samedi 7 novembre 2020

Galactic Energy - Ceres-1 Maiden Flight


Galactic Energy logo.

Nov. 7, 2020

Ceres-1 maiden Flight

For its maiden launch, the Ceres-1  (谷神星一号) launch vehicle launched the Tianqi-11 (天启星座十一星) satellite from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu Province, northwest China, on 7 November 2020, at 07:12 UTC (15:12 local time).

Ceres-1 maiden launch

Ceres-1 is a small solid propellant launch vehicle developed by Galactic Energy (星河动力, a private aerospace company headquartered in Beijing) to carry a payload of up to 350 kg to low Earth orbit (LEO).

Tianqi 10, 11

Galactic Energy:

Images, Video, Text, Credits: Galactic Energy/SciNewsRo/CCTV/Gunter's Space Page/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Greetings, Space News, ten years of specialized blog


Ten years anniversary.

Nov. 7, 2020

On November 26, I will be celebrating the tenth anniversary of my blog " Space News".

The first blogger article:

CERN - LHC experiments bring new insight into primordial universe

I had (and still have) a lot of fun sharing these articles with my readers and friends. The concept of this blog is to bring together on a single website the most important information concerning space activities, astronomy, physics and science of the moment, as well as birthdays marking the conquest of space.

Roland Berga founder & owner of Aerospace as an Astronaut (Photo montage)

I hope (if health allows me) to share my passion for these fields with you for years to come. Often imitating but never equaling, I pledge to continue to inform you and share knowledge in all these areas.

This year 2020, Feedspot ranked me 21st best blogger and "influencer" in the world. I still have work to do to reach the top ten.

Related article: Space News was ranked 21st on Top 60 Space Websites, Blogs & Influencers in 2020!

To date and at this time I have published 9518 articles (this one included).

Thank you to my many readers (87 million per month, on all social networks and shares on other websites) and friends for your support and trust. Roland Berga (aka

Best regards,

ISRO - PSLV-DL launches EOS-01 and nine other satellites


ISRO - Indian Space Research Organisation logo.

Nov. 7, 2020

PSLV-DL launches EOS-01 and nine other satellites

For ISRO’s PSLV-C49 mission, a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in “DL” configuration launched EOS-01 as primary satellite, along with nine international customer satellites, from the First Launch Pad (FLP) of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota, on 7 November 2020, at 09:32 UTC (15:02 IST).

PSLV-DL launches EOS-01 and nine other satellites

EOS-01 is an earth observation satellite intended for applications in agriculture, forestry and disaster management support. The other satellites are four Kleos cubesats (KSM-1A/1B/1C/1D), four Lemur cubesats (Lemur-1/2/3/4) and R2 technology demonstration satellite.

EOS 1 radar Earth observation satellite

India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), designated PSLV-C49, launches the EOS 1 radar Earth observation satellite for the Indian Space Research Organization. EOS 1 was formerly known as RISAT 2BR2. The PSLV also launches four Kleos Scouting Mission radio surveillance nanosatellites for Kleos Space, a Luxembourg-based company, and multiple Lemur 2 CubeSats for Spire Global. The mission use the PSLV-DL version of the PSLV with two strap-on solid rocket boosters. Delayed from December 2019 and Nov. 6.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO):

Images, Video, Text, Credits: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)/SciNews/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Best regards,

vendredi 6 novembre 2020

Busy Period on Station as Crew Ramps up For Spacewalk and Visitors


ISS - Expedition 64 Mission patch.

November 6, 2020

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: ESA

Science, robotics training and lab maintenance took precedence Friday alongside ongoing spacewalk preparations aboard the International Space Station. The Expedition 64 crew is also getting ready to expand with the addition of four Commercial Crew astronauts.

It is a busy period for NASA and its international partners as SpaceX gets ready to launch its next Crew Dragon vehicle with three U.S. astronauts and one Japanese astronaut on Nov. 14. Two Russian cosmonauts aboard the orbiting lab are also gearing up for their first spacewalk on Nov. 18.

Image above: Pilot Victor Glover, spacecraft commander Michael Hopkins, mission specialist Soichi Noguchi, and mission specialist Shannon Walker participate in a SpaceX training exercise on July 22, 2020, at Kennedy. Photo credit: SpaceX.

Meanwhile, NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins stayed busy this week on a technology study that explores how water evaporation can keep spacesuits cool. Today, she collected and stowed water samples for analysis that could help engineers improve heat rejection and temperature controls in spacesuits.

Rubins started the day practicing her robotics skills on a computer before installing student-controlled camera gear that photographs Earth landmarks. The two-time station visitor also put on her technician cap today and serviced life support gear that removes carbon dioxide from the station’s atmosphere.

Commander Sergey Ryzhikov has been gearing up for his first spacewalk with Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov. The duo from Roscosmos spent Friday activating and inspecting their Orlan spacesuits and checking control panels in the Poisk module. They will exit Poisk into the vacuum of space for a six-hour spacewalk for maintenance and science work on the Russian segment of the station.

Image above: The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission arrived at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on Thursday, Nov. 5, after making the trek from its processing facility at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Photo credit: SpaceX.

Back on Earth, four astronauts are preparing to launch Saturday, Nov. 14, to the station aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. The quartet, with Commander Michael Hopkins, Pilot Victor Glover and Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi, are in quarantine as part of routine “flight crew health stabilization.” They will head to Florida from Houston on Sunday for final mission preparations. For a launch on time, the first operational crew mission from SpaceX would dock about eight-and-half-hours later to the Harmony module’s forward-facing international docking adapter.

Related links:

Expedition 64:

Commercial Crew Program:

Technology study:

Student-controlled camera gear:

Poisk module:

Harmony module:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Animation (mentioned), Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia/Anna Heiney.

Best regards,

CASC - Long March-6 launches 13 satellites


CASC - China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation logo.

