European Space Agency

In Brief

Michael Heseltine
Michael Heseltine, President of the UK s Board of Trade, tries out the virtual reality demonstration at the Farnborough air show

ESA Returns to Farnborough Air Show

After a six-year break, ESA returned to Farnborough International 94, with an independent space pavilion. The show was held from 5 to 11 September.

The theme of the pavilion was Europe Putting Space to Work . The pavilion was jointly organised by ESA, the British National Space Centre (BNSC), and the United Kingdom Industrial Space Committee (UKISC). The objective was to enable professional visitors and the general public to learn more about ESA and the British space community, and the achievements that Europeans are making in space today.

The space pavilion turned out to be one of the most visited exhibits at the show. The principal attraction was ESA s virtual reality demonstration. By donning a pair of special goggles, visitors were able to visit the International Space Station, enter the Columbus Attached Laboratory and open experiment containers.

Space Exhibition in Munich

In July, ESA participated in another space exhibition, this time in the chancellery of the Bavarian Government in Munich. The exhibition was jointly organised by ESA, several Bavarian space-related companies, and the Bavarian chancellery. It attracted more than 10 000 visitors during its four weeks on display. V

In Memoriam Renzo Carrobio di Carrobio (1905-1994)

 Renzo Carrobio di Carrobio
Renzo Carrobio di Carrobio

L' ambassadeur Renzo Carrobio di Carrobio vient de nous quitter réemment. L'Europe spatiale perd en lui un de ses plus fervents défenseurs.

Né à Rome le 19 mars 1905, Renzo di Carrobio était destiné très tôt à la carriére diplomatique qui l a vu occuper divers postes consulaires à Moscou, Toulon, Berne, New Dehli, Trieste... Ministre plénitentiaire, ambassadeur d Italie au San Dalvador (1952) puis en Afrique du Sud (1959), il fut l' un des principaux acteurs de l' Europe spatiale dans les années soixante en devenant le premier Secrétaire général du CECLES/ELDO(1962...) qu il a marqué de son talent de diplomate et son action de pionnier.

Renzo di Carrobio était lieutenant de réserve et chevalier de la Grande Croix de l Ordre du Mérite de la République.

Space Radiation Environment Monitored

Two models of ESA s Radiation Environment Monitor (REM) are now in orbit and are simultaneously studying the space radiation environment in two widely different and important orbits.

The REM counts electrons and protons that penetrate the REM s hemispherical shielding to reach the silicon detectors. The two REMs are identical instruments and are calibrated together.

One of the REMs is part of the payload of the micro-satellite Space Technology Research Vehicle (STRV 1B) launched into geostationary transfer orbit by Ariane V64 on 17 June. STRV 1B is one of a pair of satellites built by DRA (UK). The geostationary transfer orbit is particularly interesting for radiation studies because it passes through the belts of trapped radiation (called the Van Allen belts) and is also exposed to solar energetic particles and cosmic rays. In early September, the STRV REM closely monitored an electron 'storm' that resulted from a geomagnetic disturbance.

The second REM was carried to Mir in a Soyuz vehicle in July and was installed on the outside of Mir during an EVA on 9 September. That REM is now being commissioned and initial tests have provided several hours of good data.

In addition to comparisons between the data collected by the two REMs, the data can be compared to that obtained by other radiation sensors on STRV and sensors on the Space Shuttle mission that will visit MIR in 1995. The design life of STRV is one year, and the MIR contract calls for the delivery of data for one year, after which time the REM will become part of the EuroMir programme. The REM was developed under ESA s CACH programme (with CIR and PSI of Switzerland) and the two instruments are now in orbit as part of ESA s Technology Demonstration Programme.

Radiation Environment Monitor
The radiation environment Monitor (REM) in the STRV configuration. The white box is mounted on the outside of the spacecraft with a clear view into space. The REM counts the elctrons and protons that penetrate the shielding (two white domes, on right) and reach the silicon detectors

Surprising Results from Ulysses South Polar Pass

On 13 September, ESA's Ulysses spaceprobe passed under the south pole of the Sun a major milestone on its journey of exploration through the region of space far from the plane in which most planets and spacecraft orbit the Sun.

To mark that milestone, more than 80 scientists who have been participating in the joint ESA-NASA mission gathered at ESTEC in The Netherlands to discuss their latest results. They stressed the unique nature of Ulysses highly inclined, out-of-ecliptic orbit, that offers a totally new vantage point from which to study the Sun and its environment at solar minimum.

