ESA’s Comet Lander Faces Eternal Hibernation

From the European Space Agency: “Silent since its last call to mothership Rosetta seven months ago, the Philae lander is facing conditions on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko from which it is unlikely to recover. “Rosetta, which continues its scientific investigations at the comet until September before its own comet-landing finale, has in…

LISA Pathfinder set to launch, paving way for discovery of gravity’s secrets

Tomorrow at 04:15 GMT, the European Space Agency (ESA) will launch the LISA Pathfinder spacecraft from Kourou, French Guiana. The choice of date is no accident. December 2nd is the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, the best theory we have of gravity. The LISA Pathfinder is…

Preparing to build ESA’s Jupiter mission

Airbus Defence & Space in France has been selected as the prime industrial contractor for ESA’s Juice mission to Jupiter and its icy moons. The agency’s Industrial Policy Committee approved the award of the €350.8 million contract yesterday. Pending the negotiation of contractual details, this should allow work to start…

Four decades of tracking European spacecraft

Forty years ago this week, a satellite ground station in Spain became the first to be assigned to what would become ESA. Since then, the network – Estrack – has expanded worldwide and today employs cutting-edge technology to link mission controllers with spacecraft orbiting Earth, voyaging deep in our Solar…