ESA Bulletin 146 (May 2011)

30 May 2011

The technology developments of today make possible the space missions of tomorrow. Read our 'Technology special' issue of the Bulletin and other publications online, with our visualiser tool.
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In a first for the Bulletin, we take a wide look at technology development across the whole agency, from Science & Robotic Exploration, to Earth Observation and Telecommunications & Integrated Applications. From missions flying close to the Sun, to missions journeying to the outer reaches of our Solar System, and from the creation of microscopic components to the testing of complete spacecraft.

Introduced by Building the future: technology development at ESA, the development of technology – making new things to do new things – is central to ESA's existence and is one of our main 'enabling activities'.

Technology-based innovation is today widely recognised as a major source of wealth creation and competitive advantage. So ESA's work on space technology not only allows us to explore space and build better space systems, it also brings a significant contribution to Europe's growth and employment.

In Symphony in space, we give some background to two current human spaceflight missions: Roberto Vittori becomes the first ESA astronaut to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) for a third time, as a Mission Specialist on the final voyage of Space Shuttle Endeavour. Once docked to the ISS, he is greeted by his ESA colleague Paolo Nespoli, who is just completing his long-duration MagISStra mission.

Our last article in this issue marks the final flight of the US Space Shuttle, STS-135, scheduled for this summer. European astronauts who have flown on the Shuttle look back at the history of this Remarkable flying machine, recount some of their experiences and share their thoughts on the future.

The Bulletin is published four times a year to inform the space-interested public of ESA’s activities. In addition to a wide range of articles, every issue provides an overview of the status of ESA's major space projects.

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