Latest PROBA Stories

2010-09-09 08:05:00

Any space mission is difficult, docking a pair of spacecraft is tough but flying multiple satellites in formation is the real cutting edge. A new software testbed allows ESA and industrial teams to get to grips with multiple-satellite missions to come, starting with Proba-3. It is hard to overstate the difficulty of formation flying: separate multi-million-euro pieces of hardware, each one moving through space at several kilometers per second come as close as a matter of meters as their...

2010-09-07 14:07:58

This month the International Astronautical Congress will be held in Prague for the first time in 33 years. The global event highlights the growing activities in space industry, science and education in the Czech Republic "” ESA's newest Member State. The 61st International Astronautical Congress (IAC) will take place in Prague from September 27 to October 1. The annual congress encourages the advancement of space knowledge and enables the global space community to share its experience...

2010-06-30 09:15:00

Proba-2 is a small but innovative member of ESA's spacecraft fleet, crammed with experimental technologies. In its first eight months of life it has already returned more than 90,000 images of the Sun. Less than a cubic meter in volume, Proba-2 carries a new generation of miniaturized science instruments, focused on the Sun and space weather, as well as 17 state-of-the-art technology payloads.  Launched on November 2, 2009, Proba-2 began routine operations in February. A workshop at...

2010-05-13 08:45:00

While ESA's Proba-2 keeps its main instruments trained on the Sun, it is also looking back to its homeworld. This wide-angle view of Earth comes from an experimental camera that is smaller than an espresso cup. The Exploration Camera (X-Cam) is carried on the underside of Proba-2, one of 17 new technologies being tested by the mini-satellite. Observing in the visible and near-infrared with a 100° field-of"“view, its monochrome images resemble what an astronaut might see if elevated...

2010-05-05 10:55:00

Despite continued interference issues, Europe's SMOS satellite is transmitting valuable new data on the way water is cycled across the globe. The satellite was launched in November to track changes in the wetness of soils and the salinity of the oceans using a microwave antenna. The detailed maps will soon be released for the eyes of the scientific community. But there are still some issues as SMOS is blinded by radar networks and media links in some areas of the world. The radio frequency...

2010-05-04 10:10:00

The small but powerful camera of ESA's Proba-V mission can fit on a single laboratory table for testing. But when it reaches orbit, this compact sensor will deliver a daily overview of virtually all vegetation growth across Earth. Daily global monitoring is an ambitious enough goal for a full-sized mission, but Proba is ESA's smallest satellite platform "“ smaller than a cubic meter. The aim is to have a microsatellite doing an equivalent job to the wide-swath "ËœVegetation'...

2010-04-14 12:25:00

Polar skies glowed with ghostly auroras last week during the biggest geomagnetic storm of 2010. The event owed its origin to a solar eruption a few days earlier "“ revealed here in high-speed detail by ESA's small Sun-watcher Proba-2. Eruptions like this one have several components, most notably solar flares and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs). Solar flares are caused by sudden impulsive releases of magnetic energy from the surface of the Sun. The flare seen here took place at 11:54...

2010-03-30 11:30:00

After several decades of research and development into hyperspectral imaging, which greatly enhances our ability to characterize the state of Earth, the technique has been embraced by the Earth-observation community and has entered the mainstream of remote sensing. The idea behind hyperspectral imaging, also known as imaging spectroscopy, is simple. In the 1970s, multispectral remote sensors produced images with relatively few broad wavelength bands that allowed us to understand our...

2010-01-26 10:30:00

Packed with novel devices and science instruments, Proba-2 is demonstrating technologies for future ESA missions while providing new views of our Sun. At a press conference on Tuesday at the Royal Observatory of Belgium in Brussels, the team behind the small satellite declared themselves extremely happy with its first three months in orbit and unveiled Proba-2's first solar observations. Since its launch on November 2, Proba-2's numerous subsystems have been switched on one by one and their...

2010-01-19 12:20:00

Proba-2 is among the smallest spacecraft ever launched by ESA "“ less than a cubic meter "“ but it prepares technologies for future ESA missions, as well as giving scientists a new view of the Sun. Launched on November 2, 2009, Proba-2 is the result of European collaboration, with Belgian industry as a major participant. The objective of the mission is to test new spacecraft and instrument technology in space. The satellite is equipped with a quartet of new science...

Word of the Day
  • A unit of saved energy.
Coined by Amory Lovins, chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute as a contraction of negative watt on the model of similar compounds like megawatt.