200th Ariane mission stands ready to launch ATV-2 to Space Station

Representing the third of five back-to-back launches to the International Space Station in a 2-month period, the European Space Agency stands ready to the launch the ATV-2 (Automated Transfer Vehicle 2) spacecraft on a multi-month mission to deliver thousands of pounds of supplies to the leading orbital outpost. The mission will also hold the distinction of being flown to orbit on the 200th Ariane rocket launch, the 56th launch for the workhorse Ariane 5 variant.

Targeting launch at 2208 GMT (1708 EST), the ATV-2, named after famous German astronomer and mathematician Johannes Kepler, will be launched on the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) veteran workhorse Ariane 5 rocket.

Keep reading.

EU-Backed ‘Electric Sail’ Could Be the Fastest Man-Made Device Ever Built
The EU is funding a three-year project at the Finnish Meteorological Institute to build the fastest man-made device in the universe: an electric sail, or ESAIL, that researchers say could make Pluto in just five years’ time.
(…) The ESAIL is propelled by solar radiation and therefore requires no chemical or ion propellant. But rather than actually unfurling a huge membranous sail to catch photons from the sun to provide thrust, the ESAIL repels protons.
Read more.

EU-Backed ‘Electric Sail’ Could Be the Fastest Man-Made Device Ever Built

The EU is funding a three-year project at the Finnish Meteorological Institute to build the fastest man-made device in the universe: an electric sail, or ESAIL, that researchers say could make Pluto in just five years’ time.

(…) The ESAIL is propelled by solar radiation and therefore requires no chemical or ion propellant. But rather than actually unfurling a huge membranous sail to catch photons from the sun to provide thrust, the ESAIL repels protons.

Read more.

A flawless launch has delivered Hylas-1, ESA’s first public–private partnership in a full satellite system, into space. The satellite was released on November 26 into its transfer orbit after a textbook launch by an Ariane 5 vehicle from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
The Hylas-1 communication satellite will demonstrate advanced high-speed technologies and provide innovative broadband services across Europe.
Source: European Space Agency.

A flawless launch has delivered Hylas-1, ESA’s first public–private partnership in a full satellite system, into space. The satellite was released on November 26 into its transfer orbit after a textbook launch by an Ariane 5 vehicle from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

The Hylas-1 communication satellite will demonstrate advanced high-speed technologies and provide innovative broadband services across Europe.

Source: European Space Agency.

Astronaut Randolph Bresnik seen during Atlantis EVA-2 on 21 November 2009 with the unfurled AIS antenna, attached to Columbus module.
The European Columbus laboratory is a research facility which is permanently attached to the International Space Station and provides internal payload accommodation for experiments in the field of multidisciplinary research into material science, fluid physics and life science. In addition, an external payload facility hosts experiments and applications in the field of space science, Earth observation and technology.
An external antenna is connected to the Columbus picking up Automatic Identification System (AIS) signals from ship transponders at sea, monitoring ocean traffic.
Read more about Columbus here.
Click image for high-resolution.

Astronaut Randolph Bresnik seen during Atlantis EVA-2 on 21 November 2009 with the unfurled AIS antenna, attached to Columbus module.

The European Columbus laboratory is a research facility which is permanently attached to the International Space Station and provides internal payload accommodation for experiments in the field of multidisciplinary research into material science, fluid physics and life science. In addition, an external payload facility hosts experiments and applications in the field of space science, Earth observation and technology.

An external antenna is connected to the Columbus picking up Automatic Identification System (AIS) signals from ship transponders at sea, monitoring ocean traffic.

Read more about Columbus here.

