6 August 2022: ESA Artemis I spacecraft ready for launch. ESA and NASA’s Artemis I spacecraft is cleared for launch after a series of final tests at the US Kennedy Space Center in Florida. ESA’s European Service Module (ESM) will provide electrical power and propel the uncrewed Orion capsule in an extended orbit around the Moon, setting the scene for future crewed missions. ESA has already delivered its second ESM for Artemis II and is currently building its third ESM. Eventually, Artemis III will return astronauts to the lunar surface for the first time in 50 years with the ESM supplying their life support in the form of water, food and oxygen. ESA is also making a major contribution to the Gateway including refueling and habitation modules and enhanced lunar communications. The Gateway will act as a permanently crewed space station in orbit around the Moon, a thousand times further away than the International Space Station from Earth, ushering in a new era of lunar exploration.  The film includes soundbites from ESA’s Director of Exploration, David Parker, and ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen.

5 August 2022: ISRO developed a small satellite launch vehicle (SSLV) to cater the launch of up to 500 kg satellites to Low Earth Orbits on ‘launch-on-demand’ basis. The first developmental flight SSLV-D1/EOS-02 Mission is scheduled for August 7, 2022 at 09:18 am (IST) from the First Launch Pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. SSLV-D1 mission would launch EOS-02, a 135 kg Satellite, into low earth orbit of about 350 km to the equator, at an inclination of about 37 degrees. The mission also carries AzaadiSAT satellite. Follow the launch here" More details:

Satish Dhawan Space Centre - SDSC (formerly Sriharikota Range – SHAR) is a rocket launch centre (spaceport) operated by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is located in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. Sriharikota Range was renamed in 2002 after ISRO's former chairman Satish Dhawan.


Sriharikota island was chosen in 1969 for a satellite launching station.

The centre became operational in 1971 when an RH-125 sounding rocket was launched.

The first attempted launch of an orbital satellite, Rohini 1A aboard a Satellite Launch Vehicle, took place on 10 August 1979, but due to a failure in thrust vectoring of the rocket's second stage, the satellite's orbit decayed on 19 August 1979.

SHAR was named as 'Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR' (SDSC), on 5 September 2002, in memory of Satish Dhawan, former Chairman of the ISRO.

The SHAR facility now consists of two launch pads, with the second built in 2005. The second launch pad was used for launches beginning in 2005 and is a universal launch pad, accommodating all of the launch vehicles used by ISRO.

The two launch pads will allow multiple launches in a single year, which was not possible earlier. India's lunar orbiter Chandrayaan-1 launched from the centre at 6:22 AM IST on 22 October 2008.

India's first Mars orbiter Mangalyaan was launched from the centre on 5 November 2013, which was successfully placed into Mars orbit on 24 September 2014.

Initially under Indian Human Spaceflight Programme existing launch facilities will be augmented to meet the target of launching a crewed spacecraft called Gaganyaan.

SDSC's current director is Arumugam Rajarajan. He took over from S. Pandian in July 2019.


Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SHAR) is located in Sriharikota, a spindle-shaped barrier island on the east coast of Andhra Pradesh.

Features like a good launch azimuth corridor for various missions, nearness to the equator (benefiting eastward launches), and large uninhabited area for a safety zone make it an ideal spaceport.

SHAR covers a total area of about 145 km2 (56 sq mi) with a coastal length of 27 km (17 mi). Prior to its acquisition for ISRO by the Government of India, it was a firewood plantation of Eucalyptus and Casuarina trees.

This island is affected by both south-westerly and north-easterly monsoons, but heavy rains come only in October and November. Thus many clear days are available for out-door static tests and launchings.

SHAR is linked to Sullurupeta by a road across Pulicat Lake. Sullurupeta has connectivity with other parts of India by Indian Railways and is on a National Highway 16 (India) that connects it to Chennai (about 83 km (52 mi) south) and Kolkata.

Launch history

Originally known as the Sriharikota Range (SHAR)[1] and later named after Satish Dhawan. It is India's primary orbital launch site to this day. First flight-test of 'Rohini-125', a small sounding rocket which took place on 9 October 1971 was the first rocket launch from SHAR.[Since then technical, logistic and administrative infrastructure have been enhanced.

Together with the northerly Balasore Rocket Launching Station, the facilities are operated under the ISRO Range Complex (IREX) headquartered at SHAR.

Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV)

The range became operational when three Rohini 125 sounding rockets were launched on 9 and 10 October 1971. Previously, India used Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS), at Thiruvananthapuram, on the south-western coast of India, to launch sounding rockets.

The first test launch of the complete SLV-3 rocket occurred in August 1979 but it was only partially successful following a malfunction in the second-stage guidance system. SHAR facilities worked satisfactorily during the SLV-3 preparation and launch.

On 18 July 1980 the SLV-3 successfully launched India's third satellite. Out of the four SLV launches from SHAR, two were successful.

Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV)

The ASLV orbital launcher was integrated vertically, beginning with motor and subassembly preparations in the Vehicle Integration Building (VIB) and completed on the pad within the 40 m tall Mobile Service Structure.

The first ASLV launch from SHAR took place in 1987 and resulted in a failure. Eventually, out the four ASLV launches from 1987–94, only one was successful.[citation needed]

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)

The PSLV launch complex was commissioned during 1990. It has a 3,450 tonne, 76.5 m high Mobile Service Tower (MST) which provides the SP-3 payload clean room.

The solid propellant motors for the PSLV are processed by SHAR, which also carries out launch operations. The first launch of the PSLV took place on 20 September 1993.


The SDSC has two operational orbital launch pads. SHAR is ISRO's satellite launching base and additionally provides launch facilities for the full range of Rohini sounding rockets.

The Vehicle Assembly, Static Test and Evaluation Complex (VAST, previously STEX) and the Solid Propellant Space Booster Plant (SPROB) are located at SHAR for casting and testing solid motors.

The site also has a Telemetry, Tracking, Range Instrumentation, & Control centre for Range Operation (RO), Liquid Propellant Storage and Servicing Facilities (LSSF), the Management Service Group and Sriharikota Common Facilities.

The PSLV launch complex was commissioned in 1990. It has a 3,450 tonne, 76.5 m high Mobile Service Tower (MST) which provides the SP-3 payload clean room.

The Solid Propellant Space Booster Plant (SPROB) processes large size propellant grains for the satellite launch vehicles.

The Vehicle Assembly & Launching Facility (VALF), Solid Motor Preparation & Environmental Testing Facility (SMP&ETF) tests and qualifies different types of solid motor for launch vehicles.

The control centre at SHAR houses computers and data processing, closed circuit television, real-time tracking systems and meteorological observation equipment. It is linked to eight radars located at Sriharikota and the five stations of ISRO's Telemetry, Tracking & Command Network (ISTRAC).

The propellant production plant produces composite solid propellant for rocket motors of ISRO using ammonium perchlorate (oxidiser), fine aluminium powder (fuel) and hydroxyl terminated polybutadiene (binder).

The solid motors processed here include those for the first-stage booster motor of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) — a five segmented motor of 2.8 m (9 ft 2 in) diameter and 22 m (72 ft) length, weighing 160 tonnes (160 long tons; 180 short tons) with a thrust level of 450 tonnes (440 long tons; 500 short tons).

Rocket motors and their subsystems have to be rigorously tested and evaluated on ground before they are declared flight worthy.

The facilities at SDSC are used for testing solid rocket motors, both at ambient conditions and simulated high altitude conditions.

Besides these, there are facilities for conducting vibration, shock, constant acceleration and thermal/humidity tests.

SDSC has infrastructure for launching satellites into low Earth orbit, polar orbit and geo-stationary transfer orbit. The launch complexes provide support for vehicle assembly, fueling, checkout and launch operations.

The Centre also has facilities for launching sounding rockets for atmospheric studies. The mobile service tower, launch pad, preparation facilities for different launch stages & spacecraft, storage, transfer and servicing facilities for liquid propellants, etc., are the principal parts of the PSLV/GSLV launch complex.

For supporting the GSLV Mark III, additional facilities were set up at SDSC. A new plant (SPP) is set up to process heavier class boosters with 200 tonnes of Solid propellant. The static test complex is being augmented for qualifying the S-200 booster. Other new facilities include a Solid Stage Assembly Building, Satellite Preparation and Filling Facility and Hardware Storage buildings.

The existing liquid propellant and cryogenic propellant storage and filling systems, Propellant Servicing Facilities will also be augmented. The range instrumentation system will be enhanced further.

SDSC also has a S band Doppler weather radar[ that contributes to India Meteorological Department radar network and serves as a stand-in for Doppler weather radar in Chennai.

ISRO opened a viewing gallery at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in March 2019.

The gallery faces the two launchpads and can accommodate 5,000 people giving the general public the opportunity to witness rocket launches.

The launch of PSLV-C45 on 1 April 2019 was the first launch that allowed spectators into the gallery.

Launch pads

SLV3 Launch Pad

The SLV3 Launch Pad began operation in 1979 and was decommissioned in 1994. It was used by two launch vehicles of the ISRO: the Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV) and the Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV).

Initially it was built for launching SLV-3s but was later also used as an ASLV launch complex.

The first launch from this pad occurred on 10 August 1979, and was that of the first experimental flight of SLV-3 carrying the Rohini Technology Payload satellite. The last flight was of ASLV on 4 May 1994 carrying SROSS-C2.

First Launch Pad

The First Launch Pad began operation in 1993. It is currently used to launch Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. It is one of two operational orbital launch pads at the site, the other being the Second Launch Pad, which opened in 2005.

The first launch from this pad occurred on 20 September 1993, and was the maiden flight of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle carrying the IRS-1E satellite.

The First Launch Pad is undergoing major expansion with PIF (PSLV Integration Facilities) project worth ₹475 crore (US$59 million) . Once complete, the first launch pad is expected to cater to around 15 launches per year.

Second Launch Pad

The Second Launch Pad was designed, supplied, erected and commissioned by MECON Limited, a Government of Indian Enterprise, located at Ranchi (Jharkhand, India) during the period March 1999 to December 2003.

It cost about ₹400 crore (equivalent to ₹12 billion or US$140 million in 2020) at that time.

The second launch pad with associated facilities was built in 2005.

However it became operational on 5 May 2005 with the launching of PSLV-C6. MECON's sub-contractors for this project including Inox India, HEC, Tata Growth, Goderej Boyce, Simplex, Nagarjuna Construction, Steelage, etc.

The other Launch Pad being the First Launch Pad. It is used by Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles, Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicles, GSLV Mark III and is intended for India's first crewed space mission.

The first launch from the pad occurred on 5 May 2005, and was of a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle carrying the CARTOSAT-1 and HAMSAT satellites.

India's 1st Moon Mission, Chandrayan-I was launched from this launch pad on 22 October 2008. Its follow-up mission Chandrayaan-2 was also launched from this launch pad on 22 July 2019.

In November 2019, ISRO released tenders for augmentation of SLP for Gaganyaan project.

Third Launch Pad

A Third Launch Pad has been proposed in 2012 with estimated cost to be ₹5 billion (US$63 million).

This launch pad is intended to be used for future Indian rockets like the Unified Launch Vehicle and GSLV Mark III as well as the older ones like Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle.

The launch pad will be used for the India's future human space missions. One of the main reasons of building this launch pad is that it will increase the frequency of orbital launches by ISRO.

In 2018, it was reported that the launch of India's first crewed orbital spacecraft "Gaganyaan" is scheduled to be launch from the third launch pad before 2022. However in November 2019, ISRO released tenders for augmentation of Second Launch Pad for Gaganyaan project.


5 August 2022: Blue Origin | New Shepard | NS-22 - Blue Origin is scheduled to launch a New Shepard rocket as part of the NS-22 mission. The launch window for the Tourism mission is on 08/04/2022 13:57 UTC from Corn Ranch, USA. Don’t miss this exciting rocket launch! Watch the launch video of the New Shepard and experience the excitement for yourself. Mission: NS-22: NS-22 is the sixth crewed New Shepard flight, carrying six passengers. Rocket: New Shepard: The New Shepard reusable launch system is a vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing (VTVL), suborbital manned rocket that is being developed by Blue Origin as a commercial system for suborbital space tourism. Agency: Blue Origin: Blue Origin is an American privately funded aerospace manufacturer and spaceflight services company set up by founder Jeff Bezos with its headquarters in Kent, Washington. The company is developing technologies to enable private human access to space with the goal to dramatically lower costs and increase reliability. Blue Origin currently launches its New Shepard sub-orbital vehicle from its West Texas launch site, they are currently constructing a launch pad for their orbital vehicle New Glenn at Cape Canaveral LC-36.


5 August 2022: Danuri (KPLO - Korean Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter)  Falcon 9 Block 5 - SpaceX Launch Status: Success - Fri • Aug 5th, 2022 2:08 AM GMT+3 - Mission: Danuri (KPLO – Korean Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter) - Type: Lunar Exploration. Launch Cost: $52,000,000 - Lunar orbiter designed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) to demonstrate technologies, survey lunar resources and produce a topographic map. Trajectory: View the rocket launch trajectory, velocity, altitude, thrust and much more at - Location: Space Launch Complex 40 Cape Canaveral, FL, USA. 851 rockets have launched from Cape Canaveral, FL, USA. - Rocket: Falcon 9 Block 5 – SpaceX - Family: Falcon- Length: 70 m Diameter: 3.65 m. Launch Mass: 549 T - Low Earth Orbit Capacity: 22800 kg. The Falcon 9 Block 5 was manufactured by SpaceX with the first launch on 2018-05-11. Falcon 9 Block 5 has 111 successful launches and 0 failed launches with a total of 111 launches. Falcon 9 is a two-stage rocket designed and manufactured by SpaceX for the reliable and safe transport of satellites and the Dragon spacecraft into orbit. The Block 5 variant is the fifth major interval aimed at improving upon the ability for rapid reusability. Landing: Falcon 9 booster B1072 has successfully landed on ASDS JRTI after its sixth flight. Just Read the Instructions – JRTI First (Marmac 300) and third (Marmac 303) ASDS barge, Just Read the Instructions (JRTI) is currently used to recover Falcon 9 and Heavy boosters in the Altantic Ocean.

Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship – ASDS: An autonomous spaceport drone ship (ASDS) is an ocean-going vessel derived from a deck barge, outfitted with station-keeping engines and a large landing platform. Construction of such ships was commissioned by aerospace company SpaceX to allow for recovery of rocket first-stages at sea for high-velocity missions which do not carry enough fuel to return to the launch site after lofting spacecraft onto an orbital trajectory.

Agency: SpaceX. Type: Commercial. Abbreviation: SpX Administration: CEO: Elon Musk - Founded: 2002 - Launchers: Falcon - Spacecraft: Dragon - Country: USA - Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX, is an American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California. It was founded in 2002 by entrepreneur Elon Musk with the goal of reducing space transportation costs and enabling the colonization of Mars. SpaceX operates from many pads, on the East Coast of the US they operate from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and historic LC-39A at Kennedy Space Center. They also operate from SLC-4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, usually for polar launches. Another launch site is being developed at Boca Chica, Texas.

Yahoo to expand Israel-based R&D centers under new local leadership. Company runs sites in Tel Aviv and Haifa with about 150 programmers, engineers and researchers By Ricky Ben-David - Times of Israel - Yahoo is set to expand its Israel-based R&D centers under new leadership that will focus on growing its local sales operations, the company said on Monday. Yahoo operates R&D centers in Tel Aviv and Haifa with about 150 programmers, engineers, and researchers who work on developing the brand. The Tel Aviv site focuses on developments in advertising technologies, video tech, and data products, while the Haifa team serves as a research center.

To drive the expansion, Yahoo appointed Neetai Eshel, a long-time employee, as managing director of both centers. Eshel has been with Yahoo for eight years and established a native advertising system for mobile and search engine marketing and advertising called Gemini (similar to Google Adwords) in 2013, the company said.

Gemini handles ads for both Yahoo and AOL, both of which were owned by Verizon and renamed Verizon Media. American investment firm Apollo Global Management acquired Verizon Media in 2021 and renamed it Yahoo.

Gemini began as a local initiative at the Tel Aviv R&D center and has become one of the company’s significant growth engines, Yahoo said.

Yahoo said it is now looking to grow its sales relationships with Israeli advertisers.

The company is one of the oldest brands of the internet age, first founded in 1995 as a web portal and site directory. Yahoo grew through its search engine and email offerings and partnerships with sports, finance, weather, travel, and entertainment brands.

Over the years, Yahoo bought over 100 companies including a number of Israeli outfits: advertising tech firm Dapper in 2010, video streaming platform RayV in 2014, and ad security startup ClarityRay also in 2014.

Yahoo also owns tech magazines TechCrunch and Engadget, two leading tech and gadgets publications.

Once one of the most promising companies in Silicon Valley, Yahoo has had a rocky history marked by tumultuous periods.

In the early 2010s, Yahoo was the victim of a massive security breach that compromised more than 1 billion user accounts.

26 July 2022: Times of Israel: Israeli lab grows proto-sperm from stem cells, in potential fertility breakthrough. Scientists’ work on sperm-less mice could help treat human problems in the future By Nathan Jeffay - Times of Israel - Israeli scientists believe they’ve found a way for male mice without sperm to produce offspring. While research is at an early stage, they’re working on plans to prove the method and then adapt it for humans. The scientists grew tiny artificial testicles in microchips, using them to produce spermatids that can in turn be used to fertilize eggs. The researchers detailed their breakthrough in a piece for peer-reviewed journal Biofabrication. The function of the microchip is to automatically maintain the ideal environment for the cells. The scientists took stem cells from testicles, and successfully grew them in the artificial testis, which in turn produced round spermatids. These are the cell formations that normally grow into sperm — but which have been used successfully to create animal and human babies.

Within the next few days, they expect to ship some of the spermatids to an American lab that will help to determine the best approach for the next stage of the research — using them to fertilize eggs.

“This research represents a breakthrough that could provide a way for infertile men who don’t produce sperm to have children,” biologist Prof. Mahmoud Huleihel from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, who led the research, told The Times of Israel.

“It can also provide a way for young cancer patients, who don’t yet produce sperm, to preserve cells before chemotherapy that they could be able to use later in life to have children.

“Adult cancer patients can freeze sperm in case chemotherapy harms fertility, but if children don’t yet produce sperm, there has been no solution for them until now.”

