Recently in the ESA Category


ESA's Lunar Ice Drill For Luna 27

A drill designed to penetrate 1-2 m into the lunar surface is envisaged by ESA to fly to the Moon's south pole on Russia's Luna-27 lander in 2020.

CubeSat OUFTI-1 Sends A Message

Recording of signal coming from student-built CubeSat OUFTI-1 which, as part of ESA's Education 'Fly Your Satellite!' programme, was launched on 25 April 2016 on the Soyuz VS14 flight from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

ESA CubeSats Set for Monday Release

The Danish flag will fly high on Monday when two small satellites, designed and built in Denmark, are released from the International Space Station.

To celebrate the launch of the student-built AAUSAT5 CubeSat from the International Space Station into low Earth orbit, ESA's Education office challenges the amateur radio community to listen out for the tiny satellite.

More ESA Student CubeSats Preparing for Space

While waiting for the first ESA student CubeSat to be deployed from the International Space Station at the beginning of October, the three Fly Your Satellite! CubeSats candidate for rocket launch are completing their environmental test campaign.

Putting a round peg in a round hole is not hard for someone standing next to it. But ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen did this while orbiting 400 km up aboard the International Space Station, remotely operating a rover and its robotic arm on the ground.

For the launch of Sentinel-2A, ESA is inviting you to take part in a photo contest focusing on the theme of 'colour vision'. Enter for a chance to win a trip to ESA's operations centre for the satellite's launch event.

Four teams of university students have been selected to develop and conduct their hypergravity experiments during ESA's sixth 'Spin Your Thesis!' campaign, to be held 7-18 September 2015.

ESA Is Interested in Cubesats

In parallel with the Proba minisatellite missions, ESA is now also utilising much smaller 'CubeSat' nanosatellites. These are employed for the In-Orbit Demonstration (IOD) of miniaturised technologies and for small payload-driven missions.

Europe's very first 3D printer in space is scheduled for installation aboard the ISS next year.

This year's Rocket Experiments for University Students (REXUS) campaign has been completed. Eight student experiments reached the stratosphere on two rockets. Now the hard work of analysing the results begins.

A Spin Your Thesis! experiment has shown that carbon nano materials are built differently under conditions of hypergravity. These results are useful for understanding the synthesis of carbon nano structures and the behaviour of gliding arc discharges.

Reaching Across Space

As engineer Manuel Aiple moves his gauntleted hand, the robotic hand a few metres away in ESA's telerobotics laboratory follows in sync.

Hyperspectral Imaging by CubeSats

A new hyperspectral camera able to fit in the palm of a hand, compact enough to fly on CubeSat-sized missions, is being developed by ESA.

Five student teams have been selected for the 2014 Spin Your Thesis! and Drop Your Thesis! programmes. These unique opportunities allow students to run their experiments in world-class gravitational facilities.

Abigaille, The Wall-crawler Robot

Climbing robots that mimic the stickiness of gecko lizard feet could work in space as well as on Earth, ESA has shown, raising the prospect of hull-crawling automatons tending future spacecraft.

European Students: Spin or Drop Your Thesis

Are you a university student who dreams of using a world-class gravitational facility for experiments? If yes then ESA's Education Office wants to hear from you.

Using satellite data to find areas of thermal updraft to fly gliders is just one of the innovative ideas developed over the week-long 'camp' to help bring Earth observation to the everyday user. In its second year, the App Camp saw 20 developers from 16 countries convene at ESA's ESRIN centre in Frascati, Italy.

Submit your ideas to this year's competition on how Earth observation data can benefit business and society. Entries will be accepted in all nine categories starting tomorrow. The Copernicus Masters - previously known as the GMES Masters - rewards the best ideas for services, business cases and applications based on satellite Earth observation data.

Mission-X: Springing Into Action

Spring has arrived and thousands of schoolchildren are stretching their muscles and brains to reach the finishing line of Mission-X. After six weeks of activities inspired by astronaut training, these future space explorers will celebrate their achievements with special events all over the world. Each school follows its own pace in this competition which combines fitness, healthy eating and problem-solving. Around 15 000 students from over 20 countries built their own model satellites, conquered a martian mountain or worked in teams to solve puzzles.

