Monthly nr 9

October 2005

Aerospace News

Content of October 2005


Featured Aerospace News of the Month:
NASA Takes Google on a Journey into Space

On Sept. 28, 2005, two high-tech powerhouses in California's Silicon Valley, Google and NASA's Ames Research Center, joined forces to conduct cutting-edge research and development. NASA and Google signed a memorandum of understanding that outlines plans for cooperation on a variety of areas, including large-scale data management, massively distributed computing, bio-info-nano convergence, and encouragement of the entrepreneurial space industry.

(from left to right) NASA's Associate Administrator for Program Analysis and Evaluation, Scott Pace with the Director of NASA Ames Research Center,
Scott Hubbard and Google's Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Executive Officer, Eric Schmidt - Image Credit: Dom Hart

"Our planned partnership presents an enormous range of potential benefits to the space program," said NASA Ames Center Director G. Scott Hubbard. "Just a few examples are new sensors and materials from collaborations on bio-info-nano convergence, improved analysis of engineering problems as well as Earth, life and space science discoveries from supercomputing and data mining, and bringing entrepreneurs into the space program. While our joint efforts will benefit both organizations, the real winner will be the American public," he added.

Bio-info-nano convergence is the technology realm that capitalizes on nature's own solutions to complex problems, directed by advanced information technologies, and all accomplished on an ultra-small scale. Current applications include advanced materials and extremely small sensors and science instruments. Bio-info-nano convergence has the potential to create everything from ingestible, medical diagnostic capsules which would explore our bodies to highly capable micro-sized spacecraft able to explore other worlds.

"Google and NASA share a common desire to bring a universe of information to people around the world," said Eric Schmidt, Google chief executive officer. "Imagine having a wide selection of images from the Apollo space mission at your fingertips whenever you want it. That’s just one small example of how this collaboration could help broaden technology’s role in making the world a better place.”

Google's Moon Web site combines images and information from NASA with the power of Google technology.
The new collaboration could improve the public's access to NASA's vast information resources. (Screen Capture from

Click on Image to access Google Moon Page

"I'm thrilled that NASA Ames Research Center and Google, two of our region's and our nation's most valuable and innovative organizations, have formed a partnership," said Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (CA -14th District). "As Silicon Valley continues to lead in developing technologies that will guide our nation's economy in the 21st century, partnerships combining the best in public sector innovation with the cutting edge of private industry will serve as the gold standard in public-private partnerships for years to come. The technologies created by the partnership of Google and NASA Ames not only will enable and enhance further exploration of space, it will positively impact the daily lives of all Americans for generations to come," Eshoo said.

As part of the agreement, Google is planning on building a research and development campus at the NASA Research Park at NASA Ames. The campus, which is less than five minutes from Google's corporate headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., will be comprised of up to 1 million square feet designed to suit Google and NASA's research goals.

NASA Research Park is NASA's transformation of the former Moffett Field Naval Air Station, decommissioned in 1994, into a world-class, shared-used educational and R&D campus. The NASA Research Park plan includes new laboratories, offices, classrooms, housing, auditoriums, museums, a training and conference center, open space, parking and limited retail facilities. The plan calls for NASA to partner with local communities, academia, private industry, non-profit organizations and other government agencies in support of NASA’s mission to conduct research and develop new technologies.

Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford doctoral students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top Web property in all major global markets. Google's targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall Web experience for users.

To view more images from the event, please visit:
Feature Author: Jonas Dino - [email protected]

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NASA and NOAA announce major weather foreasting advancement

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today outlined research that has helped to improve the accuracy of medium-range weather forecasts in the Northern Hemisphere.NASA and NOAA scientists at the Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation (JCSDA) in Camp Springs, Md., came up with procedures to improve forecasting accuracy. The scientists worked with experimental data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite.

NASA's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder instrument is able to peel back cloud cover to reveal 3-D data of a storm's water vapor content,
information that can be used to improve weather forecast models. Picture provided and copyrighted by NASA

They found incorporating AIRS data into numerical weather prediction models improves the accuracy range of experimental six-day Northern Hemisphere weather forecasts by up to six hours, a four percent increase. AIRS is a high-spectral resolution infrared instrument that takes 3-D pictures of atmospheric temperatures, water vapor and trace gases. The instrument data have officially been incorporated into NOAA's National Weather Service's operational weather forecasts.