The research involved young mice that do not yet produce sperm cells. Stem cells were gathered from their testicles and placed in microchips that created what was deemed the perfect environment for their growth.

After five to seven weeks, Huleihel and his team observed tube-shaped structures containing advanced-stage cells which are known as round spermatids.

“We already know from existing research that round spermatids can be used to fertilize eggs, and we’re working right now on the next part of our experiment that will do exactly this — use the spermatids to fertilize mice eggs. We hope to achieve this within a year or two.

“We are also preparing to apply this experiment to cells from humans. If this works, it could enable us to grow cells from humans, which means we wouldn’t necessarily be reliant on sperm to produce babies. There could be significant benefits to interfile men who don’t produce sperm, and to children with cancer who may want eventually to have kids of their own.”

ESA showcases its space ambition at Farnborough airshow - ESA’s efforts to ensure European citizens reap the benefits of space have been highlighted at a global aerospace event held in the UK. ESA joined several of its institutional and commercial partners – including the UK Space Agency – at the Farnborough International Airshow this week. The part of the airshow focused on space has continued to grow in recent editions of the event. - Photo: The Aerospace Global Forum headline panel discussion ‘Immediate action at every altitude’ on Day 1 of the Farnborough International Airshow 2022, with Dr Shini Somara, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury, CEO of Leonardo Alessandro Profumo and ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher -

FIA 2022: Aerospace General Forum.

This year, it was attended by ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher and many other key members of the global space industry, who participated in several panel discussions covering a wide range of topics. In the run up to the ESA Council of Ministers meeting in November, which will set the agency’s priorities for the next three years, the excellent cooperation between the UK and ESA was an important theme. With its unique set of scientific, technological and commercial capabilities, the UK is making vital contributions to the agency’s programmes. In addition, ESA’s plans for the next three years and beyond align well with the UK’s national ambitions for space.

Turning space data into climate action

FIA 2022: ESA's stand at the UK Space Pavilion.

A key area of focus at Farnborough was the crucial role of space in the renewed global drive to tackle the climate crisis. European Earth observation missions are delivering unprecedented insight into the long-term changes impacting the planet. The UK is playing a leading role in several upcoming remote sensing missions, such as Biomass – which will provide crucial information about how the world’s forests are changing – and Truths, which will support climate research by calibrating environmental data from other satellites. The Forum mission – set to yield unique insight into the planet’s radiation budget and how it is controlled – is also being developed with strong British contributions. ESA’s Climate Office – located at the European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT) in the UK – is the focal point for the agency’s climate-related activities, coordinating the development of information that is enabling governments, businesses and communities to take action to cut planet-warming emissions. Visitors to ESA’s stand at the UK Space Pavilion in Farnborough’s Space Zone were able to witness the impact of climate change through the eyes of Earth observing satellites, thanks to a web app called Climate from Space.

Space to expand connectivity

ESA showcases its 5G/6G Hub at FIA 2022.

As well as helping to monitor the environment, ESA is using space-enabled connectivity to accelerate the transition to a decarbonised European economy. From its ECSAT-based 5G/6G Hub, ESA is promoting the deployment of hybrid 5G and satellite communications networks, enabling the development of sustainable applications across society, such as low-emissions autonomous vehicles, remote healthcare solutions and smart energy grids.  ESA’s 5G activities were showcased as part of the agency’s presence at the UK Space Pavilion.

The Moon and beyond

FIA 2022: Signature Sample Transfer Arm

Space exploration was also an important topic at Farnborough. During the event, it was announced that Italian aerospace firm Leonardo will continue the development of the Sample Transfer Arm, a 2.5 metre-long robotic arm that will pick up tubes filled with martian soil. This technology is crucial to the success of the Mars Sample Return Campaign. With the first mission of the NASA-led Artemis programmeexpected to launch in the coming months, human exploration was also on the agenda. The uncrewed Artemis I mission is the first in a series of increasingly complex expeditions that will enable a sustained human presence on the Moon, opening up new possibilities for exploration further into deep space.

FIA 2022 panel session focuses on the future of exploration.

With important contributions from the UK, ESA is advancing the development of technologies that will help to achieve this goal. The agency is working with British industry to develop Lunar Pathfinder, a dedicated lunar communications relay spacecraft. ESA is building on Lunar Pathfinder through its Moonlight initiative, which aims to put a constellation of satellites around the Moon to provide a shared communications and navigation service for future lunar missions.

Pioneers of the future

Matthias Maurer at Farnborough International Airshow.

British ESA astronaut Tim Peake – who took part in a wide-ranging panel discussion to open the Space Zone – emphasized the importance of exploration for encouraging the next generation of scientists, engineers and space experts. German ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer attended the event to take part in a number of activities to inspire kids about space, including a session in which he took questions about life as an astronaut. He also presented awards to the winners of the UK Space Agency's Nanosat competition, which encourages young people to design a climate satellite. On the final afternoon of the airshow, Italian ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti took part in an out-of-this-world video call from some 400 km above Earth’s surface on board the International Space Station.

Samantha Cristoforetti completes an inflight call at FIA 2022.

Samantha – who is currently partway through her Minerva mission – was introduced to a packed audience of more than 500 people at Farnborough by Matthias. In a question-and-answer session, Samantha talked about what inspired her to become an astronaut, discussed her favourite things to do while in orbit, and even explained what space smells like. The inflight call took place a day after Samantha completed her first spacewalk, which was also the first spacewalk conducted by a European woman. When speaking with the audience, she reflected on the tasks she performed and how it felt to venture outside the Space Station.

25 July 2022: Interesting Engineering -75-mile-long mirror skyscrapers will be reportedly built in Neom city of Saudi Arabia. The Line is designed to be taller than the Empire State Building. By Ameya Paleja - Last year, the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, announced his grand vision to build The Line, a linear city with skyscrapers that run for miles and house millions of people. The Wall Street Journal has now viewed plans and documents to make this happen and published details of what the project might actually look like. The largest exporter of crude oil, Saudi Arabia, is looking to diversify its source of income, given that the world is moving away from fossil fuels. Among its plans to do so, is building an economic hub at the "crossroads of the world" where more than 40 percent of the world's population can reach by a flight that's just a few hours. The city itself is being designed to use high-speed underground transit systems that will bring destinations within a 20-minute commute. The city's linear nature will negate the need for personal transport and the problems that ail cities today.

What will the city look like?

According to the recent internal documents reviewed by WSJ, the two buildings running in parallel will be 1,600 feet (487 m) tall and are dubbed the Mirror Line. In comparison, the Empire State Building is 1,454 feet (443 m) tall. Additionally, the difference is that the skyscrapers at The Line will run along for 75 miles (120 km), stretching across the desert, mountain, and coastal terrains.

The buildings on either side will be connected with walkways, while plans for vertical farming have been incorporated into the design to help feed the residents of the city. In the coastal area, a marina for yachts has been planned, while a sports stadium to be constructed 1,000 feet (304 m) above ground level is meant for the entertainment of the crowds apart from the regular fare like theatres, malls, and restaurants that you can expect in the city.

The ambitious plan to build a new city in the middle of nowhere to attract people and investors from around the world is expected to cost the Kingdom's treasury a trillion dollars. However, the finances may not be the biggest hurdles facing the project.

Challenges ahead for The Line Project.

Employees at Neom are concerned that after the coronavirus pandemic, people are not very keen on staying in high-rises, while the sheer scale of the project will alter the groundwater flow in the area. The high-rise buildings also pose a hurdle in the path of millions of migratory birds that use the corridors every year, while the project will also displace tribal people living in the area, which are being forcibly removed to make way for the project, WSJ reported previously. The scale of the project will also require the use of autonomous systems to harvest and bundle vegetables, while shared kitchens and canteens will also be needed to feed the workforce.

The curvature of the Earth presents problems in the construction of the city, which is planned with 2,600-foot (762 m) modules. However, the biggest challenge would be how rapidly this can be done. Last year, an impact assessment report stated that the project could be completed in five decades. However, the visionary of the plan, the Crown Prince, wants it to be completed by 2030. Can the planners and engineers execute a never-done-before project in such a short time? Only time will tell.

Write your code here.

23 July 2022: China CNSA readies to launch Wentian module for Tiangong space station on Sunday By Elizabeth Howell - - Wentian will be the second module of China's space station. -0 Photo: A Chinese Long March 5B rocket is rolled out to its launchpad carrying China's experimental Wentian module that will join the country's Tiangong space station in orbit. (Image credit: CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images) -- China is expected to launch the second module for its Tiangong space station on Sunday (July 24) from Wenchang spaceport in south China. The Wentian module will launch on board the huge Long March 5B rocket and should join up with the Chinese space station's Tianhe core module hours later, expanding the country's crewed space research facility.
China generally does not announce launch times ahead of time, nor does it broadcast most of its launches live. Spaceflight Now (opens in new tab) suggests the rocket will launch around 2:15 a.m. EDT (0615 GMT or 2:15 p.m. local time) based on airspace warning notices. Chinese state media will likely provide mission updates later in the day.
Tiangong is currently hosting three Shenzhou 14 taikonauts who have been on board the Tianhe module for about six weeks, since launching to space on June 5.
Wentian is both a science module and an area to expand the living space aboard the small space station. It includes experiment cabinets for performing science work, along with more astronaut sleeping quarters to allow crew handovers. Once the module is ready, Tiangong will be able to host temporarily as many as six crew members.
The 174-foot (53-meter tall) Long March 5B is a Chinese heavy-lift rocket variant designed to launch China's space station modules, which each have a mass of about 48,500 pounds (22,000 kg).

The megarocket's first launch in 2020 sent a prototype new-generation crew spacecraft into low Earth orbit, while the second in 2021 launched Tianhe. On both occasions, the rockets' massive core stages made high-profile, uncontrolled reentries causing worries among space debris trackers, although both deorbited without incident.

Wentian's task post-launch will be to rendezvous with Tianhe, currently orbiting at 236 miles (381 kilometers) above Earth, and mate with Tianhe's forward docking port. Next, it will be moved to a lateral or side port using the module's 33-foot (10-meter) long robotic arm.

China is planning to launch another module later this year to bring more experiments to orbit. The module, called Mengtian, is scheduled to launch in October. Wentian and Mengtian together will create a T-shaped space station that China plans to operate for at least a decade.

The country tends to operate independently in space, and NASA is not allowed to "engage in any bilateral activities with China or Chinese-owned companies," according to the agency (opens in new tab). Agency officials did express extreme displeasure with China's uncontrolled fall of the Long March 5B core stage in 2021, and the Biden administration has criticized China's space activities a few times recently.
Elizabeth Howell

Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she also tackles topics like diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, three space shuttle missions in Florida, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Her latest book, Leadership Moments from NASA, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. @Spacedotcom -

22 July 2022: Carbon capture train concept could clean air as it zooms along the tracks

It will do this with its modified train cars.By Ameya Paleja Carbon capture train concept could clean air as it zooms along the tracks Train car design for direct air capture CO2 Rail. CO2 Rail, a U.S.-based train startup, has plans to capture carbon directly from the air as its modified train cars criss-cross across the country, negating the need for large facilities to take out carbon from the air, a press release said. Direct carbon capture is a straightforward method to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The captured carbon can then be utilized for other purposes such as making pharmaceutical ingredients or simply compressed and sequestered under the Earth.  Currently, the methods deployed to capture carbon directly from the atmosphere require vast amounts of land and energy to get this done. Researchers at CO2 rail, along with the University of Toronto, have therefore devised a new method that can tap into the existing rail network and capture carbon from the atmosphere while passenger and freight trains make their usual rounds.

How does the technology work?

The researchers plan to use purpose-built train cars equipped with large vents to take in the air. Since this will be done as the train moves at high speeds, it will eliminate the need for fans usually deployed by stationary direct carbon capture systems, saving significant amounts of energy. The train cars will be equipped with chambers to collect carbon dioxide, which will then be concentrated and stored in a liquid reservoir until the train. The carbon dioxide-free air will be released back into the atmosphere from the back or underside of the rail car.

The CO2 rail in operation.

"Every twelve hours at crew change or fueling stops, the onboard CO2 reservoir is emptied into a normal CO2 tank car located at that station," said E.Bachman, the founder of CO2 Rail, in an email exchange with Interesting Engineering. "When a sufficiently large group of these tank cars have been filled, a train will be made and perhaps as much as 10,000 tons of captured CO2 will be shipped into the circular carbon economy as a value-added feedstock or directly by rail to geological sequestration sites. This should not be challenging at all as the CO2Rail cars were designed for approximately 24 hours of continuous operation before needing to be unloaded and engineers need to rotate approximately every 8 hours."

Powered by regenerative braking

In a conventional braking system, the friction due to the application of the brakes generates heat that is released into the atmosphere. "Every complete braking maneuver generates enough energy to power 20 average homes for a day," said Bachman," So we're not talking about a trivial amount of energy." By using a regenerative braking system, trains can convert this into electrical energy, which can then be used to power the direct carbon capture process. The researchers estimate that an average freight train could remove about 6,613 tons (6,000 tonnes) of carbon dioxide every year. With an onboard supply of power that has been generated sustainably, the method is not only more environmentally friendly but also budget-friendly. "The projected cost at scale is less than $50 per tonne, which makes the technology not only commercially feasible but commercially attractive," Bachman added.

The CO2 train car behind the locomotive

The researchers are keen to utilize the rail network since it is an infrastructure that already exists and its deployment to capture carbon directly could further reduce carbon emissions since rails are more efficient than the road vehicles like trucks. "By increasing rail utilization, you increase the efficiency of the entire transportation system."  Using the rail system could also deliver additional benefits such as freedom from zoning and building permits that are needed for large-scale capture methods. Over a period of time, these purpose-built cars will become a regular feature of all train systems and become unseen by the public at large. The researchers have published their work in the journal Joule.


The direct capture of carbon diox-ide from the environment isincreasingly becoming an urgentnecessity to mitigate the worst ef-fects of climate change. However,the high energy demands requirecreative implementation strategiesto minimize the diversion ofalready-stretched conventionalresources toward this cause. Toalleviate these issues, creative im-plementation strategies must bedevised to lower the barrier toeconomic applicability of DACsystems so that they can be widelydeployed. To this end, the workdescribed herein presents innova-tive technology for deployingspecially designed, self-containedDAC railcars on both diesel andelectrified rail lines outfitted withbattery arrays, CO2direct air cap-ture systems, compression equip-ment, and ancillary gear thatuniquely exploits the substantialsustainable energy generated on-board the train through regenera-tive braking as well as from solarpanels mounted on compatiblerailcars. The units are equippedwith large intakes that extend upinto the slipstream of the movingtrain and collect CO2feedstockair by fluidic, ramjet-type pro-cesses thus obviating the needfor the fans required by land-basedsystems and places no demand onenergy or land resources. Un-loaded daily at crew change orfueling stops into regular CO2tank cars, the network will curatedelivery of the harvested CO2toon-route sites for permanent un-derground sequestration, or deliv-ery to end-users as feedstock forthe circular carbon economy. Thetechnology will harvest meaningfulquantities of CO2at far lower costsand has the conservative potentialto reach annual productivity of0.45 gigatons by 2030, 2.9 giga-tons by 2050, and 7.8 gigatonsby 2075 with each car having anannual capacity of 3,000 tonnesof CO2in the near term and moreas the technology progresses.

21 July 2022:  Apollo 11 vs. space tourism in 2022 (op-ed) By Rick Tumlinson We honor the heroes of Apollo 11, yet deride the children who stand on their shoulders in the U.S. private space industry. Why?  This week we celebrate the anniversary of Apollo 11 and the first humans to step onto the moon. Meanwhile, as the federal space program that put them on the lunar surface dodders and sputters along, a new wave of humans are stepping out onto the space frontier, except this time they don't work for the government. Why is it important? Who benefits? What's the difference?

A so-called "space tourist" is typically a person who has worked to accumulate enough funds to obtain a ride into space; who goes through appropriate training, then, achieving a life-long dream, goes to space. While there, they look around and take in the experience. Many use their time in space to promote idea-based projects such as inspiring students or drawing focus to the Earth's environmental challenges. Others do scientific experiments, as in the recent week-long Axiom mission to the International Space Station.

The Apollo astronauts were paid employees of the U.S. government and therefore used taxpayer funds to obtain their ride into space. Their training was as rigorous as expected for anyone going to an unknown place for the first time. In most cases, going to the moon was the crowning achievement of their lives, even if, rather than selecting the destination, they were selected by NASA.

While in space and on the moon, part of their job was to inspire American students. Also, while the environment wasn't a priority at the time, their images of the "little blue marble" of Earth helped birth the environmental movement. The science they did was amazing.

Of course, we cannot ignore the main reason they went - to demonstrate America's democratic free enterprise society was superior to the communist state of the Soviet Union and get the upper hand in the space race.

While today we honor the heroes of Apollo and all those who made their accomplishment possible, many deride the children who stand on their shoulders in the U.S. private space industry. Some critics have latched onto the admittedly terrible "tourist" brand and that the highest profile leaders of what I call the "New Space Revolution" are often extremely wealthy, as are the private astronauts buying the rides. Completely missing the irony, historical nature, and context, these critics use these two points as cudgels to hammer away at what by all rights should be the most celebrated accomplishment of the modern era - the opening of space to humanity.

While my friends Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong changed history with their first "small steps," the "giant leap" they spoke of did not immediately manifest itself. After taking the most expensive selfies in the world, they and their fellow lunar explorers went home.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the surface of the moon photographed by Neil Armstrong.

But the seeds they planted, both technological and inspirational, have finally begun to burst out of Earth's gravity and reach for the stars. They may not look the same or as if they come from the same place, but they are. More importantly, what this new citizen-driven space race is beginning to accomplish is, or at least should have been, the goal of Apollo all along.

Buzz, Neil, and the other NASA astronauts were their era's Lewis and Clarks. SpaceX, Blue Origin, Axiom, and dozens of smaller commercial space companies building spaceships, orbital buildings, and the infrastructure we need to survive and thrive in space are today's railroaders, shopkeepers, and eventually will become our settlers. In other words, while it has been achingly slow for those of us working on the cause, the "giant leap" referred to in 1969 is finally occurring.

It just looks different than we've been taught to expect - because it is - but it is part of the same partnership between the government and people that makes us great.