Nov. 6, 2020

Long March-6 launches 13 satellites

A Long March-6 launch vehicle launched 13 satellites from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center, Shanxi Province, northern China, on 6 November 2020, at 03:19 UTC (11:19 local time).

Long March-6 launches 13 satellites

The main payload consisted of 10 commercial remote sensing satellites developed by Satellogic (Argentine).

For more information about China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), visit:

Image, Video, Text, Credits: China Central Television (CCTV)/CASC/SciNews/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.


Space Station Science Highlights: Week of November 2, 2020


ISS - Expedition 64 Mission patch.

Nov. 6, 2020

Crew members aboard the International Space Station conducted scientific investigations the week of Nov. 2 that included new spacesuit cooling technology, detecting hearing impairment in noisy environments, and deployment of seven CubeSat-based studies. On Monday, Nov. 2, the space station marked 20 years of continuous human presence and scientific breakthroughs on board.

Image above: This image taken from the International Space Station shows a portion of the Andes Mountain range in southern Peru, with Lagunas Ajuachaya and Loriscota visible in the top left. Image Credit: NASA.

The orbiting lab provides a platform for long-duration research in microgravity and for learning to live and work in space, experience that supports Artemis, NASA’s program to go forward to the Moon and on to Mars.

Here are details on some of the microgravity investigations currently taking place:

Keeping spacesuits cool

Image above: Hardware for the Spacesuit Evaporation Rejection Flight Experiment (SERFE) installed on the space station. SERFE demonstrates a new water evaporation technology to maintain appropriate temperatures in spacesuits. Image Credit: NASA.

During the week, crew members installed hardware and performed testing for Spacesuit Evaporation Rejection Flight Experiment (SERFE), which demonstrates a new water evaporation technology to maintain appropriate temperatures in spacesuits. The investigation seeks to determine whether microgravity affects performance of the technology and evaluates its effect on contamination and corrosion of spacesuit material. On future exploration missions, SERFE technology could replace the current system that cools suits by venting small amounts of water into space to disperse as water vapor.

Can you hear me now?

Acoustic Diagnostics, an investigation sponsored by ESA (European Space Agency), tests the hearing of crew members before, during, and after flight to assess possible adverse effects of background noise on the space station. These effects are a function of time spent onboard, so it is important to detect and quantify symptoms early. Mild hearing impairment, whether temporary or permanent, could lead to more significant impairment during future long-duration space exploration. Results from this investigation could support development of portable devices to accurately diagnose hearing issues even in a noisy environment such as the station.

Seven small satellites

Image above: NASA astronaut Kate Rubins sets up the Nanoracks CubeSat Deployer for Mission 19, the release of seven CubeSats carrying various governmental and educational research. Image Credit: NASA.

The Nanoracks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD) is a modular, ground-loaded launch case used to deploy small satellites from the space station. NRCSD Mission 19 launched a total of seven satellites during the week: Bobcat 1, which tests measurement of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) estimates of time differences between constellations of satellites; SPOC, a camera used to create high spectral resolution images that can monitor coastal wetlands and water quality; NEUTRON-1, which maps neutron abundance in low-Earth orbit to advance understanding of the relationship between Earth and the Sun; two members of the LEMUR2 constellation of remote sensing satellites that monitor weather as well as global aviation and maritime traffic; DESCENT, a test using wires called electrodynamic tethers that collect and eject electrons from Earth’s magnetic field to slow down and eventually remove satellites from orbit; and SAT-LLA, a platform for testing communication between satellites and the ground using light.

Other investigations on which the crew performed work:

- Soil Health in Space: Determination of Gravitational Effects on Soil Stability for Controlled Environment Agriculture (Rhodium Space Rhizosphere) examines how spaceflight affects soil aggregates in order to help improve food production in space and on Earth.

- The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Electrostatic Levitation Furnace (JAXA-ELF) uses electrostatic levitation to eliminate the need for a container to better examine the behavior of the materials, which is only possible in microgravity.

- Radi-N2 Neutron Field Study (Radi-N2), a Canadian Space Agency investigation, uses bubble detectors to map the neutron environment aboard the space station and better define the risk posed to the health of crew members.

- Food Acceptability, Menu Fatigue, and Aversion in ISS Missions (Food Acceptability) looks at how the appeal of food changes during long-duration missions. Whether crew members like and actually eat foods directly affects caloric intake and associated nutritional benefits.

Space to Ground: We Are One: 11/06/2020

Related links:

Expedition 64:

Spacesuit Evaporation Rejection Flight Experiment (SERFE):

Acoustic Diagnostics:

The Nanoracks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD):

ISS National Lab:

Spot the Station:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Video (NASA), Text, Credits: NASA/Michael Johnson/John Love, ISS Research Planning Integration Scientist Expedition 64.

Best regards,

The International Space Station: 20 Years of Communications Excellence


ISS  - 20 Years on the International Space Station patch.

Nov. 6, 2020

For 20 years, NASA has maintained a continuous human presence in space. The International Space Station — a marvel of cooperative engineering, science, and research — has made this incredible feat possible. Throughout the mission, NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) networks have connected station astronauts with loved ones on Earth and empowered profound research on the orbiting laboratory.

Image above: This image shows the International Space Station together with the space shuttle, the vehicle that helped build the complex. The picture was the first taken of a shuttle docked to the station from the perspective of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. On May 23, 2011, the Soyuz carried Russian cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratyev, NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, and European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli back to Earth. Once their vehicle was about 600 feet from the station, Mission Control Moscow, outside the Russian capital, commanded the orbiting laboratory to rotate 130 degrees. This move allowed Nespoli to capture digital photographs and high definition video of the space shuttle Endeavour docked to the station. Image Credit: NASA.

“As we celebrate 20 years of science and research aboard the station, we also celebrate the mission-enabling support infrastructure that makes it all possible,” said Robyn Gatens, acting director of the International Space Station at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Space communications has always been a vital piece of NASA’s crewed missions in low-Earth orbit and beyond.”