The findings reported to date include:

With its exploration above the Sun's south polar region completed, Ulysses is now heading back toward the ecliptic en route to the second polar pass, this time above the north pole. Between June and September 1995, scientists will have an opportunity to compare conditions in the north with those encountered in the southern hemisphere, leading undoubtedly to new discoveries and more puzzles. Looking even further ahead, there are now firm indications that NASA will follow ESA s lead and continue to support the mission for a second solar orbit, which will include polar passes in 2000 and 2001.

John Simpson
John Simpson (left), one of the Ulysses principal investigators, from the University of Chicago; Edgar Page (centre), ESA Science Coordinator at JPL; and Roger Bonnet (right), ESA's Director of Science, recount the history of the Ulysses project

International Space University Holds 7th Summer Session

The International Space University (ISU) held its seventh summer session this past summer, in Barcelona, Spain. A total of 124 space professionals from29 countries participated in the intensive 10-week programme. Each year, ESA sponsors a group of Europeans to attend ISU. This year, the group included three ESA staff members: Allessandro Donati from ESOC, and Philippe Gilson and Bengt Johlander from ESTEC.

The curriculum
The ISU curriculum begins with core courses that cover the major fields of space activity. Each student then follows advanced courses within a chosen area of specialisation. The students must also participate in a design project. Those design projects require multi-disciplinary skills and demonstrate well the multicultural aspects of international cooperation. The projects are also attracting growing interest from major space agencies. Last year's GEOWARN project, for example, has prompted NASA to launch a feasibility study.

The design projects
Two projects were undertaken this year: a Global Access Tele-health and Education System (GATES) and a Solar System Exploration Design project.

Ulysses Science Team
Members of the Ulysses science team discuss results in the international scientific laboratory set up at ESTEC during the Ulysses workshop in September

In the GATES project, the potential of applying existing satellite communications to render health and education services more accessible on a global scale was examined. A highly innovative, low-Earth-orbit satellite constellation that would provide global coverage with high cost-efficiency has been proposed. (There will be a full article on that project in the next issue of the ESA Bulletin.)

In the second project, the solar-system- oriented project, the current crisis in space exploration was examined. Feasibility studies on low-cost missions that would be feasible in keeping with the smaller, cheaper, faster philosophy, were performed. The proposed missions that made the final selection include an asteroid tackle, lunar- polar prospecting, a Mars Cup race and novel approaches to life-science experiments.

Other activities
Other events outside the scheduled curriculum form an integral part of the ISU experience. Space professionals from all spacefaring countries teach the courses or give lectures. This year, the lecturers included managers of NASA s Clementine and DC-X projects, and high-level representatives of the European, Russian and Japanese space agencies. A number of astronauts were also present, including Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the Moon; Jeff Hoffman, who participated in the Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission; Jim Newman, the first ISU graduate in space; and Oleg Atkov, a cosmonaut who has spent eight months in space.

Not all learning, however, happens in the classroom. The more daring students participated in a parabolic flight, allowing them to experience moments of low gravity, and the courageous were also able to try skydiving, to feel the full effect of gravity.

Next year
ISU has been offered a donation of a small communications satellite from CTA Inc., an American company. The aim is to allow students to actually perform in-orbit experiments. It is hoped that the so-called ISUSat will be operational in time for next year s summer session, to be held in Stockholm, Sweden.

Record Number of Ariane Launches in 1995

Arianespace recently released its launch manifest for Ariane for the next year. A record 12 launches are scheduled from Kourou, French Guiana, in 1995.

ESA's Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) will be granted priority for a launch within the satellite's September 1995 to January 1996 launch window.

In addition, ESA s Cluster series of satellites are to be launched on Ariane-5 s first qualification launch, foreseen at the end of November 1995.

Summer ISU
Participants in this Summer's ISU in Barcelona

Philippe Gilson
Philippe Gilson, an ESA staff member and ISU student, meets Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the Moon, at the ISU in Barcelona

ESA and Russia to Continue Joint Activities

To mark each agency s commitment to working together, Jean-Marie Luton, the Director General of ESA, and Yuri Koptev, the Director General of the Russian Space Agency (RKA), have signed a Cooperation Agreement on joint activities in the area of crewed flights and associated space transportation systems. The agreement was signed in Moscow on 5 October.