Apollo was, in essence, a military campaign dressed in a civilian spacesuit. It was entirely government-funded, and once it achieved its definition of victory, it ended. Today, while grateful for the support of the government in technology development and its new role as a customer, space is being opened by private people, using the free enterprise system to build on their achievement and, this time, make it irreversible.

The Apollo 11 lunar landing mission crew, pictured from left to right, Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, command module pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot.

The Apollo 11 lunar landing mission crew, pictured from left to right, Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, command module pilot; and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot. (Image credit: NASA)

This pioneering phase does look different than our past. For example, aside from the important fact that this time we aren't taking outer space from anyone, in America's pioneer period one could just climb onto a wagon (or even walk) and get to the frontier (surviving was of course much more challenging). To get to, and survive on the space frontier requires a lot more front-end technology development. Someone has to pay for that, and given that at least in free nations it is not the government's job, citizens themselves have had to step up.

Yes, the people funding the companies laying the tracks to space have money. Yes, to support the development of what will someday become Earth's mass transit system to the solar system, tickets are being sold to people who have money. Yes, people opening space today will make money at some point, which will pay to open the airlock even wider, allowing more people to pass through to a new and exciting frontier of possibility. As imperfect and unfair as it may seem, this is the same economic progression that allows you to hop into a steel tube with wings and fly to see your grandmother, climb into your car and go camping, take your own selfies and send them instantly around the planet.

Apollo's planners missed this. As grand and essential as it was and will forever remain, Apollo was America answering a state command economy's push towards the moon by creating its own state-run program to get there first. That's why we aren't there now. It's why we aren't on Mars and one reason why Earth isn't surrounded by space power plants beaming clean energy to a world without a climate crisis. It's one reason so many children are uninspired, education levels are challenged, and our nation is fragmented - without a shared grand purpose to unite us. It's also why you can't get a new grown-in-space heart when yours fails or access a million other products, services, life, and planet-saving technologies that most probably would have evolved in a thriving Earth-space-moon economy.

This is why it is crucial to understand what is happening right now. The American private sector is taking on the work Apollo started. Those flying in private spaceships use different methods to pay for their flights and do not wear government uniforms. Still, the contribution they and the industry carrying them into space are making is exactly what will assure this time we get all those things I listed above and uncountable other benefits to how we live, right here on Earth. Rather than deride them, we need to give them more support, remove competing government programs, incentivize their growth, and accelerate the pace of this New Space economy so that more people can feel the benefits sooner.

We celebrate the accomplishment of Apollo one day a year. The legacy of Apollo is being celebrated each time a new human goes into space, no matter how they get there or who pays for it. The legacy of Apollo is on display with the flight of every new American spaceship, the launch of every new American entrepreneurial space company, and the ever more rapid expansion of our economy into the frontier.

Those few who went before us and those few going now will become more, and more of us will be able to afford to go ourselves. As we do, we will transition from looking around to putting stakes in the ground. We will move from exploration to industrialization. We will move from space as a place to look at the Earth to a place from which we can help save her. And this time, after our next steps and giant leaps, rather than going home, we will be building new ones.

After all, no matter the funding source or the technology, the opening of the space frontier is the grandest and most exciting event in humanity's history. I hope that as it accelerates, the derision will fade, and this will be ever clearer.

Rick Tumlinson is the founder of SpaceFund (opens in new tab), a venture capital firm investing in space startups. He also founded the Space Frontier Foundation (opens in new tab), Earthlight Foundation, (opens in new tab) the Space Cowboy Ball, and was a founding board member of the X Prize Foundation (opens in new tab). Space Forum:

Rick Tumlinson 

Founder of SpaceFund, Earthlight Foundation, Space Frontier Foundation and New Worlds Institute. Rick Tumlinson is listed as one of the top 100 influential people in the space field. Called one of the world’s top space "visionaries," Rick coined the term "NewSpace" and is credited with helping create the new commercial space industry highlighted by Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. A leading writer, speaker and six-time Congressional witness, he helped start the first mission to find water on the moon, signed the first ever commercial data purchase agreement with NASA, led the commercial takeover of the Russian Mir space station, signed the first private astronaut to fly to the space station, co-founded the Space Frontier Foundation and was a founding board member of the X-Prize. As a result of his world-changing work, in 2015 he won the World Technology Award along with Craig Venter of the Human Genome project. He founded the SpaceFund venture capital company, and his non-profit organizations, the EarthLight Foundation and New Worlds Institute are creating an inclusive movement to use space to protect the Earth and expand life into the cosmos.

20 july ESA: First spacewalk for Samantha Cristoforetti: On Thursday 21 July 2022, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti will head outside the International Space Station on a spacewalk alongside cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev. It will be Samantha’s first spacewalk, and the first conducted by a European woman. Both astronauts will be wearing Orlan spacesuits, with Oleg wearing red stripes and Samantha wearing blue stripes. Sergei Korsakov will provide support to the spacewalkers before they exit the Space Station through the space-facing Poisk module.

Orlan spacesuits.

The spacewalk, also called an Extravehicular Activity or EVA, will see Samantha and Oleg working together on a number of tasks, including installing platforms and workstation adapter hardware mounted on the Nauka laboratory module. The spacewalking duo will deploy ten nanosatellites designed to collect radio electronics data during the EVA, and put in place a telescopic boom in place from Zarya to Poisk to assist in future spacewalks.

Working on European Robotic Arm.

This will be the third spacewalk to include tasks around getting the European Robotic Arm ready for its first operations on Nauka. The astronauts will move its external control panel, work on insulation and install a temporary adapter point for the robotic arm. Samantha will spend some time making sure a window shield on the arm’s camera unit is clear enough to allow a laser light to guide the arm for grappling and moving around.

Smart spacewalker.

Europe’s robotic arm brings new ways of operating automated machines to the orbital complex. It will be able to perform many tasks automatically or semi-automatically, can be directed either from inside or outside the Station, and it can be controlled directly or programmed in advance. At ESA’s technical heart, ESTEC in the Netherlands, engineers will be following the spacewalk closely. A European team will be monitoring Samantha’s work on the robotic arm from its mission control. You can watch the spacewalk live via ESA Web TV. Coverage will begin at 15:30 (CEST/Paris time) (14:30 BST/London time) ( with the EVA itself scheduled to begin at 16:00 CEST (15:00 BST). The spacewalk may last up to seven (7) hours. Samantha is living and working aboard the Space Station on her second spaceflight mission, Minerva. Learn more about Samantha and the Minerva mission on the dedicated Minerva web page.

17 July 2022: Space scholars explain why NASA's warning that China may try to claim the Moon is unlikely. China is limited by international space law. By  - Photo: Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios - NASA Administrator Bill Nelson recently expressed concerns over China’s aims in space, and in particular, that China would, in some way, claim ownership over the Moon and stop other countries from exploring it. In an interview with a German newspaper, Nelson cautioned, “We must be very concerned that China is landing on the Moon and saying: ‘It’s ours now, and you stay out.‘” China immediately denounced the claims as a “lie.”

This spat between the administrator of NASA and Chinese government officials comes at a time when both nations are actively working on missions to the Moon – and China has not been shy about its lunar aspirations.

In 2019, China became the first country to land a spacecraft on the far side of the Moon. That same year, China and Russia announced joint plans to reach the South Pole of the Moon by 2026. And some Chinese officials and government documents have expressed intentions to build a permanent, crewed International Lunar Research Station by 2027.

There is a big difference between China – or any state for that matter – setting up a lunar base and actually “taking over” the Moon. As two scholars who study space security and China’s space program, we believe that neither China nor any other nation is likely to take over the Moon in the near future. It is not only illegal, but it is also technologically daunting – the costs of such an endeavor would be extremely high, while the potential payoffs would be uncertain.

China is limited by international space law

Legally, China cannot take over the Moon because it is against current international space law. The Outer Space Treaty, adopted in 1967 and signed by 134 countries, including China, explicitly states that “Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means” (Article II). Legal scholars have debated the exact meaning of “appropriation,” but under a literal interpretation, the treaty indicates that no country can take possession of the Moon and declare it an extension of its national aspirations and prerogatives. If China tried to do this, it would risk international condemnation and a potential international retaliatory response.

While no country can claim ownership of the Moon, Article I of the Outer Space Treaty allows any state to explore and use outer space and celestial bodies. China will not be the only visitor to the South Pole of the Moon in the near future. The U.S.-led Artemis Accords is a group of 20 countries that has plans to return humans to the Moon by 2025, which will include the establishment of a research station on the lunar surface and a supporting space station in orbit called the Gateway with a planned launch in November 2024.

Even if no country can legally claim sovereignty over the Moon, it is possible that China, or any other country, would attempt to gradually establish de facto control over strategically important areas through a strategy known as “salami slicing.” This practice involves taking small, incremental steps to achieve a big change: Individually, those steps do not warrant a strong response, but their cumulative effect adds up to significant developments and increased control. China has recently been using this strategy in the South and East China seas. Still, such a strategy takes time and can be addressed.

Controlling the Moon is difficult

With a surface area of nearly 14.6 million square miles (39 million square kilometers) – or almost five times the area of Australia – any control of the Moon would be temporary and localized.

More plausibly, China could attempt to secure control of specific lunar areas that are strategically valuable, such as lunar craters with higher concentrations of water ice. Ice on the Moon is important because it will provide water to humans that wouldn’t need to be shipped from Earth. Ice can also serve as a vital source of oxygen and hydrogen, which could be used as rocket fuel. In short, water ice is essential for ensuring the long-term sustainability and survivability of any mission to the Moon or beyond.

Securing and enforcing control of strategic lunar areas would require substantial financial investments and long-term efforts. And no country could do this without everyone noticing.

Does China have the resources and capabilities?

China is investing heavily in space. In 2021, it led in the number of orbital launches with a total of 55 compared to the U.S.’s 51. China is also in the top three in spacecraft deployment for 2021. China’s state-owned StarNet space company is planning a mega constellation of 12,992 satellites, and the country has nearly finished building the Tiangong space station.

Going to the Moon is expensive; “taking over” the Moon would be much more so. China’s space budget – an estimated US$13 billion in 2020 – is only around half that of NASA’s. Both the U.S. and China increased their space budgets in 2020, the U.S. by 5.6% and China by 17.1% compared to the previous year. But even with the increased spending, China does not seem to be investing the money needed to carry out the expensive, daring, and uncertain mission of “taking over” the Moon.

If China assumes control over some part of the Moon, it would be a risky, expensive, and extremely provocative action. China would risk further tarnishing its international image by breaking international law, and it may invite retaliation. All this for uncertain payoffs that remain to be determined.

Svetla Ben-Itzhak, Assistant Professor of Space and International Relations, Air University, and R. Lincoln Hines, Assistant Professor, West Space Seminar, Air University, Air University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

15 July 2022: Russia President Vladimir Putin signed the Executive Order transferring Yury Borisov from the position of Deputy Prime Minister to Director of Russia's Space agency, Roscosmos - Video by WION News. Under the Executive Order and pursuant to Article 83 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, Yury Borisov has been dismissed from the post of Deputy Prime Minister and Dmitry Rogozin has been dismissed from the post of Director General of the Roscosmos State Space Corporation; after former Roscomos director Rogozin threatened to terminate Roscosmos participation to the ISS robotic arm. ESA said it has formally terminated cooperation with Russia on ExoMars, which had been suspended since March, and will work with “new partners” on the mission. The European Space Agency has officially ended cooperation with Russia on the ExoMars mission, prompting a Russian threat to halt use of a European robotic arm on the International Space Station. ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher announced July 12 that the ESA Council formally decided to terminate cooperation on ExoMars, where Russia would have launched a European rover called Rosalind Franklin to the surface of Mars. That cooperation has been on hold since March.

While ESA has previously only suspended cooperation, it appeared highly unlikely that work with Russia would ever resume. Aschbacher said that the decision came because “the circumstances which led to the suspension of the cooperation with Roscosmos – the war in Ukraine and the resulting sanctions – continue to prevail.”

Since ESA’s decision to suspend work with Russia on ExoMars, it has been examining how to replace Russia’s contributions. That included not just the Proton launch of the spacecraft but also the Kazachok landing platform and some instruments and radioisotope heating units on the rover. Options include cooperation with NASA as well as entirely European alternatives.

Aschbacher said that ESA would provide “new insights on the way forward with other partners” at a July 20 media briefing, with details to follow. An ESA media advisory July 13, outlining its presence at the upcoming Farnborough International Airshow, said there would be a July 20 briefing in London “on the future of Mars exploration” with ESA, NASA and the U.K. Space Agency participating.

While ESA’s decision to formally end cooperation with Russia on ExoMars was not surprising, it prompted a sharp reaction from Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roscosmos. In a post on the social media network Telegram shortly after the ESA announcement, Rogozin accused Aschbacher of “sabotaging” the joint ExoMars mission. He said Roscosmos would seek the return of the Kazachok platform, which was in Europe for launch preparations at the time ESA suspended cooperation on the mission.

Rogozin also said he commanded the Russian cosmonauts on the station to no longer use a European robotic arm there. That arm is part of the Nauka module launched a year ago and still being commissioned.

It was not immediately clear if that command would be carried out and, if so, what effect it would have on ISS operations. It was also unclear if that would postpone a scheduled July 21 spacewalk from the Russian segment of the station by Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev and ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti. A major purpose of that spacewalk is to work on that robotic arm.

ISS relations between Russia and the Western partners have seen increasing strain, particularly after Roscosmos published photos July 4 of Russian cosmonauts holding flags of two regions of Ukraine occupied by Russian forces. NASA, in a July 7 statement, strongly criticized Russia for that photo op, a sentiment shared by ESA’s Aschbacher.

“There is no place on the International Space Station for politics,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson told reporters after an event July 12 at the Goddard Space Flight Center to mark the release of observations from the James Webb Space Telescope.

However, he reiterated that a “very professional relationship” continues among the ISS crew as well as between mission control centers in Houston and Moscow, and believed all the partners, including Russia, would remain involved through the end of the decade. “This is an international science, technology and research endeavor that will continue.”

Nelson added that negotiations continue between NASA and Roscosmos on a seat barter agreement to allow Russian cosmonauts to fly on commercial crew vehicles in exchange for American astronaut flying on Soyuz spacecraft. NASA ISS managers said in the spring that a deal needed to be concluded by June to enable crew swaps for missions launching in September.

“The drop-dead date has not passed,” he said, but didn’t indicate when a deal needed to be concluded. Sources: Space News (Jeff Foust - Space News), the Kremlin, ESA

14 July 2022: The US military successfully tests two hypersonic weapons “This was another important milestone for the Air Force's first air-launched hypersonic weapon." By Ameya Paleja - Interesting Engineering - Photo: "The ARRW weapon during its test Lockheed Martin" - After a series of failures, things have begun to fall in place for the U.S. military as it looks to build up an arsenal of hypersonic weapons. On Wednesday, the Pentagon confirmed that two Lockheed Martin hypersonic missiles were successfully tested, Reuters reported. Regarded as the next frontier of warfare, hypersonic weapons are a key priority for the U.S.'s National Defense Strategy. However, adversarial countries such as Russia and China have reported better success in demonstrating the deployment of the technology. Almost exactly a year ago, Russia showcased its Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile that allegedly travels at seven times the speed of sound while being able to hit targets from 200 miles (321 km). Later in October, it also claimed to have fired the hypersonic weapon from a submarine. China fired an unknown hypersonic glide weapon in November last year, further escalating tensions.

Back-to-back successes

The U.S. hypersonic weapon program appeared to be trailing by its own standards. The Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) failed its second attempt to fire in July last year. This was a program that aimed to make progress by 2020.

In May this year, the weapon was test-fired successfully and traveled at five times the speed of sound. Now, the U.S. Air Force has confirmed that they have successfully completed the consecutive launch of the ARRW weapon off the southern California coast on July 12.

"This second successful test demonstrates ARRW's ability to reach and withstand operational hypersonic speeds, collect crucial data for use in further flight tests, and validate safe separation from the aircraft," Lockheed Martin, the weapon's developer said in a statement. The weapon will now move to all-up-round testing later this year.

Lockheed's other hypersonic weapon

In a separate hypersonic weapons test program conducted at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) confirmed the successful performance of the first test of its Operational Fires (OpFires) hypersonic weapon.

OpFires is a ground-launched system that enables hypersonic boost glide weapons to quickly and accurately engage dangerous and time-sensitive targets. Last year, we reported that the project had moved to Phase 3b, which involved full-scale missile fabrication, assembly, and flight testing out of a launch vehicle.

The OpFires program aimed at developing an advanced booster that could deliver various payloads at various ranges, its website said. DARPA had picked Lockheed Martin to demonstrate this ability. In the recently concluded test, Lockheed Martin used the exiting High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher successfully to achieve this. The HIMARS is also a weapon that was recently sent to Ukraine.

The success of these programs also comes with the backdrop of another hypersonic weapon failure. On June 29, a different type of hypersonic weapon, called the Common Hypersonic Glide Body, failed its test at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii, Reuters said in its report.

8 July 2022: Interesting Engineering: Woman given months to live is cured of breast cancer. All thanks to a a "miracle" drug infusion trial by the National Health Service in England. By Deena Theresa - Photo: Woman given months to live is cured of breast cancer - Photo credit: Mohammed Haneefa Nizamudeen/iStock - Jasmin David, an Indian-origin woman in Manchester, was given just months to live, after being diagnosed with cancer. Now, in what can be called a blessing beyond bounds, she is declared breast cancer-free. In November 2017, the 51-year-old spotted a lump above her nipple, and was soon diagnosed with an aggressive triple-negative form of breast cancer. David underwent six months of chemotherapy, 15 cycles of radiotherapy, and a mastectomy, and managed to get rid of the disease.

Unfortunately, two years later, in October 2019, after a dry cough and pain in her chest, her cancer returned and it had spread to ger lung, lymph nodes, and chest bone. The doctor told her that she had only months to live.

"I was 15 months down the line after my initial cancer treatment and had almost forgotten about it, but then the cancer returned," David told BBC Radio Manchester.

What you're going to hear next is nothing short of a miracle. David took part in a clinical trial, using an experimental medicine combined with an immunotherapy drug, at The Christie hospital.

No measurable cancer cells in her body

"When I was offered the trial, I didn’t know if it would work for me, but I thought that at least I could do something to help others and use my body for the next generation," noted David.

During the two-year trial that followed, she was intravenously administered Atezolizumab, an immunotherapy medicine, combined with an experimental drug. At this time, the NIHR Manchester Clinical Research Facility at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust was in charge of her health.

