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  • richardmitnick 10:03 am on March 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ESA ESTEC, Spikes of silence   

    From ESA: “Spikes of silence” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    European Space Agency

    30/03/2016
    Guus Schoonewille

    1

    These spiky foam wedges, seen here in ESA’s Maxwell test chamber, cover the walls of facilities that simulate the endless void of space.

    This ‘anechoic’ foam absorbs radio signals, enabling radio-frequency testing without any distorting reflections from the chamber walls. In addition, it also absorbs sound – making these chambers eerily quiet places to work.

    The Maxwell test chamber – part of ESA’s ESTEC test centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands – performs electromagnetic compatibility testing, ensuring all systems aboard a satellite can operate together without harmful interference.

    Maxwell’s metal walls form a Faraday cage, screening out all external electromagnetic energy such as TV broadcasts and mobile phone signals.

    ESTEC’s dedicated antenna test facilities – comprising the Hertz chamber for full satellites and the smaller Compact Antenna Test Range for antennas – are similarly fitted with metal walls and lined with anechoic foam.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 9:33 am on March 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Card-thick space antenna, ESA ESTEC, LABUM-Large Apertures Based on Ultrastable Shell-Membrane   

    From ESA: “Card-thick space antenna” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    European Space Agency

    24 March 2016

    ESA  LABUM reflector lowered into Large Space Simulator
    LABUM reflector lowered into Large Space Simulator

    A whole new kind of large space antenna has been tested in realistic space conditions. This 5 m-diameter reflector seen being lowered into ESA’s Large Space Simulator appears translucent because it is a few tenths of a mm thick – thinner than a piece of card.

    “This marked the first full-scale environmental testing of our new LABUM – Large Apertures Based on Ultrastable Shell-Membrane – technology innovated and developed at the Institute of Lightweight Structures at the Technical University of Munich (TUM),” explains Leri Datashvili, running the project for TUM.

    LABUM is an attempt to fill a hole in current European space capabilities. Large-scale antenna reflectors are increasingly required for telecommunications, science and Earth observation missions. Up until now, European industry has not been able to field reflectors larger than 4 m in diameter, while the US, Japan and Russia are operating much larger reflectors in orbit.

    “This reflector has been made from carbon fibre reinforced silicone, which has the twin advantages of flexibility and ‘thermo-elastic stability’ – meaning it is able to hold its shape across a broad range of temperatures.” explains Julian Santiago Prowald of ESA’s Structures Section.

    LABUM’s material is able to maintain its shape without the kind of pretensioning required by the wire mesh alternative, accordingly enabling a much lighter backing structure. The design is also scalable and modular – this prototype could in principle be reproduced at much larger size, up to 18 m or more.

    Part of ESA’s ESTEC Test Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, the LSS is Europe’s largest thermal vacuum chamber, reproducing space-quality vacuum within liquid nitrogen-chilled walls. An array of IMAX-class light bulbs simulates the unfiltered sunlight encountered in orbit.

    The three-day test last month gathered precise data on how LABUM’s shape responds to changing temperatures. The simulation reproduced a worst-case scenario where bright sunlight heats up the reflector’s centre while its edges remained colder than –100 C.

    Photogrammetry cameras were used to trace millimetre-scale distortion across the reflector, while thermocouples and infrared cameras took the temperature all along its surface.

    Team behind the test

    “The development has been led by ESA’s Structures Section in close collaboration with the Antenna Section,” adds Julian.

    “The Test Centre team also contributed advanced temperature and shape measurement techniques inside the Large Space Simulator, making it possible to achieve the high-quality results.”

    LABUM is an activity within ESA’s Basic Technology Research Programme – ESA’s basic ‘ideas factory’ for promising new technologies – with TUM as the prime contractor, HPS-GmbH as subcontractor, with the participation of Munich University of Applied Sciences, and Wacker Silicones, AAC.

    The activity was conceived by ESA’s Directorate of Technical and Quality Management as part of a European roadmap of new technologies in the domain of very large space apertures.

