Questions tagged [esa]

Questions related to structure, operations, missions, and facilities of the European Space Agency, an intergovernmental organization of 20 European states and Canada.

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What are, and what has been learned from making plasma crystals in space? Is a tl;dr-like answer possible?

The two articles below describe a set of plasma crystal experiments scheduled for 2019 aboard the ISS in cooperation with German and Russian scientists on the ground. These were not the first but ...
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Do sounding rockets need a license to be launched?

I am just curious to know if any kind of license is needed to launch a sounding rocket? If yes, then what kind of licenses are there for sounding rocket launches.
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Can ESA control the two Voyager spacecraft?

This is such a dumb question. There are many space organizations. Let's take ESA for this case. Given the two Voyager spacecraft are transmitting a weak radio signal to the Earth, can ESA command and ...
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Did the EU successfully ban hydrazine? What about French Guiana?

Hobbes' answer to Is the EU really banning “toxic propellants” in 2020? How is that going to work? includes Yes, the EU is aiming to end the use of hydrazine by ~2020. This has been in motion since ...
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Is a PhD in space-related technology from a Physics background possible?

I am 24 years old, from Argentina. Next year I will finish my 6-year degree in physics from the University of Buenos Aires (We've been told that it is equivalent to a master's degree, but maybe is ...
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Why did ESA retire the Automated Transfer Vehicle, instead of developing it into a crewed spacecraft?

The Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) was a cargo spacecraft for the ISS developed by ESA, analoguous to the Russian Progress and America's Cargo Dragon. It had three times the Progress' capacity and ...
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How are operational procedures developed?

In anticipation of the upcoming Ingenuity flight, I have found myself wondering how procedures are developed by spacecraft operators. How is a go/no go procedure created? How does the team create a ...
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Help understanding vectors in diagram from “Magnetohydrodynamic flow control during reentry” and the actual goal of this research

A link to the ESA Advanced Concepts Team page Magnetohydrodynamic flow control during reentry was recently shared under Re-entry Heat Shield Alternative. It says: During the reentry phase, spacecraft ...
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Why does ESA's TGO satellite not permanently serve as relay for Perseverance?

This question is about the orbital parameters of ESA's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), so I am optimisitic that it belongs on astronomy SE. More specifically, it is about the orbital geometry of TGO ...
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How exactly are the CaSSIS and HiRISE groups “very much working together right now in the scientific field”?

The BBC's CaSSIS mission: The camera capturing Mars' craters and canyons includes the curious reference: The instrument has a strong colour capability so the team combines its findings with those of ...
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How do all the struts and crosses in the Orion Crew Capsule Service Module work together? What do each of these parts do?

The BBC's Europe to make more hardware for American Moon missions says that three more service modules for the Orion Crew Capsule have been ordered by NASA, bringing the total desired to six. I ...
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Will surface samples from Mars orbit the planet in a spherical capsule until captured?

The abstract of the interesting 2001 NASA JPL paper Covering a Sphere with Retroreflectors says: Abstract- One of the future missions for Mars involves returning a soil sample from the Martian ...
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Was solar newbie Solar Orbiter able to get “closer” to the Sun than Parker Solar Probe so quickly?

The NASA News headline ESA/NASA's Solar Orbiter Returns First Data, Snaps Closest Pictures of the Sun caught my eye because Solar Orbiter (2020-010A) was launched just five months ago whereas Parker ...
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What kind of rocket will ESA(?) launch from Mars? Who will build it?

The NASA-credited images below are from the BBC News article Europe pushes ahead with 'dune buggy' Mars rover which explains that it will drive around quickly on it's big 70 cm wheels (see article for ...
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Is there an European Space Agency's innovative advanced concept program?

I would like to know if there's an equivalent to NASA's NIAC at ESA. If that's the case, I would like to know if I can read some of these concept studies and what stages of approval they need.
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Why is the RTEMS Real-Time Operating System often used in European space industry?

I was wondering recently about RTEMS. Why is this Real-Time Operating System (RTOS) widely use in the European space industry among other suitable alternatives like freeRTOS or VxWorks? Is this RTOS ...
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Is this digitally created ESA image of a Mars landscape incorrect to what the human eye would see?