Construction of the International Space Station in orbit began on Nov. 20, 1998, when the Zayra Module launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Since then, the orbiting laboratory has been expanded and upgraded to meet the needs of astronauts living on the station and the science objectives of the mission.

Image above: Nov. 20, 1998, was a day to mark in history. The Russian Space Agency, now known as Roscosmos, launched a Proton rocket that lifted the pressurized module called Zarya, or “sunrise,” into orbit. This launch would truly be the dawn of the largest international cooperation effort in space to ever come to light. Zarya was the first piece of the International Space Station. Also known as the Functional Cargo Block (FGB), it would provide a nucleus of orientation control, communications and electrical power while the station waited for its other elements, including the Zvezda service module and Unity. Image Credit: NASA.

Since Nov. 2, 2000, the space station has been occupied continuously by astronauts from NASA and international space organizations. The million-pound spacecraft has an internal pressurized volume equal that of a Boeing 747, providing living space for six-months long Expedition crews of six people, while sometimes hosting up to 13 during crew rotations and shuttle visits.

NASA’s communications networks have made construction and occupation of the station possible. The station primarily relies on the constellation of Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS) and associated ground antennas. The orbiting laboratory sends its data to TDRS in geosynchronous orbit, which then relay that data to ground antennas at the White Sands Complex in Las Cruces, New Mexico and the Guam Remote Ground Terminal.

The orbiting laboratory also has a backup communications system. A series of very-high frequency (VHF) antennas around the world can provide astronauts with voice-only communications in the unlikely event of an emergency.

Image above: Artist's concept of a Tracking and Data Relay (TDRS) satellite in orbit around the Earth. Illustration of a Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) in orbit around the Earth. TDRS have long provided robust communications services to near-Earth NASA missions like the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA.

“NASA’s relay satellites provide the space station with robust, comprehensive services that keep our astronauts connected with mission control at all times,” said Network Services Division Director Susan Chang. “In combination with the redundant VHF network, TDRS assures the continued success and safety of the station.”

While the constellation of TDRS now provides near-continuous communications to low-Earth-orbiting missions, that wasn’t always the case. Until 1998, TDRS in two nodes provided coverage for 85% of the station’s orbit. NASA closed that “zone of exclusion” with the construction of the remote ground terminal in Guam, allowing communications with the station while over the Indian Ocean.

NASA continued to enhance the services that TDRS can provide the space station. Technicians have updated the space station’s software-based modem, improved data processors at various NASA centers, and enhanced routers, interfaces and other equipment and software at the ground stations. These modernization efforts have gradually increased the amount of data NASA can downlink from the station.

Image above: The Guam Remote Ground Terminal (GRGT) was constructed in the 1990s to close the gap in coverage, or Zone of Exclusion, over the Indian Ocean for the Space Network (SN). GRGT allows Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS) to downlink and uplink data while not in line of sight of the White Sands Complex in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The antennas are protected by radomes, as frequent rainy weather could interfere with operations. Image Credit: NASA.

In 2016, the agency doubled the data per second that the station can transmit to 300 megabits per second. In 2019, NASA doubled the data rate again to 600 megabits per second — faster than most household fiber optic connections.

“The space station was designed in the 1990s. Recall our way of life then. A typical internet service provider had people to ‘dial up’ to get access to use of the internet.  As the space station evolved with ever-advancing instruments, space communications evolved with timely innovations,” said SCaN Mission Commitment Manager John Hudiburg. “Investments in the ground segment have allowed us to keep pace with these needs, delivering more data to mission operations centers than ever before.”

Throughout its history, the space station has also served as a hub for communications research and development. From 2012 to 2019, the SCaN Testbed provided communications engineers with a platform to study space-based applications of software-defined radios. The Testbed researched innovations like cognitive communications, space-based GPS, and Ka-band communications.

The station has also tested revolutionary optical communications technologies that use infrared lasers to exceed data-rates offered by comparable radio systems. The Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science proved the practicality space-to-ground optical communications. The upcoming Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) — launching in early 2021 — will test TDRS-like applications of optical communications with the station with the Integrated LCRD Low-Earth Orbit User Modem and Amplifier Terminal (ILLUMA-T). When operational, ILLUMA-T will complete the first end-to-end optical communications space relay system ever built.

Image above: The SCAN Testbed, formerly known as Communications, Navigation, and Networking reConfigurable Testbed (CoNNeCT), served as a test facility for NASA research on radio communications and the Global Positioning System (GPS). Image Credit: NASA.

In communications outreach, the space station has reached young people worldwide through amateur, or ham, radio. Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) organizes contacts between astronauts on the station and students, encouraging them to pursue STEM interests and careers. ARISS is also celebrating its 20 year anniversary this year on Nov. 13.

Looking to the future, NASA is exploring opportunities to utilize commercialize communications services for the station. Rather than exclusively using government-owned relay satellites and ground stations, NASA’s SCaN program is aiming to demonstrate communication services provided by industry to supply the orbiting laboratory with additional bandwidth and to make those services available to other space users. Utilizing commercial infrastructure could mean lower costs and more robust services while bolstering the commercial space economy.

To learn more about SCaN visit:

Related links:

Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS):

Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD):

Integrated LCRD Low-Earth Orbit User Modem and Amplifier Terminal (ILLUMA-T):

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS):

International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Daniel Baird/GSFC/By Danny Baird.


SpaceX - Falcon 9 launches GPS III SV04


SpaceX - Falcon 9 / GPS III SV04 Mission patch.

Nov. 6, 2020

Falcon 9 launches GPS III SV04

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the GPS III Space Vehicle 04 mission (GPS III SV04) from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on 5 November 2020, at 23:24 UTC (18:24 EST).

Falcon 9 launches GPS III SV04 and Falcon 9 first stage landing

GPS III SV04 is the United States Space Force’s fourth Global Positioning System III space vehicle (SV).

GPS III SV04 deployment

Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage (Block 5 B1062) landed on the “Of Course I Still Love You” drone-ship, stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.