It wasn't easy. "At first I had many horrible side effects including headaches and spiking temperatures, so I was in hospital over Christmas and quite poorly. Then thankfully I started to respond well to the treatment," she said. "Two and a half years ago I thought it was the end and I now feel like I’ve been reborn," she added, clearly elated at the discovery.

By June 2021, scans showed no measurable cancer cells in her body and she was deemed cancer free. "My Christian faith helped me a lot on this journey and the prayers and support from family and friends gave me strength to face the challenge," she said.

David, who lives in Fallowfield, added: "I am here thanks to The Christie and to medical research."

Hope is a wonderful thing

Two years ago, she visited her family in Kerala to bid goodbyes. "I wept as I gave [my mother] what I feared was our last ever hug. But she filled me with positivity and told me, 'I’m sure you will see me again — and both of us will be alive.' I returned and agreed to do the clinical trial." In April, David returned to her 97-year-old mother with the "good news." She has decided to take early retirement and "live my life in gratitude to God and to medical science".

Currently, she is eagerly awaiting her 25th wedding anniversary with her husband in September - something she didn't think was possible a while ago.'

Meanwhile, David is still receiving the medication every three weeks, and her treatment will continue till December 2023.

The successful experiment brings hope to millions suffering from breast cancer, although further research is required to determine its validity. "It is fantastic for everyone when someone responds as well to treatment as Jasmin has," said Fiona Thistlethwaite, medical oncologist and clinical director at The Christie, who is leading the trial.

8 July 2022: ESA astronaut selection in the final stages - The ESA astronaut selection has been progressing as planned, with phase two of the selection process ending in March this year, and phase three ending in June. During phase three, just over 400 applicants attended ESA’s European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, for thorough psychological assessment by an international team of experts. Though the precise tasks and tests are confidential, this phase was designed to ensure that selected candidates met the psychological profile required to work as an astronaut.

Phase four of the selection process began on 2 May 2022 and is ongoing. During this round of selection, applicants will have a medical evaluation which assesses their health and physical capabilities. Working as an astronaut is physically demanding, requiring stamina, dexterity and more. This assessment ensures selected candidates are capable of keeping up with the physical effort required by this position, both on Earth and in space.

Astronaut selection: parastronaut feasibility project.

The medical assessment has also been expanded to include applicants for the astronaut with a physical disability position, for whom the typical physical requirements would be a barrier to selection. In this first instance of ‘parastronaut’ recruitment, those with lower limb deficiency and/or those with statures below 130 cm are being considered. ESA is committed to pursuing a vision of space for all, and looks forward to what will be learned from the ‘Parastronaut Fly!’ Feasibility Project.

Invitations for the final phase, during which applicants will participate in panel interviews, will be issued this summer.

In 2021, ESA opened applications for the roles of astronaut and astronaut with a physical disability. This was the first call for new astronaut applicants since 2008.

In response, ESA received more than 22 000 valid applications for the role of astronaut from across Member States and Associate Members. Of those, 1361 individuals were invited to participate in phase two of the selection process. For the role of astronaut with a physical disability, 257 applications were received, 27 of which were invited to phase two. Final applicants are expected to be selected at the end of 2022. ESA thanks all applicants for their interest and commitment.

8 July 2022 - ESA: Vega-C: watch the launch 13 July -  Watch the replay of the Q&A session with the media to learn more about the preparations for the upcoming launch of Vega-C. The inaugural flight of this new rocket in the Vega family is currently planned on 13 July 2022. Speakers include Stefano Bianchi, ESA Head of Flight Programmes Department, Benoit Pouffary, ESA Vega & Space Rider Launch System Engineering Manager, Ettore Scardecchia, Avio Head of Engineering and Mario Cosmo, ASI Director of Science and Research.

ESA’s new medium-lift Vega-C rocket is nearly ready for its inaugural flight. You can follow live on ESA Web TV. Flight VV21 will lift off as soon as 13 July at 13:13 CEST, pending suitable conditions for launch. Broadcast begins 12:45 CEST/11:45 BST on ESA Web TV 13:13 CEST/12:13 BST – liftoff

Vega-C represents a dramatic capability boost compared to its predecessor, Vega, which has flown since 2012. With new first and second stages and an uprated fourth stage, Vega-C increases performance from Vega’s 1.5 t to about 2.2 t in a reference 700 km polar orbit. Vega-C features a new, more powerful first stage, P120C, based on Vega’s P80. Atop that is a new second stage, Zefiro-40, and then the same Zefiro-9 third stage as used on Vega.

The re-ignitable upper stage is also improved. AVUM+ has increased liquid propellant capacity, to deliver payloads to multiple orbits depending on mission requirements and to allow for longer operational time in space, to enable extended missions.

The P120C motor will do double service, with either two or four units acting as strap-on boosters for Ariane 6. Sharing this component streamlines industrial efficiency and improves cost-effectiveness of both launchers.

With its larger main stages and bigger fairing – which doubles the payload volume compared to Vega – Vega-C measures 34.8 m high, nearly 5 m taller than Vega.

The new launcher configuration delivers a significant improvement in launch system flexibility. Vega-C can orbit larger satellites, two main payloads or can accommodate various arrangements for rideshare missions. ESA’s upcoming Space Rider return-to-Earth vehicle will be launched to orbit on Vega-C.


The main payload on this inaugural flight is LARES-2, a scientific mission of the Italian Space Agency (ASI). Once in orbit, LARES-2’s precise path will be tracked by laser, from ground stations. The purpose of the mission is to measure the so-called frame-dragging effect, a distortion of space-time caused by the rotation of a massive body such as Earth as predicted by Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Its predecessor, the similar LARES, was the main payload on the 2012 inaugural flight of Vega.

Six CubeSats make a secondary payload package. AstroBio CubeSat (Italy) will test a solution for detecting biomolecules in space. Greencube (Italy) carries an experiment to grow plants in microgravity. ALPHA (Italy) aims to help understand phenomena related to Earth’s magnetosphere, such as the Northern and Southern Lights.

Three other CubeSats – Trisat-R (Slovenia), MTCube-2 (France) and Celesta (France) will study the effects of a harsh radiation environment on electronic systems.

The LARES-2 satellite has now been mounted onto the launch adapter: 14 June 2022, Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana

10 May 2022: The Vega-C Zefiro-9 third stage has now been transferred to and integrated at the Vega Launch Zone (Zone de Lancement Vega) ZLV at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

10 May 2022: The Vega-C Zefiro-9 third stage has now been transferred to and integrated at the Vega Launch Zone (Zone de Lancement Vega) ZLV at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana

10 May 2022: The Vega-C Zefiro-9 third stage has now been transferred to and integrated at the Vega Launch Zone (Zone de Lancement Vega) ZLV at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Vega-C Zefiro 40 second stage for VV21 transferred to and integrated at the Vega Launch Zone, Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, 4 May 2022

Vega-C Zefiro 40 second stage for VV21 transferred to and integrated at the Vega Launch Zone, Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, 4 May 2022.

Vega C PAC rollout, VV21

Vega-C VV21 PAC rollout


As with any inaugural launch, this is a challenging mission. “Vega-C features major enhancements from Vega, both in the rocket and its ground infrastructure,” says Renato Lafranconi, Vega programmes manager. “We’ve developed a new configuration with significant changes to many features of a proven concept, but the goal is to deliver major improvements in performance and competitiveness.”

ESA’s Director of Space Transportation, Daniel Neuenschwander stresses that Vega-C will work alongside the Ariane 6 heavy lifter to ensure Europe maintains flexible, competitive – and, critically, autonomous – launch capabilities: “With Vega-C and Ariane 6, Europe will have a flexible, independent solution for a fast-changing launch market.

“And, these two systems are the foundation of a development plan that will serve European institutions and commercial partners, opening a new chapter of European services.”

ESA Member States participating in Vega-C are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Twitter sues India’s government over its control of online speech. Twitter filed a lawsuit against the government of India in the Karnataka High Court in Bangalore, challenging a recent decree that ordered it to take down content and block a number of accounts. Twitter argued that the content in question is either political commentary, criticism, or otherwise newsworthy, and therefore should not be removed.

The fate of Hong Kong’s journalists under China’s rule: seven stories of broken dreams, perseverance and hope. Seven archetypal stories of the consequences of the National Security Law on journalists’ lives.

Radio reporter Federico Gempesaw shot and killed in the Philippines. On 29 June, two masked assailants shot Gempesaw at close range in front of his home in southern Cagayan De Oro City’s Carmen village. Gempesaw wrestled with one of the assailants after being shot in the back of his neck when a second gunman shot the reporter fatally in the head, according to news reports.

How long will Twitter stand by as ‘online violence’ curtails our right to know? The plight of journalists like Rana Ayyub exposes the failure of big tech to tackle threats and harassment, especially against women.

City Bureau gets $10 million to make public meetings more public. Documenters has already trained more than 1,700 people who’ve covered more than 2,300 public meetings.

Wikipedia remains one of the last propaganda-free corners of Internet in Russia. After Russia launched the invasion of Ukraine in February, its government swiftly passed Orwellian censorship laws. The remaining independent media like Novaya Gazeta, Meduza and Echo of Moscow were forced to shut down or went into exile, accessible only via VPN. Yet there is still one big Russian-language source that’s calling the war a war and is not complying with state propaganda. It’s Wikipedia.

Mexican journalist Susana Carreño severely wounded in Puerto Vallarta knife attack. On 1 July, near the coastal resort city of Puerto Vallarta in the central Mexican state of Jalisco, unidentified drivers in a grey Jeep Grand Cherokee crashed into Carreño’s vehicle. Two men then approached the scene on a motorcycle, forced Carreño at gunpoint to lay down and stabbed her repeatedly, according to news reports.

Boris Johnson resigns: the scoops that brought down the Prime Minister. His resignation was brought about largely by a series of revelations by journalists that helped erode his party’s trust in him.

German MPs demand release of Julian Assange. Dozens of members of the German federal parliament, the Bundestag, have issued a statement demanding the release of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Investigative masterclass: tips from Mediapart’s Fabrice Arfi. As co-director of the investigative unit at Mediapart, a groundbreaking French outlet with a reputation for sniffing out stories of corruption and wrongdoing — especially among the rich and powerful — Fabrice Arfi has been at the heart of impactful stories for more than a decade.

Electrive News – Renault to expand drive production in France: Renault has commissioned a new production line for electric motors at its Cléon plant. Initially, the ‚ePT-160kW‘ will be produced here, which will be used in the Megane E-Tech Electric and will also power a future Renault C-segment model.

BYD selects sales partner in the Netherlands: BYD is tackling the next country after Norway in the sale of its electric cars in Europe: In the Netherlands, the Chinese manufacturer has selected the car dealer group Louwman as its national sales partner. The company will offer BYD customers in the Netherlands online and offline sales as well as after-sales services.

Honda to release limited edition Honda e in Europe: Honda has unveiled a new Limited Edition for its all-electric urban EV Honda e, which will be released with only 50 units across Europe. With prices in the UK starting from £38,120, the Honda e Limited Edition is based on the Advance Grade.  
WuerthWürth Elektronik has all the EMC components you need to get to grips with electromagnetic interference in e-mobility: ferrites, high-current inductors, shielding, solutions for power supply and data lines – all with highest qualifications such as AEC-Q200. Benefit from our know-how for optimal use and contact us at

Nidec breaks ground second plant in Serbia: After Nidec began construction of its electric drive plant in Serbia in 2021, ground has now been broken for another of the company’s production facilities in the country. The new plant will produce inverters and electronic control units for vehicles in an area of around 36,000 m² and will be built in Novi Sad, with completion planned for the beginning of 2023.

Mercedes opens order books for the AMG EQE in Germany: A few months after the EQE 350+ and the Mercedes-AMG EQE 43 4MATIC, Mercedes has opened the order books for the second AMG variant of the EQE. The battery-electric performance sedan starts in Germany at prices from 109,777.50 euros.  

– Number of the Day –
More than 10 million battery swaps have already been carried out by customers of the Chinese electric car manufacturer Nio. The last million were added in just one month.

BenderCharging point Berlin now available at Sonepar. You have a business model and are looking for the technically suitable charging solution? The ebee standardized modular charging kit offers a compact basis for functional and reliable charging infrastructure – for integration into your design. Latest ebee technology combined with Bender know-how. Available from stock at short notice.

– Technology –
VinFast invests in ProLogium: The Vietnamese electric car manufacturer VinFast has invested millions in the Taiwanese solid-state battery cell manufacturer ProLogium. In addition, ProLogium is to supply solid-state battery cells to VinFast from 2024.

Verkor & Startec Energy launch industrial partnership: In France, Renault-backed battery cell manufacturer Verkor is partnering with industry group Startec Energy to develop and commercialise recyclable battery packs for electric mobility. The partnership aims to commercialise an annual volume of up to 1 GWh by 2030.

Tevva expands fuel cell supply agreement with Loop Energy: British electric truck developer Tevva is expanding its supply agreement with Canadian fuel cell specialist Loop Energy. After ordering the first units of Loop Energy’s T505 fuel cell system for use as a range extender for Tevva’s electric 7.5-tonne platform, the order volume has now been extended to a value of over $12 million by 2023.

Aqua Superpower boat chargers installed in the US & Sweden: Global marine fast charging network Aqua Superpower expands into the US and Scandinavia with installations at Lake Tahoe and on the west coast of Sweden.

– Feedback –
Yesterday’s most-clicked link: Tesla pauses in Germany while expanding in Texas.

– Quote of the Day –
    „As business is going so well in the other countries, we’re now accelerating the process of going to the UK, probably early 2024.“

    Lynk&Co global head Alain Visser says that the Chinese mainstream brand leveraging Volvo technology, aims to launch in the UK early 2024 with an electric car, the head of its global arm said. The Geely-owned company started marketing a hybrid SUV in a number of key markets in Europe in 2020 but is plotting an all-electric strategy for the UK.

– Fleets + Infrastructure –
The EU-funded Flow project has just kicked off in Barcelona: Among other things, the initiative aims to test, validate and improve vehicle-to-X for exchanging energy between vehicles, buildings and the grid to inform wider European application.

BP & BOC explore networks for H2 HGV transport: In the UK, BP and BOC, a Linde hydrogen production company, have just completed a joint feasibility study exploring optimised designs for a potential hydrogen distribution and supply network for heavy duty transportation.  

Aldi doubles charging stations at stores in Ireland: Supermarket chain Aldi is doubling the number of its electric vehicle charging points in Ireland over the next 12 months. 41 additional EV charging points are scheduled for installation in Wexford, Galway, Louth, Dublin, Meath, Kerry, Cork and Mayo. A total of 79 EV charging points will be available across 19 Aldi stores.
– Service –

Reading tip: UK businesses are set to adopt more than 163,000 electric vehicles this year, according to a new report from Centrica Business Solutions. The increase would see over a third (35%) more business-operated EVs on the road by the end of 2022, compared to the 121,000 registered by firms last year.

– Short Circuit –
Recall issued for the Mercedes EQE: Mercedes-Benz is recalling 341 units of the electric model EQE worldwide due to steering problems, 130 of them in Germany. Possible damage to steering components during the assembly process could lead to a failure of the steering power assistance and unintended steering movements.
Edited by    Stefan Köller, Chris Randall and Carrie Hampel

5 July 2022: Terrae Novae: Earth orbit, Moon and Mars - Terrae Novae is ESA’s exploration programme. Terrae Novae is not only literally about exploring new worlds, but by describing the limitless opportunities for discovery, economic growth and inspiration it also expresses our ambitions for Europe’s future innovators, scientists and explorers. This video shows the many exploration activities ESA is conducting or has planned in our Solar System, from the International Space Station to the Moon with the European Service Module and lunar Gateway modules for Artemis, and on to Mars with the Mars Sample Return campaign. For more on ESA’s human and robotic exploration strategy see:

ESA: “After Euclid’s lifetime, it will just be floating in space. What if future beings found Euclid? How would they know anything about the humanity of the people?” – Tom Kitching, lead scientist of Euclid’s VIS instrument. The team behind ESA’s Euclid mission has come together to create something special – a personal and collective galaxy-shaped fingerprint painting that has been attached to the spacecraft ready to launch into space. The collaborative nature of the artwork reflects the collaborative nature of the Euclid project overall; in both cases, people have come together to build something unique.

The Fingertip Galaxy was created by visual artist Lisa Pettibone and Euclid instrument scientist Tom Kitching. Since the very first fingerprint was pressed down in 2019, over 250 scientists and engineers have contributed to the piece of art. So why a galaxy? Euclid is a galaxy-imaging machine that will observe billions of galaxies out to 10 billion light-years to make a 3D map of the Universe. The mission’s ultimate aim is to explore dark matter and dark energy.

“Although Euclid has always been beautiful in concept and materials, it didn’t really say anything about the people involved and humanity as a whole. We asked ourselves whether we could do something artistic that would speak to people,” says Lisa.

Scientists and engineers involved in Euclid were invited to dip their fingertips in paint and make their mark on a large piece of paper.

“We wanted something authentic, not perfect, and not shaped too much,” continues Lisa. “The result is a piece of art with a wonderful energy to it that captures all the energy of the people involved.”

The artwork was photographed and engraved onto a plaque using lasers at Mullard Space Science Laboratory – the same lasers that are used to etch parts for satellites. The plaque was fixed to Euclid and revealed at a ‘Goodbye Euclid’ event on 1 July 2022, when Euclid left Thales Alenia Space in Turin to head to Cannes for final testing as a complete system.

Euclid’s project scientist René Laureijs suggested adding text to the plaque to explain the thoughts behind it. Continuing the artistic nature of the project, poet Simon Barraclough wrote a dedicated poem, from which a short extract was chosen to be etched on to the plaque in a typewriter font that swirls around the galaxy of fingerprints. This video ends with Simon reading part of Since his poem.

Lisa summarises the Fingertip Galaxy: “It is adding an element of humanity to a dark, vast space, where as far as we can see there is no other intelligent life.”

Credit: Filmmaker/composer: Sam Charlesworth

Fingertip Galaxy creators: Tom Kitching and Lisa Pettibone

Poet: Simon Barraclough – ‘Unextraordinary Light (For Euclid)’

Special thanks: ESA, Euclid mission team, Mullard Space Science Laboratory

Additional media: NASA, @jeremyperkins from

ESA - European Space Agency

Closed captions available

Captions and subtitles are available (automatically generated by YouTube) - select your language using the YouTube player controls. A non-YouTube version is available using the 'download' and 'source' buttons below.