2013 CanSat Campaign Concluded

High school students from 8 different ESA Member States have completed the third European Cansat Launch Campaign, which was held in The Netherlands for the first time. 15 student teams from across Europe participated in the four-day event. Preparations for the flight campaign began soon after the teams arrived at the Delft University of Technology on 10 April, when technical inspections were made to ensure that each of the CanSats could be integrated in the rockets.

"The tiny spacecraft passenger for Vega's upcoming Flight VV02 is getting the same "white glove" treatment as the launch's two larger payloads, with Estonia's ESTCube-1 student satellite now mission-ready at the Spaceport in French Guiana. In the Spaceport's S1B clean room, ESTCube-1 has been integrated in its box-type dispenser - readying the cubesat for integration in the Vega launcher's payload "stack," along with the Proba-V and VNREDSat-1A passengers. ESTCube-1 is the first Estonian satellite, built by a collaboration of students from Tartu University, Estonian Aviation Academy, Tallinn University of Technology and University of Life Sciences, and was developed in conjunction with the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the German Space Center (DLR)." More

Spin Your Thesis! 2013 Teams Selected

"Four teams of university students have been chosen to develop and conduct hypergravity experiments during ESA's fourth 'Spin Your Thesis!' campaign. The campaign will take place from 23 September to 4 October 2013 at the Large Diameter Centrifuge facility located at ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. Each week two teams will use the centrifuge equipment. During the preparation of their experiments, the students will be supported by ESA's Education Office and hypergravity experts. A member of the European Low Gravity Research Association (ELGRA) will also be on hand to provide advice and expertise in gravity-related research." More

"ESA is offering software developers the opportunity to use its new testbed in space. The robust nanosat will allow individuals, companies and institutions to try out pioneering software without the danger of losing a mission. Satellites are so complex and costly that their controllers cannot afford to take risks. The need for reliability means that onboard and ground control software has not altered significantly in the past 20 years. But the tiny Ops-Sat, a CubeSat combining commercial off-the-shelf technology and ESA expertise, is a chance to try out new ideas in space as early as 2015. "This satellite is designed for experimenting with mission-critical software both on board and on the ground," says Dave Evans, Ops-Sat project manager at ESA's European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. "This means it must be flexible, powerful and robust." More

Apply for ESA's App Camp

"Help to bring Earth observation services to the everyday user with your ideas for mobile phone applications. Following the success of last year's first ever App Camp organised by ESA, 20 app developers from all over Europe will be invited once again to ESA's ESRIN centre in Frascati, Italy, on 3-10 June. They will have the opportunity to spend the week creating mobile applications using satellite Earth observation data. Eligible applicants will need to have experience in app development on Android or iOS platforms that can be verified with links to published apps and other references. The 20 lucky developers will be selected by an expert committee involving ESRIN staff. ESA will provide Internet and access to satellite data for developing mobile applications in five defined categories. The goal is to develop mobile apps using Earth-monitoring data on smartphones, building on the possibilities offered by Europe's Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme." More

ESA's Educational CubeSat Program

"ESA invites European student teams who are building CubeSats with mainly educational objectives to propose their satellite for the new 'Fly Your Satellite!' programme. 'Fly Your Satellite!' is an exciting new initiative from the ESA Education and Knowledge Management Office. It is focused on CubeSat projects run by university students and builds on the successful 'CubeSats for the Vega Maiden Flight' pilot programme, which culminated in 2012 with the launch of seven university student-built CubeSats on board the Vega Maiden Flight. In the future, this new initiative is intended to cover the complete development process of a satellite from concept to launch. However, the 2013 edition will be dedicated to teams whose satellite is already at an advanced stage of development and able to complete the Flight Model assembly by June 2013. One, two or three-unit CubeSats are eligible." More

Building a Lunar Base with 3D Printing

"Setting up a lunar base could be made much simpler by using a 3D printer to build it from local materials. Industrial partners including renowned architects Foster + Partners have joined with ESA to test the feasibility of 3D printing using lunar soil. "Terrestrial 3D printing technology has produced entire structures," said Laurent Pambaguian, heading the project for ESA. "Our industrial team investigated if it could similarly be employed to build a lunar habitat." Foster + Partners devised a weight-bearing 'catenary' dome design with a cellular structured wall to shield against micrometeoroids and space radiation, incorporating a pressurised inflatable to shelter astronauts. A hollow closed-cell structure - reminiscent of bird bones - provides a good combination of strength and weight." More