This ESA image below of Noctis Labyrithus was created with data obtained from the High-Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC), onboard ESA’s Mars Express, seems to depict a time near either sunrise or sunset....
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Will Optical communications be possible between Columbus' Ka-band (COLKa) Terminal at the ISS and EDRS?

The BBC's British radio antenna to arrive at space station says: The new fridge-sized terminal will route video, voice and data to the ground through satellites that are actually higher in the sky ...
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Why did ESA's Solar Orbiter mission's target inclination drop from 34 to 25°?

Wikipedia says that: During the planned 7-year mission the orbital inclination will be raised to about 25° But the information below shows that originally the target final inclination was much ...
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Why is ESA developing the Vinci engine rather than buying RL10Bs?

The Vinci engine seems very very similar to the RL10B. Both are hydrolox expander-cycle engines with 465 s Isp and extendible nozzles with a ~250:1 expansion ratio. The biggest difference is that the ...
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What terminology is used to describe spacecraft in stationkeeping?

Forgive any inaccurate wording of this question. If a Soyuz craft which had been docked at the Zvezda module backed away from the ISS and remained at stationkeeping, would NASA, Roscosmos, or the ESA ...
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Will CHEOPS use DSN or ESA ground stations, or both?

The new ESA video Cheops: Europe's exoplanet mission shows an animation of the space telescope communicating with a ground station somewhere in central Spain. The Deep Space Network indeed has a ...
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Why is the Heat Shield of ESA's Solar Orbiter Black in colour?

Solar Orbiter (SolO) is a planned Sun-observing satellite, under development by the European Space Agency (ESA). Due to its proximity to the Sun, it receives about 13 times more solar energy than we ...
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What exactly is an F-mission?

This @CometInterceptor tweet shows the mission's insignia. The complete wording on the patch is as follows: COMET INTERCEPTOR F-mission Question: What exactly is an F-mission? See also: Comet ...
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ESA's contribution to ISS: what has succeeded the ATV?

ESA's ATV cargo spacecraft was built and flown as part of ESA's contribution to the ISS operating cost. This program has ended. What has replaced it? Has ESA's financial contribution increased, or ...
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Is vertical assembly worth the cost (Ariane 6)

Very recently, ESA released a new video showing the proposed Ariane 6 rocket being assembled. This mostly takes place in a large 'moveable gantry' building where the payload is placed on top of the ...
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What are the bumps on the Vega rocket

In the image below, we see some bumps at the conical section of what I believe is the transition from the first to the second stage. What function do they serve? Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
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Where did the Herschel Space Telescope go in 2013?

The Herschel space telescope wins as largest optical telescope mirror in space when "optical" includes far infrared (~55 µm). The Wikipedia article Herschel Space Observatory lists the orbit ...
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If the ESA has its own deep space network, why does it use NASA's?

The European Space Agency has its own network for communicating for spacecraft in deep space, ESTRACK. It has stations distributed around the globe: Nonetheless, several ESA missions use NASA's Deep ...
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How does European jurisdiction in the ISS works?

This answer notes that participant nations have jurisdiction over their modules. So in a US module, you are in US jurisdiction, etc. Which means that in an European module, you are in European ...
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Why can Cryosat's dual antenna “better discern steep slopes” of Antarctic ice than Sentinel-3?

The BBC's Climate change: Satellite fix safeguards Antarctic data explains that earlier problems of missing data near the coasts have been addressed, and though scientists are hopeful, there is ...
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Is it justified that ESA is pushing to launch Rosalind Franklin even after Schiaparelli landing failed? [closed]

As far as I am aware, ESA has not achieved a successful martian landing yet. Why is it still a good idea to try with full-scale rover, weighting more than Opportunity and Spirit (though less than ...
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Why does ExoMars have more landing ellipse flexibility in 2020 than in 2018?

The BBC's ExoMars: Where to send Europe's robot rover? discusses the decision-making faced by the ExoMars Site Selection Working Group. The working group will spend Thursday and Friday discussing ...
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Help understanding BepiColombo's weak capture at Mercury's L1 and need for delta-differential one-way range measurements

This four-minute BBC podcast Mission to Mercury: BepiColombo spacecraft ready for launch highlights several challenges of the BepiColombo mission, including its orbital-mechanical aspects and is worth ...
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How can we see RemoveDebris capturing a satellite with a net?