3 July 2022: A fishery in China just deployed a giant 70MW solar plant. The fish and shrimp are expected to thrive. By Derya Ozdemir - Interesting Engineering - Farms where fish and algae thrive under solar panels might have secured their place in a future powered by renewable energy. Concord New Energy, a Chinese company that specializes in wind and solar power project development and operation, has installed a 70 MW solar plant atop a fish pond in an industrial park in Cangzhou, China's Hebei region, according to an initial report from PV Magazine. The hybrid system integrates solar power generation with fishery in a unique way that not only saves land but also produces clean energy.

An intelligent fishery area without emissions.

The fishery-solar hybrid system is a type of floating solar farms that has grown in popularity over the years as solar power has evolved to meet the needs of our increasingly climactic times. For example, the United States has just begun construction of the country's biggest floating solar farm in New Jersey. Meanwhile, in China, fishery-solar hybrid systems have grown dramatically in recent years. This hybrid system is straightforward: a solar array is installed above the fish pond's water surface, and the water area beneath the solar array is used for fish and shrimp farming.

Concord New Energy's new project, which uses Trina Solar's 670W Vertex PV modules, began in the second half of last year and was completed in early June, according to a spokeperson who talked with PV Magazine. After the system is connected to the national grid, the fish ponds will be used for fish and shrimp farming.

"The pile foundation is about 6 meters to 7 meters, and the water surface is about 1 meter under the modules, ensuring optimal safety and reliability," the spokesperson explained to PV Magazine. "The photovoltaic panels floating on the water can shade the fish pond, reduce water temperature, cut evaporation and effectively block strong sunlight, which significantly reduces the incidence of fish dying as a result of elevated water temperatures."

According to Trina Solar, the modules in the project were built utilizing water-resistant packing materials, which improve the isolation of metal components such as soldering strips, string connections, and busbars while also lowering the PID (Potential Induced Degradation) impact of photovoltaic panels.

What are the advantages? 

The fishery-solar hybrid system comes with several advantages, including the ability of the floating photovoltaic power station to effectively reduce the water temperature on hot summer days and shelter water surface from sunlight. This minimizes the outbreak of aquaculture diseases by impoving the water quality and adjusts the metabolism of fish to allow them to grow quickly, per SRNE Solar. Moreover, the floating photovoltaic power system helps reduce water surface evaporation and loss.

According to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, floating solar panels can be up to 15 percent more efficient than terrestrial solar thanks to the cooling impact of the water. 

It should be noted, however, that the rapid adoption of any new technology can have unanticipated effects. To this day, the relationship between the development of floatovoltaics and objectives in terms of the environment, society, and economy remains largely unexplored, and with such huge projects being deployed across the world, it is high time for the scientific community to uncover the potential effects of these projects on the environment, biodiversity, and more.

2 July 2022: Sky Cruise, the nuclear-powered flying hotel that can stay airborne for years with 5,000 passengers. This 'Flytanic' has the internet divided - By Ameya Paleja - Interesting Engineering - The animator, Hashem Al-Ghaili, shares his vision of what Sky Cruise would look like. A concept video of Sky Cruise, a giant flying machine that could carry 5,000 passengers and has all the luxuries of the world, has gone viral on the internet. The maker of the video claims that such an aircraft built in the future would have no carbon footprint, The Independent reported. The concept of a floating world in itself is not new and has been described even in Jonathan Swift's works from the 18th century, much before the Wright Brothers made their first flight. Fans of animated movies might have also come across the concept in 1986 Japanese movie, Castle in the Sky. While such references in the past have relied on the 'virtues of materials' which make up the world to give them such flying powers, the concept, as shown above, borrows from modern-day technology to project a possible future.

What can one expect on the Sky Cruise?

Passengers intending to visit this Sky Cruise could charter planes or simply book tickets on a commercial airliner that would be able to land on this aircraft. Once on the Cruise, visitors could enjoy the views from many viewing decks, such as the disc-shaped observation tower built on the aircraft, while restaurants and bars would cater to food and drink needs. The massive ship will also have cinema halls, theatres, and game rooms for those looking for regular entertainment and even venues for people to get married, The Independent said in its report.

The ship will be steered by artificial intelligence (A.I.), which would be so adept at reading weather conditions that it cannot only predict turbulent weather but also glide over it, providing a hassle-free experience to the onboard tourists.

According to the maker of the video, Hashem Al-Ghaili, the Sky Cruise will be powered by 20 electric engines that will keep the aircraft afloat in the sky. Powered by nuclear fusion, the ship will be able to remain afloat for years together, all without carbon emissions.

In an email to Interesting Engineering about his inspiration for creating this video, Al-Ghaili said, "I believe the current flying experience has become tiresome and outdated. It is time for new innovations, that make our flight experiences more comfortable. I have always been a fan of Studio Ghibli. Castle in the Sky is one of my favorite movies where we see massive flying ships with people living inside."

For this video, Al-Ghaili imagined a world where flying moved beyond the fight for leg space. When asked to put a date for when the flight would be possible in the near future, Al-Ghaili was confident that it was not that far off.

"I would go for the 2030s or 2040s at the latest. All we need is sufficient energy for the takeoff. That's why nuclear energy was part of the design. I believe it's a matter of time before powerful nuclear reactors become small enough to fit inside a plane that size."

The animator also added that once these small reactors were in place, then one only needed to work on the aerodynamics of the flight.

What does the internet think about the design?

Al-Ghaili takes no credit for the airship's design and said that it was done by Tony Holmsten several years ago, Cruisehive reported. Al-Ghaili only animated the design and put up the video depicting what it would be like to have a real-world Sky Cruise, which he calls the 'Flytanic.'

While some were impressed with the vision of the aircraft, many were skeptical whether something like this would even fly. One YouTube user pointed out how big a runway would be needed for the Cruise to take off, which wouldn't really be used for any other ship.

Another commented on the lack of any detail on the size of the ship, its weight or wingspan, and some fundamental parameters needed to make it fly. Others were more sarcastic than critical, stating that they could see the Sky Cruise fly if "physics and aerodynamics did not exist". Another user said the concept was like putting together a ''Titanic with Hindenburg and then putting a nuclear reactor in it".

When Interesting Engineering drew Al-Ghaili's attention to these comments, he replied, "I love them! Both the positive and the negative. I have read and keep reading a lot of them. It is nice to see people point out the flaws of the design and try to propose solutions to them, which is needed to make it more perfect. A few tweaks to the design and we've got a massive flying hotel that could roam our skies someday."

2 July 2022 - EU Podcast on the SDG 2 – zero hunger - EU action against hunger and malnutrition - Briefing 26-01-2022 - At least one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations (UN) will be missed in 2030 – SDG 2 – 'zero hunger' – also endangering the accomplishment of the rest of the SDG goals under Agenda 2030. Hunger and malnutrition are rising dramatically across the world, a trend aggravated by the pandemic. In 2020, 811 million people in the world were facing hunger, the highest level since 2014, and 3 billion people were without access to a healthy diet. The fight against hunger and malnutrition has been the focus of two global summits, namely the UN Food Systems Summit (September 2021), which committed to a deep reform of global food systems, and the Nutrition for Growth Summit (December 2021), which saw the biggest pledge since 2013. In the EU itself, considered one of the most food-secure regions in the world, nearly 7 million people were already experiencing severe food insecurity before the pandemic, and malnutrition is on the rise, as demonstrated by obesity and pre-obesity prevalence rates. SDG 2 aims not only at achieving food security but also at improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture. These objectives have been mainstreamed in the recently reformed common agricultural policy and the 'farm to fork' and biodiversity strategies. In developing countries, the EU is strongly committed to achieving SDG 2. The EU institutions and Member States, which collectively provide more than half of official development assistance worldwide, have reaffirmed this commitment in the new European 'consensus on development'. Alongside development aid, the EU has several levers at its disposal to act on food insecurity causes, such as security and defence missions and comprehensive strategies in conflict areas, as well as substantial research capacities. The fact that its internal policies, in particular agricultural, climate and trade policies, have a spill-over effect on other food systems in the world, in particular in poorer countries, also make the EU a significant player.

2 July 2022: Airbus and CFM International to pioneer hydrogen combustion technology  -

Toulouse/Washington – Airbus has signed a partnership agreement with CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines, to collaborate on a hydrogen demonstration programme that will take flight around the middle of this decade. The programme’s objective is to ground and flight test a direct combustion engine fueled by hydrogen, in preparation for entry-into-service of a zero-emission aircraft by 2035. The demonstration will use a A380 flying testbed equipped with liquid hydrogen tanks prepared at Airbus facilities in France and Germany. Airbus will also define the hydrogen propulsion system requirements, oversee flight testing, and provide the A380 platform to test the hydrogen combustion engine in cruise phase.

CFM International (CFM) will modify the combustor, fuel system, and control system of a GE Passport turbofan to run on hydrogen. The engine, which is assembled in the US, was selected for this program because of its physical size, advanced turbo machinery, and fuel flow capability. It will be mounted along the rear fuselage of the flying testbed to allow engine emissions, including contrails, to be monitored separately from those of the engines powering the aircraft. CFM will execute an extensive ground test program ahead of the A380 flight test.

“This is the most significant step undertaken at Airbus to usher in a new era of hydrogen-powered flight since the unveiling of our ZEROe concepts back in September 2020,” said Sabine Klauke, Airbus Chief Technical Officer. “By leveraging the expertise of American and European engine manufacturers to make progress on hydrogen combustion technology, this international partnership sends a clear message that our industry is committed to making zero-emission flight a reality.”

“Hydrogen combustion capability is one of the foundational technologies we are developing and maturing as part of the CFM RISE Program,” said Gaël Méheust, president & CEO of CFM. “Bringing together the collective capabilities and experience of CFM, our parent companies, and Airbus, we really do have the dream team in place to successfully demonstrate a hydrogen propulsion system.”

CFM shares Airbus’ ambition of fulfilling the promise they made in signing the Air Transport Action Group goal in October 2021 to achieve aviation industry net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 by developing and testing the technology necessary to make zero emissions aircraft a reality within the ambitious timeline defined.

Airbus has a long-standing relationship with CFM and its parent companies, GE Aviation and Safran Aircraft Engines and, together, the partners have established a great track record of delivering high-performance products that meet the needs of airline customers.

Media contacts:

Matthieu Duvelleroy Airbus

Lois Benquet, Airbus

Electrive News – MAN will start making truck batteries in Nuremberg: MAN Truck & Bus says it will begin mass-producing high-voltage batteries for electric trucks and buses at its Nuremberg site from 2025. The company is ready to invest €100 million over the next five years at a place once famous for combustion engine production.

Hyundai has just revealed the design of the new Ioniq 6: Like the Ioniq 5, the second model of the electric Hyundai sub-brand Ioniq is based on the Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) and offers a particularly aerodynamic line with a drag coefficient of 0.21.

Citroën debuts ë-C4 X crossover model: Citroën has unveiled the ë-C4 X, a crossover offshoot of its ë-C4 compact model. In most European markets, the French brand will offer only the all-electric ë-C4 X but there is a combustion engine model in the backhand. Market launch is set for 2023 with Germany being confirmed.

High-voltage contactors for the Battery Disconnect Unit - In the event of thermal overload or a short circuit, Schaltbau contactors reliably disconnect the electrical drive train from the vehicle battery. Using an air concept, the switching arcs are reliably controlled, thus enabling switching in the limit load range. 

Northvolt wants IPO within two years: The Swedish battery wunderkind Northvolt has confirmed plans to go public within the next two years. The battery cell company backed by Volkswagen or BMW was “well-positioned” for an initial public offering, Chairman Carl-Erik Lagercrantz said in an interview.

Audi and FAW have begun factory construction just over four months after gaining building approval. By the end of 2024, the first plant building Audi EVs utilising the PPE exclusively in China will appear in the northern Chinese metropolis of Changchun. According to Audi, this will initially involve three models from the Audi A6 e-tron and Audi Q6 e-tron series.

Volvo Cars USA is expanding its footprint in New Jersey to prepare for a future selling only electric vehicles by building a new technical and training facility, and installing 50 EV chargers, at the company’s headquarters in Mahwah. The Volvo Car Americas Technical and Training Center is scheduled to open in March 2023.

– Number of the Day –

Over 90,000 plug-in cars are now registered in France. In May 2022, sales saw an additional 16,287 all-electric cars and 11,346 plug-in hybrids making it on the list. This total 27,633 plug-in vehicles made for an 18% electrified market share in France in May. (in French)

– Technology –

Freyr gets green light for Giga Arctic: The Freyr Board has approved the Norwegian company to build the first battery cell factory in Rana, Norway, for production to start in the first half of 2024. Called Giga Arctic, the plant has been designed for an annual capacity of 29 GWh, according to the plan now approved.

ICPT to build battery factory in Poland: Impact Clean Power Technology (ICPT), a Polish manufacturer of battery systems for heavy-duty commercial vehicles such as buses as well as stationary energy storage systems, has begun construction of a production facility called GigafactoryX. The plant will initially produce 2 GWh of batteries per year from 2024 and 5 GWh in the final stage.

Details on the timetable for ACC’s third battery factory in Termoli, Italy, have emerged following a union representative meeting with Stellantis. The conversion of Stellantis‘ current engine plant in Termoli into a battery factory will begin in 2024, with production to start by 2026. ACC expects the battery factory to reach total capacity in 2030 with around 2,000 employees but there will be lay-offs in the meantime.

Ford signs lithium agreement with Liontown Resources: Ford has signed a binding off-take agreement for lithium with Australian company Liontown Resources. The five-year contract provides for the supply of lithium-spodumene concentrate from the Kathleen Valley project in Western Australia from 2024.

– Feedback –

Yesterday’s most-clicked link: EU Council confirms ICE ban for cars and vans by 2035. 

– Quote of the Day –

„Tesla remains the strongest competitor, but Tesla is weakening. […] We have to seize this opportunity and catch up quickly – in 2025 we can take the lead.“

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said at the recent works meeting. Elon Musk would have to „simultaneously ramp up two highly complex factories in Austin and Grünheide – as well as expand production in Shanghai. That will cost him strength,“ Diess said. (in German)

– Fleets + Infrastructure –

Plug&Charge logo revealed for all brands or charger and car: The CCS initiative CharIN has presented the official logo of Plug&Charge. The logo should identify the charging points equipped with this extra secure charging ISO15118 function that allows drivers to use DC chargers without a card or an app, and enables bidirectional charging so that electric vehicles can feed energy back into the grid.

EO reveals two new chargers: UK charging solutions provider EO Charging is bringing two new products to market – EO Genius 2 and EO Mini Pro 3. The two new smart chargers are compliant with the “Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations” that come into force at the end of this month and require all home or commercial chargers sold in the UK, excluding Northern Ireland, to have smart functionality and incorporate pre-set, off-peak charging hours.

Pod Point installers now drive LEVC vans: LEVC (London Electric Vehicle Company) has received an order for 60 VN5 vans from Pod Point, one of the UK’s leading providers of EV charging infrastructure. Their engineers will use the range-extended electric vans to install charging points in the UK.

UK electric car insurance firm Novo doubles its EV courtesy fleet:  The company has added a further 40 premium marque electric cars to its fleet – including the Tesla Model Y, Mercedes-Benz EQA and EQB, as well as Audi e-tron GT. The fleet of electric cars mean that drivers can remain in an electric vehicle when their own car is off the road. The 40 additional electric cars have been necessary because of the steep uptake of electric cars in the UK.,,,

– Service –

Video tip: Volkswagen has visualised its future electric car factory in Wolfsburg, Germany, on Twitter. As reported, VW will build the new flagship EV Trinity at the plant from 2026. Construction of the Trinity factory is set to start in 2023.

– Short Circuit –

LA may become the biggest city yet to ban new gas stations: Los Angeles, the second most populated city in the US, could become the largest city yet to ban the construction of new gas stations. A directive to this effect is currently being drafted, reports the Guardian newspaper, and could become all the more decisive in the city known for its reliance on cars.

Edited by Stefan Köller, Carrie Hampel and Nora Manthey

29 June 2022 - Electrive News – The all-electric Genesis Electrified G80 will enter the US market later than initially planned. The electric G80 was unveiled in April 2021 and was set to go on sale in the US in Spring 2022. According to Automotive News, the company has recently removed the „coming spring 2022“ info from its website, without disclosing the reason. The South Korean manufacturer said that „more details about pricing and the on-sale date will not be available until late summer or early fall.“ (paywall) via

EU Council decides on 100% CO2 reduction for cars & vans by 2035: Late last night in Europe, for the revision of the binding annual emissions reductions by European Member States from 2021 to 2030, the European Council agreed to raise the targets for reducing CO2 emissions for new cars and new vans by 2030 to 55% instead for cars and to 50% for vans. The Council also agreed to introduce a 100% CO2 emissions reduction target by 2035 for new cars and vans.

MG4 to lanch in Europe by year’s end: SAIC’s MG Motor brand will be launching its MG4 Electric compact electric car on European markets the fourth quarter of 2022. The company is now confirming the MG4’s technical data, as well as the MSP electric platform it is based upon.  
Forsee Power to open US headquarters & production plant: The French battery manufacturer Forsee Power has announced a new production facility and North American headquarters in the USA. As in Europe, Forsee will assemble purchased cells into battery modules, which are then primarily installed in commercial vehicles. The plant and headquarters are to be built in Hilliard in the US state of Ohio and is expected to reach a production capacity of 3 GWh by 2027.

WuerthWe are driving the e-volution! Trouble-free. For over 35 years. Würth Elektronik has been a partner to the automotive industry for over 35 years. Trouble-free and reliable. That makes the difference. Automotive components certified according to AEC-Q200, PPAP Level 3 and IATS 16949. Know-how proven in racing comes to the road as standard. Our local key account managers can provide support in the local language.

Aptera goes for Eve Energy battery cells: Aptera Motors, known for its long-range light electric solar car, has selected Eve Energy as a lithium-ion battery cell supplier. Aptera will utilise Eve’s 21700 NMC 811 cylindrical cells in its vehicle’s structural battery packs.

