News

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

Firsts

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 mars.nasa.gov.

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 mars.nasa.gov.

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 https://www.ila-berlin.de/en/tickets LINKS https://www.ila-berlin.de/en/topics/space

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:

https://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew

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.
Mission
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.
Pilot
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: https://www.nasa.gov/artemis-accords

13 June 2022 ESA: Watch ESA press conference video here: https://fb.watch/dEl0VUP7qH

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.

Starquakes

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:

https://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/gaia/data-release-3

From 13 June 2022, 12:00 CEST onwards, the new Gaia data can be accessed at https://gea.esac.esa.int/archive/

Gaia’s data release 3 was presented today during a virtual media briefing at https://www.esa.int/ESA_Multimedia/ESA_Web_TV

This media kit summarises the data in a series of infographics: ​​https://esamultimedia.esa.int/docs/science/Gaia_DR3_mediakit_final_English.pdf 

More in-depth stories on the new Gaia data can be found here: https://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/gaia/dr3-stories

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

https://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/gaia/dr3-papers

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 app.viva technology.com. 

About Viva Technology

Viva Technology is Europe's biggest startup and tech event. We act as a powerful global catalyst for digital transformation and startup growth. Every year, VivaTech brings together in Paris and online the greatest business leaders, startups, investors, researchers and innovators to ignite positive change in business and for society. More info at https://vivatechnology.com/media/ and @VivaTech. Press contact: Léa Roos, Viva Technology: lroos@vivatechnology.com



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