Google+ SpaceTravelFoundation: 2014-11-23

November 25, 2014

MASCOT the asteroid lander is ready for its launch on November 30th

Dear readers and followers,

While Philae sleeps on the comet 67P, the spacecraft MASCOT (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout) is ready for its launch on 30 November 2014. MASCOT is an asteroid lander developed by +DLR, German Aerospace Center, the Japan space agency +JAXA | 宇宙航空研究開発機構 and the French space agency, +CNES
In 2018 the Japanese Hayabusa 2 Mission will feature an asteroid landing and will, for the first time, allow for data acquisition at various points of this kind of celestial body, assisted by MASCOT , the hopping landing craft developed by the German Aerospace Center.  

The plan is to send the orbiter to its destination in 2014. Upon arrival in 2018, the spacecraft will initially remain in orbit to scout the unknown terrain. A stable, yet extremely light cover will protect the shoe box-sized lander as it falls to the asteroid’s surface. The four instruments designed to conduct in situ measurements on the asteroid are located inside the DLR landing craft:
  • the infrared spectrometer that will analyse the surface composition
  • magnetometer to investigate the magnetic field
  • a wide-angle camera to record the landing site and the fine structure of the soil
  • a radiometer that will measure surface temperatures, among other things.
Once the initial measurements are complete, MASCOT will hop to the next measurement site, providing scientists with data from different positions on asteroid on 1999 JU 3, gathered over two asteroid days and nights. During its mission, the landing craft will be monitored from the DLR Microgravity User Support Center (MUSC).

1999 JU3 is an Apollo asteroid. The asteroid was discovered in 1999 by the LINEAR project. The Apollo asteroids are a group of near-Earth asteroids named after 1862 Apollo, the first asteroid of this group which was discovered by Karl Wilhelm Reinmuth. 

Source: +CNES

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November 24, 2014

Airbus will develop and built service module of NASA's Orion human space capsule

Dear readers and followers,

The contract for Airbus of about 390 million euros is for the development and construction of the service module for Orion, the future American human space capsule. The service module will provide propulsion, power supply, thermal control and the central elements of the life support system of the American capsule.
Credit image: +NASA 

It is the first time that Europe has been involved in providing system-critical elements for an American space project. In December 2012, US space agency +NASA  and +European Space Agency, ESA had agreed to certify the new US Orion spacecraft in conjunction with the European service module.

This module is based on the design of and the experience gained from the Automated Transfer Vehicle developed and constructed by Airbus Defence and Space on behalf of ESA as a supply craft for the International Space Station.

Francois Auque, Head of Space Systems, told BOB fm: "This follow-on contract is a mark of confidence in our expertise as well as in our ability to deliver reliable state-of-the-art space systems on time and within budget. Thanks to this programme and the continuous investments we make, we are able to maintain our technological lead.

Credit image: +European Space Agency, ESA 

In the wake of the ATV's outstanding five flawless missions to the ISS, this programme is yet another example of the important role that Europe plays globally in the field of human space flight".
The intention is to use the Orion space capsule for human missions to the Moon, to asteroids and into the depths of space. It comes after the success of Stevenage-built spaceship Rosetta, that was able to carry probe Philae close enough to land it on a comet last week. With him was the UK's first astronaut, Tim Peake - who told BOB fm at the Exo-Mars test yard that he was fascinated by flying when working as a test-pilot. 
He added: "It's great to see the Mars Yard at Stevenage Airbus has expanded. It's amazing to see the Mars programme progressing towards its launch in 2016".

Source: +NASA 

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