The DS 7 gets a visual and technical update and loses the additional designation Crossback. The new top model is a plug-in hybrid with all-wheel drive and 360 hp. This means that there are now three PHEV versions to choose from for the DS 7. German market launch for the new DS 7 is late autumn 2022. Orders will open shortly, which will also announce the final prices for the new DS edition.

– Number of the Day –
Chinese manufacturer Leapmotor has now built 100,000 electric cars. The milestone was reached three years after the first vehicle was produced and six months after Leapmotor’s 50,000th car rolled off the production line.

BenderBender has it all! From the charge controller as the heart of a charging station to insulation monitors for electric vehicles to residual current monitoring systems for AC charging mode 2+3. Trust our intelligent and safe solutions for electric mobility. Made in Germany. Made by Bender.

– Technology –
Candela unveils public transport electric hydrofoil ferry: Candela has unveiled the design of its P-12 Shuttle scheduled for tests in Stockholm’s public transport system next year. The hydrofoil claims a top speed of 30 knots (55.5kph) and extremely low energy use.

Leclanché announces breakthrough in battery safety: Swiss battery manufacturer Leclanché says it has achieved a breakthrough in the safety of its lithium-ion batteries without compromising cell performance. By adding a special additive to the composition of the electrolyte formula, the company says the risk of a thermal event has been reduced by almost 80 per cent.

Betteries AMPS completes certification of second-life batteries: Betteries AMPShas completed the certification (CE, UN and IEC) of its second-life battery with 48 V and 2.3 kWh, which is based on upcycled modules from electric vehicle batteries. This allows the Berlin-based start-up to offer the mobile battery to its customers.

Umicore & Idemitsu join race for ASSBs: Belgian materials technology and recycling group Umicore and Japan’s energy company Idemitsu Kosan have agreed to develop high-performance materials for solid-state batteries jointly. Umicore will bring its expertise in cathode active materials (CAM) and banks on Idemitsu Kosan’s know-how in solid electrolytes.

Yesterday’s most-clicked link: VW ID. Aero – Volkswagen debuts ID. EV number 6 in China.

– Quote of the Day –
    „If we decide that’s what the market needs and that fits our brand especially, and I think it absolutely could, yeah. It’s something we should consider.“

    According to Craig Westbrook, chief service officer for Vinfast US, Vietnamese electric vehicle startup Vinfast could eventually enter the electric pickup truck market.

– Fleets + Infrastructure –
Siemens joins Electrify America to expand the company’s ultra-rapid charging advance in North America. They have jointly invested 450 million dollars in VW’s subsidiary. Electrify America plans to use the money – Siemens is the first external investor – to advance said expansion but also expects technology advances.

Irizar ie tram buses expected in Northern Spain: The Spanish bus manufacturer Irizar has received an order for 30 electric buses from Valladolid, Spain. In addition to the 30 Irizar ie trams, the public transport operator AUVASA (Autobuses Urbanos de Valladolid) also ordered corresponding charging infrastructure.

LG Electronics acquires South Korean EV charger maker AppleMango: LG Electronics has acquired AppleMango, an EV charger manufacturer from South Korea, together with GS Energy and GS Neotek. LG says the acquisition will help it create “fully-featured charging stations” and integrate the existing charging management system developed in-house.

Rivian Adventure Network opens: Rivian announced opening the first three sites in its “Adventure Network” today. The US EV maker finally installed charging stations near National Parks and recreational areas in Colorado and California in an attempt to brand an adventurous lifestyle supported by its electric pick-up trucks.

– Service –
Reading tip: According to research by JD Power, Americans are paying $54,000 on average for an electric vehicle, a surge of 22% in a year. Meanwhile, Americans are paying $44,400 on average for fossil fuel-powered vehicles, representing a gain of 14% in the year to May,

– Short Circuit –
Toyota chairman clinches extra deal for hybrids: Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota and chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), is reported to have secured an amendment to a key policy document by Japan’s government to include hybrid vehicles in the category of electric vehicles, effectively putting them on an equal footing.

Edited by Stefan Köller, Carrie Hampel and Nora Manthey

28 June 2022 - Interesting Engineering: USAF Air Force’s new futuristic aircrew helmet More than 100 designs have been submitted; but there's only one winner. By Ameya Paleya -  27 June 2022 - The U.S. Air Force has selected California-based LIFT Airborne Technologies to continue the development of a new helmet that is being designed for fixed-wing aircrew in the future, a press release revealedWe regularly report the progress of new weapons, aircraft, and warfare systems being developed worldwide. While technologies like hypersonic missilese and combat drones are pushing the envelope on what is normal in warfare, much smaller but critical components can get overlooked in the bigger picture. 

The need for new helmets: The helmet of an aircrew could be the modern-day equivalent of the proverbial horseshoe nail that lost the kingdom. Helmets that are currently in use by the U.S. Air Force were designed back in the 1980s. Over the years, advances in technology have meant that the helmets have been fitted with equipment such as mounted displays for which the original design was not optimized. 

The U.S. Air Force has also come across other issues such as long-term neck and back injuries that aircrew has faced and found links to heavier helmet usage. The retrofitting of modern devices on older helmet designs changes the center of gravity of the helmet, which has a significant impact when the pilot is facing gravitational forces that are six or even nine times the normal. 

Additionally, the demographics of the Air Force have changed with a large number of women pilots inducted. A study conducted in 2020 found that a smaller-sized helmet would be a better fit for female aviators. The Air Combat Command initiated the search for the next-generation helmet that also aimed at improving pilot longevity. 

The development of a new helmet

To bring in the most advanced technological innovations to the helmet, the U.S. Air Force opened up the development challenge to nontraditional defense companies. The project was launched through AFWERX, the innovation arm of the Air Force that works with teams across various domains and uses the competition to bring out the best and most innovative solutions. 

The requirements for the helmet were set after consultations with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), and other major commands and parameters such as weight, pilot comfort, an optimized center of gravity, stability, and integration with different helmet-mounted systems were identified.

More than 100 designs were received, which were then evaluated and submitted for further testing by AFLCMC in collaboration with Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Airmen Accommodations Laboratory, and Test and Evaluation Squadrons at Elgin Air Base to finalize LIFT Airborne's prototype. 

According to the company's website, the new design includes magnetic chin straps that allow single-handed mating and rotatable bayonet receivers that allow up to 45 degrees adjustments for oxygen masks. The helmet is 42 percent lighter than the ones currently used by aviators and is equipped with five comfort liner pads that can be adjusted to deliver customized fitting for all users. The helmet sources its power from the aircrew-mounted power system (AMPS), eliminating the need to mount batteries.

The helmet will now undergo further research, testing, and improvements, after which the Air Force will confirm the prototype and offer a production contract in 2024. The new helmet will be deployed in a phase-wise manner, starting with the F-15E Strike Eagle.

28 June 2022: NanoAvionics records first ever 4K resolution full satellite selfie in space  showing the company’s MP42 microsatellite over the Great Barrier Reef” - 12 MP photo and 4K video show microsatellite above the Great Barrier Reef with an immersive view of Earth. The camera was also used to test and verify satellite operations and the new payload controller -- Vilnius, Lithuania, 28 June 2022 – NanoAvionics have used an off-the-shelf consumer camera, mounted on a selfie stick, to take the first ever 4K resolution full satellite selfie in space with an immersive view of Earth. The 12-megapixel photos and 4K video clips, taken with a GoPro Hero 7, show the company’s MP42 microsatellite flying 550 km above the Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef – the only living structure visible from space – along the North-East limb of Australia.

In addition to the stunning imagery, NanoAvionics used the camera to test and verify satellite operations and their new payload controller, designed to optimise downlink for applications that require onboard processing of huge data packages. The company anticipates more future usages of real satellite footage, live and recorded, such as deployment confirmation, fault detection, micro-meteorite impacts and educational purposes. The satellite was launched for NanoAvionics’s MP42 microsatellite bus heritage mission aboard a SpaceX Falcon F9 in April this year.

Vytenis J. Buzas, co-founder and CEO of NanoAvionics, said: “The reason for taking the photo and video clip with the Great Barrier Reef in the background was partly symbolic. We wanted to highlight the vulnerability of our planet and the importance of Earth observation by satellites, especially for monitoring environment and climate changes.

“In our increasingly visual culture, it is important for investors, students, customers and the general public to see in order to believe. Millions watch rocket launches but barely see satellites moving in orbit or deployable structures in operation. This is going to change through live or recorded footage.”

NanoAvionics chose a consumer camera because typical space-grade engineering cameras either don’t have enough resolution, are costly, need months to develop and cannot always provide an immersive view of Earth. To operate the camera in space, NanoAvionics had to strip it down the to its bones. Engineers then fabricated a custom housing for the electronics, made a custom ‘selfie stick’ and developed camera control electronics and special software to communicate with the satellite systems. They also tested it rigorously to prove it can survive the harsh environment of a rocket launch as well as the vacuum and huge temperature swings in space.

Off-the-shelf consumer action cameras are not frequently used in satellite missions but for NanoAvionics it was a quick and visually appealing way to do initial satellite and components tests including their new generation PC 2.0 payload controller running on Linux. The company’s engineers used the data heavy images and videos during LEOP (launch and early orbit phase) to verify the new controller is ready for advanced applications that require onboard processing of large amounts of data.

“Transmitting several GB of images and videos when operating the camera with pre-programmed starts and stops from the ground was as data heavy as it gets,” said Ernestas Kalabuckas, chief technology officer of NanoAvionics. “In addition to receiving telemetry and technical reports, being able to access live images and videos of the satellite is useful to visually confirm the deployment of antennas and other deployable structures, and for ongoing fault detection. Comparing selfie images over time can also enable the detection of visual clues about possible degradation of materials or micro-meteorite impacts.”

Due to the combined quality improvement of footage showing satellite deployment from cameras aboard launch vehicles and high-resolution footage from satellites also equipped with cameras, the company expects to see many benefits watching satellites in orbit.

“Photos and videos of satellites circling our planet could draw more attention and help more people and organisations to realise the societal, economic, educational and environmental benefits that satellites provide,” Buzas said. “It could also inspire more people to take up careers in the rapidly growing space industry. We also still face the popular misconception that space is only accessible to large governments and select businesses. The truth is space is becoming much more commonplace thanks to reduced launch costs and the growing popularity, capabilities and use cases of small satellite constellations. Satellites in low Earth orbits can detect and monitor chemical spills, illegal fishing, wildfires, crop growth as well as track and ultimately help saving endangered animals.

“High-resolution imagery might also change the way companies market their space components such as antennas, new propulsions systems, solar sails and robotic arms. Changing from artistic, computer-generated visualisations and animated videos to actual photos and recorded clips of satellites in space.”

• Images and Video by (c) NanoAvionics, filmed with a GoPro Hero 7.

• Specs for the payload controller 2.0:

Press Contact

Harry Pirrwitz

About NanoAvionics

NanoAvionics is a smallsat bus manufacturer and mission integrator currently based in four locations across the USA, UK and Lithuania. The company’s efforts are focused on enabling critical satellite functions and optimizing their hardware, launch and satellite operation costs by providing end-to-end small satellite solutions - ranging from single missions to constellations. Its core engineering team has implemented over 120 successful satellite missions and commercial projects during the past several years. With a modularity such as the fundamental principle of NanoAvionics systems' architecture, NanoAvionics provides economic viability to a wide range of small satellite constellation-based missions, businesses and organizations worldwide. -

26 June 2022: NASA Sets Live Launch Coverage for CAPSTONE Mission to Moon

Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket sits on the pad at the company’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand for wet dress rehearsal ahead of the CAPSTONE launch. - Photo: Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket sits on the pad at the company’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand for wet dress rehearsal ahead of the CAPSTONE launch. Credits: Rocket Lab - NASA will air live launch coverage of the agency’s Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE), the first spacecraft to fly a specific unique lunar orbit ahead of future missions with crew.

CAPSTONE is targeted to launch no earlier than Monday, June 27, aboard a Rocket Lab Electron rocket from the company's Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand. The instantaneous launch opportunity is at 6 a.m. EDT (10:00 UTC). Live coverage will begin at 5 a.m. on NASA Television, the agency's website, and the NASA app.

The destination for this microwave oven-size CubeSat is a near rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO). That same orbit is planned for Gateway, a multipurpose outpost for long-term lunar missions as part of the agency’s Artemis program.

Six days after launch, the Photon upper stage will release CAPSTONE into space for the first portion of the spacecraft’s solo flight. After a four-month journey to the Moon, CAPSTONE will test the dynamics of the NRHO for at least six months, helping reduce risk for future spacecraft. CAPSTONE will also demonstrate innovative spacecraft-to-spacecraft navigation technology and one-way ranging capabilities that could help future spacecraft fly near the Moon with reduced need for communication with Earth.

Join Virtual NASA Social: Members of the public are invited to join the virtual NASA Social to get a behind-the scenes look at CAPSTONE, learn what makes CAPSTONE unique among NASA’s missions, meet the rocket launching CAPSTONE, and more.

Visualize CAPSTONE’s Flight in Real Time: You can follow CAPSTONE’s journey live using NASA’s Eyes on the Solar System interactive real-time 3D data visualization. Starting about one week after launch, you can virtually ride along with the CubeSat with a simulated solar system view. NASA will post updates in the visualization on the agency’s Ames Research Center home page as well as Twitter and Facebook.

CAPSTONE is commercially owned and operated by Advanced Space in Westminster, Colorado, on behalf of NASA. It represents an innovative collaboration between NASA and industry to provide rapid results and feedback to inform future exploration and science missions. Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, a Terran Orbital Corporation, of Irvine, California, built the spacecraft. The mission also includes contributions from Stellar Exploration Inc., Space Dynamics Lab, Tethers Unlimited Inc., and Orion Space Systems.

NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology program within the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) funds the demonstration mission. The program is based at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. The development of CAPSTONE’s navigation technology is supported by NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program, also within STMD. The Artemis Campaign Development Division within NASA’s Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate funds the launch and supports mission operations. The Launch Services Program at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida manages the launch service. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California supports the communication, tracking, and telemetry downlink via NASA’s Deep Space Network, Iris radio design, and groundbreaking one-way navigation algorithms. More about CAPSTONE, visit: - Twitter: @NASA, @NASAAmes, @NASA_Technology, @NASAArtemis, @NASA_LSP; Facebook: NASA, NASA Ames, NASA Technology, NASA Artemis, NASA's Launch Services Program; Instagram: NASA, NASA Ames, NASA Artemis

Press Contacts:

Sarah Frazier / Gerelle Dodson

Headquarters, Washington

Tiffany Blake

Ames Research Center, Silicon Valley, Calif.

23 June 2022 - AIRBUS: First helicopter flight powered solely by sustainable aviation fuel - Berlin, An Airbus H225 has performed the first ever helicopter flight with 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) powering both Safran’s Makila 2 engines. This flight, which follows the flight of an H225 with one SAF-powered Makila 2 engine in November 2021, is part of the flight campaign aimed at understanding the impact of SAF use on the helicopter's systems. Tests are expected to continue on other types of helicopters with different fuel and engine architectures with a view to certify the use of 100% SAF by 2030. “This flight with SAF powering the twin engines of the H225 is an important milestone for the helicopter industry. It marks a new stage in our journey to certify the use of 100% SAF in our helicopters, a fact that would mean a reduction of up to 90% in CO2 emissions alone," said Stefan Thome, Executive Vice President, Engineering and Chief Technical Officer, Airbus Helicopters.
The use of SAF is one of Airbus Helicopters' levers to achieve its ambition of reducing CO2 emissions from its helicopters by 50% by 2030. One of the main benefits of using this new fuel is that it allows the aircraft to minimise its carbon footprint while maintaining the same flight performance.
According to the Waypoint 2050 report, the use of SAF in aviation could account for 50-75% of the CO2 reduction needed to reach net carbon emissions by 2050 in the air transport industry. While SAF production currently accounts for only 0.1% of total aviation fuel production, this figure is expected to increase dramatically in the coming years to meet both growing demand from operators and upcoming SAF usage mandates.
In June 2021, Airbus Helicopters launched the SAF User Group with the intention of bringing all stakeholders together to work on ways to accelerate the use of blended SAF kerosene and to pave the way toward 100% SAF flights for future fleets. All Airbus commercial aircraft and helicopters are certified to fly with up to a 50% blend of SAF. Our goal is to achieve certification of 100% SAF by 2030 for Airbus commercial aircraft and helicopters. Learn more about sustainable aviation fuel.
@airbusheli @SafranHCEngines #H225 #SustainableAviation

Visit our ILA Air Show event page to stay updated on Airbus´ presence at ILA Berlin 2022.

23 June 2022 - ESA -BepiColombo - An artist's impression of the ESA-JAXA BepiColombo spacecraft. Credit: ESA/ATG medialab - Mission Elapsed Time: 03yrs 08mos 03days 14hrs 25mins - What is BepiColombo? BepiColombo is an international mission comprised of two spacecraft riding together to Mercury to orbit and to study the planet from unique vantage points. The European Space Agency (ESA) provided one orbiter. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) supplied the second orbiter. BepiColombo launched in October 2018 and is scheduled to begin orbiting Mercury in 2025. ESA's Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) will study the planet's surface and interior. JAXA's Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MIO) will study the planet's magnetic field. These are the first Mercury missions for the ESA and Japan. Only two other spacecraft have visited Mercury: NASA's Mariner 10 and MESSENGER.

Nations: Europe and Japan;  Objective(s)Mercury Orbit; Spacecraft: BepiColombo; Spacecraft Mass9,040 pounds (4,100 kilograms); Mission Design and ManagementESA and JAXA; Launch Vehicle: Ariane 5; Launch Date and TimeOct. 20, 2018 | 01:45:28 UT. Launch Site: Guiana Space Centre, Kourou, French Guiana.