Image, Videos, Text, Credits: SpaceX/SciNews/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.


UAE ramps up space ambitions with Arab world’s first Moon mission


UAE Space Agency logo.

Nov. 6, 2020

With its orbiter Hope on its way to Mars, the United Arab Emirates has now set its sights on the Moon.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced plans to send a compact rover named Rashid to study the Moon in 2024, marking an intensification in the small nation’s spacefaring ambitions. If it is successful, the UAE Space Agency would become only the fifth to succeed in placing a craft on the Moon’s surface, and the first in the Arab world.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in Dubai says its in-house teams will develop, build and operate the 10-kilogram rover, which is named after the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who ruled Dubai at the UAE’s creation in 1971.

Image above: An artist’s impression of Rashid, the UAE’s first lunar rover, which will include high-resolution cameras, a thermal imager and a Langmuir Probe. Image Credit: MBRSC.

The team will hire an as-yet unannounced space agency or commercial partner to carry out the launch and landing, the riskiest part of the mission. If successful, Rashid would be one of several rovers made by private firms and space agencies that are set to populate the Moon by 2024.

Scientific study

For a country with just 14 years’ experience in any kind of space exploration — and which this year launched its first interplanetary orbiter on a journey to Mars — building a rover presents a host of fresh challenges.

The relatively simple rover will have six scientific instruments, including four cameras. “They’re not biting off more than they can chew at this stage,” says Hannah Sargeant, a planetary scientist at the Open University in Milton Keynes, UK. “I think they’re actually being quite smart about it.”

Rashid will have just one-tenth of the mass of China’s Chang’e-4, the only currently active lunar rover. The UAE craft will include an experiment to study the thermal properties of the Moon’s surface, providing insights into the composition of the lunar landscape. Another experiment will study the make-up and particle size of lunar dust in microscopic detail, says Hamad Al Marzooqi, project manager for the lunar mission at the MBRSC.

Rashid’s most exciting instrument is a Langmuir probe, says Sargeant. A first on the Moon, this will study the plasma of charged particles that hovers at the lunar surface, caused by the streaming solar wind. This environment electrically charges dust in a process that is little understood, she says.

Emirates Mars Mission "Al-Amal" (Hope) probe, on the way to Mars

Surface-based experiments to understand the charged environment are essential, because the conditions make lunar dust stick to surfaces, which could be dangerous for future crewed missions, she adds. “It’s really sharp, tiny grains that get everywhere, that stick everywhere and can be hazardous to astronauts if they inhale a lot.”

Rashid will land at an unexplored location at a latitude between 45 degrees North or South of the equator on the Moon’s near side. This allows for easier communication with Earth than would be the case for a far-side probe, and should also mean a landing that is less rocky than one in the Moon’s polar regions. The precise location, however, has yet to be selected from a shortlist of five.

The mission is scheduled to last at least one lunar day — around 14 Earth days — and Rashid could travel anywhere from a few hundred metres to several kilometres. The team is hoping the craft will also last through the equally long lunar night, when the temperature drops to around −173 °C. Previous rovers often carried a heat source. But overnight survival will mean developing new technology for a diminutive rover, says Adnan Al Rais, programme manager for the UAE’s long-term initiative to settle humans on the red planet, known as Mars 2117, which also encompasses lunar exploration. He declined to reveal the Rashid mission’s budget, but said that all scientific data would be openly available to the international community.

Addressing challenges

The Emirates Lunar Mission is the first of a series of missions that are intended as a platform for developing technologies, says Al Rais. The technologies will eventually support missions to the Martian surface, and address food, energy and water-security challenges back home, where natural resources can be similarly scarce. “It’s challenging, but as you know we love challenges here in the UAE,” says Sara Al Maeeni, an engineer on the Rashid’s communication system.

Rashid’s low weight also means it can fly on a commercial lander, which could reduce the mission’s overall cost. Being small and light means “it’s faster in development and easier to find a lift to the lunar surface”, says Al Marzooqi. This will allow the UAE to send frequent missions to the lunar surface, with a variety of locations and scientific objectives, he adds.

International partnerships

The UAE Space Agency is just 6 years old, its satellite programme only 14 years old and the country awarded its first PhD in any field just 10 years ago. It rapidly became a spacefaring nation through a policy of hiring international academic and industry partners to help build and design missions, while training home-grown engineers.

Although the country now has expertise in satellites, orbiters and remote-sensing instruments, a robotic mission will require new skills — in building the rover’s mechanical structure, and its heating and communication systems. Particularly challenging will be sending signals across the 384,000 kilometres to Earth with only the limited power and antenna length of a lightweight rover, says Al Maeeni.

The rover team at the MRBSC has been working on the project for around two years, and is designing Rashid based on previous successful probes. They also plan to model and hone a series of rapid prototypes, says Al Marzooqi. Unlike the country’s Hope Mars mission, which was largely built in the United States by both US and Emirati engineers, Al Marzooqi stresses that the entire lunar rover will be developed in the UAE. However, it will still involve international partnerships, he says.

That Rashid will get to the Moon is not a given. So far only European, Chinese, Russian and US space agencies have landed probes safely on the Moon, and no private company has yet succeeded. More than 20 landers have crashed; India’s 2019 Chandrayaan-2 mission was the most recent to do so. And although the mission’s 2024 date coincides with Artemis — an international NASA-led return of humans to the Moon — the Emirates Lunar Mission will go ahead even if Artemis stalls, adds Al Rais. “Our plans are totally independent.”

The next few years could see a flurry of rovers and landers as a precursor to the Artemis project. NASA plans to pay companies to fly scientific and technical experiments to the Moon beginning in 2021, while the European Space Agency, China, India, Israel, Japan and Russia are among the nations planning to send landers or rovers in the next five years.

“Everyone is rushing to go to the Moon, and we want to be a key contributor to these international efforts,” says Al Marzooqi.