"NASA is assisting the world's weather prediction agencies by providing very detailed, accurate observations of key atmospheric variables that interact to shape our weather and climate," said Dr. Mary Cleave, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. "The forecast improvement accomplishment alone makes the AIRS project well worth the American taxpayers' investment."

"This AIRS instrument has provided the most significant increase in forecast improvement in this time range of any other single instrument," said retired U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D., Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

"Climate and weather forecasts are dependent upon our understanding current global ocean and atmosphere conditions. If we want to be able to predict what the weather will be like in the future, we must adequately define the global conditions today. Satellite data, like AIRS provides, is a vital link for NOAA to continuously take the pulse of the planet."

"A four percent increase in forecast accuracy at five or six days normally takes several years to achieve," said JSCDA Director, Dr. John LeMarshall. "This is a major advancement, and it is only the start of what we may see as much more data from this instrument is incorporated into operational forecast models at NOAA's Environmental Modeling Center."

The European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasts began incorporating data from AIRS into their operational forecasts in October 2003. The center reported an improvement in forecast accuracy of eight hours in Southern Hemisphere five-day forecasts.

AIRS is the result of more than 30 years of atmospheric research. It is led by Dr. Moustafa Chahine of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. AIRS is the first in a series of advanced infrared sounders that will provide accurate, detailed atmospheric temperature and moisture observations for weather and climate applications.

The JCSDA is operated by NOAA, NASA, the U.S. Air Force and Navy. The goals of the center are to accelerate the use of observations from Earth-orbiting satellites to improve weather and climate forecasts, and to increase the accuracy of climate data sets.

For information about AIRS on the Internet, visit:
For information about NASA and agency programs on the Internet, visit:


ORBIMAGE releases new satellite images of Katrina
aftermath over the Gulfcoast with a focus on Mississippi

Dulles, VA, - September 3, 2005 – ORBIMAGE Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of ORBIMAGE Holdings Inc. (OTCBB: ORBM) collected new imagery yesterday of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast with its high resolution satellite OrbView-3. Some of the first satellite images seen over Gulfport, Biloxi, and Pascagoula, Mississippi are available on our website at for the media and public distribution as part of our contribution to the rescue efforts.

The satellite image over Gulfport, Mississippi, gives context to the massive power of Hurricane Katrina by showing how far inland the Gulfport Casino now sits. The Casino which used to be anchored off-shore can be seen in the bottom center of the image resting on Highway I-90. The colossal steel frames and hulls of these floating casinos are now well inland, hurled across streets and parks by the waves. Casino gambling here provided jobs for 14,000 people. Mississippi's gulf cost casinos generated $500,000 a day in gambling taxes alone and every single casino has been wrecked.

ORBIMAGE was the first commercial satellite company to capture imagery over the affected area on Tuesday August 30, 2005 shortly after the levees broke in New Orleans causing the second wave of destruction for the city. ORBIMAGE has tirelessly supported the rescue efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina through the immediate dissemination of all available imagery to our customers electronically as well as through distribution of storage media to others to facilitate secondary dissemination.

Our target is to reach those who work directly with federal and civil relief agencies and to provide others who have a need with this vital information, by making our imagery available through the media and on our own website. We have an aggressive collection campaign for the areas affected by Katrina. ORBIMAGE will have additional photo opportunities as our satellite passes over the Gulf coast several times in the next week.


Courtesy of ORBIMAGE

ORBIMAGE has dedicated all of its available satellite collection time over the affected area to this effort. Satellite Imagery is being continuously posted on our website for anyone to access in support of rescue efforts and to help officials provide knowledgeable information. Please visit our website periodically throughout the next days in order to get updates on newly available imagery.

ORBIMAGE sends its sincerest thoughts and prayers to all of the people and communities impacted by Hurricane Katrina. It has been our experience so far that no one is untouched by this tragedy and we are anxious to be of any possible assistance to our fellow citizens of this great country.

