ESA Bulletin 138 (May 2009)

19 May 2009

The May issue of the Bulletin features Herschel and Planck, and ESA's next astronaut missions. There's also a new way to read the Bulletin and other publications online, with our new visualisation tool.
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Launched this month, ESA’s Herschel infrared space telescope and the Planck cosmic background mapper are two of the most ambitious missions ever attempted - to unveil the secrets of the darkest, coldest and oldest parts of the Universe.

Also in this issue of ESA's flagship magazine, we look at the Product Assurance and Safety (PA&S) department at ESTEC, Noordwijk. This is the ‘powerhouse’ for quality in ESA, with the responsibility to identify and mitigate all aspects of space projects that could have adverse effects on mission success. Together with the project review cycle, this department provides ESA’s essential backbone for transparency and independent reporting to top-level corporate management.

We have an interview with Jean-Yves Le Gall, chairman and CEO of Arianespace. Mr Le Gall talks about the success of Ariane from the operator’s point of view, and provides an outlook for the future of ESA’s growing launch vehicle family.

Completing this issue, we look at the upcoming missions for European astronauts, highlighting that this summer, the International Space Station’s permanent crew will, for the first time, increase from three to six. Also for the first time, every ISS partner agency will have a representative astronaut on board.

The experience of having flown in space and having seen Earth from above fascinates millions of people and helps to open doors to decision-makers. Our astronauts can also be seen as 'ambassadors' for Europe, bringing our European values to human spaceflight, exploration and space in general.

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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