    “The strong support of the TRP programme was essential,” concludes Julian. “The programme oversaw the complex set-up of technology development efforts and the use of highly overbooked test facilities like ESTEC’s Large Space Simulator.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 11:29 am on March 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ESA ESTEC, six-degree-of-freedom microvibration unit   

    From ESA: “Six-degree-of-freedom microvibration machine” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    European Space Agency

    23/03/2016
    G. Porter

    ESA six-degree-of-freedom microvibration unit

    The latest addition to ESA’s satellite-testing facilities is this six-degree-of-freedom microvibration unit, sufficiently sensitive to identify the multi-axis forces induced by a single dropped feather.

    Most satellites have some limits on microvibration to ensure high-quality results, especially for science, Earth observation and human spaceflight. Minimising jitter helps to deliver ultra-high-resolution images, precision attitude control and pointing stability for optimal science measurements.

    Many essential satellite elements are potential sources of jitter, such as spinning reaction wheels, scanning or pointing mechanisms, solar array drives or rotating cryocoolers.

    Developed for ESA by the UK’s National Physical Laboratory – a national centre of excellence for measurement standards – this new microvibration test machine is designed to characterise extremely small disturbances from satellite subsystems or to assess the performance of precision mechanisms.

    In addition, it is able to generate a controlled microvibration environment by itself, allowing the assessment of an item’s performance under various conditions.

    “In recent years we’ve built a portfolio of world-class microvibration test facilities with demonstrated, unprecedented performance,” comments Mark Wagner, ESA’s Head of Test Facilities and Test Methods.

    “This new facility is complementing these capabilities, enabling us to offer an independent characterisation of potential microvibration sources while also allowing performance testing of sensitive equipment while subjected to an injected microvibration environment.”

    Standing around a metre high, the facility – being installed at the ESTEC Test Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands – performs two tasks at once.

    Its bottom section isolates the rest of the measurement part of the machine from vibrations transferred via the ground such as nearby footsteps, seismic noise or even the waves of the nearby North Sea. Suitably detached in this way, the top section measures micronewton-scale forces and torques from the item under test.

    The unit operates under a plastic tent to minimise perturbations from airflow caused by the building’s cleanroom-class air conditioning. It can also work in vacuum.

    Once it is qualified, it will enter service in June. ESA is also looking for a permanent name for the machine – watch this space for more details.

    ESA Test Centre

    Designed for full-scale satellite testing, the ESTEC Test Centre is a collection of facilities to simulate every aspect of the space environment.

    Everything is located under a single roof, within a controlled cleanroom environment tailored for delicate flight hardware.

    Based in a dedicated building in ESTEC, it is the largest centre of its kind in Europe, and one of the largest in the world.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 3:23 pm on February 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ESA ESTEC, , New Bedrest Adventure Adds Artificial Gravity   

    From ESA: New Bedrest Adventure Adds Artificial Gravity 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner
    European Space Agency

    2 February 2016
    No writer credit found

    The human body is made for living on Earth – take away the constant pull of gravity and muscles and bones begin to waste away. Living in space is hard on astronauts and ways must be found to keep them fit and safe.

    ESA and NASA are planning to confine human subjects to bed for 60 days in 2017 in Cologne, Germany to probe the effects of spaceflight, with periods in a centrifuge to test if artificial gravity can keep them healthy.

    Bedrest studies offer a way of testing measures to counter some of the negative aspects of living in space. Volunteers are kept in beds with the head end tilted 6° below the horizontal. For 60 days one of the subject’s shoulders must be touching the bed at all times.

    As blood flows to the head and muscle is lost from underuse, researchers can investigate changes and test techniques from diet to physical exercise.

    Human centrifuge for artificial gravity

    The study will be conducted at the DLR German Aerospace Center’s :envihab flagship site in Cologne. Built from the ground up to research the human body under spaceflight conditions, it allows researchers to change almost every aspect of the environment, including humidity, daylight and temperature.

