ESA Bulletin 130 (May 2007)

Two major ESA programmes are featured in this issue of the Bulletin: ‘GMES’ observation satellites and Jules Verne, the first of five Automated Transfer Vehicles. Additional articles include the ‘Astrolab and Celsius’ missions, ESA Television and the future of the ESA Science Programme.

The ‘GMES’ observation satellites will help to provide the information needed to manage our environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change, and ensure civil security for Europe. Important decisions are expected in the next two years on the programme’s future.

Jules Verne, the first of five Automated Transfer Vehicles, stands on the brink of flight. Its inaugural mission, set for the second half of 2007, marks a new step for European space transportation and lays a cornerstone for human spaceflight. It is the most versatile spacecraft ever developed, uniquely able to self-navigate in orbit and control its own rendezvous. It is critical for resupplying the International Space Station.

‘Astrolab and Celsius’ focuses on two remarkably successful ESA missions: Thomas Reiter’s 171-day Astrolab and Christer Fuglesang’s 13-day Celsius. These were the first in a new series of ESA missions to the International Space Station, as Europe fulfils its duty as a fully-fledged partner, contributing to the assembly and maintenance of the space outpost.

Getting ESA into the TV news of its Member States is an important element of the Agency’s communication strategy. TV news engages the public in space activities, leading to political support and, ultimately, funding for future programmes. ‘ESA TV’ is a trusted source of space images and stories for Europe’s broadcasters. Space is too good a story not to be part of the news.

Other articles look at how ESA’s hugely successful science programme can be continued in the future, how laser testing can help to protect spacecraft against high-speed meteoroids, and how a new approach is cutting the cost and risk in developing software for controlling satellites.

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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