30 Dec 2019

ESA highlights 2019


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As the year comes to a close, it is once again time to look back and reflect on some of the achievements and highlights of European spaceflight. The new Gaia star catalogue and the launch of Cheops are keeping ESA at the forefront of space science, as will Solar Orbiter, being prepared for launch next year.  The Copernicus programme continues to be the largest Earth observation programme in the world, with ESA preparing even more missions. On the Space Station, Luca Parmitano became the third European to command an ISS expedition. During his second mission, he made some of the space programme’s most complex and demanding spacewalks. At the end of 2019, the ESA Space19+ ministerial conference agreed to give ESA its largest budget ever and expressed continued support for Europe’s independent access to space with Ariane 6 and Vega-C. 

Source: ESA news

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23 Dec 2019
20 Dec 2019
20 Dec 2019

Luca’s Christmas message


Video:
00:05:18

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano shares a message with everyone back on Earth as he and his crew prepare to celebrate Christmas on board the International Space Station.

Though Beyond is Luca’s second mission to the Space Station, 2019 will be the first time he spends Christmas in orbit. In this message Luca reflects on the things he will miss, including his family and all the lights, colours, food and smells that go along with the holiday season.

As Luca reflects on Christmas on Earth, he also reflects on the next step in space exploration and the importance of preserving our home planet for future generations.

Luca is the third European and first Italian commander of the International Space Station. He was launched for his second mission from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 20 July 2019 and will return to Earth in February 2020.  

While in orbit, Luca is supporting more than 50 European experiments across a broad range of disciplines. This vital research in microgravity helps us progress medicine and technology on Earth while preparing us to explore even farther in space.

Source: ESA news

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20 Dec 2019

From airport approaches to eCall in cars – 10 years of EGNOS

Aircraft on final approach

The Galileo satellite navigation system has been providing Initial Services for three years now. Meanwhile Europe’s other satnav system has marked its tenth anniversary: EGNOS has been delivering enhanced positioning to users across our continent, including safety-critical services such as aircraft landings for a growing number of European airports.

Source: ESA news

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20 Dec 2019
20 Dec 2019

Tromsø, Norway

Tromsø, Norway
Image:

With Christmas almost here, the red and white of this Copernicus Sentinel-2 image bring a festive feel to this week’s image featuring Tromsø – the largest city in northern Norway.

This false-colour image was processed in a way that included the near-infrared channel, which makes vegetation appear bright red. The snow over the surrounding mountains is visible in white, adding to the Christmassy feel of the image.

Most of Tromsø, lies on the island of Tromsøya, visible at the top of the image. Owing to its northerly location, the city is a popular area to experience the majestic phenomenon of the aurora borealis, or northern lights.

Tromsø is over 300 km north of the Arctic Circle. During the winter, it’s shrouded in darkness – the Sun sets in late-November and doesn’t rise again until January. The image was captured on 15 October 2019, which means it is one of the last images that Sentinel-2 could acquire before darkness descended.

During the long winter months, the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission is used to monitor this region instead of Sentinel-2. As an advanced radar mission, Copernicus Sentinel-1 can image the surface of Earth through cloud and rain and regardless of whether it is day or night.

In September 2019, the German research icebreaker Polarstern left from Tromsø for a mammoth Arctic expedition. The Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition involves the icebreaker spending a year drifting in the Arctic sea ice.

Spearheaded by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), MOSAiC is the biggest shipborne polar expedition of all time. The data gathered during the expedition will be used by scientists around the world to study the Arctic as the epicentre of global warming and gain fundamental insights that are key to better understand global climate change.

This image is also featured on the Earth from Space video programme.

Source: ESA news

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19 Dec 2019
19 Dec 2019

Call for Media: Director General’s Annual Press Conference

Press Release N° 26–2019

ESA invites media to a start of year press conference laying out plans for the new budget committed to by Member States at Space19+ and looking ahead at 2020. ESA Director General Jan Wörner and ESA Directors will meet the media at the ESA headquarters in Paris on the morning of Wednesday, 15 January 2020.

Source: ESA news

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19 Dec 2019

40 years of Ariane

Ariane 5 liftoff

ESA and partners celebrate 40 years of Ariane – a launch vehicle operating in the international space arena, and a symbol of cooperation and innovation that ensures independent access to space for Europe.

Source: ESA news

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