ORBIMAGE is a leading global provider of earth imagery products and services, with digital remote sensing satellites and an integrated worldwide image receiving, processing and distribution network. In addition to the high-resolution OrbView-3 satellite, which is capable of measuring, mapping and monitoring objects smaller than automobiles and spectrally differentiating thousands of land use/land cover types, ORBIMAGE also operates the OrbView-2 ocean and land multispectral imaging satellite and the SeaStar Fisheries Information Service, which provides maps derived from essential oceanographic information to aid in commercial fishing. ORBIMAGE also produces value-added imagery products and provides advanced photogrammetric engineering services at its St. Louis facility. The company distributes its products directly to the U.S. government for national security and related mapping applications. Commercial sales are primarily handled through a worldwide network of value-added resellers, regional distributors, sales agents, and select strategic partners. Over 10 million square kilometers of imagery has been collected since the launch of OrbView-3 in June 2003, which includes imagery of most of the world’s capital cities, airports, and other areas of interest. The company is currently building a next-generation satellite, OrbView-5, to support the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s NextView image acquisition program. When OrbView-5 is launched in 2007, this next-generation commercial imaging satellite will acquire up to 700,000 square kilometers of imagery each day at the unprecedented resolution of 0.41-meters.

To find more information about ORBIMAGE, please see our web site at

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Orbiter's long life helps scientists track changes on Mars

New gullies that did not exist in mid-2002 have appeared on a Martian sand dune.

That's just one of the surprising discoveries that have resulted from the extended life of NASA's Mars Global Surveyor, which this month began its ninth year in orbit around Mars. Boulders tumbling down a Martian slope left tracks that weren't there two years ago. New impact craters formed since the 1970s suggest changes to age-estimating models. And for three Mars summers in a row, deposits of frozen carbon dioxide near Mars' south pole have shrunk from the previous year's size, suggesting a climate change in progress.

New gullies formed on dune - Picture provided and copyrighted NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

"Our prime mission ended in early 2001, but many of the most important findings have come since then, and even bigger ones might lie ahead," said Tom Thorpe, project manager for Mars Global Surveyor at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif. The orbiter is healthy and may be able to continue studying Mars for five to 10 more years, he said.

Mars years are nearly twice as long as Earth years. The orbiter's longevity has enabled monitoring of year-to-year patterns on Mars, such as seasonal dust storms and changes in the polar caps. "Mars is an active planet, and over a range of timescales changes occur, even in the surface," said Dr. Michael Malin of Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, principal investigator for the Mars Orbiter Camera on Mars Global Surveyor.

"To see new gullies and other changes in Mars surface features on a time span of a few years presents us with a more active, dynamic planet than many suspected before Mars Global Surveyor got there," said Michael Meyer, Mars Exploration Program chief scientist, NASA Headquarters, Washington.

Two gullies appear in an April 2005 image of a sand-dune slope where they did not exist in July 2002. The Mars Orbiter Camera team has found many sites on Mars with fresh-looking gullies, and checked back at more than 100 gullied sites for possible changes between imaging dates, but this is the first such find. Some gullies, on slopes of large sand dunes, might have formed when frozen carbon dioxide, trapped by windblown sand during winter, vaporized rapidly in spring, releasing gas that made the sand flow as a gully-carving fluid.

At another site, more than a dozen boulders left tracks when they rolled down a hill sometime between the taking of images in November 2003 and December 2004. It is possible that they were set in motion by strong wind or by a "marsquake," Malin said.

Some changes are slower than expected. Studies suggest new impact craters might appear at only about one-fifth the pace assumed previously, Malin said. That pace is important because crater counts are used to estimate the ages of Mars surfaces.

The camera has recorded seasonal patterns of clouds and dust within the atmosphere over the entire planet. In addition, other instruments on Mars Global Surveyor have provided information about atmospheric changes and year-to-year patterns on Mars as the mission has persisted. Daily mapping of dust abundance in Mars' atmosphere by the Thermal Emission Spectrometer has shown dust over large areas during three Mars southern hemisphere summers in a row. However, the extent and duration of dust storms varied from year to year.