Related article:

Hope Mars Mission on way to Mars

Related links:

Emirates Mars Mission:

For more information about the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Space Agency, visit:

Images, Text, Credits: NATURE/Elizabeth Gibney/UAE Space Agency.

Best regards,

jeudi 5 novembre 2020

Station Deploys Tiny Satellites During Ongoing Spacewalk Preps


ISS - Expedition 64 Mission patch.

November 5, 2020

The Expedition 64 crew is staying focused on spacewalk preparations while also working on International Space Station life support systems today. Several tiny satellites were also deployed into Earth orbit today from outside the orbiting lab.

Image above: A set of CubeSats is pictured after being deployed from a small satellite deployer outside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module in February of 2014. Image Credit: NASA.

Two cosmonauts continue gearing up for a spacewalk in their Russian Orlan spacesuits scheduled for Nov. 18. Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov studied the paths they will take outside the station’s Russian segment for the six-hour job of maintenance and science tasks. The duo reviewed their worksites on a computer and peered out station windows to get ready for their first career spacewalks.

This will be the first spacewalk to be staged from the space station’s Poisk module. Previous Russian spacewalks began inside the Pirs docking compartment which will be disconnected from the orbiting lab early next year for disposal to accommodate a new Russian laboratory module. U.S. spacewalks are staged from the Quest airlock.

Spacewalk. Animation Credit: NASA

In the afternoon, NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins handed over a selection of U.S. spacewalking tools to Kud-Sverchkov that he and Ryzhikov will use during their excursion. U.S. and Russian crew members often share tools such as tethers, cameras and helmet lights to support their respective spacewalks.

Rubins started her day swapping components inside a device that removes carbon dioxide from the station’s atmosphere. Afterward, she worked in the cupola and photographed a set of CubeSats that were deployed outside the Japanese Kibo laboratory module. The CubeSats will orbit Earth providing insights into oceanography, weather, ship and aircraft tracking, as well as GPS and satellite communication technologies.

Ryzhikov spent the rest of the afternoon checking ventilation systems and air flow sensors. Kud-Sverchkov had a hearing test after the spacewalk reviews then contributed to the ventilation work.

Related links:

Expedition 64:

Poisk module:

Pirs docking compartment:

Quest airlock:

Kibo laboratory module:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.

Best regards,

Large, Deep Antarctic Ozone Hole Persisting into November


NASA Goddard Space Flight Center logo.

Nov. 5, 2020

Persistent cold temperatures and strong circumpolar winds, also known as the polar vortex, supported the formation of a large and deep Antarctic ozone hole that should persist into November, NOAA and NASA scientists reported today.

The annual Antarctic ozone hole reached its peak size at about 9.6 million square miles (24.8 million square kilometers), roughly three times the area of the continental United States, on Sept. 20. Observations revealed the nearly complete elimination of ozone in a 4-mile-high column of the stratosphere over the South Pole.

2020 Weather Patterns Push Antarctic Ozone Hole to 12th-Largest on Record

Video above: A cold and stable Antarctic vortex supported the development of the 12th-largest ozone hole on record in 2020. The hole reached its peak extent on Sept. 20 at 24.8 million square kilometers. Video Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Scientific Visualization Studio.

Where 2020’s Ozone Hole Ranks

The year 2020 will go down as having the 12th largest ozone hole by area in 40 years of satellite records, with the 14th lowest amount of ozone in 33 years of balloon-borne instrumental measurements, the scientists said. Ongoing declines in levels of ozone-depleting chemicals controlled by the Montreal Protocol prevented the hole from being as large as it would have been under the same weather conditions decades ago.

“From the year 2000 peak, Antarctic stratosphere chlorine and bromine levels have fallen about 16% towards the natural level,” said Paul A. Newman, chief scientist for Earth Sciences at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "We have a long way to go, but that improvement made a big difference this year. The hole would have been about a million square miles larger if there was still as much chlorine in the stratosphere as there was in 2000.”

Image above: At 23.3 million square kilometers, the average size of the ozone hole between Sept. 7 and Oct. 13 used to compare to other years, 2020's ozone hole is the 12th largest by area. Image Credits: NASA/NASA Ozone Watch/Katy Mersmann.

What is the Ozone Hole and Why Does it Matter?

Ozone is composed of three oxygen atoms and is highly reactive with other chemicals. In the stratosphere, roughly 7 to 25 miles above Earth’s surface, the ozone layer acts like sunscreen, shielding the planet from ultraviolet radiation that can cause skin cancer and cataracts, suppress immune systems and damage plants and sensitive plankton at the base of the global food chain. By contrast, ozone that forms closer to Earth’s surface through photochemical reactions between the sun and pollution from vehicle emissions and other sources, forms harmful smog in the lower atmosphere.

The Antarctic ozone hole forms during the Southern Hemisphere’s late winter as the returning Sun’s rays start ozone-depleting reactions. Cold winter temperatures persisting into the spring enable the ozone depletion process, which is why the “hole” forms over Antarctica. These reactions involve chemically active forms of chlorine and bromine derived from man-made compounds. The chemistry that leads to their formation involves chemical reactions that occur on the surfaces of cloud particles that form in cold stratospheric layers, leading ultimately to runaway reactions that destroy ozone molecules. In warmer temperatures fewer polar stratospheric clouds form and they don’t persist as long, limiting the ozone-depletion process.

How NASA and NOAA Measure Ozone

NASA and NOAA use three complementary instrumental methods to monitor the growth and breakup of the ozone hole each year. Satellite instruments like the Ozone Monitoring Instrument provided by the Netherlands and Finland on NASA’s Aura satellite and the Ozone Mapping Profiler Suites on the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite and the NOAA-20 polar satellite measure ozone across large areas from space. The Aura satellite’s Microwave Limb Sounder also measures both ozone and certain chlorine-containing gases, providing estimates of total chlorine levels in the stratosphere.

