Latest European Space Operations Centre Stories

2011-07-01 10:10:44

Using ingenuity and an unorthodox 'dirty hack', ESA has recovered the four-satellite Cluster mission from near loss. The drama began in March, when a crucial science package stopped responding to commands "“ one of a mission controller's worst fears. Since a pair of spectacular dual launches in 2000, the four Cluster satellites have been orbiting Earth in tightly controlled formation. Each of the 550 kg satellites carries an identical payload to investigate Earth's space environment and...

2011-06-10 10:20:43

Twenty-five years ago, ESA's Giotto spacecraft made its mark in deep space. Passing Halley's comet at a distance of only 600 km, Giotto was the first mission to perform a close comet flyby. It was nearly destroyed by the encounter but the images it took changed our picture of comets forever. Comets are the primitive remnants of the Solar System, representing the unused building blocks that missed out on forming the planets. As such, they provide an invaluable glimpse into what made up the...

2011-06-05 10:53:43

On June 8, mission controllers will have the first opportunity to switch ESA's Rosetta comet-hunter into deep-space hibernation for 31 months. During this loneliest leg of its decade-long mission, Rosetta will loop ever closer toward comet 67-P, soaring to almost 1000 million km from Earth. Marking one of the most dramatic and distant stages of the probe's 10-year journey to rendezvous with Comet 67-P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, ground controllers at ESOC, ESA's European Space Operations...

2010-11-23 07:45:46

With the commissioning of ESA's CryoSat now complete, the mission has been officially transferred to the operations team. This milestone marks the beginning of the satellite's operational life delivering ice-thickness data to understand the impact of climate change on the polar environment. The handover ceremony took place on 19 November at ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands, where the responsibility for the mission passed from CryoSat-2's...

2010-10-28 10:36:43

ESA's Earth-observing satellite Envisat has moved to a lower orbit in order to conserve fuel and extend its life by three years, and is once again delivering invaluable data to thousands of scientists. Envisat, launched in 2002, has a unique combination of 10 different instruments that collect data about Earth's atmosphere, land, sea and ice "“ providing scientists with the most detailed picture yet of the state of our planet. Initially intended to stay in orbit for five years, the...

2010-08-25 07:34:02

Invitation to a media briefing on September 1, 2010 Media representatives are cordially invited to a briefing on the occasion of ten years of scientific discoveries by ESA's Cluster mission. Over the past decade, Cluster's four satellites have provided extraordinary insights into the largely invisible interaction between the Sun and Earth. The media briefing takes place at ESA's European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, on September 1, 2010 from 11:00 "“ 12:00...

2010-08-22 09:48:14

A European gravity observation satellite has been hit by a second computer glitch and is not able to transmit its valuable data down to Earth.Europe's Goce satellite, launched on 17 March, 2009, is a satellite carrying a highly sensitive gravity gradiometer which detects fine density differences in the crust and oceans of the Earth. Its main mission is to make the most precise maps yet of how gravity varies across the globe.The satellite suffered a processor fault in February forcing...

2010-06-30 08:11:35

The media are invited to ESA's Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany to follow Rosetta's encounter with asteroid Lutetia on July 10, 18:00"“23:00. The first images of the asteroid will be released before midnight, with experts available for interview. ESA's Rosetta comet-chaser is en route to its main target, comet 67P/ Churyumov-Gerasimenko, arriving in 2014. On Saturday, July 10 it will fly past the previously unvisited asteroid Lutetia. This is an important milestone in...

2010-04-13 08:25:00

ESA's CryoSat-2 has delivered its first data just hours after ground controllers switched on the satellite's sophisticated radar instrument for the first time. CryoSat-2 was launched on April 8 and has been performing exceptionally well during these critical first few days in orbit. Europe's first mission dedicated to studying variations in our planet's ice cover entered polar orbit just minutes after launch last Thursday, marking the start of three days of intense activity. Mission...

2010-04-06 10:40:00

A timeline of the most critical events around the launch of ESA's CryoSat-2 satellite, scheduled for 15:57 CEST on Thursday, April 8, 2010. CryoSat-2 will be placed into orbit 717 km above Earth by a Russian Dnepr rocket launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. About 16 minutes after launch, scheduled for 15:57 CEST, CryoSat-2 will separate from the upper stage of the booster. Just a few seconds later, the satellite's radio transmitter will automatically come to life and...

Word of the Day
  • A goblin in English folklore, often appearing in the shape of a large dog and believed to portend imminent death or misfortune.
  • A ghost, wraith, hobgoblin, elf, or spirit.
The origin of 'barghest' is not known, but it may be from perhaps burh-ghest, town-ghost, or German Berg-geist (mountain spirit) or Bär-geist (bear-spirit).