"A new satellite mission designed by university students is entering the advanced stages of development. A new contract appoints ALMASpace, Italy, the prime contractor. The European Student Earth Orbiter (ESEO) is a micro-satellite mission to low Earth orbit. Newly appointed prime contractor ALMASpace, Italy, will now oversee its final development, integration, testing, and in-orbit commissioning by European university students. The mission's primary goal is to provide students with extensive, hands-on experience of a space project. This will equip them with the necessary skills to confidently enter the high-technology workplace of Europe's future. 'With ESEO, ESA's Education and Knowledge Management Office will continue pursuing its objective of offering hands-on activities to university students across Europe. Working on real space projects has a strong inspirational value and offers the best professional preparation for Europe's future engineers and scientists,' says Piero Galeone, ESA's Head of the Tertiary Education Unit." More

"Operating droids in space was no obstacle for a German-Italian alliance to reach the finish line of the Zero Robotics tournament. The European winners commanded mini-robots to dodge virtual dust clouds and rendezvous with disabled satellites, all in the weightlessness of the International Space Station. This year's competition gave over 130 high-school students from across Europe the opportunity to operate droids in space by coding software. Six alliances made of teams from Italy, Germany, Spain and Portugal witnessed how their computer codes worked in the Space Station from ESA's ESTEC space research and technology centre in the Netherlands The RetroSpheres space game involved two mini-robots racing through a course using the least amount of fuel. During the three-minute programmed dance, the volleyball-sized spheres moved using 12 squirts of compressed gas. Competitors could collect extra fuel from decommissioned satellites and deorbit the satellites for extra points while navigating through their opponent's dust clouds." More

Testing time for Proba-V

"ESA's Proba-V microsatellite is now assembled and midway through testing to ensure it is fully spaceworthy. The miniature Earth-observer, designed to chart global vegetation every two days, will be launched in April. The testing at the specialised Intespace facility in Toulouse, France, includes rigorous simulations of Proba-V's take-off conditions and the hard vacuum and temperature extremes it must endure in orbit. It comes after Proba-V's assembly was completed by prime contractor QinetiQ Space at its facility in Kruibeke, Belgium last month. Building it was a complex operation. Although smaller than a cubic metre, the satellites carries a wide-angle telescope for its main Earth-monitoring instrument, a pair of radiation sensors, a fibre optic connector experiment, a prototype radio transmitter based on the semiconductor gallium nitride, and a test receiver to track aircraft in flight all around the globe." More

Robot Spheres in Zero-Gravity Action

"A squadron of mini satellites on the International Space Station will wake up this Friday to obey remote commands from students across Europe. Up until now the students have run their code in a virtual world, but this Friday the high-school finals will be held using the real thing: robotic droids on the International Space Station. This year's RetroSpheres scenario involves using the Spheres, which move using jets of compressed gas, to push simulated space debris out of orbit. Six alliances made of European finalists from Italy, Germany, Spain and Portugal will confront each other and see their computer code operate robots in space for the first time. ESA astronaut Andre Kuipers will provide commentary from ESA's space research and technology centre, ESTEC, in the Netherlands, as NASA's Kevin Ford and Tom Marshburn set up the games on the Station. Over 130 students will be at ESTEC with Andre to learn more about robotics and run their code on the Spheres floating in the Space Station." More

"Have you taken an interesting astronomical photo this year? From planets and moons to the Sun, stars and galaxies, we'd like you to send us your images to feature as our Space Science Image of the Week on 31 December. The ESA Space Science team's favourite image will take the slot of our weekly image during the week beginning 31 December 2012 as a celebration of the astronomical events of the year gone by. The best of the rest will feature in our dedicated ESA Space Science images Flickr gallery. During 2012, the sky has staged a series of astronomical theatrics to provide plenty of inspiration for your entry. Perhaps you were lucky enough to observe a solar eclipse, or even the transit of Venus. Maybe you snapped a meteor streaking through the sky, or perhaps you found beauty in the constellations this year. Images of galaxies and nebulae are also welcomed." More