    ESA and DLR have already run their first study – spare a thought for the 12 brave volunteers who finished 60 days in bed last November – but this one will be the first to use the facility’s centrifuge. By spinning the subjects, the blood is encouraged to flow back towards the feet.

    The advantage of artificial gravity is that it has the potential of reducing most of the negative effects of weightlessness on the human body in one go.

    :envihab’s centrifuge can adjust the centre of spin so that subjects can be spun around their heads or chests. Changing the position could have far-reaching consequences for rehabilitation but, as this is a new domain, nobody knows yet.

    Jennifer Ngo-Anh, leading ESA’s human research, says, “I am happy to start this new bedrest study with our friends and colleagues from NASA, our first in 10 years. This study begins a series of bedrest studies focusing on artificial gravity, making use of the ESA-built centrifuges in Cologne and at MEDES in Toulouse, France.

    “This exciting research platform offers scientists around the world a way to collect results and contribute to long-duration missions to the Moon, Mars and even beyond.”

    The results are helping astronaut physicians to design better ways for astronauts to keep fit, but the knowledge is also directly applicable to bedridden people on Earth.

    Scientists are invited to submit research proposals via this link. The letter of intent is due by 15 February, with a workshop at ESA’s technical heart, ESTEC, on 22 February.

    DLR Bloc

    NASA image

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 12:32 pm on November 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ESA ESTEC,   

    From ESA: “Tracking new missions from down under” 

    ESASpaceForEuropeBanner
    European Space Agency

    1
    A new 4.5 m-diameter ‘acquisition aid’ dish antenna is being added to ESA’s existing New Norcia, Western Australia, tracking station, ready to catch the first signals from newly launched missions. The new antenna will allow acquisition and tracking during the critical initial orbits of new missions (see Liftoff: ESOC assumes control), up to roughly 100 000 km range. It can also ‘slave’ the much larger 35m dish, which can then be used to retrieve ranging data and telemetry signals – on-board status information – from the newly launched spacecraft.

    24 November 2015

    For beachgoers, Australia’s pristine west coast is an ideal location to catch some rays. It is also ideal for catching signals from newly launched rockets and satellites, which is one reason why ESA is redeveloping its tracking capabilities down under.

    When rockets and their satellites leap into the sky from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, they typically head east across the Atlantic, rising higher and faster with every second.

    Some 50 minutes after launch, the new mission can be seen from Western Australia, rising up from the Indian Ocean horizon and then arcing high in the sky, already in space.

    By the time the satellite, travelling at some 28 000 km/h, separates to start its life in orbit, it will already be in radio range of the land down under.

    2
    ESA’s New Norcia station, DSA 1 (Deep Space Antenna 1), hosts a 35-metre deep-space antenna (NNO-1) together with a new 4.5-metre ‘acquisition aid’ antenna (NNO-2). It is located 140 kilometres north of Perth, Western Australia, close to the town of New Norcia. The large dish is designed for communicating with deep-space missions and provides support to spacecraft such as Mars Express, Rosetta and Gaia for routine operations. The small dish allows acquisition and tracking during the critical initial orbits of new missions, up to roughly 100 000 km range.

    By early next year, a new radio dish will be working at ESA’s existing New Norcia, Western Australia, tracking station, tracking station, ready to catch the first signals from new missions.

    New Norcia currently has a large, 35 m-diameter dish for tracking deep-space missions such as Rosetta, Mars Express and Gaia, typically voyaging in the Solar System several hundred million km away.

    ESA Rosetta spacecraft
    Rosetta

    ESA Mars Express Orbiter
    Mars ExpressESA Gaia satellite
    GAIA

    Its size and technology are not ideal, however, for initial signalling to new satellites in low-Earth orbit.

    In contrast, the new dish, just 4.5 m across, will lock onto and track new satellites during the critical initial orbits (see Liftoff: ESOC assumes control), up to roughly 100 000 km out.

    It can also ‘slave’ the much larger dish, which can then receive ranging data and telemetry – onboard status information – from the new spacecraft.