Mars Global Surveyor was launched Nov. 7, 1996; entered orbit around Mars Sept. 12, 1997; and returned the first Mars data from its science instruments Sept. 15, 1997. Beyond its own investigations, the orbiter provides support for other Mars missions, such as landing-site evaluations, atmospheric monitoring, communication relay and imaging of hardware on the surface. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL's industrial partner is Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, which built and operates the spacecraft.

For newly released images on the Internet, visit:
For more information about NASA and agency programs on the Internet, visit:


NASA releases plans for next generation Spacecraft

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin today released the results of the agency's exploration architecture study - a blueprint for the next generation of spacecraft to take humans back to the moon and on to Mars and other destinations. The study makes specific design recommendations for a vehicle to carry crews into space, a family of launch vehicles to take crews to the moon and beyond, and a "lunar mission architecture" for landing on the moon. It also recommends the technologies NASA should pursue in the near term.

The study will assist NASA in achieving President Bush's Vision for Space Exploration, which calls for the agency to safely return the space shuttle to flight, complete the International Space Station, return to the moon, and continue exploration of Mars and beyond.

America's next generation spacecraft will use an improved, blunt-body crew capsule, and will accommodate up to six people. "This spacecraft and its systems will build upon the foundation of the proven designs and technologies used in the Apollo and space shuttle programs, while having far greater capability," Griffin said. "It will be able to carry larger and heavier cargos into space and allow more people to stay on the moon for longer periods of time."

The new spacecraft can be configured either to support human explorers or fly unpiloted to carry cargo. Its design allows the flexibility to ferry crews of three astronauts, plus additional supplies, to and from the International Space Station, take four crew members to lunar orbit, and eventually maintain up to six astronauts on a mission to Mars.

Crews and cargo will be carried into orbit by a space shuttle-derived launch system, consisting of a solid rocket booster and an upper stage powered by a shuttle main engine that can lift 25 metric tons. The spacecraft also will be 10 times safer than the space shuttle because of its in-line design and launch-abort system.

NASA chose the shuttle-derived option for its launch system due to its superior safety, cost and its availability.Specifically, the space shuttle's main engines and solid rocket boosters are reliable and rated for human space flight. Much of the industrial base and hardware to support this option are already in place, which will significantly lower development costs.

Future lunar exploration missions will be supported by a heavy cargo launch vehicle consisting of five space shuttle main engines, and two five-segment shuttle solid-propellant rocket boosters. This combination yields a lift capability of 106 metric tons to low Earth orbit, and 125 metric tons, if it incorporates an Earth-departure stage. Although primarily designed to carry cargo, this system can be human-rated to carry crew into orbit.

The study lays out a deliberate, milestone-driven journey to the moon for NASA. Returning to the moon and sustaining a presence there will demonstrate humans can survive on another world, and will build confidence that astronauts can venture still farther into space and stay for longer periods. NASA's return to the moon will open opportunities for fundamental science in astrobiology, lunar geology, exobiology, astronomy and physics.

The journey will start with robotic missions between 2008 and 2011 to study, map and learn about the lunar surface. These early missions will help determine lunar landing sites and whether resources, such as oxygen, hydrogen and metals, are available for use in NASA's long-term lunar exploration objectives.

All NASA field centers will participate in the new exploration initiative.

For more information about the Exploration Systems Architecture Study and its results, visit:


Team America Rocketry Challenge Application Available

Arlington, Va. – Teams interested in taking part in the world’s largest rocket contest can start their efforts by downloading the application for the Team America Rocketry Challenge from The first 750 teams to submit an application package postmarked on or before Nov. 15 will be allowed to compete in the 2006 event. About 10,000 middle and high school students participated during the last contest, which a team from the Dakota County 4-H Federation in Minnesota won in May.

The contest is sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry. The Defense Department and NASA are both government partners in the fourth annual TARC and 39 AIA member companies are supporting the event financially. Student team members, which can be from schools or non-profit educational groups, must design, build and fly the rockets themselves.

Rules covering the 2006 contest require the team to launch the rocket 800 feet in the air and keep it aloft for 45 seconds. As in the past, the rockets will carry a raw-egg payload that must return unbroken. It is the first time both elevation and time are factors to the teams’ success. Winners will share $60,000 in cash and savings bonds. Successful teams may also go on to take part in NASA advanced rocketry programs.