NOAA scientists monitor the thickness of the ozone layer and the amount of ozone depletion—how little is left—inside of the hole. They regularly release weather balloons carrying ozone-measuring “sondes” above the South Pole that ascend up to 21 miles in altitude, and, once sunshine returns to the Antarctic after the long polar night, with a ground-based instrument called a Dobson spectrophotometer.

Image above: A NOAA ozonezonde, an instrument used to help scientists monitor the Antarctic ozone hole, ascends over the South Pole in this timelapse photo taken Oct. 21. Ideal weather conditions helped create a large, persistent ozone hole that will last into November. Image Credits: Yuya Makino/IceCube.

This year on Oct. 1, ozone measurements taken by instruments carried aloft by weather balloons from NOAA’s South Pole atmospheric observatory recorded a low value of 104 Dobson units. NASA’s Ozone Watch reported the lowest daily value for 2020 from satellite measurements was 94 Dobson Units on Oct. 6 over Antarctica.

Bryan Johnson, a scientist with NOAA’s Global Monitoring Lab, said scientists focus on the stratosphere between 8 and 13 miles in altitude, which is where major depletion occurs. In late October, ozone levels in the key altitude range remained close to record lows. “It’s about as close to zero as we can measure,” Johnson said. Still, he said, the rate at which ozone declined in September has slowed compared with 20 years ago, which is consistent with there being less chlorine in the atmosphere.  

To learn more about NOAA and NASA efforts to monitor ozone and ozone-depleting gases, visit:

Twenty Questions About the Ozone -

Related links:

Ozone Monitoring:

NASA’s Aura satellite:

Ozone Mapping Profiler Suites:

NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite:

Dobson spectrophotometer:

Ozone Watch:


Goddard Space Flight Center (GFSC):

Images (mentioned), Video (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Sofie Bates/NASA's Earth Science News Team/Ellen Gray/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Assocation (NOAA), by Theo Stein.


NASA Seeks New Partners to Help Put All Eyes on Artemis Moon Missions


NASA - ARTEMIS Program logo.

Nov. 5, 2020

NASA is seeking new partners to help the agency tell the story of human exploration at the Moon with the Artemis program in ways that engage, excite, and inspire a worldwide audience. Through the end of this decade, NASA will explore more of the lunar surface than ever before and will establish a sustainable human presence with Artemis in preparation for future human missions to Mars.

Image above: Throughout this decade, NASA will explore more of the Moon than ever before and will establish a sustainable human presence with Artemis program in preparation for future human missions to Mars. NASA is seeking new partners to help the agency tell the story of lunar exploration with Artemis in ways that engage, excite, and inspire a worldwide audience. Image Credit: NASA.

The agency has released an Announcement for Proposals calling for submissions of potential partnerships to visually bring the public along for the ride in new ways, starting as early as a trip around the Moon with astronauts on the Artemis II mission, targeted for 2023. Proposals are due by 11:59 p.m. EST, Dec. 11, 2020.

“We’re looking for partners to use advanced technologies, imagery applications and approaches that will go beyond our standard coverage on NASA TV,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “We want to capture the awe of Apollo for a new generation – the Artemis Generation. Just as people were glued to the TV 50 years ago as astronauts took the first steps on the Moon, we want to bring people along in this new era of exploration.”

Spacecraft are routinely outfitted with NASA cameras for technical and operational support, such as inspecting solar arrays, and footage from these cameras typically is used to supplement mission coverage on NASA Television. This announcement primarily focuses on proposals that include potential innovative technologies or hardware, such as cameras or other equipment that a partner might fly on the mission to augment existing NASA imagery.

Examples could include hardware such as 360-degree field-of-view camera systems, virtual reality, advanced imagery compression to improve image quality over limited bandwidth communication links; unique storytelling and distribution methods, 4K and Ultra HD camera systems, robotic “third-person” views, crew handheld camera systems, image stabilization, small portable cameras, or other concepts that provide more engaging imagery or deliver a custom viewer experience.

NASA welcomes responses from broadcasters, studios, the aerospace industry, academic institutions, nonprofit organizations, and others, as well as collaborations between multiple entities for creative proposals to help acquire or use NASA’s live or recorded imagery to help tell the story of exploring the Moon.

Submissions should outline the proposed public engagement project, potential to enhance public understanding of the Artemis program, distribution mechanisms to reach large audiences, requested support from NASA in the form of existing media or access to facilities and personnel, and a description of unique video, audio or imaging hardware, software, or related technology a partner might seek to place on or in NASA’s Orion spacecraft or other NASA equipment, facilities or infrastructure.

Proposals for storytelling collaborations to reach large portions of the public or new audiences using ground-based filming or imagery, and which do not require partner-provided equipment, may be submitted through NASA’s standard film and television collaboration process.

NASA’s Artemis I mission is an uncrewed flight test that will launch Orion on the agency’s Space Launch System rocket to orbit the Moon and return to Earth. On Artemis II, Orion will carry a crew of astronauts around the Moon and back, and Artemis III will land the first woman and next man on the lunar surface. Subsequent missions will explore more of the Moon and test the technologies and procedures needed for human exploration of Mars.

Learn more about NASA’s Artemis program:

Related links:

Announcement for Proposals:

Artemis II:

NASA’s standard film and television collaboration process:

Moon to Mars:

Image (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Sean Potter/Matthew Rydin/Kathryn Hambleton.


Hubble Launches Large Ultraviolet-Light Survey of Nearby Stars


NASA - Hubble Space Telescope patch.

Nov. 5, 2020

The universe would be a pretty boring place without stars. Without them, the universe would remain a diffuse plasma of mostly hydrogen and helium from the big bang.

As the basic building blocks of the cosmos, stellar nuclear fusion furnaces forge new heavy elements, enriching their parent galaxy. The radiant energy from stars potentially nurtures the emergence of life on the most favorably located planets, as it did on Earth.

To better understand stars and stellar evolution, the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, has launched an ambitious new initiative with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, called ULLYSES (UV Legacy Library of Young Stars as Essential Standards).