The agreement supplements the existing legal framework for contracts placed with the Russian firm RKK-Energia for the execution of the EuroMir-94 and EuroMir-95 missions and the active continuation of joint work on future crewed space transportation systems.

It also demonstrates both agencies' resolve to maintain their drive for closer long-term cooperation on crewed space infrastructures, especially in the context of the future International Space Station. In addition, the agreement lays the foundation for specific cooperation between Russia and Western Europe on industrial development projects, allowing for the conclusion of further detailed agreements on the implementation of jointly-defined programmes.

Cooperation Agreement
J.-M. Luton (left), Director General of ESA, and Y. Koplev (right), Director General of the Russian Space Agency, sign a Cooperation Agreement on joint activities in the area of crewed spaceflights and associated space transportation systems

ESA Astronaut Spends Month in Space

The longest mission in European space history came to an end on 4 November when Russian Soyuz Transfer Module (TM-20), carrying ESA astronaut Ulf Merbold, landed in Kazakhstan. Also on board were two Russian cosmonauts who had been on board the Mir Space Station since July. The crew brought back about 18 Kg of samples and film.

The EuroMir-94 mission began on 3 October when the Soyuz TM-20 lifted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Russia, carrying Merbold and two other Russina cosmonauts. the Soyuz the docked with the orbiting Mir two days later. This brought the number of crew members on board Mir to six.

During his month-long stay in orbit, Merbold took numerous biological samples that will provide European on the human body of longer periods spent in the space environment. The research will benefit astronauts who may spend long durations on board the International Space Station. He also conducted technological experiments that will help ESA to develop new, more effective equipment for space missions. In addition, he took hundreds of photographs of the Earth's surface.

Five ESA materials-sciences experiments will probably be conducted by the cosmonauts at a later date because of the failure of a crucial experiment furnace. Extensive efforts to repair the furnace, which had been aboard the station for many years, had to be abandoned.

Spare parts needed to repair it will be shipped to the station on a Progress supply vehicle. The data from the experiments could then be returned to Earth on board a US Space Shuttle that is planned to dock with Mir next summer.

EuroMir-94 was the first of two ESA crewed missions with the Russians. The next one, scheduled for August 1995, will be even more ambitious. It will last 135 days and include the first spacewalk by an ESA astronaut. Two ESA astronauts, Christer Fuglesang and Thomas Reiter, are currently training for that flight.

On 4 November, after one month in space, Merbold and two cosmonauts who were aboard Mir before his arrival, returned to the transfer module, undocked and began their hour-long descent through the atmosphere. They landed safely with the aid of parachutes.

Throughout the mission, scientists at centres in Europe monitored their on-board experiments and communicated with the space station, via the mission control centre near Moscow, using ESA s DICE satellite videoconferencing system (see full article in this issue of the Bulletin). The DICE system allows up to four sites to conduct a live videoconference simultaneously. ESA had approximately 20 minutes of video communication with Mir daily, in addition to audio communication and the transferring of experiment data. The DICE system was also used to allow Merbold to give press conferences from the space station, to speak with the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, and to discuss living and working in space with a group of European school children. He also used the system on weekends to speak with his family. Such family contact is considered to be important on long-duration flights.

EuroMir-94 was the first of two ESA crewd missions with the Russians. The next one, scheduled for August 1995, will be even more ambitious. It will last 135 days and include the first spacewalk by an ESA astronaut. Two ESA astronauts, Christer Fuglesang and Thomas Reiter, are currently training for that flight.

EuroMir Crews
The two EuroMir crews wait in the quarantine area for the final assignement made by the State Commission a few hours before the mission began. The Commission included a representative from ESA's European Astronaut Centre. From left to right: ESA astronaut Ulf Merbold, Elena Kondakova and Alexandr Viktorenko were confirmed as the prime crew, and Yuri Gidzenko, Sergeij Avdeev and ESA astronaut Pedro Duque were confirmed as the back-up crew

Ulf Merbold
Ulf Merbold dons his space suit in the clean room a few hours before boarding the launcher

Soyuz Rocket
The Soyuz rocket lifts off from Baikonur cosmodrome on 4 October at 03:42 local time, carrying Ulf Merbold and two Russian cosmonauts

Ulf Merbold
Ulf Merbold (foreground) and the two Russian cosmonauts wave goodbye before boarding the Soyuz rocket

Ulf Merbold
Ulf Merbold (centre) and two cosmonauts on board Mir

Students Discuss Space
Students discuss living and working in space with Ulf Merbold via a live videoconference. Wubbo Ockels (in ESA suit), another ESA astronaut, leads the discussion. Questions included, How do you shower in space? How does a rocket go so high? and What planets can you see?

