ESA Bulletin 148 (November 2011)

25 November 2011

A fully assembled and operational International Space Station is waiting for ESA astronaut André Kuipers this Christmas. Read about his PromISSe mission, and other stories, in the Bulletin.
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The Promise of Space describes the first long stay on the ISS for a European since the end of the Shuttle programme in July. With the ISS lifetime extended to 2020, André's presence on the Space Station will inaugurate a new decade of using the ISS to bring the benefits of space science, technology and education back to Earth.

In Global Countdown to Galileo, we look at the worldwide preparations for Europe's Galileo global navigation satellite system. The launch of its first pair of satellites was a milestone moment in the history of cooperation in space, being also the first time a Russian Soyuz vehicle lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana.

Virtual Reality for Real Operations looks at both the development and use of Operational Simulators. The role of simulators in spaceflight was made famous in 'Apollo 13', Ron Howard’s 1995 film about the ill-fated Apollo mission. Nowadays, the big hardware simulators of the 1960s have been replaced with cheaper software, but the concept remains the same, when "Failure is not an option!”

Launching and operating dedicated satellites just to introduce new services or to validate new technologies can be very expensive. In Hitching a Ride to Orbit describes one solution promoted by ESA in recent years, ‘hosted payloads’, allowing a win-win-win approach for operators, industry and public institutions alike.

This issue of the Bulletin is rounded off with a tribute to ERS-2, the veteran Earth observation satellite that was finally shut down this year after 16 years of service, and a celebration ESA's Proba-1 microsatellite, a technology demonstrator turned Earth observation mission that has now marked ten years in orbit.

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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