This first image of the Earth acquired by the MSG-2 satellite was unveiled on 24 January. MSG-2, developed on behalf of EUMETSAT under the aegis of the European Space Agency, was launched from the Guiana Space Centre, Europe’s spaceport, in Kourou, French Guiana, on 21 December 2005.
An ambitious ESA project to chart ten years in the life of the Earth’s vegetation has reached a midway point, with participants and end-users having met to review progress so far. Harnessing many terabytes of satellite data, the GLOBCARBON project is intended to hone the accuracy of climate change forecasting.
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An international team of astronomers has discovered a planet more similar to Earth than any found to date. This groundbreaking discovery of a new extra solar planet, or exoplanet has been made by scientists searching for Earth-like planets capable of supporting life.
Using recent Cassini, Huygens and Earth-based observations, scientists have been able to create a computer model which explains the formation of several types of ethane and methane clouds on Titan.
NASA’s Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) satellite recently ceased operations, bringing to a close a successful six-year mission. IMAGE was the premier producer of new discoveries on the structure and dynamics of the Earth’s external magnetic field (magnetosphere) and its contents.
“The IMAGE mission showed us space around the Earth is anything but empty, and that plasma clouds can be imaged and tracked just as we do from space for Earth’s surface weather,” said Barbara Giles, IMAGE Program Scientist at NASA headquarters.
Prior to the launch of IMAGE, the energetic particles and electrically charged gas (plasma) surrounding the Earth were completely invisible to human observers. IMAGE enabled researchers to study the global structure and dynamics of the Earth’s inner magnetosphere as it responded to energy from solar winds.
Winter snow blankets the heights of the Pamir Mountains and the Hindu Kush in this Envisat image acquired over Central Asia, the snow cover extending to surrounding desert lowlands.
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XMM-Newton, ESA’s X-ray observatory, continues its quest for the unknown. This month, after five years of operations, the mission saw the publication of its 1000th scientific paper, corresponding to an equivalent number of results, in top-class scientific journals. This is not the only record-breaking figure for this X-ray ‘hunter’ mission.
Rocket System Corporation (RSC) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Multi-functional Transport Satellite 2 (MTSAT-2) aboard the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 9 (H-IIA F9) at 3:27 p.m. on February 18, 2006 (Japan Standard Time, JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center. The MTSAT-2 is owned by the Civil Aviation Bureau and the Japan Meteorological Agency, which fall under the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
The initial flight azimuth was 99.5 degrees. The launch vehicle flew smoothly, and, at about 28 minutes and 11 seconds after liftoff, the separation and injection of the MTSAT-2 into a Geostationary transfer orbit were confirmed.
We would like to express our profound appreciation for the cooperation and support of all related personnel and organizations that helped contribute to the successful launch of the MTSAT-2 aboard the H-IIA F9.
At the time of the launch, a wind speed was 7.5 m/second from the North West and the temperature was 11.2 degrees Celsius.
Building spacecraft is a tough job. They are precision pieces of engineering that have to survive in the airless environment of space, where temperatures can swing from hundreds of degrees Celsius to hundreds of degree below zero in moments. Once a spacecraft is in orbit, engineers have virtually no chance of repairing anything that breaks. But what if a spacecraft could fix itself?
The European Space Agency and the Australian National University have successfully tested a new design of spacecraft ion engine that dramatically improves performance over present thrusters and marks a major step forward in space propulsion capability.