Ulf Merbold
Ulf Merbold just after landing, after having spent a month in space

Second ESA Astronaut Blasts Off

ESA astronaut Jean-François Clervoy and five NASA astronauts blasted off from Kennedy Space Center on 3 November on an 11-day atmospheric research mission, named Atlas-3.

The Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-66) carried into orbit the Atlas laboratory: six instruments mounted in the orbiter s cargo bay on a Spacelab pallet, allowing the experiments to be exposed directly to the space environment.

The Atlas-3 mission is the third in a series of missions to take snapshots of the atmosphere throughout an 11- year solar cycle. The experiments on board are sponsored by space organisations and institutes in various countries including Belgium, France, Germany and the USA.

Clervoy, of French nationality, is undertaking his first space flight. In addition to his main role as mission specialist, he has another important responsibility: he is operating the Shuttle s 15-metre-long robotic arm to deploy and later recover a German atmospheric research satellite. The CRISTA-SPAS will operate from an orbit 40 to 70 km behind the Shuttle for eight days, studying the middle atmosphere of the Earth. It will then be recovered using the robotic arm and placed in the payload bay for its return to Earth. The data gathered by the CRISTA-SPAS will complement that gathered by Atlantis main payload.

Clervoy is testing a new approach technique that is expected to be used during the Shuttle docking with Mir next year. The approach is designed to minimise damage to Mir from the Shuttle s proximity operations. The mission is expected to end on 14 November, with Atlantis returning to Kennedy Space Center.

Plan for Use of Tethers in Space Proposed

Eighty scientists, engineers and other experts from European, American, Canadian and Russian research institutes, space agencies and industry gathered at ESTECon 28 to 30 September foran International Round Table on Tethers in Space. They proposed a phased approach to begin the utilisation of the developed tether technologies. The meeting was organised upon the initiative of ESA, ASI and DARA.

A tether system provides new ways of carrying out conventional space missions, or new capabilities. A smaller satellite is deployed from a main satellite and remains attached to the main satellite by a thin cord or tether. The tether can be tens of kilometres long. A number of demonstration tether experiments have been undertaken and a fair understanding of the principles and behaviour of tethers in space has been achieved. Based on that experience and on theoretical work done over the past 20 years, tethers can now be operated in space in a controlled and safe manner.

The Round Table participants therefore proposed a stepped approach to begin to use tethers. An initial European demonstration or pre-operational phase would first be undertaken, in 1997-98, to verify the selected methods and technologies, and it would be combined with synergistic scientific measurements and opportunities. The utilisation phase would then follow.The group agreed that the following areas of application have scientific, technical and operational (and therefore commercial) potential:

Each of these areas also offers great potential for international cooperation.

Since there are already several flight opportunities for tether electrodynamics, or plans for flights, the participants recommended that ESA concentrate on proposed tether missions that have not yet been carried out, such as tether- assisted re-entry or an atmospheric-research mission. For those missions, technology can be derived from elements existing in Europe and being developed by ESA up to the breadboard level. Potential platforms to support a demonstration mission include Russian spacecraft, the US space shuttle and expendable launcher upper stages.

Representatives from the national space agencies that sponsored the meeting expressed their willingness to continue to support tether activities in Europe.

J-F Clervoy
ESA astronaut Jean-François Clervoy during final training at Johnson Space Center in Houston before the Atlas-3 mission launched on 3 November (NASA photo)

Return to Sardinia: The 30th Anniversary of Sounding Rockets

Thirty years ago, in July 1964, ESRO, a forerunner of ESA, launched its first ever payload into space. It was a small sounding rocket, launched from the Salto di Quirra rocket range in the interior of Sardinia, Italy. The original launch tower still stands there-a tribute to the people who worked long and hard for the Sounding Rocket Programme.

It was to this launch tower that a group of about 30 technicians, engineers, scientists and others, who had been involved in the early Sounding Rocket Programme, came to commemorate the 30th anniversary. Men and women of 10 different nationalities travel their earlier triumphs.