Click image for high-resolution.

arielwaldman
arielwaldman:

Planck unveils the Universe - UK Space Agency
“The Planck space satellite – ESA’s mission to study the early Universe -  has delivered its first image of the entire sky. By looking at  microwave radiation, it not only provides new insight into the way stars  and galaxies form, but also tells us how the Universe itself came to  life after the Big Bang.
This single image captures both our own cosmic backyard – the Milky Way  galaxy that we live in – but also the subtle imprint of the Big Bang  from which the whole Universe emerged.
The dust throughout the Galaxy is shown in blue, while hot gas can be  seen as red regions across the centre of the image.   In the background,  the mottled yellow features are relic radiation, called the Cosmic  Microwave Background, which contains information about the earliest  stages of the Universe.”

arielwaldman:

Planck unveils the Universe - UK Space Agency

“The Planck space satellite – ESA’s mission to study the early Universe - has delivered its first image of the entire sky. By looking at microwave radiation, it not only provides new insight into the way stars and galaxies form, but also tells us how the Universe itself came to life after the Big Bang.

This single image captures both our own cosmic backyard – the Milky Way galaxy that we live in – but also the subtle imprint of the Big Bang from which the whole Universe emerged.

The dust throughout the Galaxy is shown in blue, while hot gas can be seen as red regions across the centre of the image. In the background, the mottled yellow features are relic radiation, called the Cosmic Microwave Background, which contains information about the earliest stages of the Universe.”

A Large Space Station Over EarthCredit: STS-131 Crew, Expedition 23 Crew, NASA
Explanation: The International Space Station is the largest object ever constructed by humans in space. The station perimeter now extends over roughly the area of a football field, although only a small fraction of this is composed of modules habitable by humans. The stationis so large that it could not be launched all at once — it is being built piecemeal with large sections added continually by flights of the Space Shuttle. To function, the ISS needs huge trusses, some over 15 meters long and with masses over 10,000 kilograms, to keep it rigid and to route electricity and liquid coolants. Pictured above, part of the immense space station was photographed out of a window by a member of the visiting Space Shuttle Discovery STS-131 crew. Visible in the foreground is Japan’s Kibo research module, while a large truss is visible toward the left. On the far right, a crescent Earth slices through the blackness of space.
(via APOD)

A Large Space Station Over Earth
Credit: STS-131 Crew, Expedition 23 Crew, NASA

Explanation: The International Space Station is the largest object ever constructed by humans in space. The station perimeter now extends over roughly the area of a football field, although only a small fraction of this is composed of modules habitable by humans. The stationis so large that it could not be launched all at once — it is being built piecemeal with large sections added continually by flights of the Space Shuttle. To function, the ISS needs huge trusses, some over 15 meters long and with masses over 10,000 kilograms, to keep it rigid and to route electricity and liquid coolants. Pictured above, part of the immense space station was photographed out of a window by a member of the visiting Space Shuttle Discovery STS-131 crew. Visible in the foreground is Japan’s Kibo research module, while a large truss is visible toward the left. On the far right, a crescent Earth slices through the blackness of space.

(via APOD)

 
The Planck mission has captured its first rough images of the sky, demonstrating the observatory is working and ready to measure light from the dawn of time.

The Planck image shows how the sky looks at millimeter-long wavelengths. Red areas are brighter, blue areas are darker. The large red strips show the Milky Way. The small bright and dark spots far from the galactic plane are from the cosmic microwave background — relic radiation leftover from the birth of our universe.
(via NASA)

The Planck mission has captured its first rough images of the sky, demonstrating the observatory is working and ready to measure light from the dawn of time.

The Planck image shows how the sky looks at millimeter-long wavelengths. Red areas are brighter, blue areas are darker. The large red strips show the Milky Way. The small bright and dark spots far from the galactic plane are from the cosmic microwave background — relic radiation leftover from the birth of our universe.

(via NASA)


19 June 2009
Herschel opened its ‘eyes’ on 14 June and the Photoconductor Array Camera and Spectrometer obtained images of M51, ‘the whirlpool galaxy’ for a first test observation. Scientists obtained images in three colours which clearly demonstrate the superiority of Herschel, the largest infrared space telescope ever flown.


view the full article on the ESA website here.
19 June 2009 Herschel opened its ‘eyes’ on 14 June and the Photoconductor Array Camera and Spectrometer obtained images of M51, ‘the whirlpool galaxy’ for a first test observation. Scientists obtained images in three colours which clearly demonstrate the superiority of Herschel, the largest infrared space telescope ever flown.
view the full article on the ESA website here.