The BBC's RemoveDebris: UK satellite nets 'space junk' says: The aptly named RemoveDebris satellite took a video of its net experiment. The short sequence shows a small, shoebox-sized object tumbling ...
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How does the contest for naming ExoMars work?

ESA is holding a contest to collect suggestions for a proper name for what is currently referred to as the ExoMars rover mission to Mars (mission page). Apparently, Rovy McRoverface and Marsy ...
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What ESA video contains this “family portrait” of comet-visiting spacecraft?

I don't use (or condone) FaceBook, but nonetheless I stumbled upon this page from a search: https://www.facebook.com/ISEE3Reboot/photos/a.801544933207256.1073741827.800538433307906/1384594101569000/?...
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What is the ESA Grip experiment, and why does it require Alexander Gerst to be strapped into it?

The text of this 14-June-2018 astronews.com tweet translated into English via google says: IMAGE OF THE DAY: Today's picture of the day shows the German ESA ...
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Why has the number of European space launches dropped in 2018?

There is a table of space launches from wikipedia in 2018 (Images have been updated on July 11, 2018): For now about half of year has been passed, but share of ESA launches is comparable with share of ...
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What is the large circular device with a dozen concentric circles on Sentinel 3B?

The Spaceflight Now article Photos: Sentinel 3B satellite prepared for launch from Plesetsk Cosmodrome has of course lots of photos. One of them shows a dish antenna covered with shiny, metallized ...
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How will the corner cube retroreflector array be used on Sentinel 3B?

The Spaceflight Now article Photos: Sentinel 3B satellite prepared for launch from Plesetsk Cosmodrome has of course lots of photos. One of them shows a dish antenna covered with shiny, metallized ...
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Why is Sentinel 3B's dish antenna overwrapped with metallized film?

The Spaceflight Now article Photos: Sentinel 3B satellite prepared for launch from Plesetsk Cosmodrome has of course lots of photos. One of them shows a dish antenna covered with shiny, metallized ...
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Why does ExoMars need stereo ground-penetrating radar “eyes”?

In the BBC News article Europe's Mars rover takes shape there is a short video describing the Structural and Thermal Model (STM) of the ExoMars Rover. After describing the drill box, the narrator in ...
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Why has ESA never flown a crewed spacecraft?

According to Wikipedia, ESA has never had a crewed spacecraft. While this is reasonable, it's striking that no ESA crewed spacecraft is in development right now. What's the rationale behind this ...
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Is 678 km the new altitude record for a rocket shot “straight up” (vertical launch)?

The Space Daily April 10th Rocket Science item Europe's largest sounding rocket launched from Esrange says: MAXUS 9, Europe's largest sounding rocket for experiments in microgravity, successfully ...
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MetOp-A; Why this unusual solar panel shape and deployment method?

This solar panel is closer to square than most solar panels I've seen, which tend to be very long - length/width ratio perhaps 4 to 6. This looks like only 1.5, and it seems to be located at the end ...
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Why does NASA and other space agencies seem to rarely if ever complain over the state of the budget?

The question is why and how the politics plays into this. Why does NASA and other space agencies usually not (if ever) complain about their minuscule budgets? I can only assume that doing so would be ...
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Insight on EDM Schiaparelli's IMU error and subsequent failed landing

Read this SpaceNews article which states,'1 second of Inertial Measurement error' caused the devastation in the Schiaparelli's landing sequence, causing it to free fall for 3.7 kms. What is exactly ...
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Was it ever suggested to merge ESA with Roscosmos?

ESA, the European Space Agency, is (formally) independent of other international cooperations like the European Union. After the fall of the Soviet Union, were there ever any proposals for ESA to join ...
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Is this a first Mars aerobraking for ESA, or for anyone?

In the ESA video ExoMars at the Red Planet after about 02:10, it says: With ExoMars, ESA is going to use for the first time, a method called aerobraking for a spacecraft in orbit around Mars... ...