Mission-X: space training back to school

"Future space explorers are getting on their marks to invade gyms and train like astronauts for the 2013 Mission-X challenge. Luca Parmitano, the next European to fly to the Space Station, is giving youngsters tips on being fit and having a healthy lifestyle. In its third year, Mission-X fever is spreading across the planet. Schoolchildren aged 8-12 years will follow the six-week challenge in over 20 different countries. In Europe, new participants will include Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Young explorers worldwide will earn points by completing activities inspired by astronaut training." More

"This year's "Fly Your Thesis!" campaign ended on 25 October. For three days, a specially equipped aircraft flew 31 manoeuvres - or parabolas - that generate microgravity conditions, giving students invaluable experience in how to design, construct and run experiments in a near weightless environment. Three student teams participated along with nine professional teams in the 57th ESA parabolic flight campaign. All investigated phenomena that are virtually impossible to study on the ground under the normal pull of gravity. The campaign began on 15 October and for the first five days the student teams readied their experiments for flight. This included loading the equipment into the body of the specially modified A-300 Airbus, and checking that everything was working." More

Using Space Internet to Control Robots

"ESA and NASA have tested a communications protocol that will allow astronauts to control robots from space stations orbiting planets or asteroids. The test marks the way for a trial-run with an astronaut on the International Space Station next week. Last week a Space Station user centre at the University of Boulder, USA sent a command to a NASA laptop on the International Space Station to start a script that controlled the Mocup robot at ESA's ESOC operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany. The robot was commanded to move forward and take pictures, which it performed as planned. Mocup is one of the robots in ESA's Meteron - Multi-purpose End-To-End Robotic Operations Network - initiative for future missions to the Moon, Mars and other celestial bodies. Space exploration will most likely involve sending robotic explorers to test the waters on uncharted planets before sending humans to land." More

European CanSat Competition

"Students in different age groups are being invited by ESA to participate in three educational programmes that will take place during 2013. Each programme is an exciting opportunity to design an experiment and conduct scientific research. ESA is now inviting proposals for the Spin Your Thesis! campaign. This programme enables university students to carry out experiments in hypergravity, using the Large Diameter Centrifuge at the Agency's ESTEC space research and technology centre in the Netherlands. It is open to undergraduate students and those following a Masters or PhD course. Up to four teams will be selected. The deadline for proposal submissions is 10 December. Another call is for the European CanSat competition. The CanSats, similar in volume and shape to a soft-drink can, will be launched on a small rocket from the Netherlands. The primary task of each CanSat will be to measure atmospheric temperature and pressure during the flight." More

"Winners of the YouTube Spacelab competition will get to see their experiments in space on 13 September. ESA astronaut Frank De Winne will participate in the live event, transmitted from the International Space Station to the world via YouTube. Frank De Winne, Head of the European Astronaut Centre, acted as one of Europe's jurors of the international student competition. NASA, YouTube, ESA and Lenovo today announced the culmination of the YouTube SpaceLab competition in which astronauts will reveal the results of the two winning experiments live from the International Space Station and share them online on YouTube. The livestream will connect the Station to YouTube's London studio on Thursday, 13 September beginning at 13:30 GMT (15:30 CEST)." More.

ESA's Advanced Concepts Team

A decade of future visions from ESA's Advanced Concepts Team

"Ion beams to clean up space debris, exotic metamaterials, fluid-like spacecraft made up of many tiny fractionated parts and planetary landers borrowing tips from bumblebees - ESA's Advanced Concepts Team looked forward on its tenth anniversary, discussing creative ideas for space's future. Based at ESTEC, ESA's technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, the team celebrated its first decade on 2-3 July, gathering former members and research partners from all across Europe, with guests from the US and Japan.... Alastair Reynolds explained the relationship between science and science fiction was really two-way in nature: today's mainstream scientific concepts such as terraforming and wormholes originated in yesterday's science fiction - and the movie 2001 back in 1968 depicted a prototype iPad, highlighted in a copyright court case last year.

ESA Summer of Code in Space 2012

ESA Summer of Code in Space 2012 (SOCIS 2012) is a program run by the European Space Agency. It aims at offering student developers stipends to write code for various space-related open source software projects. Through SOCIS, accepted student applicants are paired with a mentor or mentors from the participating projects, thus gaining exposure to real-world software development scenarios. In turn, the participating projects are able to more easily identify and bring in new developers.