Teams have until April 9, 2006 to qualify for the final round of competition scheduled for May 20 at Great Meadow in The Plains, Va. The registration fee is $110 and all additional information is available at


Arianespace to launch THAICOM 5

Private Thai operator Shin Satellite and Arianespace signed the launch contract for the Thaicom 5 satellite,
in a ceremony attended by Christine Lagarde, French Minister for Foreign Trade.

Evry, September 6, 2005 – The Thaicom 5 satellite launch contract was signed at World Satellite Business Week 2005 by Dr. Dumrong Kasemset, Executive Chairman of Shin Satellite Plc, and Jean-Yves Le Gall, Chief Executive Officer of Arianespace. Christine Lagarde, French Minister for Foreign Trade, was present at the signing. This latest contract between Shin Satellite and Arianespace further confirms both the strategic space partnership between France and Thailand and French government support for the Thai space industry.

Coming less than four weeks after the successful launch of THAICOM 4 (IPSTAR), this contract reflects the sustained confidence of Shin Satellite, one of the major operators in the Asia-Pacific region, and is also clear recognition of Arianespace’s high-quality launch service.

THAICOM 5 is slated for an Ariane 5 launch in 2006 from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. It will be the fifth satellite launched by Arianespace for the privately-owned Thai operator, following THAICOM 1 in December 1993, THAICOM 2 in October 1994, THAICOM 3 in April 1997 and THAICOM 4 (IPSTAR) on August 11, 2005.

Built by Alcatel Alenia Space, THAICOM 5 will weigh about 2,800 kg at launch, and will be fitted with 24 C-band and 14 Ku-band transponders. THAICOM 5 will provide telecom and television services throughout the Asia-Pacific from its orbital position at 78.5 degrees East. It will eventually replace the THAICOM 1 and 2 satellites.

Shin Satellite Public Company Limited, formerly Shinawatra Satellite, is the leading satellite communications company in Thailand. It deploys a fleet of satellites that provide an array of telecom services for Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and a large part of Europe.

For further information, please visit:

Picture provided and copyrighted by ARIANESPACE


Envisat and ERS-2 reveal hidden side of Hurricane Rita

23 September 2005 - As Hurricane Rita entered the Gulf of Mexico, ESA's Envisat satellite's radar was able to pierce through swirling clouds to directly show how the storm churns the sea surface. This image has then been used to derive Rita's wind field speeds. Envisat acquired this Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) image at 0344 UTC on 22 September (2345 on 21 September in US Eastern Daylight Saving Time), when Hurricane Rita was passing west of Florida and Cuba. The image was acquired in Wide Swath Mode with resolution of 150 metres. Envisat's optical Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) is also being used to observe the storm during daylight, returning details of its cloud structure and pressure.

Notably large waves are seen around the eye of Hurricane Rita in the radar image. ASAR measures the backscatter, which is a measure of the roughness of the ocean surface. On a basic level, bright areas of the radar image mean higher backscatter due to surface roughness. This roughness is strongly influenced by the local wind field so that the radar backscatter can be used in turn to measure the wind.

So the Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing at the University of Miami used this ASAR image to calculate the speed of Hurricane Rita's surface wind fields – showing maximum wind speeds in excess of 200 kilometres per hour.

"The most detailed information about hurricane dynamics and characteristics are obtained from dedicated flights by hurricane hunter aircraft," explains Hans Graber of CSTARS. "However these flight missions cannot always take place. Satellite remote sensing provides a critical alternative approach.

"It is critical for weather forecasters to obtain reliable characterization of the eye wall dimension and the radii of gale- tropical storm- and hurricane-force winds in order to provide skilful forecasts and warning. Satellite based observations will facilitate better understanding of hurricane evolution and intensification.

"Radar images penetrate through clouds and can easily detect the eye replacement cycle of hurricanes which are precursors to further intensification."

Rita was a maximum Category Five on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale when the ASAR image was acquired. As it continues west through the Gulf of Mexico it has weakened to a still-dangerous Category Four. Rita is expected to make landfall on the Gulf coast during the morning of 24 September.