Scientific InstrumentsMercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO): 2,540 pounds (1,150 kilograms)
1. BELA–BepiColombo Laser Altimeter
2. ISA–Italian Spring Accelerometer
3. MPO-MAG–Magnetic Field Investigation
4. MERTIS–Mercury Radiometer and Thermal Imaging Spectrometer
5. MGNS–Mercury Gamma-Ray and Neutron Spectrometer
6. MIXS–Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer
7. MORE–Mercury Orbiter Radio Science Experiment
8. PHEBUS–Probing of Hermean Exosphere by Ultraviolet Spectroscopy
9. SERENA–Search for Exosphere Refilling and Emitted Neutral Abundances (neutral and ionized particle analyzer)
10. SIMBIO-SYS–Spectrometers and Imagers for MPO BepiColombo Integrated Observatory
11. SIXS–Solar Intensity X-ray and Particle Spectrometer

Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO): 606 pounds (275 kilograms):
1. MMO-MGF–Mercury Magnetometer
2. MPPE–Mercury Plasma Particle Experiment
3. PWI–Mercury Plasma Wave Instrument
4. MSASI–Mercury Sodium Atmospheric Spectral Imager
5. MDM–Mercury Dust Monitor

Key Dates

Oct. 20, 2018 | 01:45:28 UT​: Launch

April 13, 2020: Earth flyby

Oct. 16, 2020: Venus flyby

Aug. 11, 2020: Venus Flyby

Oct. 1, 2021: First Mercury flyby

June 23, 2022: Mercury flyby

June 20, 2023: Mercury flyby

Sept. 5, 2024: Mercury flyby

Dec. 2, 2024: Mercury flyby

Jan. 9, 2025: Mercury flyby

Dec. 5, 2025: Mercury orbital insertion


ESA's first mission to Mercury

​JAXA's first mission to Mercury

First mission to Mercury comprised of two orbiters

In Depth: BepiColombo

BepiColombo is a joint European-Japanese mission to Mercury to study the planet's composition, geophysics, atmosphere, magnetosphere, and history. The European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) each have an orbiter on the same spacecraft. ESA built the main spacecraft, the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO), and JAXA supplied the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MIO). MPO will study the surface and internal composition of the planet, and MIO will study Mercury's magnetosphere – the region of space around the planet that is dominated by its magnetic field. BepiColombo made its first flyby of Mercury on Oct. 1, 2021, and sent back several images. Several more planetary flybys will be used to steer BepiColombo into orbit around Mercury in December 2025. BepiColombo captured this view of Mercury’s northern hemisphere on Oct. 1, 2021, as it flew past the planet for a gravity assist. Parts of the spacecraft also can be seen. Image credit: ESA/BepiColombo/MTM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO | More about the image A few months before going into orbit, BepiColombo will jettison the spacecraft's transfer module leaving the two orbiters – still connected to each other – to be captured by Mercury's gravity. Both orbiters are expected to operate for about one year.

BepiColombo is only the third spacecraft to visit Mercury. NASA's Mariner 10 flew past Mercury three times in 1974-1975 and returned the first close-up images of the planet. NASA's MESSENGER orbited Mercury for more than four years from Aug. 3, 2004, to April 30, 2015. The mission determined Mercury’s surface composition, revealed its geological history, discovered details about its internal magnetic field, and verified its polar deposits are dominantly water-ice. The mission ended when MESSENGER ran out of fuel and slammed into Mercury’s surface.

BepiColombo is named after Professor Giuseppe (Bepi) Colombo (1920-1984) from the University of Padua, Italy, a mathematician and engineer. He was the first to determine that an unsuspected resonance is responsible for Mercury's habit of rotating on its axis three times for every two revolutions it makes around the Sun.

22 June 2022 - NASA -Mars Report: How Scientists Study Wind on Mars - NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Deputy Project Scientist Leslie Tamppari explains how images from the orbiter's HiRISE camera help scientists better understand Martian winds. With the help of 80,000 citizen scientists sorting through the orbiter’s images, hundreds of thousands of wind “fans” were identified on the surface of Mars.

Scientists use wind to understand the climate of Mars today and in the past. These wind data can also help them study why some dust storms grow to become global and others don’t. Studying wind and dust will help future spacecraft and human missions. NASA's Mars missions, visit

MRO Deputy Project Scientist Leslie Tamppari: Winds on Mars can both help and hurt spacecraft. So we're getting really creative in how to study winds on the surface of Mars over a large region.

Raquel Villanueva: We're here at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the Space Flight Operations Facility, also known as the Dark Room. This is where engineers send commands and receive data from JPL missions, including NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Now, detailed images from the orbiter are helping scientists better understand Martian winds. Leslie Tamppari is MRO's deputy project scientist. Leslie, what are we seeing in these images?

Leslie Tamppari: So what you can see there are dark patches on the surface of the ice near the south polar region, and they're created by gas jets that come from under that ice, up through cracks and deliver that dust out onto the ice. And the wind will carry that dust and lay it on the surface forming these bands. And what we can do with this information is we can look at the directions and the sizes and we can try to understand what the wind field is doing. And I understand that volunteers played a large role in this research. Yes, they did. We have taken about 75,000 images over all of Mars with our MRO HiRISE camera. We used citizen scientists, 80,000 volunteers to map these fans and map their directions and sizes.

Raquel Villanueva: Why is it important to study wind direction on Mars?

Leslie Tamppari: Some of our landers and rovers have had wind measurements, but only in a few locations at a few different times. But winds are very important for understanding today's climate on Mars, but also for trying to understand how the climate was different in the past. We also have huge dust storms that occur on Mars sometimes, but we don't understand why some storms become global and some don't. So we're trying to understand the wind field to try to put all these pieces together, to understand Mars better. And how does that information help protect NASA's spacecraft? Right. It's very important for not only the spacecraft, but probably future human exploration as well, because dust, it can be dangerous to hardware. For example, on the Perseverance rover, we are fortunate enough to have a wind sensor and we're measuring dust devils and a couple of these dust devils and wind events were so large they picked up not only dust but bigger particles, sand sized particles. And in fact, some of the wind sensors were damaged on the Perseverance rover. In other locations, we have seen hardly any dust devils. For example, the InSight lander has solar panels. The solar panels are completely covered with dust, and the power is waning. And we'd really like to see some dust devils coming by so that they could clean up those solar panels and provide InSight with some more power. So learning about the winds and the different environments and how they change across Mars will really help us plan not only for the conditions for today's spacecraft there, but also plan better for the future.

Raquel Vilanueva: Thank you, Leslie. To get the latest updates, follow at NASA, JPL and at NASA's Mars on social media. Or take a deeper dive on the mission websites at

20 June 2022 - ESA: ESA to wow the Berlin International Airshow - Crowds at the Berlin International Airshow – which will focus on innovation, new technology and sustainability – are set to be wowed by space. Some 180,000 people attended the event – which will run from 22 to 26 June – when it was last held in 2018.

ESA is taking part in the Space Pavilion to present the newest programmes, missions and technologies at the heart of Europe’s space effort. The Pavilion also highlights upcoming commercial opportunities in the space sector for German, European and global industry focussing on sustainability and climate change, digitalization, innovation, research and space safety.

First spacewalk for Matthias While ILA Berlin is limited to professional audiences on the first three days, general public are strongly welcome to visit on 25-26 June. During the weekend, the Space Pavilion will provide a full programme of stage talks conducted in German suitable for everyone and presenting current and upcoming missions, how space data help us understand climate change and react to natural disasters, careers in space, children’s activities and much more.

ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, recently returned from his Cosmic Kiss mission to the International Space Station, and former ESA astronaut Reinhold Ewald will lead public discussions focussing on human spaceflight and science in orbit.

Professional days 22-24 June

On 22 June Josef Aschbacher, Director General of ESA, together with Prof. Anke Kaysser-Pyzall and Dr Walther Pelzer of DLR and Marco Fuchs of BDLI, will take part in the opening of the Joint ESA/DLR/BDLI ILA Space Pavilion with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

German chancellor Olaf Scholz will also visit the pavilion and will be joined by ESA astronauts Alexander Gerst – whose two missions to the International Space Station took place in 2014 and 2018 – and Matthias Maurer, who returned from the Station on 6 May 2022, after 176 days in space. New applications for Earth data

The opening day will also see experts from ESA, ECMWF, Eumetsat, DLR the European Commision and German industry discussing current and upcoming Earth observation missions, use of EO data for climate, weather and meteorology and disaster management from space. Spacecraft monitoring the Sun Civil aspects of space safety Because not only astronauts but also people on Earth rely on space for their safety and security, it is vital to keep satellites and crewed vessels safe and secure from natural and human-caused hazards.

Solar storms can damage satellites in space and electrical transmission lines on Earth, resulting in potentially large and long-lasting power cuts. Meanwhile space debris is increasing, imperilling active satellites in orbit as well as the ISS. Timely and accurate warnings of hazards are needed, alongside measures to deal with them.

On 23 June, Rolf Densing, ESA’s Director of Operations, will address the civil aspects of safety and protection, including space debris, planetary defence and space weather, as part of a panel discussion including some of Europe’s top experts on space safety.

Gateway with Orion over Moon ESA is going to the Moon together with its international partners. NASA’s Artemis programme plans to return humans to the Moon and, in cooperation with ESA and other partners, will put into lunar orbit a Gateway with living quarters for astronauts.

ESA is constructing three service modules for the Artemis programme, including the Gateway’s ESPRIT communications module. On 24 June, Didier Schmitt of ESA’s Human Spaceflight Directorate will lead a panel discussion on how Europe can best prepare for our post-ISS and deep-space exploration future.

The same day, Elodie Viau, Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at ESA, is scheduled to discuss the role of space in digitalisation, highlighting quantum communications and other future technologies. Also on 24 June, Gunther Hasinger, ESA’s Director of Science, will moderate a panel discussion on innovation and research in space, including the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope.

The largest and most complex observatory ever launched into space, Webb is going through a six-month period of preparation before it can begin science work, calibrating its instruments to its space environment and aligning its mirrors.

Its first full-colour images and spectroscopic data are due to be revealed on 12 July. About the Space Pavilion at ILA ESA is taking part in the Space Pavilion together with Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection, the German Aerospace Industries Association BDLI and DLR – the German Aerospace Center. ILA Berlin ticket shop LINKS

ESA is working with industry towards the first flight in 2022 of Europe’s Vega-C launch vehicle for more launches, with increased performance, reaching multiple orbits at a similar cost to Vega Vega-C is a single body rocket about 35 m high with a mass at liftoff of 210 tonnes. It is able to place about 2200 kg in a reference 700 km-polar orbit. This will meet the needs of European institutions and industry. Using a new range of payload carriers, Vega-C will be able to accommodate cargo of different shapes and sizes ranging from multiple small satellites as small as one kilogram up to a single large payload. Ongoing developments will extend Vega-C capabilities to include in-orbit operations, and return missions using ESA's fully integrated Space Rider reentry vehicle. Participating States in Vega-C development are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Vega-C elements -Vega-C elements showing three stages, Attitude Vernier Upper Module (AVUM+) and the fairing. Vega-C is based on the existing Vega launch vehicle. It comprises four stages: three solid propellant stages, an upper fourth stage powered by a reignitable liquid-propellant engine, and a payload fairing. The ogive-shaped fairing at the top of Vega-C is 3.3 m in diameter and over 9 m tall.  Made of carbon fibre-polymer composite and ‘cured’ in an industrial oven, this structure protects satellites from the thermal, acoustic, and aerodynamic stresses at liftoff and on the ascent to space. The upper stage AVUM+, or Attitude Vernier Upper Module, ensures attitude control and precise orbital positioning and is designed for extended stays in space. The AVUM+ has a propellant mass of 0.74 t and the main engine will provide an average thrust of 2.45 kN. The reignition capability of the AVUM+ allows Vega-C to reach a range of orbits to deliver multiple payloads on a single mission. Thrusters will typically burn one, two or more times to reach the required orbits. After separation of the payload(s), there will be a final boost to deorbit the upper stage, so that it burns up high in Earth's atmosphere over the ocean.

The third stage Zefiro-9, derived from Vega, burns 10 t of solid propellant. The second stage powered by the new Zefiro-40 (Z40) motor contains about 36 t of solid propellant, providing an average thrust of 1100 kN. The first stage P120C motor is one of the largest monolithic carbon-fibre solid-propellant rocket motors ever built in one piece. Its development relies on new technologies derived from those of P80, the current first stage motor of Vega, to provide a significant increase in thrust at liftoff. The P120C will also be used as the side boosters on the Ariane 6 rocket, creating an opportunity for Europe to scale up production by using it on two launch vehicles in parallel. Vega-C mission capabilities. Vega-C for a wide range of missions - Vega-C’s range of adapters makes this a very flexible launch vehicle capable of responding to market needs.

Routine dedicated rideshares to space for small satellites. 
The Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS) dispenser will allow dedicated rideshares to space. The SSMS can be configured to accommodate any combination of 1 kg CubeSats up to 400 kg mini satellites; from a main large satellite with smaller companions, to multiple small satellites, or dozens of individual CubeSats. 

Dual passengers
The Vespa-C payload adapter, used for dual passengers with a mass above 400 kg, takes advantage of the larger volume available in the Vega-C fairing.  

Single large passenger
The Vampire will be used for single large payloads with possible combination with the smaller payloads on the SSMS multiple payload dispenser. 

Return missions
The Space Rider system under development will be launched on Vega-C and use the AVUM+ upper stage capabilities to provide in-orbit operations for payload return capability.

Orbital transfer capability
Developments are under way for a Vega Electrical Nudge Upper Stage, Venus, which will provide the orbital transfer capability to satellites to extend its market reach with constellation deployment, lunar mission, and in-orbit servicing.

Future evolutions of the Vega launch system will further increase competitiveness beyond 2025 offering a family of configurations based on common building blocks. These activities run in parallel with the Vega-C development.

Launch zone - Mobile gantry for Vega-C. Vega-C will be launched from Europe’s Spaceport, in Kourou, French Guiana (South America). The Vega launch complex has been modified to accommodate the new launch system. For example, the Vega mobile gantry now has a more powerful travelling crane, new cantilever reinforcements, platform shutters, a new mast sector and pallets, while modified fluid services have been installed on the launch pad. These modifications have been made in such a way to keep the pad and gantry compatible with both vehicles during the transition period when launches of Vega will be alternated with Vega-C.

Roles and responsibilities - Industry cooperation to build Vega-C. ESA is overseeing procurement and the architecture of the overall Vega-C launch system, while industry is building the rocket with Avio as prime contractor and design authority. The P120C solid rocket motor that is to be used by both Ariane 6 and Vega-C, is co-developed by ArianeGroup and Avio, on behalf of their 50/50 joint venture Europropulsion. France’s space agency, CNES, is preparing the Vega-C launch facilities at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Arianespace will be responsible for Vega-C commercial operations from Europe's Spaceport.

More info: For latest news, follow the Vega-C and ESA Space Transportation Twitter accounts. Read the Spaceport blog to find out more about activities at Europe’s Spaceport.

16 June 2022 - ESA: At the invitation of ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson attended the ESA Council at ESA’s establishment ESTEC in the Netherlands on 15 June 2022. A press briefing took place following the conclusion of the council meeting.ESA is currently working with NASA on many areas, from science such as the James Webb Space Telescope to exploration such as Mars Sample Return, Artemis and the International Space Station, to Earth observation. At the ESA Council, a framework agreement between ESA and NASA for a strategic partnership in Earth System Science was signed, as well as a memorandum of understanding between ESA and NASA on the Lunar Pathfinder mission.

16 June 2022 - ESA: ESA sets out bold ambitions for space - ESA has put forward its ambitious plans for the next three years and beyond to increase European autonomy, leadership and responsibility in space. Spacefaring nations worldwide are investing heavily in space and Europe must raise its game to maintain its position and reap the economic and scientific benefits while working to protect life on Earth from space hazards, Josef Aschbacher, Director General of ESA, told delegates to the ESA Council Meeting held on 14 and 15 June.

The war in Ukraine has curtailed decades of peaceful international cooperation and highlighted how urgently Europe needs to further develop its own space capabilities. It is essential that Europe always has access to space in order to monitor and mitigate climate change, to provide secure communications that are under European control, and to offer rapid and resilient responses to any crises in Europe and beyond, for example. Every three years, ESA proposes new projects and programmes to its Member States to boost the use of space for the benefit of European cititzens. The plans for the next three years are thoughtful, considered and pragmatic. They are the result of careful evaluation, and are driven by ESA’s ambition to realise the full potential for space to improve life on Earth and to position Europe and ESA as a global space power by 2035.

Josef Aschbacher, Director General of ESA, said: “People on Earth want a safer, cleaner world, free from the dangers caused by climate change, by war and political unrest, dangers caused by natural disasters, or caused by the careless use of natural resources. Europe’s achievement in space are excellent – but we can do much more. ESA wants to expand Europe’s ambitions and successes in space for the decades ahead.”

Space missions stimulate technological innovation and scientific discovery. By committing to the missions of the future, Europe commits to fulfilling its potential and retaining its talent. ESA will also help to answer the very human need to understand our place in the Universe and why and how the cosmos is as it is. Today, all Europeans have benefited from ground-breaking missions that were commissioned decades ago. Now, ESA wants to prepare missions that will make the next generation proud, inspire those who will build a science-based economy and advance scientific understanding for further generations to come. Everyone relies on space every day. ESA is working to ensure that essential services are secure and that the objects that orbit the Earth are well managed.

Meanwhile the rise of commercial use of space is transforming the space industry worldwide, fostering innovation and creating jobs and prosperity. Now that the June ESA Council Meeting has been completed, the agency has taken another step along the road to the ESA Council of Ministers meeting that will take place in November and will set the agency’s priorities for the next three years.

NASA Updates Astronaut Assignments for Boeing Starliner Test Flight - Photo: NASA astronauts Suni Williams, left, Barry "Butch" Wilmore, center, and Mike Fincke, right, watch as a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft aboard is rolled out of the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41 ahead of the Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission, Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky. NASA will fly two astronaut test pilots aboard the agency’s Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT) mission to the International Space Station, where they will live and work off the Earth for about two weeks.CFT commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore, whom NASA assigned to the prime crew in October 2020, will join NASA astronaut Suni Williams, who will serve as pilot. Williams previously served as the backup test pilot for CFT while assigned as commander of NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1 mission, Starliner’s first post-certification mission. As CFT pilot, Williams takes the place of NASA astronaut Nicole Mann, originally assigned to the mission in 2018. NASA reassigned Mann to the agency’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission in 2021.

