Latest European Space Operations Centre Stories

2010-04-01 13:10:30

In readiness for launch on April 8, ESA's CryoSat-2 ice satellite has now joined the rest of the Dnepr rocket in the launch silo at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The 'space head module' was transported from the integration facilities to the underground launch silo this morning. Although it is only 7 km between the two sites, the specialized lorry, nicknamed the 'crocodile', takes well over an hour to complete the journey. The crocodile is equipped with a container that is positioned...

2010-03-31 13:36:43

With only seven days to go before launch, CryoSat-2 encapsulated within the Dnepr launcher's space head module has been loaded back onto the 'crocodile' in readiness for transportation to the launch silo tomorrow. The last launch vehicle electrical tests were completed yesterday and the green light was subsequently given to move the space head to the underground silo. In addition, the payload fairing, which is the very upper tip of the rocket, was prepared for transport. The procedure for...

2010-02-18 09:15:09

As Satellite Prime Contractor for CryoSat, EADS Astrium has led a consortium of 30 firms from Europe, the U.S. and Russia to design and build the satellite. In his role as Astrium Prime Project Manager, Klaus Köble has been leading these efforts for the past three years. Klaus Köble, a German national, joined Astrium Friedrichshafen (DORNIER Satellite Systems at that time) in 1988. He gained several years of experience in design and assembly of Earth observation satellites and...

2010-02-08 09:48:43

Richard Francis has been responsible for managing ESA's CryoSat Project since the decision was made to rebuild the satellite following the loss of the original CryoSat in 2005. Prior to his role as Project Manager, he was in charge of the CryoSat mission design as System Manager. ESA: You have been involved in the CryoSat mission since it was selected in 1999, how has your role changed over the years? Richard Francis: 1999! It seems so long ago now "“ over 10 years. At that time the...

2010-01-22 10:19:06

With liftoff scheduled in just a few weeks, ESA's CryoSat-2 ground teams are in intensive training for the launch and early orbit phase - the critical first steps in the mission's life. CryoSat-2 is scheduled for liftoff on February 25 from the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan on a Dnepr - a converted SS-18 intercontinental ballistic missile. For CryoSat-2, the ground segment - the hardware, software, telecommunications and other resources that operate the satellite and process data...

2009-12-20 10:16:30

For thirty years, Europe's Ariane booster family has provided reliable launch services for many of ESA's most complex and sophisticated satellites. During these decades, the critical activities of two sets of engineers "” the launch controllers in the Jupiter control room at the Centre Spatial Guyanais (CSG), Kourou, and the mission controllers in the Main Control Room (MCR) at the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), Darmstadt "” have been closely related in a unique 'made in...

2009-11-12 10:30:00

When Europe's comet chaser Rosetta swings by Earth tomorrow for a critical gravity assist, tracking data will be collected to precisely measure the satellite's change in orbital energy. The results could help unravel a cosmic mystery that has stumped scientists for two decades. Since 1990, scientists and mission controllers at ESA and NASA have noticed that their spacecraft sometimes experience a strange variation in the amount of orbital energy they exchange with Earth during planetary...

2009-11-04 09:40:00

ESA's comet chaser Rosetta will swing by Earth for the last time on November 13 to pick up energy and begin the final leg of its 10-year journey to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. ESA's European Space Operations Centre will host a media briefing on that day. This will be the third Earth swingby, the last of Rosetta's four planetary gravity assists. Closest approach to Earth is expected at 08:45 CET (07:45 UT). The swingby will provide exactly the boost Rosetta needs to continue into the...

2009-08-07 12:35:00

An Earth observation mission does not just involve the building of a satellite, it also includes the all-important infrastructure to control the satellite and handle the data "“ the ground segment. As ESA prepares for the launch of CryoSat-2 at the end of the year, its associated ground segment is now ready. ESA's ice mission CryoSat-2 is due to launch on a Dnepr rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in December. CryoSat-2 replaces the original CryoSat satellite, which...

2009-06-05 09:45:00

Beginning today, ESA's Planck satellite will carry out a critical mid-course maneuver that will place the satellite on its final trajectory for arrival at L2, the second Lagrange point of the Sun-Earth system, early in July. The maneuver is scheduled to begin at 19:28 CEST on June 5 2009, and will last for up to 30 hours. Planck's main thrusters will conduct repeated 'pulse burns' during this time, switching on then off for 6 seconds every minute. This pulse-burn technique is necessary...

Word of the Day
  • Like a worm in form or movement; vermiform; tortuous or sinuous; also, writhing or wriggling.
  • Like the track or trace of a worm; appearing as if worm-eaten; vermiculate.
  • Marked with fine, close-set, wavy or tortuous lines of color; vermiculated.
  • A form of rusticated masonry which is so wrought as to appear thickly indented with worm-tracks.
This word ultimately comes from the Latin 'vermis,' worm.