The same day Envisat acquired its ASAR image of Rita, its sister spacecraft ERS-2 also made complementary observations of the hurricane's underlying wind fields using its radar scatterometer.

This instrument works by firing a trio of high-frequency radar beams down to the ocean, then analysing the pattern of backscatter reflected up again. Wind-driven ripples on the ocean surface modify the radar backscatter, and as the energy in these ripples increases with wind velocity, so backscatter increases as well. Scatterometer results enable measurements of not only wind speed but also direction across the water surface.

What makes ERS-2's scatterometer especially valuable is that its C-band radar frequency is almost unaffected by heavy rain, so it can return useful wind data even from the heart of the fiercest storms – and is the sole scatterometer of this type currently in orbit.

The ERS-2 Scatterometer results for Hurricane Rita seen here have been processed by the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI). They are also routinely assimilated by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) into their advanced numerical models used for meteorological predictions.


Envisat and ERS-2 reveal hidden side of Hurricane Rita
This zoom from a larger Envisat ASAR image shows the signal return from the sea surface beneath the eye of Hurricane Rita. It was acquired in Wide Swath Mode
early on 22 September UTC and has a resolution of 150 metres.
The image measures 100 x 75 km - Credits: ESA

This is the full-sized ASAR Wide Swath Mode image of Hurricane Rita, showing distinctive swirling patterns scoured into the sea surface by the storm's winds.
Credits: ESA

This image shows Hurricane Rita surface wind field speeds,
derived from the ASAR image acquired on 22 September. This work was performed
by the Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing (CTSARS) at the
University of Miami. - Credits: CSTARS

ERS-2 joins in Rita observations
ERS-2 scatterometer data showing the wind speed and also direction for Hurricane Rita.
Acquired on 22 September 2005, it was processed in near-real time by the
Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KMNI). - Credits: ESA/KNMI

"Scatterometer data from the ERS-2 platform provide high-quality wind information in the vicinity of tropical cyclones," states Hans Hersbach of ECMWF. "For a Hurricane like Rita, the combination of such observations with [in-situ] dropsonde data enables the analysis system at ECMWF to produce an improved forecast."

Another Envisat instrument called the Radar Altimeter-2 uses radar pulses to measure sea surface height (SSH) down to an accuracy of a few centimetres.

Near-real time radar altimetry is a powerful tool for monitoring a hurricane's progress and predicting its potential impact. This is because anomalies in SSH can be used to identify warmer ocean features such as warm core rings, eddies and currents.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is utilising Envisat RA-2 results along with those from other space-borne altimeters to chart such regions of 'tropical cyclone heat potential' (TCHP) and improve the accuracy of Hurricane Rita forecasting.

NOAA using Envisat radar altimetry data
This MERIS Reduced Resolution mode image of Hurricane Rita in the
Gulf of Mexico was acquired on 22 September at 1550 UTC.
Note the pronounced wall around its eye. - Credits: ESA

Observing hurricanes - This Envisat MERIS image of Hurricane Rita was acquired
on 20 September 2005 and shows the storm passing Florida and Cuba
to enter the Gulf of Mexico. The image is in Reduced Resolution mode with
a spatial resolution of 1200 metres. - Credits: ESA

A hurricane is basically a large, powerful storm centred around a zone of extreme low pressure. Strong low-level surface winds and bands of intense precipitation combine strong updrafts and outflows of moist air at higher altitudes, with energy released as rainy thunderstorms.

Envisat carries both optical and radar instruments, enabling researchers to observe high-atmosphere cloud structure and pressure in the visible and infrared spectrum, while at the same time using radar backscatter to measure the roughness of the sea surface and so derive the wind fields just above it.

Those winds converging on the low-pressure eye of the storm are what ultimately determine the spiralling cloud patterns that are characteristic of a hurricane.

Additional Envisat instruments can be used to take the temperature of the warm ocean waters that power storms during the annual Atlantic hurricane season, along with sea height anomalies related to warm upper ocean features.

