Archive for the ‘ESA’ Category

Envisat, the European Space Agency’s $3 billion, 17000-plus pound earth observation satellite will be the biggest–physically at least–risk to satellites operating in polar orbits for the next 150 years.

What happens in 150 years to change things?  It burns in.

You would think the ESA has considered using whatever maneuver fuel is available to try and move Envisat to a less dangerous position, right?  Right?

Or is more likely that because this is a $3 billion mission the ESA will wring every bit of performance they can out of Envisat and then, to quote Fleetwood Mac, will tell the satellite “you can go your own way”?

The Space News link talks of Envisat having to maneuver to avoid a 3000-plus pound Chinese upper stage.  That debris field would likely have been one for the ages.

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The new space race will be for positioning, navigation, and timing.  Why?  It’s too important not to have, or conversely, it’s too important to have to depend on someone else for such space-provided services.

Who is in the game?  The U.S., Russia, China, and the ESA.

Assuming war doesn’t break out (with selective disabling), cross-system linking and ground station enhancements will reduce miss-distances to less than one meter.

Humble Pie sang of 30 days in the hole.  Six ‘terrastronauts’ (I made that up in case you like it) are looking at 500 days of lock-up in a Moscow-based simulated spacecraft. The purpose is to serve as a sort of pathfinder-effort culminating in a manned mission to Mars.  It’s all sponsored by the European Space Agency.

The simulation is needed to examine the human needs for what would be a 520 day mission to Mars–250 there, explore for a month, and 230 for the trip home.  Coming back, we’re looking at space tail-winds, eh?

When might such a Mars mission actually occur?  I’m not really sure, but if you’re reading this, you’ll almost certainly be dead.  Does that sound harsh? Sorry.

The six will remain in lockup until November 2011 unless some sort of sci-fi type event occurs.