On 30 September, the day of the official reunion, the group travelled to Capo San Lorenzo, an Italian naval base on the east coast of Sardinia, for an official welcome. Upon arrival, everyone paused outside the auditorium to admire a Skylark rocket-the same type of rocket as had been used in that first launch.

After a welcoming speech by the Commandant of the naval base, several 'old timers' spoke. Rudi Meiner, a project scientist in earlier days, was the master of ceremonies. Steve Pooley, the oldest member of the group and one of the original campaign directors, gave one of his amusing anecdotal talks. Admiral Mondino, also one of the early campaign directors, gave another speech and David Beattie, an experimenter on the first payload, followed. Finally, Arne Pedersen, previously a scientific coordinator, talked about the scientific aspects of the programme.

At the close of the session, to the surprise of the participants, each person was presented with a certificate of service. The group then drove by coach along a steep and winding road to the naval base at Perdasdefogu. After lunch, they continued on to the original launch site. Once there, the moment of true sentimentality arrived as Pete Starling attempted to climb the rusting launcher. Others wandered around the base, picking up components that had been left lying for many years.

Although no one wanted to leave, the Navy hosts urged the group to return to the buses. The clouds descended as the party arrived at the Telemetry Station, which was by then shrouded in mist. The Italian hosts, nevertheless, welcomed the group with wine and cheese.

As darkness fell, the group sadly left Perdasdefogu to return to their hotel. The journey was long and winding. The silence in the coach was full of unspoken memories. Each participant had time to reflect on his own experience of what had been an exciting and interesting period of early space research.

Bold Scientific Programme for Next Century

ESA has defined a space science programme that will follow on from its current long-termplan, Horizon 2000. The new programme, called Horizon 2000 Plus, is concerned with missions beyond 2006 and spans some ten years. It is designed as a 'rolling' programme to ensure continuity and coherence with the objectives of the existing plan. The objectives and financial projections of the new programme must now be incorporated into ESA s Long Term Plan, which will be presented to the next ESA Council meeting at ministerial level, in 1995.

Objectives of Horizon 2000 Plus
It is recommended that, depending on funding, ESA implement two or three Cornerstone missions and four medium- sized missions, in addition to those currently being implemented through Horizon 2000. 'Cornerstone' missions are large missions in well-defined areas of space science and should be European or European-led undertakings.

Horizon 2000 was built around four Cornerstones: the Solar Terrestrial Science programme, an X-ray spectroscopy observatory, a rendezvous with a comet for in situ investigations, and a sub-millimetre observatory.

The Cornerstone missions recommended in Horizon 2000 Plus are:

The four medium-sized missions will be selected competitively, based on proposals submitted by the scientific community, as was done with the original Horizon 2000 programme. There are, however, some areas that are of great interest, namely the study of Mars and a solar physics mission. It was therefore recommended that ESA seek to participate in future international projects in those areas, as opportunities arise. It should also draw on opportunities provided by the International Space Station to prepare for potential future missions as well as for future small and medium-sized projects.

To ensure that the missions achieve their goals and that they are conducted efficiently, the programme will require the development of some very advanced technologies, particularly in the areas of spacecraft mass and power, pointing, data handling and communications.

Development of the plan
At its Ministerial Meeting in Granada in 1992, the ESA Council asked that a plan be drawn up establishing space science objectives for the period after the current plan, Horizon 2000, has been completed. ESA received an overwhelming response to a call for mission concepts: the scientific community (more than 2500 scientists in Europe alone) proposed some 110 ideas that reflect future trends in space science and represent the community s main areas of interest. The Survey Committee, a committee of representatives from the European scientific community, was subsequently set up to review the proposals and draft a plan. It was assisted by 'topical teams' that surveyed the main science areas and by ESA working groups that studied the international space science environment. Following a series of discussions, the Survey Committee then met with the ESA Executive in Rome in late September to finalise the plan.

The Skylark lifts off from the launch tower in Sardinia, marking ERSO's first launch of a sounding rocket

Sounding Rocket Programme Team
Early members of ERSO's Sounding Rocket Programme team gather in front of the original sounding rocket launch tower to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first launch

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Right Left Up Home ESA Bulletin Nr. 80.
Published November 1994.
Developed by ESA-ESRIN ID/D.