Based upon current space station resources and scheduling needs, a short duration mission with two astronaut test pilots is sufficient to meet all NASA and Boeing test objectives for CFT, which include demonstrating Starliner’s ability to safely fly operational crewed missions to and from the space station. To protect against unforeseen events with crew transportation to the station, NASA may extend the CFT docked duration up to six months and add an additional astronaut later, if neede

NASA astronaut Mike Fincke, whom the agency previously assigned as the Joint Operations Commander for CFT, will now train as the backup spacecraft test pilot and remains eligible for assignment to a future mission. Fincke’s unique expertise will continue to benefit the team as he retains his position as flight test lead, filling a vital role in Starliner certification

"Mike Fincke has dedicated the last nine years of his career to these first Boeing missions and Suni the last seven. Butch has done a marvelous job leading the team as the spacecraft commander since 2020,” said Reid Wiseman, chief, Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “It was great to see Starliner’s successful journey to the International Space Station during the Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission last month. We are all looking forward to cheering on Butch and Suni as they fly the first crewed Starliner mission."

Wilmore, Williams, and Fincke each have flown previously as long-duration crew members aboard the space station.

NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps continues to prepare for an upcoming long duration mission aboard Starliner-1. NASA also has identified backup flight opportunities for Epps on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft for additional scheduling and resource flexibility. Epps has begun cross-training on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft to prepare for this possibility.

Meanwhile, NASA and Boeing are continuing to conduct OFT-2 data reviews while assessing future CFT launch opportunities. Following successful completion of the uncrewed OFT-2 mission, the Starliner crew module has returned to Boeing’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where it will undergo system checkouts and vehicle inspections. The Starliner team is in the process of delivering the initial test flight data to NASA and jointly determining forward work ahead of a crewed flight. These engineering and program reviews are expected to continue for several weeks, culminating in a launch schedule assessment at the end of July, based upon spacecraft readiness, space station scheduling needs, and Eastern Range availability.

“Starliner and the Atlas V performed well during all phases of OFT-2, and now we are taking a methodical look at each system to determine what needs to be upgraded or improved ahead of CFT, just as we do with every other crewed flight,” said Steve Stich, manager, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. “Additionally, Butch, Suni, and Mike have been instrumental in the development of Starliner on the path to having a second space station crew transportation system.”

For the crewed flight test, Boeing’s Starliner will launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Following a successful CFT mission, NASA will begin the final process of certifying the Starliner spacecraft and systems for crew missions to the space station. Regular, long-duration commercial crew rotation missions enable NASA to continue the important research and technology investigations taking place aboard the orbiting laboratory. Such research benefits people on Earth and lays the groundwork for future exploration of the Moon and Mars, starting with the agency’s Artemis missions, which include landing the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface.

Find out more about NASA’s Commercial Crew Program at:

15 June 2022 ESA: Hera asteroid mission’s first step Hera mission for planetary defence has left the facilities of its manufacturer OHB in Bremen – a major step in preparation for its eventual odyssey to the Didymos asteroid system. The mission’s Propulsion Module, seen here, has been delivered to Avio, southeast of Rome, where propellant tanks, thrusters and associated pipes and valves will be integrated with it. The fully equipped Propulsion Module is what will take Hera on its 26-month trek through deep space to the main Didymos asteroid and its smaller Dimorphos companion. On 26 September this year Dimorphos will become the very first Solar System body to have its orbit altered by human action in a measurable way, when NASA’s DART spacecraft impacts with it. When Hera arrives at the asteroid in December 2026 the spacecraft will perform a detailed post-crash investigation, assessing the mass and make-up of Dimorphos and measuring the crater left by DART’s impact, helping to validate kinetic impact as a workable planetary defence method. Meanwhile Hera’s other half, the Core Module, is also taking shape at OHB in Bremen. The Core Module will carry all the mission’s scientific instruments as well as on-board computer and other subsystems. The spacecraft will be completed when these two halves are eventually joined together, ahead of Hera’s planned launch in October 2024

14 June 2022 - Video by Raiz Space - Roscosmos & the world are commemorating the Vostok 5 (Russian: Восток-5, Orient 5 or East 5) mission. It was a joint mission of the Soviet space program together with Vostok 6; as with the previous pair of Vostok 3 and Vostok 4 the two Vostok spacecraft came close to one another in orbit and established a radio link. Vostok 5 launched on 14 June 1963, and returned to Earth on 19 June, and was piloted by Valery Bykovsky.
Several delays plagued the prelaunch preparations of Vostok 5, the biggest being concern over elevated solar flare activity. At this early phase, it was not well understood what effects this might have on the spacecraft and its passenger, so the planned launch date of 11 June was postponed a few days. On the 14th, Bykovsky was strapped into the capsule awaiting liftoff when further delays occurred. A gyroscope in the Blok E stage malfunctioned and needed to be replaced, but this would mean removing the propellants from the booster, taking it down from the pad back to the vehicle assembly building, and delaying the launch another several days. It was decided to take the calculated risk of simply doing the repair work on the fully fueled launch vehicle. A replacement gyroscope was quickly installed and liftoff took place at 2:59 PM Moscow time. One last minor problem popped up when a pad umbilical failed to disconnect, but as soon as the booster began lifting, it was yanked out. The launch proceeded without any difficulties, although the Blok E stage slightly underperformed and put the spacecraft into a lower-than-intended orbit at 108×137 miles (175×222 kilometers) versus the normal 112×146 miles (181×235 kilometers).
Cosmonaut Valery Bykovsky was originally intended to stay in orbit for eight days, but the mission details changed many times due to elevated levels of solar flare activity at the time and he was eventually ordered back after five days. This remains the record for solo crewed flight in Earth orbit. In addition, the low orbit of the spacecraft made it uncertain as to whether decay would not occur in under eight days. This combined with solar flare activity affecting the diameter of the Earth's atmosphere might potentially introduce drag that could not only cause premature reentry, but result in Vostok 5 landing almost anywhere on Earth.
Bykovsky performed a couple of simple scientific experiments in orbit and also practiced exercise and testing his body's reactions to weightlessness. In the postflight debriefing, he would say that the overall design of the spacecraft was good, but the clock was in a location that made it hard to see and the instrument panel was placed too far away. The first aid kit could not be reached at all without unstrapping from the seat. Like Valentina Tereshkova, he noted that the helmet headset produced sharp, unpleasant noise. He described the food as generally of good quality, although it probably should not be eaten before launch.
A problem with the spacecraft's waste collection system is reported to have made conditions "unpleasant" in the capsule. The only other difficulty encountered was that, like on Vostok 1 and Vostok 2, the re-entry module failed to separate cleanly from the service module when it was time for Bykovsky to come home and he experienced several seconds of sharp vibrations following separations.
The Vostok 5 landing coordinates were 53.39777°N 67.60500°E, 2 km northwest of Karatal, North Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan; and 550 km northwest of Karagandy, Kazakhstan. A group of local farmers greeted Bykovsky prior to rescue crews arriving. At the landing location is a small fenced park with two monuments. One monument is a 10-meter tall silver rectangle with a small stone marker nearby listing the date of the landing. The second monument is an L-shaped sandy colored stone structure. One leg of the "L" is an observation deck with stairs leading to it. The other leg of the "L" has a space-themed mural carved into the stone face. The mural depicts a floating cosmonaut in a spacesuit surrounded by stars, telescopes, planets, and the Sun.[5][6][7]
The re-entry capsule is on display at the Tsiolkovsky Museum in Kaluga.
Prime: Valery Bykovsky – first spaceflight
Backup pilot: Boris Volynov
Reserve pilot: Alexei Leonov
Mission parameters
Mass 4,720 kg (10,410 lb)
Apogee: 235 km (146 mi)
Perigee: 181 km (112 mi)
Inclination: 64.9°
Period: 88.4 minutes

13 June 2022 - NASA: NASA to Set Up Independent Study on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena - NASA is commissioning a study team to start early in the fall to examine the nature and origin of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs) – that is, observations of events in the sky that cannot be identified as aircraft or known natural phenomena – from a scientific perspective.

There is no evidence UAPs are extra-terrestrial in origin. Since the limited number of observations of UAPs currently makes it difficult to draw scientific conclusions, this study will focus on applying the tools of scientific investigation to identify, collect, and analyze available data, and then establishing how NASA can use that data to move our understanding of UAPs forward.

Unidentified phenomena in the atmosphere are of interest for both national security and air safety. Establishing whether these events are part of the natural world provides a key first step to identifying or mitigating such phenomena, which aligns with one of NASA’s goals to ensure the safety of aircraft.

The independent study will gather input from experts in the scientific, aeronautics, and data analytics communities, and is expected to take about nine months to complete. NASA’s study team will be led by astrophysicist David Spergel.

This Week at NASA

Sounds of the Sea – Take your daily moment of zen with a symphonic tour of the world’s oceans. This sonification project was created by mathematically translating hidden layers of “ocean color” reflectance data from NASA’s Earth-observing Aqua-MODIS satellite into musical notes.

Listen to the Sonifications

Cargo Mission Rescheduled – Launch teams have announced a new date for NASA’s SpaceX CRS-25 cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. The cargo Dragon spacecraft, along with EMIT and other science investigations, will launch from Kennedy Space Center no earlier than June 28.

10 Years of NuSTAR – After a decade of observing some of the hottest, densest, and most energetic regions in our universe, NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) space telescope still has plenty more to see. Celebrate the anniversary with us by downloading this free poster.

France Signs Artemis Accords – France is the latest country to sign the Artemis Accords, joining 19 other countries in affirming a common set of principles for a safe, peaceful, and prosperous future in outer space as we prepare to establish a sustained presence on the Moon and, eventually, Mars.

Last Chance to Send Your Name – There are only a few days left to sign up for your Artemis I boarding pass! Submissions will close on June 14 to have your name flown around the Moon aboard the Orion spacecraft during its first test flight—the Artemis I mission.

Grab Your Boarding Pass

Resources for Climate Change – NASA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have released a new Climate Action Guide, which includes various perspectives, stories, insights, and resources to help individuals and organizations make informed decisions about climate change.

People Profile

Meet Lori Levine, environmental protection specialist at our Goddard Space Flight Center.

“Every day is different, and I experience so many facets of [work]…There is always an opportunity to learn and problem-solve, and it feels good to protect the environment while enabling [NASA’s] mission.” Meet More NASA People.

This image shows Dickinson Crater, an impact crater approximately 115 miles (185 kilometers) wide at the base and 43 miles (69 kilometers) in diameter, in the northeastern Atalanta region of Venus. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

13 June 2022 - NASA: France Signs Artemis Accords as French Space Agency Marks Milestone. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, right, and President of the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) Dr. Philippe Baptiste shake hands following the signing the Artemis Accords Tuesday, June 7, 2022, prior to the CNES 60th Anniversary event at the French Ambassador’s Residence in Washington. France is the twentieth country to sign the Artemis Accords, which establish a practical set of principles to guide space exploration cooperation among nations participating in NASA’s Artemis program.

Credits: NASA/Keegan Barber

France is the latest country to sign the Artemis Accords, affirming its commitment to sustainable space exploration that follows a common set of principles promoting beneficial use of space for all of humanity.

Philippe Baptiste, president of the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) – the French space agency – signed the document during an event hosted by the Ambassador of France to the United States, Philippe Étienne. The signing took place prior to a CNES 60th anniversary celebration.

“We are so pleased to welcome France as the newest member of the Artemis Accords family,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “France is one of the United States' oldest allies and our partnership in space exploration dates back more than half a century. That partnership is strengthened by France’s commitment to ensuring the peaceful and responsible exploration of outer space for generations to come.”

France is the 20th country to sign the Artemis Accords and the fifth European Union country to do so. The Artemis Accords establish a common vision through a practical set of principles to guide space exploration cooperation among nations participating in NASA’s 21st century lunar exploration plans.

“The fact that France is joining the Artemis Accords marks a new step forward for our partnership in space with the United States, which is already of prime importance for both nations, notably in Mars exploration and Earth-observation programmes,” said Baptiste. “For our scientific community and industry, this new framework will enable us to meet new challenges and continue to be a leading world space power.”

NASA, in coordination with the U.S. Department of State, announced the establishment of the Artemis Accords in 2020. The Artemis Accords reinforce and provide for important operational implementation of key obligations in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. They also reinforce the commitment by the United States and signatory nations to the Registration Convention, the Rescue and Return Agreement, as well as best practices and norms of responsible behavior that NASA and its partners have supported, including the public release of scientific data.

Additional countries will sign the Artemis Accords in the months and years ahead, as the United States continues to work with international partners to establish a safe, peaceful, and prosperous future in space. Working with both new and existing partners will add new energy and capabilities to ensure the entire world can benefit from our journey of exploration and discovery.

More about the Artemis Accords at:

13 June 2022 ESA: Watch ESA press conference video here:

Gaia sees strange stars in most detailed Milky Way survey to date Today, ESA’s Gaia mission releases its new treasure trove of data about our home galaxy. Astronomers describe strange ‘starquakes’, stellar DNA, asymmetric motions and other fascinating insights in this most detailed Milky Way survey to date. Gaia is ESA’s mission to create the most accurate and complete multi-dimensional map of the Milky Way. This allows astronomers to reconstruct our home galaxy’s structure and past evolution over billions of years, and to better understand the lifecycle of stars and our place in the Universe.

What’s new in data release 3?

Gaia’s data release 3 contains new and improved details for almost two billion stars in our galaxy. The catalogue includes new information including chemical compositions, stellar temperatures, colours, masses, ages, and the speed at which stars move towards or away from us (radial velocity). Much of this information was revealed by the newly released spectroscopy data, a technique in which the starlight is split into its constituent colours (like a rainbow). The data also includes special subsets of stars, like those that change brightness over time. Also new in this data set is the largest catalogue yet of binary stars, thousands of Solar System objects such as asteroids and moons of planets, and millions of galaxies and quasars outside the Milky Way.


One of the most surprising discoveries coming out of the new data is that Gaia is able to detect starquakes – tiny motions on the surface of a star – that change the shapes of stars, something the observatory was not originally built for. Previously, Gaia already found radial oscillations that cause stars to swell and shrink periodically, while keeping their spherical shape. But Gaia has now also spotted other vibrations that are more like large-scale tsunamis. These nonradial oscillations change the global shape of a star and are therefore harder to detect. Gaia found strong nonradial starquakes in thousands of stars. Gaia also revealed such vibrations in stars that have seldomly been seen before. These stars should not have any quakes according to the current theory, while Gaia did detect them at their surface. “Starquakes teach us a lot about stars, notably their internal workings. Gaia is opening a goldmine for ‘asteroseismology' of massive stars,” says Conny Aerts of KU Leuven in Belgium, who is a member of the Gaia collaboration.

The DNA of stars

What stars are made of can tell us about their birthplace and their journey afterwards, and therefore about the history of the Milky Way. With today’s data release, Gaia is revealing the largest chemical map of the galaxy coupled to 3D motions, from our solar neigbourhood to smaller galaxies surrounding ours. Some stars contain more ‘heavy metals’ than others. During the Big Bang, only light elements were formed (hydrogen and helium). All other heavier elements – called metals by astronomers – are built inside stars. When stars die, they release these metals into the gas and dust between the stars called the interstellar medium, out of which new stars form. Active star formation and death will lead to an environment that is richer in metals. Therefore, a star’s chemical composition is a bit like its DNA, giving us crucial information about its origin. With Gaia, we see that some stars in our galaxy are made of primordial material, while others like our Sun are made of matter enriched by previous generations of stars. Stars that are closer to the centre and plane of our galaxy are richer in metals than stars at larger distances. Gaia also identified stars that originally came from different galaxies than our own, based on their chemical composition. “Our galaxy is a beautiful melting pot of stars,” says Alejandra Recio-Blanco of the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur in France, who is a member of the Gaia collaboration. “This diversity is extremely important, because it tells us the story of our galaxy’s formation. It reveals the processes of migration within our galaxy and accretion from external galaxies. It also clearly shows that our Sun, and we, all belong to an ever changing system, formed thanks to the assembly of stars and gas of different origins.”

Asteroids in Gaia data release 3

Binary stars, asteroids, quasars, and more

Other papers that are published today reflect the breadth and depth of Gaia's discovery potential. A new binary star catalogue presents the mass and evolution of more than 800 thousand binary systems, while a new asteroid survey comprising 156 thousand rocky bodies is digging deeper into the origin of our Solar System. Gaia is also revealing information about 10 million variable stars, mysterious macro-molecules between stars, as well as quasars and galaxies beyond our own cosmic neighbourhood.

Asteroids on 13 June 2022 with Gaia

“Unlike other missions that target specific objects, Gaia is a survey mission. This means that while surveying the entire sky with billions of stars multiple times, Gaia is bound to make discoveries that other more dedicated missions would miss. This is one of its strengths, and we can’t wait for the astronomy community to dive into our new data to find out even more about our galaxy and its surroundings than we could’ve imagined,” says Timo Prusti, Project Scientist for Gaia at ESA.

Notes for editors

More details on Gaia’s data releases 3 can be found here:

From 13 June 2022, 12:00 CEST onwards, the new Gaia data can be accessed at

Gaia’s data release 3 was presented today during a virtual media briefing at

This media kit summarises the data in a series of infographics: ​​ 

More in-depth stories on the new Gaia data can be found here:

A series of scientific papers describing the data and their validation process will appear in a special issue of the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics:

VivaTech will be back in Paris from June 15 to 18, 2022 - Paris, Thusrday September 16, 2021 - VivaTech, Europe’s biggest startup and tech event, will be back, for its 6th edition, from June 15 to 18, 2022, in Paris and online worldwide. - VivaTech confirms the success of its hybrid format launched in 2021 by renewing and enriching this experience next year. For its 5th edition last June, VivaTech gathered more than 140,000 visitors, including 26,000 in person and reached more than 119 million people in 149 countries, thus generating 1.7 billion views thanks to a rich collection of more than 500 exceptional innovations, 1400 exhibitors including 60% in person as well as 400 speakers from around the world including Tim Cook (Apple), Eric S. Yuan (Zoom), and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook). “After an exceptional 2021 edition, we are further enriching the event experience for our visitors and partners both in person and digitally. Reconnecting with and bringing together the greatest innovation players from around the world remains our priority as well as continuing our key role as a catalyst for digital transformation and startup growth. In a world which is undergoing reconstruction, our mission to place innovation at the service of major societal, environmental, economic and human issues seems to us more essential than ever.” explain Julie Ranty, Managing Director of VivaTech, Maurice Lévy and Pierre Louette, Co-Presidents. In the meantime, VivaTech is opening its digital platform to all and making more than 200 hours of conferences, workshops and startup pitches, which made its 5th edition a success,  available for consumption free of charge. All of this content can be found on 

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