The Spaceport’s new FCube facility enters operations with its first fueling of a Soyuz launcher’s Fregat upper stage

Processing has been completed for the initial Soyuz Fregat upper stage to be handled in the Spaceport's Fregat Fueling Facility (FCube) - the newest site in French Guiana to support Arianespace's sustained operational cadence.

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The Spaceport’s new FCube facility enters operations with its first fueling of a Soyuz launcher’s Fregat upper stage

Processing has been completed for the initial Soyuz Fregat upper stage to be handled in the Spaceport's Fregat Fueling Facility (FCube) - the newest site in French Guiana to support Arianespace's sustained operational cadence.

Click here to visit Original posting

The Spaceport’s new FCube facility enters operations with its first fueling of a Soyuz launcher’s Fregat upper stage

Processing has been completed for the initial Soyuz Fregat upper stage to be handled in the Spaceport's Fregat Fueling Facility (FCube) - the newest site in French Guiana to support Arianespace's sustained operational cadence.

Click here to visit Original posting

AFSPC Chief visits Buckley

The Air Force Space Command senior enlisted leader visited the 460th Space Wing for the first time since moving to his new position, honoring Airman across the base and answering their questions.

Chief Master Sgt. Patrick McMahon, AFSPC command chief, spoke to Airman about an array of topics, encouraging them that space is important to our country.

"The good thing about space and the good thing about cyber is that you know how important you are," the chief said. "We are the ones our nation relies on because we have chosen to make this our way of life."
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Gravitational waves

Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of spacetime produced by accelerating massive bodies to Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

In general relativity, gravity manifests itself as massive objects bending the structure of spacetime. In addition, something else happens if the gravitational field varies, for example when two massive objects orbit each other.

The motion of massive bodies through spacetime perturbs its very fabric, imprinting a signal that travels away as a disturbance to the structure of spacetime itself: gravitational waves. The animation visualises the effect of these oscillations, which consist of sequential stretches and compressions of spacetime, rhythmically increasing and reducing the distance between particles as a wave propagates through the surroundings.

It is thought that gravitational waves are abundant across the Universe, typically produced by powerful sources such as supernova explosions and pairs of orbiting black holes. However, despite the attempts of ground-based experiments to detect them directly, gravitational waves so far remain elusive.

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Telerobotics head introduces Interact rover

André Schiele, head of ESA’s Telerobotics and Haptics Laboratory and Associate of the Delft Robotics Institute introduces the robot rover key to his new experiment in his own words.

This is the Interact Centaur rover that ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen will be operating from orbit aboard the International Space Station, to drive into position and then perform an operation requiring sub-millimetre precision.

Developed by ESA’s Telerobotics and Haptics Laboratory, the Interact Centaur is a 4x4 wheeled rover combining a camera head on a neck system, a pair of highly advanced force sensitive robotic arms designed for remote force-feedback-based operation and a number of proximity and localisation sensors.

As demonstrated here, Andreas will first attempt to guide the robot to locate an ‘operations task board’ and then to remove and plug a metal pin into it, which has a very tight mechanical fit and tolerance of only about 150 micrometres, less than a sixth of a millimetre.

As currently scheduled, Monday 7 September should see the Interact rover driven around the grounds of ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, from the extremely remote location of Earth orbit, 400 km up.

Signals between the crew and the robot must travel a total distance of approximately ninety thousand kilometres, via a satellite constellation located in geostationary orbit. Despite this distance, Andreas will exactly feel what the robot does on the surface – with only a very slight lag.

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Meet ESA’s Interact Rover

This is the Interact Centaur rover that ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen will be operating from orbit aboard the International Space Station, to drive into position and then perform an operation requiring sub-millimetre precision.

Developed by ESA’s Telerobotics and Haptics Laboratory, the Interact Centaur is a 4x4 wheeled rover combining a camera head on a neck system, a pair of highly advanced force sensitive robotic arms designed for remote force-feedback-based operation and a number of proximity and localisation sensors.

