Sunday, November 25, 2007

Europe to deploy into space

By Carol Gee

Columbus to fly and EU to deploy satellite network

Expedition 16 crew at the International Space Station, "Columbus" will soon become its newest part, via NASA's STS-122 mission. To quote NASA:

The real event is targeted for Dec. 6 on a flight to the International Space Station, but astronauts and flight managers and contractors routinely run through a complete practice to get ready for a liftoff.

. . . The Columbus laboratory the crew will ferry to and install on the International Space Station is already bolted into the shuttle's cargo bay. Columbus is ESA's primary contribution to the space station. It will be part of a dedicated suite of science modules at the heart of the station.

That will be the actual beginning of another big dream for ESA, the European Space Agency. ESA astronauts, Hans Schlegel and Leopold Eyharts will be part of the STS-122 crew. Schlegel has not been in space since 1993. To quote from his bio:

Schlegel --


04/26/93 -05/06/93 -- Served as payload specialist on STS-55 aboard Space Shuttle Columbia. Nearly 90 experiments were conducted during the German-sponsored Spacelab D-2 mission to investigate life sciences, material sciences, physics, robotics, astronomy, and the Earth and its atmosphere.

LÉOPOLD EYHARTS (General, French Air Force)
ESA Astronaut (Mission Specialist) .

To quote from his bio:


In August 1998, Léopold Eyharts was assigned by the European Space Agency to train at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. As part of the international astronauts of the 1998 class, he attended Astronaut Candidate Training which included orientation briefings and tours, numerous scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in Shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training and ground school to prepare for T-38 flight training, as well as learning water and wilderness survival techniques. Initially assigned to the Astronaut Office Space Station Operations Branch. Léopold Eyharts' assignments include serving as a flight engineer to the Expedition-12 and Expedition-13 back-up crews.

According to ESA, Columbus will:

Undertake a European experiment programme

Léopold Eyharts and Hans Schlegel will undertake a number of experiments for the European scientific community, including runs of the first experiments to be carried out in the experiment facilities in Columbus. Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko will carry out additional European experiments. Eyharts will also carry out a number of educational activities.

The first experiments to be conducted using the experiment facilities inside Columbus
The experiments requiring the weightless environment inside the ISS are in the areas of human physiology and biology, fluid science and radiation dosimetry. The experiments that need exposure to the open space environment outside the ISS cover a number of scientific areas including exobiology, solar science and material science, in addition to various monitoring and sensor technologies.

(Photo from GPS Daily.)

Space satellite communication

The other big space news from Europe happened just last week. Officials have decided to use unspent public funds to help deploy Eaurope's own "GPS" network. To quote from the story:

"EU agrees public funding for satellite project" By Paul Taylor and Jeff Mason. Fri Nov 23, 5:31 PM ET Yahoo! News (Reuters) -

European Union nations clinched a deal late on Friday to fund an ambitious satellite navigation project to rival the U.S. Global Positioning System using unspent cash from the EU budget, a presidency spokesman said.

The Portuguese spokesman said budget ministers agreed to finance a 2.4 billion euro ($3.55 billion) shortfall in start-up costs of the Galileo system by redeploying unspent money for farm subsidies and competitiveness projects.

The world's continued peaceful use of space is something to give us all comfort and hope in times that are marred by conflict and killing. It is with pleasure that we can take this space news from Europe. To them we can say, "Congratulations!" on many jobs well done.

European Space Agency links of interest:

  1. Columbus Mission
  2. Arctic ice animation
  3. Earth's true colours

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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