For further information, please visit:


Cebreros inaugurated, ready for Venus Express

29 September 2005 - ESA's new tracking station in Cebreros, Spain, was officially inaugurated on 28 September. The 35-metre deep space antenna joins the ESTRACK ground station network just in time to support next month's launch of Venus Express. The Cebreros deep space antenna, DSA 2, joins DSA 1 in New Norcia, Ausstralia, as ESA's second station intended for communication with far distant planetary missions, starting with Venus Express and later to include missions to Mercury and other destinations in the Solar System.

The ceremony took place under a blue, cloud-free sky, emphasising the choice of Cebreros's rural location, intended to minimise interference from commercial and population centres. The launch event was attended by ESA Director of Science, David Southwood, the Director of Operations and Infrastructure, Gaele Winters, and the Director of the European Centre for Space Astronomy (ESAC), Vicente Gómez.

Fernando González, Director General of Spain's National Institute of Aerospace Technology, attended on behalf of the Spanish government. Deep space antennas symbolise mankind's interest in space exploration," said Professor Southwood, speaking at the ceremony.

Picture provided and copyrighted by ESA

Hundred-million-kilometre data stream
Future deep space missions are expected to transmit large amounts of data from hundreds of millions of kilometres and require higher frequencies to boost data return. Featuring state-of-the-art technology, Cebreros will be capable of supporting Herschel Planck, LISA Pathfinder, Gaia and BepiColombo, among others, all scheduled for launch in the next decade.

With an antenna height of 40 metres and a total weight of 620 tonnes, Cebreros appears similar to DSA 1, opened in New Norcia in 2002. However, the station incorporates Ka-band (31.8 - 32.3 Gigahertz) receiving capability, significantly enhancing data reception, as well as improved pointing accuracy. The antenna can also be rotated further and faster than DSA 1.

Strong ESA member state industrial cooperation
The antenna and related site facilities were completed earlier this year by an industrial group led by SED Systems, Canada; the antenna was built by Germany's Vertex Antennentechnik. Spanish firms Esteyco and Necso built the antenna tower infrastructure, and LV Salamanca was responsible for refurbishing the site buildings, which had previously been used by NASA - also as a tracking station - in the 1960s and 70s. The grouping included additional companies from Germany, France, Spain and Switzerland.

A third deep space antenna is planned for construction at an American longitude, some 120 degrees between Cebreros and New Norcia, later this decade, providing full, 360 degree coverage as the Earth rotates.

ESTRACK automates routine tracking
ESA's ESTRACK ground station network comprises 8 ground tracking stations in Europe, Africa, South America and Australia linking satellites with a central control facility at ESA's Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Germany. Stations are automated for routine operations, providing significant personnel savings.

For further information, please visit:


Pléiades: Spacebel again reaches for the stars

Success again! Spacebel, a European leader in the field of Space I.T., has won a further series of major contracts in the frame of the Pléiades programme. The total turnover of these new developments represents about 3,5 million Euros.

Spacebel started to work on the Pléiades project in 2004. This first contract related to the design of the satellite's on-board software, intended for the control of both the platform and its scientific payloads, will allow the Belgian company to realize a turnover of 2 million Euros.

One year later with this latest award, Spacebel has been chosen to take part in the development of the ground segment of the Pléiades mission centre, which will centralize all requests for image acquisition, receive and manage the instrument data and provide this data to the scientists. The Liégeoise SME will be specifically in charge of the realization of two subsystems of the programming chain: Spacebel will contribute to both the payload management and to the stations management.

Spacebel will also be involved in the implementation of the simulation software, which will simulate the various functions of the on-board software and test their good functioning before their departure into Space. Moreover, the company will intervene at mission operations definition level.

Picture provided and copyrighted by SPACEBEL

Based upon two photograph satellites, the Pléiades programme is part of the Earth Observation policy of the French Space Agency CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales). Weighing 1000 kg, they are planned for an operational lifetime of 5 years. The system is dual: it will satisfy the needs of both civil and military users. The first optical satellite will be launched from the Guyanese Space Center in 2008, followed by the second one in 2009. Both spacecrafts will scrutinize our planet in order to gather images and thus information useful for agriculture, territory planning, natural disaster management ... They will also provide data on population movements as well as on the topography of conflict areas. By their size, their image resolution, their high agility in orbit and their capacity of retransmission to the ground, the Pléiades satellites represent a significant technological progress to which Spacebel is proud to bring its contribution.