As demonstrated here, Andreas will first attempt to guide the robot to locate an ‘operations task board’ and then to remove and plug a metal pin into it, which has a very tight mechanical fit and tolerance of only about 150 micrometres, less than a sixth of a millimetre.

As currently scheduled, Monday 7 September should see the Interact rover driven around the grounds of ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, from the extremely remote location of Earth orbit, 400 km up.

Signals between the crew and the robot must travel a total distance of approximately ninety thousand kilometres, via a satellite constellation located in geostationary orbit. Despite this distance, Andreas will exactly feel what the robot does on the surface – with only a very slight lag.

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Interact rover ready for action

André Schiele, head of ESA’s Telerobotics and Haptics Laboratory and Associate of the Delft Robotics Institute introduces the robot rover key to his new experiment in his own words.

This is the Interact Centaur rover that ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen will be operating from orbit aboard the International Space Station, to drive into position and then perform an operation requiring sub-millimetre precision.

Developed by ESA’s Telerobotics and Haptics Laboratory, the Interact Centaur is a 4x4 wheeled rover combining a camera head on a neck system, a pair of highly advanced force sensitive robotic arms designed for remote force-feedback-based operation and a number of proximity and localisation sensors.

As demonstrated here, Andreas will first attempt to guide the robot to locate an ‘operations task board’ and then to remove and plug a metal pin into it, which has a very tight mechanical fit and tolerance of only about 150 micrometres, less than a sixth of a millimetre.

As currently scheduled, Monday 7 September should see the Interact rover driven around the grounds of ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, from the extremely remote location of Earth orbit, 400 km up.

Signals between the crew and the robot must travel a total distance of approximately ninety thousand kilometres, via a satellite constellation located in geostationary orbit. Despite this distance, Andreas will exactly feel what the robot does on the surface – with only a very slight lag.

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iriss mission pre-launch preparation at Baikonur

ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen, commander Sergei Volkov and Aidyn Aimbetov prepare for their launch to the International Space Station at Baikonur Cosmodrome. This video includes an overview of activities the crew takes part in during the days leading up to the launch, from arrival at the launch site, through to spacesuit fit-checks, visits their Soyuz spacecraft and participation in the State Commission and pre-flight press conference.
Mogensen, Volkov and Aimbetov launched to the ISS on 2 September at 06:37:43 CEST (04:37:43 UTC) from Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.
During his 10-day mission to the International Space Station Andreas is testing technology, new ways of running space missions and he will swap a spacecraft.
Follow the whole mission with live updates via the iriss mission blog http://blogs.esa.int/iriss and on Twitter via @esaoperations
Connect with Andreas at: http://andreasmogensen.esa.int/

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LISA Pathfinder launch animation

Artist’s impression of the launch of LISA Pathfinder, ESA’s technology demonstration mission that will pave the way for future gravitational-wave observatories in space.

Scheduled to lift off on a Vega rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana in late 2015, LISA Pathfinder will operate at the Lagrange point L1, 1.5 million km from Earth towards the Sun. After launch, the spacecraft will take about eight weeks to reach its operational orbit around L1.

The Vega rocket is designed to take small payloads into low-Earth orbit. The animation shows the rocket shortly after launch, rising above our planet and releasing the fairing.

Vega will place the spacecraft onto an elliptical orbit with perigee at 200 km, apogee at 1540 km and angled at about 6.5° to the equator. Then, LISA Pathfinder will continue on its own, using its separable propulsion module to perform a series of six manoeuvres and gradually raise the apogee of the initial orbit.

Eventually, LISA Pathfinder will cruise towards its final orbiting location, discarding the propulsion system along the way, one month after the last burn. Once in orbit around L1, the spacecraft will begin its six months of operations devised to demonstrate key technologies for space-based observation of gravitational waves.

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