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Latest PROBA Stories

Proba-1 Celebrates 10 Years In Orbit
2011-10-25 11:07:23

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 meter in volume — has acquired nearly 20 000 environmental science images with its main Compact High Resolution Imaging...

Image 1 - Certifying Organic Crops From Space
2011-09-20 06:42:42

  Organic agriculture provides healthy food and protects the environment by practicing methods that avoid the widespread dissemination of chemicals. ESA is now helping to develop the use of satellite images for certifying crops as organic. Products can be labeled 'organic' only if they are produced according to a set of standards, undergo an evaluation and pass a yearly inspection. Since organic and conventional crops are treated differently, their characteristics are also...

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2011-08-25 08:49:19

  Sometimes all it takes is fresh air to get a new lease of life. ESA´s Proba-2 microsatellite is a good example: an influx of nitrogen has replenished its fuel tank, in the process demonstrating a whole new space technology. On 16 August a telecommand was sent from ESA´s Redu ground station in Belgium to boost the gases in Proba-2´s unusual ℠resistojet´ engine. Used to maintain the microsatellite´s orbit at 600 km altitude, this experimental...

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2011-07-23 06:04:54

Drought in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti is pushing tens of thousands of people from their homes as millions face food insecurity in a crisis visible from space. ESA's SMOS satellite shows that the region's soil is too dry to grow crops. Somalis, who already face war in their country, have been fleeing to neighboring countries in search of refuge. In Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp, for example, over 1000 people "“ mostly children "“ arrive daily, severely dehydrated and...

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2011-06-10 10:17:04

ESA's Proba-2 small Sun-watcher was among the flotilla of satellites on watch as the Sun erupted spectacularly this week. After years of relative quietness, the Sun is waking up. Tuesday 7 June saw a medium-class M2.5 solar flare, associated with a proton storm, a coronal mass ejection that glanced past Earth on Thursday 9 June and an accompanying burst of radio energy. ESA's Proba-2 satellite was launched in November 2009, during the most inactive period of the solar cycle, but now the Sun...

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2011-06-01 11:00:00

All space missions have one inescapable dependency: the electricity flowing through their systems to keep them alive. Take away its power and a spacecraft is nothing more than space debris "“ an eventuality the space power professionals strive to avoid. Next week sees more than 250 experts come together at an ESA-organized conference on power systems. The Ninth European Space Power Conference (ESPC) will take place on 6"“10 June in Saint Raphaël on...

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2011-03-11 09:18:11

The first calibrated measurements of solar irradiance made by the LYRA instrument on ESA's second PROBA (PRoject for On-Board Autonomy) satellite are now available to the scientific community. Future access to near-real-time data from both of the primary instruments on PROBA-2, SWAP and LYRA, is expected to provide new opportunities to study solar activity and space weather. The payload on PROBA-2 includes two complementary solar observation instruments, SWAP (Sun Watcher using Active pixel...

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2011-01-06 11:03:25

ESA's Proba-2 microsatellite experienced a conjunction of the spheres on Tuesday, as the Sun, Moon and Earth all lined up in front of it. As people on the ground observed the 4 January partial solar eclipse, Proba-2 provided a privileged top-of-atmosphere view "“ at least briefly. Shortly after the Moon partially blocked Proba-2's view of the Sun, the Sun-watching satellite flew into Earth's shadow. At that point "“ when the video seen here goes dark "“ the Sun, Moon,...

2010-11-24 06:29:54

Set for launch next month and codenamed "ËœMagISStra', the next ESA astronaut flight will see Italian Paolo Nespoli fly to the International Space Station for a six-month stay in space. Read the Bulletin and other publications online, with our visualizer tool. Read online    We follow Paolo through some of his training over the last two years, and look at the background of the mission, seeing why each of these flights is a remarkable team achievement involving...

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2010-11-23 07:30:37

ESA has decided to extend the productive lives of 11 of its operating space science missions. This will enable ESA's world-class science missions to continue returning pioneering results until at least 2014. ESA's Science Program Committee (SPC) had to make significant decisions at its 18-19 November meeting in Paris: 11 science missions, all of them still working beyond their planned lifetimes, all of them still delivering exceptional science, and yet all coming to the end of their funding....


Word of the Day
grass-comber
  • A landsman who is making his first voyage at sea; a novice who enters naval service from rural life.
According to the OED, a grass-comber is also 'a sailor's term for one who has been a farm-labourer.'