    3
    Mission control team watch liftoff from the Main Control Room at ESOC, ESA’s European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, 15 July 2015

    “For satellite signals, the new dish has a wider field of view than the 35 m antenna,” says Gunther Sessler, ESA’s project manager, “and can grab the signal even when the new satellite’s position is not precisely known.

    “It also offers rapid sky searches in case the satellite’s position after separation is completely unknown, which can happen if the rocket over- or under-performs.”

    In addition to satellites, the new antenna can also track rockets, including Ariane 5, Vega and Soyuz.

    The upgrade was prompted by the need to move the capability that, so far, has been provided by the ESA tracking station at Perth, 140 km southeast of New Norcia.

    4
    23/12/2004 ESA’s Perth station hosts a 15-metre antenna with transmission and reception in both S- and X-band and provides routine support for XMM-Newton and Cluster, as well as other missions during their Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP). It is located 20 kms north of Perth on the campus of the Perth International Telecommunications Centre (PITC).

    That station’s location has become increasingly untenable through urban sprawl and radio interference from TV broadcast vans.

    The upgrade ensures that ESA’s Estrack tracking network can continue providing crucial satellite services along the most-used trajectories.

    “With the closing of Perth station, ESA would have lost its capability in Western Australia, which is a critical location for most European missions,” says Manfred Lugert, ground facilities manager at ESA’s operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

    The antenna was designed for low maintenance and operating costs and can go into hibernation when it is not needed between launches.

    Perth station will remain in operation until the end of 2015, when it will be dismantled and many of its components reused at other ESA stations.

    Once testing is completed, the dish will enter service in early 2016 in time for Galileo navsat launches and the first ExoMars mission, in March.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 12:40 pm on September 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ESA ESTEC   

    From ESA: “Estec on the Move” 

    ESASpaceForEuropeBanner
    European Space Agency

    ESTEC: a day in the life

    Sep 4, 2015

    A composite day at ESTEC, the European space research and technology centre, as depicted in time-lapse format.

    Located in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, ESTEC is Europe’s largest place for space, the technical heart of the European Space Agency. For almost all European space missions, the path to space leads through ESTEC.

    Around 2700 people arrive here for work every day, working on a broad range of space activities from scientific exploration to telecommunications, Earth observation to navigation, robotics to human spaceflight.

    A suite of unique laboratories probe every aspect of the space environment, applying decades of hard-won expertise. Seen here is preparation for testing materials in simulated space conditions as well as atomic force microscopy, employing a nanometer-wide tip like a stylus across a record player to reveal surface topography down to the atomic scale.

    Full-scale testing of satellites takes place in the ESTEC Test Centre, including the Maxwell Chamber, kept isolated from the external world for precision electromagnetic testing, and the Large Space Simulator, Europe’s largest vacuum chamber used to reproduce the airlessness and temperature extremes encountered in space. The chamber uses large quantities of liquid nitrogen to mimic the chill of deep space.

    Erasmus is ESTEC’s human spaceflight facility, supporting researchers in the design and performance of experiments in microgravity conditions. Also based there is ESTEC’s Telerobotics lab – developing methods of remotely controlling robots using force feedback, extending the human sense of touch to space. The lab team are putting the finishing touches to the Interact Centaur rover, a robot designed to be operated remotely by astronauts in orbit.

    Want to see more? You can on Sunday 4 October, with your own eyes – register to attend the 2015 ESTEC Open Day! http://www.esa.int/About_Us/ESTEC/See spacecraft and meet astronauts at ESA’s technical heart

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 11:02 am on June 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , ESA ESTEC   

    From ESA: “Europe’s space hub to open its doors on 6 October” 

    ESASpaceForEuropeBanner
    European Space Agency

    17 June 2013

    “From the latest space ferry to the very first Alphasat, Europe has never been more active in space, with a crowded manifest of ESA launches across the rest of the year. But where are all these varied missions born? See for yourself this October, as ESA’s ESTEC research and technology centre opens its doors to the public.

    estec

    ESTEC’s Space Expo visitor centre is open year-round but on 6 October this year, for one day only from 10:00 to 17:00, the entire establishment is being opened to the public – provided you book early enough.

