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Vega light launcher completes ninth launch

The SENTINEL-2B Earth-observation spacecraft was carried to low-Earth Orbit (LEO) by a Vega light launcher at 0149GMT on 7 March. The mission was conducted by Arianespace, under a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA), in service to the European …

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UK astronaut Tim Peake announces he is going back into orbit

While astronauts used to be household names, they are ten-a-penny nowadays, at least in USA. However, given that the UK only has one official ESA astronaut, Tim Peake, has become well known here. This fame has now led to his …

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Atomic clock woes on orbiting Galileo sats reduce redundancy and delay further launches

It has been reported that some atomic clocks on the interim and full production satellites in the Galileo navigation satellite constellation have faults. According to spaceintelreport.com, 10 clocks of two different types (hydrogen maser and rubidium types) had been affected …

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Astronauts make second battery change out spacewalk

While the previous spacewalk put in three new lithium ion batteries, a new spacewalk was needed to continue the battery replacement task and the new adapters that carry them. On 13 January 2017, during their 5 hour 58 minute EVA …

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Schiaparelli Mars crash: it was the IMU what done it!

The cause of the failure of the ESA ExoMars mission’s Schiaparelli landing on the planet Mars has been found. It was the inertial measurement unit (IMU) what done it!

The investigation and computer simulation showed a satisfactory re-entry into the …

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Soyuz FG rocket launches Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft with three crew to International Space Station

A Soyuz FG rocket launched itself and a manned Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome near Tyuratam in Kazakhstan. The launch took place at 2020 GMT on 17 November 2016. Aboard Soyuz MS-03 were three crew: the Roskosmos cosmonaut …

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ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter enters correct orbit but Schiaparelli lander is lost in crash landing

The main Russian-launched Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) research element of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) ExoMars mission was successfully injected into its planned orbit around Mars. But the “exciting” part of the mission, ESA’s Schiaparelli lander, crashed into oblivion. Entry …

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ExoMars’ Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) drops off Schiaparelli lander then makes new burn to ensure it does not hit planet itself

The European-Russian ExoMars mission has undergone a key moment on its way to the Red Planet. On 16 October 2016, at 1442 GMT, and at a distance of over 850,000 km from the planet Mars, the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) …

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IAC 2016 Guadalajara: Airbus and SSTL work on space debris removal missions

At the IAC 2016 Guadalajara, Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus DS) showed its continued interest in the problem of space debris removal by revealing the following. Firstly, the firm is planning a ESA-sponsored deorbit mission of the defunct Earth observation …

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Ariane 5 successfully completes 74th consecutive mission, carrying satellites for South Asian customers

At 2030 GMT, on 5 October, the heavy-lift Ariane 5 rocket lifted off from the European Spaceport at Kourou, French Guiana, carrying two telecommunications satellites, Sky Muster II, for NBN Co and GSAT-18, for ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation). This …

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IAC 2016 Guadalaraja: Mars missions and new rockets feature…and so does the rain

IAC 2016 Guadalaraja: Mars missions and new rockets feature… and so does the rain

iac2016

 

The annual meeting of the World’s space agencies, engineers and scientists at the 67th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) took place in Guadalajara, Mexico, during late …

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Rosetta probe ends mission by joining Philae lander on comet’s surface

On 30 September 2016, at 1119 GMT the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), Darmstadt, announced that the Rosseta probe had completed its de-orbit manoeuvre to land/crash on to the surface of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, sending its last telemetry packet at …

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Contract signed for Vega to launch Aeolus

ESA and Arianespace have signed a contract to secure the launch of the Aeolus satellite on a Vega launch vehicle. The 1,500 kg spacecraft is designed to measure winds using ultraviolet laser/lidar technology. The launch of the spacecraft will take …

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It might be dead but at least little Philae’s body is found

While the little German Philae lander which had been carried to Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko by the ESA Rosetta spacecraft has been dead for several months (it stopped transmitting last year), at least we now know where it is buried. Or rather …

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Space Race Odds: USA remains favourite for Mars human landing (but it might not be NASA) as China eyes first return to Moon

Every year Seradata publishes its analysis of how well different nations are doing in the “great space race”. In this, we limit our analysis to manned spaceflight and to its two main exploratory targets: a return to the Moon and …

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European Commission gives go-ahead for Airbus Safran Launchers’ takeover of Arianespace

The European Commission (EC) announced, on 20 July, that it had approved the intended acquisition of European launch provider Arianespace by newly formed joint venture Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL). ASL will purchase the 35% stake in Arianespace held by the …

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Farnborough 2016: ESA inks deal with Reaction Engines for more airbreathing rocket engine development while XCOR wants Glasgow Prestwick as its UK spaceport

Space has traditionally been very much an “also ran” at the Farnborough International Air Show which remains mainly civil and military aviation orientated. This year was no different, with just a small part of Hall 3 sectioned off from a …

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UK/ESA Astronaut Tim Peake returns to Earth and receives high praise for his mission

The first British/European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut, Major Tim Peake, ended his spaceflight mission when the Soyuz TMA-019M spacecraft detached itself from the International Space Station (ISS) to re-enter and land on 18 June 2016, near Zhezkazgan in Kazakhstan. Also …

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As UK votes to leave EU what does this Brexit vote mean for space?

The historic and slightly shocking result of the UK referendum, in favour of withdrawal from the European Union (EU), caught the opinion pollsters, bookmakers and financial institutions off guard.

The fall-out could be seen in equity and currency markets; Prime …

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Ariane 5 successfully launches EchoStar 18 and Brisat and sets new payload record in doing so

At 2128 GMT on 18 June 2016, an Ariane 5 ECA launch vehicle lifted-off from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, carrying a total payload mass (including the 890kg dispenser) of 10,730 kg.  This was a new payload …

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