ATV Albert Einstein ready for launch

Ariane 5 flight VA213 on the launch pad, on 4 June, 2013, in Kourou, French Guiana.

ESA’s fourth Automated Transfer Vehicle, Albert Einstein, is ready for launch on an Ariane 5 to the International Space Station on 5 June, 2013, from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Liftoff is set for 23:52 CEST (21:52 GMT), and one hour and four minutes later the vessel will separate from the launcher to begin ten days of health checks and orbital manoeuvres, bringing it to an automated docking with the Station on 15 June, 2013.

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ATV Albert Einstein ready for launch

Ariane 5 flight VA213 on the launch pad, on 4 June, 2013, in Kourou, French Guiana.

ESA’s fourth Automated Transfer Vehicle, Albert Einstein, is ready for launch on an Ariane 5 to the International Space Station on 5 June, 2013, from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Liftoff is set for 23:52 CEST (21:52 GMT), and one hour and four minutes later the vessel will separate from the launcher to begin ten days of health checks and orbital manoeuvres, bringing it to an automated docking with the Station on 15 June, 2013.

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ATV Albert Einstein ready for launch

Ariane 5 flight VA213 on the launch pad, on 4 June, 2013, in Kourou, French Guiana.

ESA’s fourth Automated Transfer Vehicle, Albert Einstein, is ready for launch on an Ariane 5 to the International Space Station on 5 June, 2013, from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Liftoff is set for 23:52 CEST (21:52 GMT), and one hour and four minutes later the vessel will separate from the launcher to begin ten days of health checks and orbital manoeuvres, bringing it to an automated docking with the Station on 15 June, 2013.

Click here to visit Original posting

ATV Albert Einstein ready for launch

Vulcain engine of the Ariane 5 flight VA213 on the launch pad, on 4 June, 2013, in Kourou, French Guiana.

ESA’s fourth Automated Transfer Vehicle, Albert Einstein, is ready for launch on an Ariane 5 to the International Space Station on 5 June, 2013, from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Liftoff is set for 23:52 CEST (21:52 GMT), and one hour and four minutes later the vessel will separate from the launcher to begin ten days of health checks and orbital manoeuvres, bringing it to an automated docking with the Station on 15 June, 2013.

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3D-printed toolbox for Columbus

This purpose-designed 3D-printed toolbox is being launched to the ISS on ESA’s latest ATV resupply spacecraft. The strong, lightweight multitray toolbox was printed in ULTEM 9085 thermoplastic by Thales Alenia Space in Turin through an ESA contract. The toolbox is designed to store tools for maintaining Europe’s Columbus research module. The new toolbox includes little clips to hold the tools in place, just like toolboxes you can buy at a hardware store, instead of the previous Velcro inserts that may lose their stickiness over time. At the same time, the toolbox exterior still has Velcro covering, so astronauts can leave it in place while they work without it drifting away. If any part of the toolbox breaks then the ground has only to reprint and fly up the tray in question. Following this pilot project, future long-duration missions could carry their own 3D printers in space to print out failed parts immediately.

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Mars north polar ice cap

The north polar ice cap of Mars, presented as a mosaic of 57 separate images from the High Resolution Stereo Camera on ESA’s Mars Express. The ice cap spans approximately 1000 km and is seen here in polar stereographic projection. The images were taken throughout the entire mission, when Mars Express was at its closest to Mars along its orbit, at about 300-500 km altitude.

The mosaic was published as space science image of the week on the occasion of the tenth anniversary since the mission launched on 2 June 2003.

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NGC 1579: The Trifid of the North

Unlike the venomous fictional plants that share its name, the Trifid of the North, otherwise known as the Northern Trifid or NGC 1579, poses no threat to your vision. The nebula’s moniker is inspired by the better-known Messier 20, the Trifid Nebula, which lies very much further south in the sky and displays strikingly similar swirling clouds of gas and dust.

The Trifid of the North is a large, dusty region that is currently forming new stars. These stars are very hot and therefore appear to be very blue. During their short lives they radiate strongly into the gas surrounding them, causing it to glow brightly. Many regions like the Trifid of the North — named H II regions — are clumpy and strangely shaped due to the powerful winds emanating from the stars within them. H II regions also have relatively short lives, furiously forming baby stars until the immense winds from these bodies blow the gas and dust away, leaving just stars behind.

The image above, captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows the bright body of the nebula, with dark dust lanes snaking across the frame. The Trifid of the North glows strongly due to the many stars within it, like young binary EM* LkHA 101. Visible to the bottom right of the image, this binary is thought to be surrounded by a hundred or so fainter and less massive stars, making up a recently formed cluster. It lies behind a cloud of dust so thick that it is almost invisible to astronomers at optical wavelengths. Infrared imaging has now penetrated this dusty veil and is uncovering the secrets of this binary star, which is about five thousand times brighter than our own Sun.

A version of this image by Bruno Conti was entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures competition.

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Celebrating 10 years of Mars Express discoveries

Replay of the 3 June 2013 webcast marking the 10th anniversary of the launch of ESA’s Mars Express. The programme highlights the key scientific discoveries of the mission and unveils a new mineral atlas that charts the geological history of Mars. The webcast runs approximately 90 minutes.

Speakers include:
Thomas Reiter, ESA Director of Human Spaceflight and Operations
Mars, a challenging target for human and robotic operations

Alvaro Giménez, ESA Director of Science and Robotic Exploration
Europe as a key player in the exploration of Mars

Olivier Witasse, ESA Mars Express project scientist
Scientific discoveries of Mars Express

Jean-Pierre Bibring, Principal Investigator for the OMEGA instrument
History of Mars encrypted in its minerals

Includes questions from media

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