    No sooner has Luca Parmitano joined the International Space Station than ESA’s latest space truck is resupplying the orbital outpost. Meanwhile, the May-launched Proba-V is returning its first maps of global vegetation, while the high-power Alphasat telecoms satellite is being prepared for launch. The Gaia satellite will soon begin charting a billion stars in 3D in our Galaxy, while the next batch of Galileo navigation satellites will also fly this year.

    All very different space missions with diverse goals, but their origins can all be traced back behind the doors of a single location: the European Space Technology and Research Centre, ESTEC – ESA’s single largest establishment, nestling beside the sand dunes of Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

    In place for more than half a century, ESTEC is the incubator of the European space effort, where most ESA projects are born and where they are guided through development. Involvement may start with initial mission planning, research projects or laboratory support, extending to the testing of entire spacecraft in the ESTEC Test Centre, the largest facility of its kind in Europe. And ESTEC’s Erasmus is the leading European repository of human spaceflight expertise.”

    See the full article here.

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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  • richardmitnick 1:49 pm on April 3, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ESA ESTEC,   

    From ESA: “Seeing green” 

    ESASpaceForEuropeBanner
    European Space Agency

    3 April 2013
    No Writer Credit

    “Test engineer Laurence Levan is bathed in an intense green glow from powerful ultraviolet lamps simulating the unfiltered sunlight of space within a test chamber – the lamplight being in fact blue, but filtered through yellow screens to block the harmful ultraviolet rays.

    test
    UV test facility at ESTEC

    This is the CROSS1 VUV-UV high vacuum chamber at work, based in the Materials and Electrical Components Laboratories at ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

    The facility is used to recreate the space environment by attaining space-quality vacuum, while subjecting the test item to temperature extremes – ranging from -150°C to +400°C or higher – and exposing it to simulate ultraviolet solar radiation, up to 13 times the sunlight experienced by satellites in Earth orbit.

    Typically, such high-intensity radiation is used to perform lifetime testing, artificially ageing the test material to gain insight into how they will perform across a mission’s entire lifetime. In a couple of cases, there are indeed space missions that will have to endure comparable conditions for real.

    The facility has recently been used for screening and qualifying various materials for ESA’s 2015 BepiColombo mission to Mercury, as well as Solar Orbiter, which will venture even closer to the Sun after its 2017 launch.

    The materials being tested include solar cells, insulating white ceramics to cover the high-gain antenna that will return mission data back to Earth and high-performance thermal control material, such as specially tailored multilayer insulation and Nextel ceramic blankets.”

    See the full article here.

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

    ESA Technology


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  • richardmitnick 8:41 am on March 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ESA ESTEC,   

    From ESA: “Technology troubleshooters” 

    ESASpaceForEuropeBanner
    European Space Agency

    20 March 2013
    No Writer Credit

    Need to know how a particular item of equipment will stand up to the rigours of space? The team at ESA’s Mechanical Systems Laboratory stand ready to help.

    four
    Engineers at ESA’s Mechanical Systems Lab. Seen from left to right: engineers Jürgen Eisenbraun, Carl Hall, George Varewijck, Stéphane Roure.

    Based at ESA’s technical heart ESTEC, beside the North Sea shore of Noordwijk, the Netherlands, the Mechanical Systems Lab simulates the harsh conditions of space in order to assess the mechanical and thermal performance of key spacecraft elements.

    Performing around 70 tests per year, the Lab fills the gap between individual component and material testing and the full-scale spacecraft testing taking place next door at the ESTEC Test Centre.

    It is equipped to perform thermal vacuum testing as well as mechanical vibration testing. This first type of testing simulates the vacuum of space along with its associated temperature extremes (typically ranging in the Lab from –270ºC to +550ºC), while the second replicates the violence of a rocket launch.

    Beyond standard operations, the Lab has the flexibility to react quickly to any space project in need, rapidly customising new types of tests as required.

    See the full article here.

    The European Space Agency (ESA), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

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