ESA Bulletin 134 (May 2008)

6 June 2008

This issue of ESA’s flagship magazine, the Bulletin, carries a range of articles: from the latest European rocket engine tests, to how ESA's Mars Express and ESOC were involved with the US Phoenix mission to Mars.
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Landing on Mars is one of the most difficult tasks any spacecraft can undertake. In the past, efforts to explain failed landings have sometimes been hampered by a lack of data from the atmospheric entry, descent and landing phase. In 2007 NASA requested if ESA’s Mars Express could be available as one of three orbiters used to monitor the dramatic arrival of Phoenix at the Red Planet. One of our main stories features the work of specialists at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre to design and test a new communications mode that allowed Mars Express to support the Phoenix mission.

Other articles include: the achievements of ESA’s Future Launchers Preparatory Programme (FLPP) Expander Demonstrator Project, including several European ‘firsts’, which are essential contributions to the development of future cryogenic upper-stage engines; XMM-Newton's next 10 years in space, plus a look back at some of its most interesting results; 'Getting customer-oriented' looks at how ESA Procurement processes have evolved to deal with an ever-changing world; 'Mission Analysis', once an exclusive activity of ESA experts, is an integral part of every space project which now relies on a network of competent European industrial, academic and ESA partners.

Featured on the front cover, and in the news section, we have the latest pictures of ESA's Automated Transfer Vehicle Jules Verne being launched to the International Space Station and in flight.

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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