This is the second edition of SOCIS, the first one (SOCIS 2011) selected 20 mentoring organisations, each one having one project. The program is inspired by (but not affiliated or related in any way to) Google's Summer of Code initiative, and is designed with the following objectives in mind:

* raise the awareness of open source projects related to space within the open source programming community, especially among students;
* raise awareness of ESA within the open-source community;
* improve existing space-related open-source software.

More information

ESA App Camp Yields Innovative Apps

ESA Summer Camp Yields Innovative Apps

"This week's ESA App Camp didn't see canoeing or campfires. Developers worked diligently despite the Mediterranean heat to create applications for mobile phones that bring Earth observation and GMES services to the everyday user. Ending today at ESRIN, ESA's centre for Earth observation, in Frascati, Italy, 21 developers from 17 ESA and EU Member States spent the week creating mobile applications - or apps - using satellite data."

Supporting Young Scientists at ESA

ESA Call for Proposals: Supporting Young Scientists

"ESA is offering young postdoctoral researchers the opportunity to address key scientific challenges in Earth science by maximising the use of satellite data. New proposals for the Changing Earth Science Network initiative can now be submitted. The initiative supports young European scientists starting their career in Earth science for a period of two years to undertake innovative research projects that address the key scientific challenges of ESA's Earth observation science strategy."

ESA Tests Self-steering Rover in 'Mars' Desert

"ESA assembled a top engineering team, then challenged them to devise a way for rovers to navigate on alien planets. Six months later, a fully autonomous vehicle was charting its course through Chile's Mars-like Atacama Desert. May's full-scale rover field test marked the final stage of a StarTiger project code-named 'Seeker'. Standing for 'Space Technology Advancements by Resourceful, Targeted and Innovative Groups of Experts and Researchers', StarTiger involves a multidisciplinary team gathered at a single site, working against the clock to achieve a technology breakthrough."

ESA Investment Forum

Fund space spin-off at ESA Investment Forum

"Investors will meet with start-up companies using space tech in terrestrial systems to discuss business prospects and partnerships at the seventh ESA Investment Forum on 16 October in Toulouse, France. The Forum is an exceptional platform for exploring investment opportunities and business potential. The selected companies have all built a significant portion of their growth and competitive advantage on the utilisation of technologies and expertise originating from Europe's space programmes. They will discuss their business ideas and products with the investors."

GMES Masters Competition

GMES Masters competition 2012

"Following its debut in 2011, the GMES Masters competition is open once again. As one of seven challenges in Europe's innovation competition for Earth observation, the Agency is staging the ESA App Challenge with a prize worth E 60 000. The GMES Masters competition awards prizes for the best projects and business ideas involving commercial Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) applications. Its purpose is to support the development of market-oriented applications that use data from the programme. This year's App challenge will give the entrant behind the most innovative smartphone App, based on the use of GMES data, the opportunity to begin an incubation programme to the value of O60 000 at one of the six ESA Business Incubation Centres in Europe."

Explore the high-energy Universe - competition results

"Students from across Europe have been selected as the winners of the ESA's 'Explore the high-energy Universe' competition. Secondary school students were invited to choose from four projects relating to ESA's Integral gamma-ray observatory in which they were challenged to Observe, Research, Design, or Build. To participate, students took on the roles of engineers, scientists, and astronomers to explore the extreme and ever-changing high-energy Universe, including black holes devouring matter, colossal explosions known as gamma-ray bursts, and supernova explosions. Entries were received from all over Europe, including France, Italy, and Romania."

Crowdsourcing Asteroid Detection

Amateur astronomers boost ESA's asteroid hunt

"A partnership with the UK's Faulkes Telescope Project promises to boost the Agency's space hazards research while helping students to discover potentially dangerous space rocks. ESA's Space Situational Awareness (SSA) programme is keeping watch over space hazards, including disruptive space weather, debris objects in Earth orbit and asteroids that pass close enough to cause concern. The asteroids - known as 'near-Earth objects', or NEOs, since they cross Earth's orbit - are a particular problem. Any attempt to survey and catalogue hazardous asteroids faces a number of difficulties. They're often jet black or at least very dark, they can approach rather too close before anyone sees them, and they're often spotted only once and then disappear before the discovery can be confirmed."