Image above: This is a ground-based telescopic photo of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. The galaxy is one of several select targets of a new initiative with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope called ULLYSES (UV Legacy Library of Young Stars as Essential Standards). The program is looking at over 300 stars to build an ultraviolet-light catalog for capturing the diversity of stars, from young to old. The LMC contains hot, massive, blue stars, similar to the primitive composition of early galaxies, so astronomers can gain insights into how their outflows may have influenced early galaxy evolution billions of years ago. The target stars are from Hubble archival observations (yellow circles) and new observations (blue circles) under the ULLYSES program. Image Credits: NASA, ESA, J. Roman-Duval (STScI), ULLYSES program, and R. Gendler.

ULLYSES is Hubble's largest observing program ever in terms of the amount of time Hubble will dedicate to it. More than 300 stars will be included. Ultraviolet (UV) light from the target stars is being used to produce a library of the spectral "templates" of young, low-mass stars from eight star-forming regions in the Milky Way, as well as fully mature high-mass stars in several nearby dwarf galaxies including the Magellanic Clouds.

"One of the key goals of ULLYSES is to form a complete reference sample that can be used to create spectral libraries capturing the diversity of stars, ensuring a legacy dataset for a wide range of astrophysical topics. ULLYSES is expected to have a lasting impact on future research by astronomers around the world," said program lead Julia Roman-Duval of STScI.

STScI is now releasing the first set of ULLYSES observations to the astronomical community. These early targets are hot, massive, blue stars in several nearby dwarf galaxies.

Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Animation Credits: ESA/NASA

Hubble is located above Earth's atmosphere, which filters out most UV radiation from space before it reaches ground-based telescopes. Hubble's ultraviolet sensitivity makes it the only observatory up to the task because young stars radiate a lot of their energy in the UV as they grow chaotically in fits and starts while feeding on infalling gas and dust.

The program's goal is to give astronomers a much better understanding of the birth of stars and how this relates to everything from planets to the formation and evolution of galaxies. Astronomers want to learn how young low-mass stars affect the evolution and composition of planets forming around them. Intense UV radiation pulls apart molecules and penetrates circumstellar disks, where planets form, influencing their chemistry and affecting how long the disks survive. This has a direct bearing on planet habitability, atmospheric escape, and chemistry. "This unique collection is enabling diverse and exciting astrophysical research across many fields," Roman-Duval said.

Image above: This is a ground-based telescopic photo of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. The galaxy is one of several targets for Hubble’s ULLYSES program, which is looking at over 300 stars to build an ultraviolet-light catalog for capturing the diversity of stars, from young to old. The target stars are from Hubble archival observations (yellow circles) and new observations (blue circles). Image Credits: NASA, ESA, J. Roman-Duval (STScI), ULLYSES program, and S. Guisard.

In addition, the torrential outflows of hot gas from fully mature stars that are much more massive than our Sun shape their environments in dramatic ways. By targeting massive stars in nearby galaxies with low abundances in heavy elements, similar to the primitive composition of early galaxies, astronomers can gain insights into how their outflows may have influenced early galaxy evolution billions of years ago.

The design and targets of these observations were selected in partnership with the astronomical community, allowing researchers from around the world to help develop the final program as well as have the opportunity to organize coordinated observations by other space- and ground-based telescopes at different wavelengths of light.

STScI scientific and technical staff are designing software specifically related to the development of databases and web interfaces to ensure wide access to the library by the astronomical community. Tools for high-level science products and spectroscopic analysis are being developed. All of the data are stored in STScI's Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST).

Hubble's Extraordinary ULLYSES Program

Video above: To better understand stellar evolution, a new Hubble initiative has been launched called ULLYSES (UV Legacy Library of Young Stars as Essential Standards). This is the largest observing program ever undertaken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, which will be used to look at over 300 stars. Ultraviolet (UV) light from the target stars will be used to produce a library of the spectral fingerprints of young, low-mass stars from eight star-forming regions in the Milky Way, as well as fully mature high-mass stars in several nearby dwarf galaxies including the Magellanic Clouds. Video Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The ULLYSES program is building a legacy for the future, creating a comprehensive database that astronomers will use for research for decades to come. The archive also complements the portions of the star-formation story that will soon be obtained with infrared-light observations from NASA's upcoming James Webb Space Telescope. Working together, both Hubble and Webb will provide a holistic view of stars and the star-formation history of the universe.

To learn more about the ULLYSES program, visit:

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy in Washington, D.C.

Hubble Space Telescope (HST):

Images (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Video (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Lynn Jenner/GSFC/Claire Andreoli/Space Telescope Science Institute/Ray Villard/Julia Roman-Duval.

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China set to retrieve first Moon rocks in 40 years


CLEP - China Lunar Exploration Program logo.

Nov. 5, 2020

Chang’e-5 has just one lunar day to collect lunar material from a previously unexplored region of the Moon’s near side.

Image above:China is heading back to the Moon later this month. Image Credits: NASA/SPL.

Later this month, a Chinese spacecraft will travel to the Moon to scoop up lunar rocks for the first time in more than 40 years. The mission, named Chang’e-5, is the latest in a series of increasingly complex trips to the lunar surface led by the China National Space Administration (CNSA), following its first touchdown of a craft, Chang’e-4, on the Moon’s far side last year.

“To take it to the next level and return samples from the Moon is a significant technological capability,” says Carolyn van der Bogert, a planetary geologist at the University of Münster, Germany.

The craft is expected to take off on 24 November from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island. Its original launch, planned for 2017, was delayed because of an engine failure in China’s Long March 5 launch rocket.

Chang’e-5’s mission is to collect dust and debris from a previously unexplored region of the Moon’s near side and return them to Earth. If the mission is successful, it will retrieve the first lunar material since the US and Soviet missions in the 1960s and 1970s. Lunar scientists will be eager to study the new samples because of what they might learn about the Moon’s evolution. The material could also help researchers more accurately date the surfaces of planets such as Mars and Mercury.

