science, Research and Development for the Fianna Fail Party; Michael Davitt, Head of the Irish Delegation to ESA and fellow members of the Delegation and Enterprise Ireland, as well as Kevin Kelly, Ireland’s Ambassador to the Netherlands.

The visitors were shown ESTEC’s satellite Test Centre, the Planetary Robotics Laboratory and Erasmus Human Spaceflight Centre, where they met Irish ESA employees and representatives of partner companies.

Credits: ESA–G. Porter

Seeing Cygnus
25-04-2017 10:07 AM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Seeing Cygnus

Human Spaceflight and robotic exploration image of the week:

The Cygnus CRS OA-7 cargo spacecraft, SS John Glenn, makes its way to the International Space Station three days after its launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA, on an Atlas 5 rocket on 18 April.

Among its three and half tonnes of cargo are crew supplies, vehicle hardware and science experiments is the Aalto-2 cube satellite making its space debut.

The first Finnish satellite in space, the Aalto-2 was designed and built by students from Aalto University. The satellite is part of the international QB50 mission that aims to study the layer between Earth’s atmosphere and space known as the ‘thermosphere.’ Part of a constellation of other nanosatellites, Aalto-2 will be released from the Station within a month from the Japanese Kibo module that has a spring-loaded satellite launcher.

CubeSats are miniature satellites that weigh between 1 and 10 kg designed to test new space technologies and often used for Earth observation missions.

Cygnus is an American spacecraft built by Orbital ATK and uses a pressurised hull designed in Europe by Thales Alenia Space.

Credit: ESA/NASA

Titan flyby 22 April 2017
25-04-2017 10:04 AM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Titan flyby 22 April 2017

Space Science image of the week:

In the early hours of Saturday morning, the international Cassini–Huygens mission made its final close flyby of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, coming within 1000 km of the atmosphere-clad world.

The image presented here is a raw image sent back to Earth yesterday, taken on Saturday at 18:42 GMT. It is one of many that can be found in the Cassini raw image archive.

The latest flyby used Titan’s gravity to slingshot Cassini into the final phase of its mission, setting it up for a series of 22 weekly ‘Grand Finale’ orbits that will see the spacecraft dive between Saturn’s inner rings and the outer atmosphere of the planet. The first of these ring plane dives occurs on Wednesday.

Cassini will make many additional non-targeted flybys of Titan and other moons in the Saturnian system in the coming months, at much greater distances. Non-targeted flybys require no special manoeuvres, but rather the moon happens to be relatively close to the spacecraft’s path.

A final, distant, flyby of Titan will occur on 11 September, in what has been nicknamed the ‘goodbye kiss,’ because it will direct Cassini on a collision course with Saturn on 15 September. This will conclude the mission in a manner that avoids the possibility of a future crash into the potentially habitable ocean-moon Enceladus, protecting that world for future exploration.

A press conference will be held on 25 April at 13:30 GMT (15:30 CEST), at the European Geosciences Union meeting in Vienna, to preview the Grand Finale, as well as celebrate the scientific highlights of Cassini’s incredible 13-year odyssey at Saturn.

Just today a new result was published in Nature Astronomy finds that when viewed from Cassini’s orbit, Titan’s nightside likely shines 10-200 times brighter than its dayside. Scientists think that this is caused by efficient forward scattering of sunlight by its extended atmospheric haze, a behaviour unique to Titan in our Solar System.

Cassini–Huygens is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA and ASI, the Italian space agency.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

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