Europe Spacelab Finalist Event

Europe's SpaceLab finalists link up with space and meet astronauts

"Europe's finalists in the Space Lab challenge will join astronauts, scientists and Google managers at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne on 16 May to discuss their experiment ideas and call ESA astronaut Andre Kuipers on the International Space Station. In October, ESA jointly launched the YouTube Space Lab, an exciting venture by YouTube, NASA, Japan's JAXA space agency, Space Adventures and Lenovo to challenge students around the world to design a science experiment for the International Space Station. The competition attracted thousands of proposals by teams and individuals from over 80 countries."

Terraforming a landscape for a robotic rover, ESA

"Challenged to design a background for a small rover controlled from space, students in Germany have delivered a futuristic cityscape. The cool space art will be seen by astronauts in orbit via the rover's camera eye as they remotely control their avatar later this year. The ultimate goal is for robot astronauts to roam around hazardous places like Mars and asteroids guided by human controllers safely orbiting overhead in their spacecraft. As a first step, ESA is linking the International Space Station and Earth for remotely controlling terrestrial test robots from the orbital outpost."

Mission-X 2012 Winners Announced

Mission-X 2012: Mission Accomplished

"Mission-X is a worldwide educational initiative supported by ESA and national space agencies to encourage healthy and active lifestyles among children aged 8-12 years. Astronauts are inspiring children to eat healthily and exercise regularly. This year's challenge involved 10 300 students exercising hard over six weeks since it was launched from the International Space Station by ESA astronaut Andre Kuipers on 2 February. The aim: gain points to send Mission-X mascot Astro Charlie to the Moon. Points were earned by completing challenges inspired by astronaut training."

ESA's Advanced Concept Team

Researchers sought by ESA's Advanced Concept team

"The opportunity has arisen to join ESA's team designing the future in space. The Agency's Advanced Concepts Team is currently looking for new researchers. Based in ESA's ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, the Advanced Concepts Team (ACT) has its focus on future technologies and advanced space systems of strategic importance for ESA's long-term planning. The ACT performs continuous recruitment of Research Fellows, Young Graduate Trainees and stagiaires using existing European Space Agency channels. ACT positions are all for limited amount of time (one to two years for Research Fellows, a year for YGTs and three months for stagiaires)."

ESA Updates Envisat iPhone/iPad App

Planet Earth in your pocket ... and on your tablet

"ESA has updated its application for iPhone and iPad. With the launch of the ESA App V2, users can see ESA's latest satellite imagery from Envisat in near-real time, complementing the latest news and discoveries in space exploration and Earth observation. Making full use of the iPhone and iPad touch features, ESA App V2 puts videos, images, facts and figures, ESA's Twitter feeds, YouTube links and other information in a convenient mobile package. The ten latest satellite images of our planet are also now at your fingertips. One of the newest features is the automatic update of satellite images from ESA's MIRAVI website, which generates acquisitions in near-real time from the world's largest Earth observation satellite, Envisat."

ESA's Mission X Astronaut Training Program

Mission X: train like an astronaut in 2012

"ESA astronaut Andre Kuipers is inviting thousands of schoolchildren to perform physical activities and to learn about healthy nutrition to compete with teams from around the world to become as fit as astronauts. Mission X kicks off again in February! ESA is teaming up with NASA as well as other space agencies and using space explorers as models to promote regular exercise and healthy nutrition among young people worldwide."

ESA Cubs delivered for first Vega flight

"The first CubeSats to be sponsored by ESA's Education Office have been delivered to the agency's Space Technology and Research Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands. The ESA CubeSat programme began on 28 May 2007, when Antonio Fabrizi, the Director of Launchers, and Rene Oosterlinck, the Director of Legal Affairs and External Relations, signed an agreement to include an educational payload on the maiden flight of the Vega launch vehicle. The announcement of opportunity issued by ESA's Education Office in February 2008 offered the possibility of launching up to nine university CubeSats free-of-charge on Europe's newest launcher."

ESA's Blood Testing Tricorder Sensor

Spinning Blood Device Set to Safeguard Astronaut Health

"ESA has begun developing a new blood-testing device for astronauts on the International Space Station. A wide range of ailments from diabetes to heart disease should be diagnosable in moments from a single drop of astronaut blood. A pinprick of blood is added to a mini-disc embedded with a wide variety of miniaturised test procedures. The disc is then inserted into the 'point-of-care' device and set spinning to spread the blood sample across the surface."