“The landing site was extremely wisely picked,” says Harald Hiesinger, a geologist also at the University of Münster.

Grab and go

Chang’e-5 includes a lander, ascender, orbiter and returner. After the spacecraft enters the Moon’s orbit, the lander-and-ascender pair will split off and descend close to Mons Rümker, a 1,300-metre-high volcanic complex in the northern region of Oceanus Procellarum — the vast, dark lava plains visible from Earth.

Image Credits: NASA/NATURE

Once the craft has touched down, it will drill up to 2 metres into the ground and extend a robotic arm to scoop up about 2 kilograms of surface material. The material will be stored in the ascender for lift-off.

The descent and ascent will take place over one lunar day, which is equivalent to around 14 Earth days, to avoid the extreme overnight temperatures that could damage electronics, says Clive Neal, a geoscientist at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

The mission is technically challenging, and many things could go wrong, says Neal. The lander could crash-land or topple over, and the samples could escape from their canister along the way. “We all hope that it works,” he says.

Once the ascender is back in lunar orbit, the samples will be transferred to the returner. This in-flight rendezvous will be complex and “a good rehearsal for future human exploration”, says James Carpenter, a research coordinator for human and robotic exploration at the European Space Agency in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. China plans to send people to the Moon from around 2030.

The Chang’e-5 spacecraft will then journey back to Earth, with the lander parachuting toward Siziwang Banner in Inner Mongolia, northern China, probably sometime in early December.

Back on Earth

Most of the lunar samples will be stored at the Chinese Academy of Sciences National Astronomical Observatory of China (NAOC) in Beijing, says Li Chunlai, deputy chief designer for the Chang’e-5 mission. Some material will be stored at a separate site, safe from natural hazards, and some will be set aside for public display, says Li.

But it is not clear whether samples will leave the country. The CNSA supports international collaboration and giving researchers outside China access to the samples if they work with Chinese scientists, says Xiao Long, a planetary geologist at the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan, who was involved in selecting the landing site.

Hiesinger hopes that access to the samples will be similar to how researchers access rocks collected by the US Apollo missions — by submitting a proposal to NASA on how they plan to use them.

But Xiao points out that scientists at Chinese institutions cannot access Apollo samples because the US government restricts NASA from collaborating directly with China.

Evolutionary insights

The Chang’e-5 samples could fill an important gap in scientists’ understanding of the Moon’s volcanic activity. Rocks obtained by previous US and Soviet lunar missions suggest that activity on the Moon peaked 3.5 billion years ago, then fizzled and stopped. But observations of the lunar surface have uncovered regions that could contain volcanic lava formed as recently as 1–2 billion years ago.

If Chang’e-5’s samples confirm that the Moon was still active during this time, “we will rewrite the history of the Moon”, says Xiao.

Chang’e-5 rover. Animation Credit: CNSA

Studying the rocks’ composition could also clarify what fuelled this thermal activity for so long. “The Moon is small, so its heat engine should have run out a long time ago,” says Neal.

The Moon is also an important reference for dating other planets, based on the method of counting craters. The general rule is that older regions have more and larger craters, whereas younger regions have fewer and smaller ones. These relative ages are then given absolute dates using samples from the Moon. But no samples exist for the period between 850 million years and 3.2 billion years ago. Chang’e-5 could fill that gap. “The Moon is the only place where we have samples that we know exactly where they came from,” says van der Bogert.


For more information about China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), visit:

For more information about China National Space Administration (CNSA), visit:

Images (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NATURE/Smriti Mallapaty.


CHEOPS telescope avoided collision with space debris


CHEOPS - Characterising Exoplanet Satellite logo.

Nov. 5, 2020

Debris from a faulty Chinese satellite (pleonasm) threatened to pass within a few hundred meters of CHEOPS on October 2. The thrusters of the Swiss telescope had to be ignited in order to avoid at all costs a collision which would have been destructive.

Scientists were informed on September 30 that space debris was on the collision course with CHEOPS, the University of Geneva said in a statement on Thursday. Two days later, debris from the faulty Chinese satellite Fengyun 1C was to pass CHEOPS.

Space debris. Animation Credit: ESA

According to the University of Geneva, such approaches can be extremely dangerous, as objects in Earth orbit move through space at a speed several times that of a rifle bullet. A piece of one centimeter in diameter colliding with another object releases the energy of an exploding hand grenade.

According to calculations, the piece of debris from the Chinese satellite was at a dangerous distance of 500 meters from the CHEOPS telescope. The probability of a collision is then 1: 10,000.

“It may not seem very dramatic at first glance. But at enormous satellite speeds, minimal orbit deviation can have fatal consequences, ”said Christopher Broeg, manager of the CHEOPS mission at the University of Bern quoted in the statement. In the event of a collision, it could have meant the destruction of CHEOPS.

Corrected orbit

"We decided to orbit 56 meters below the previous orbit," explains Christopher Broeg. To correct the trajectory, the instrument had to be stopped on October 1 for safety reasons.

Characterising Exoplanet Satellite or CHEOPS. Image Credit: ESA

On October 2 at 12:52 a.m., the on-board computer turned on the CHEOPS control thrusters for 1.5 seconds and successfully corrected the orbit. The debris finally flew over CHEOPS on October 2 at 1:41 a.m. at a relative speed of 3140 meters per second at a distance of about one kilometer without causing damage.

High tension

When planning the mission, it was assumed that there would be a maximum of three collision warnings per year and effective orbit correction. "For the CHEOPS team, that was the first warning, which is why the tension was high at the start," exclaims Christopher Broeg.

CHEOPS aims to analyze known exoplanets to determine, among other things, whether they meet the conditions for the development of life. This project of the European Space Agency and Switzerland is placed under the responsibility of the University of Bern in collaboration with the University of Geneva.

Related links:

CHEOPS Mission Home Page:


Animation (mentioned), Image (mentioned), Text, Credits: ATS/University of Geneva/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.