Small But Agile Proba-1 Reaches 10 Years in Orbit, ESA

"A good photographer needs agility. So it is with ESA microsatellite Proba-1, which turns in space to capture terrestrial targets. Celebrating its tenth birthday this week, Proba-1's unique images are used by hundreds of scientific teams worldwide. A technology demonstrator turned into an Earth observation mission, the microsatellite - just a cubic metre in volume - has acquired nearly 20, 000 environmental science images with its main Compact High Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (CHRIS), used by a total of 446 research groups in 60 countries."

Using Caves To Simulate Space Missions

Video: ESA Astronaut Cave Crew Returns to Earth

"Take five astronauts and instead of sending them into space take them underground. ESA's CAVES venture prepares astronauts to work in an international team under real exploration conditions. The latest 'crew' has returned after six days in the dark."

T-Systems will award the prize for its Cloud Computing Challenge to the best GMES application or service idea that will make use of the IaaS cloud computing service model. IaaS involves the provision of processing power, storage, networks, and other fundamental computing resources to the user, who can then deploy and run operating systems, applications, and many other types of software. IaaS in particular can provide flexible and efficient resources for processing, storing, and distributing GMES services, as ESA scientists and others have shown in pilot projects. More

Fly Your Thesis! 2011 campaign

The second series of flights in ESA's 'Fly Your Thesis!' programme concluded recently. After many months of preparation, the 10-day campaign culminated with four student experiments making three parabolic flights aboard the Airbus A300 Zero-G aircraft. Four student teams, from the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, were selected for this rare opportunity to conduct their own experiments during ESA's 54th Parabolic Flight Campaign. The students arrived at the Novespace facilities in Bordeaux, France, on 16 May, and began to unpack their experiment racks. Over the next three days, they loaded the racks onto the aircraft and prepared for flight. Following a weekend break, the excitement mounted as they were given their flight suits. More

A new way to fly experiments takes off tomorrow with the first campaign dedicated to research in 'partial' gravity. Scientists on Europe's 'Zero-G' Airbus will experiment with gravity conditions like those on the Moon and Mars. The Joint European Partial-g Parabolic Flight campaign is an unprecedented research mission organised jointly by ESA and the French and German space agencies, CNES and DLR. The pilots will follow special parabolic paths to create Moon and Mars gravity conditions for at least 25 seconds each time. The final parabola will provide full weightlessness for the experiments. More

Engineering students from around the world will be flocking to Berchtesgaden amid the Bavarian Alps in July for ESA's navigation summer school. It's a picturesque choice, but also a practical one: the only place in the world where Galileo is already fully realised.

ESA Wants Your Suborbital Research Ideas

ESA is looking for new ways to conduct interesting research in space, on Earth - and in between. A number of commercial suborbital vehicles are being considered in Europe, and ESA is looking at the possibilities they might offer for microgravity research. If you think you could help, then we would be pleased to hear from you. 'Suborbital' means the vehicle reaches space but does not have the much greater speed required to enter orbit. Even so, the flights provide some 4 minutes of weightlessness. The main drivers for this new kind of vehicle are tourism and other commercial uses, but the craft may also offer a platform for scientific studies and to prepare experiments for the International Space Station (ISS). Several commercial suborbital spacecraft are being developed by industrial consortia supported by private investors, and ESA is now asking for more information.

ESA's 'Fly Your Thesis!' programme made its successful debut during ESA's 51st Parabolic Flight Campaign, held 25 October to 5 November. Four student teams from five European countries took advantage of this new educational initiative to conduct microgravity experiments on the Airbus A300 'Zero G' aircraft.

'Fly Your Thesis!' was introduced by ESA's Education Office in close coordination with ESA's Directorate of Human Spaceflight in 2008. It provides students with a unique opportunity to perform scientific experiments in microgravity as part of their Masters or PhD theses. The first participants were chosen in January 2009, after a rigorous selection process.

ESA's Education Office has awarded a contract to Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd of the UK to manage the development and testing of the first European student mission to the Moon. Launch is expected in 2013-2014.

Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has been selected as the prime contractor for the European Student Moon Orbiter (ESMO) project. The final signature of the contract took place on 4 November 2009. The mission involves delivering a spacecraft to lunar orbit, followed by 6 months of operations that include mapping of the lunar surface and studying our nearest neighbour.