By designing and implementing several of the contributing software developments, Spacebel definitely plays a crucial role in the fruition of this renowned programme!

For further information, please visit those useful websites: and

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Boeing Delta II Delivers First Modernized GPS Satellite to Orbit

ST. LOUIS, Sept. 26, 2005 — A Boeing [NYSE: BA] Delta II launch vehicle today successfully delivered the first of the modernized Block IIR Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites to space for the U.S. Air Force.

The Delta II rocket carrying the GPS IIR-14 (M) spacecraft lifted off from Space Launch Complex 17A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., yesterday at 11:37 p.m. EDT. Following a nominal 24-minute flight, the rocket deployed the satellite to a transfer orbit.

"We are honored to be the United States Air Force's choice to launch the GPS satellites and proud to have delivered the first modernized spacecraft to its targeted orbit. Tonight's success is a direct result of the hard work and dedication of Boeing's Delta team," said Dan Collins, vice president, Boeing Expendable Launch Systems.

The Boeing Delta II 7925-9.5 configuration vehicle used for this mission featured a Boeing first stage booster powered by a Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RS-27A main engine and nine Alliant Techsystems (ATK) solid rocket boosters. An Aerojet AJ10-118K engine powered the storable propellant restartable second stage. A Thiokol Star-48B solid rocket motor propelled the third stage prior to spacecraft deployment. The rocket also flew with a nine-and-a-half-foot diameter Boeing payload fairing.

A redundant inertial flight control assembly built by L3 Communications Space & Navigation provided guidance and control for the rocket that enabled a precise deployment of the satellite.

The GPS IIR-14 (M) mission also marked the 100th flight of the Delta II using the ATK 40-inch diameter version solid rocket motors.

Boeing provides launches for the GPS program aboard Delta II vehicles and has a planned GPS manifest through at least 2007.

The GPS network supports U.S. military operations conducted from aircraft, ships, land vehicles and by ground personnel. Additional use includes mapping, aerial refueling and rendezvous, geodetic surveys, and search and rescue operations.

GPS provides military and civilian users three-dimensional position location data in longitude, latitude and elevation as well as precise time and velocity. The satellites orbit the earth every 12 hours, emitting continuous navigation signals. The signals are so accurate, time can be figured to within one millionth of a second, velocity within a fraction of a mile-per-second and location to within 100 feet.

The new GPS IIR-14 (M) is the first of the modernized GPS satellites that incorporates various improvements to provide greater accuracy, increased resistance to interference and enhanced performance for users.

Picture provided and copyrighted by BOEING - Carleton Bailie
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $30.5 billion business. It provides network-centric system solutions to its global military, government and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems; the world's largest military aircraft manufacturer; the world's largest satellite manufacturer and a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA's largest contractor; and a global leader in sustainment solutions and launch services.

Swedish Space Corporation
prime contractor for new satellite project

Sweden grabs the initiative and develops a flying laboratory for autonomous formation
flying and rendezvous technology – the Prisma Rendezvous Robots

Prisma is led by Sweden, with the Swedish National Space Board as main financer, in cooperation with Germany, France and Denmark. The launch of Prisma is scheduled for 2008. SSC is the prime contractor for Prisma and will also be responsible for the satellite design, guidance and navigation control system, onboard computer, onboard software, ground system, assembly, test and verification as well as operations.

Picture provide and copyrighted by Swedish Space Corporation

The aim with Prisma is to strengthen the Swedish space industry and its position in Europe, to give new technologies developed by Swedish companies the possibility to qualify their inventions in space and to fortify Sweden’s capability to develop affordable satellites in a relatively short time, says Christer Nilsson from the Swedish National Space Board.

The first months of the project have been successful, now we are looking forward to the challenging and stimulating tasks we have in front of us, says SSC’s project manager Staffan Persson.

Prisma consists of two space vehicles, a Main spacecraft and a simpler Target craft that will meet in space. The Main spacecraft can manoeuvre while the role of the Target is just what is in its name. The Main craft will weigh about 140 kg and the target about 40 kg. They will be launched together as one unit and the target will separate after about two weeks in orbit when the technology demonstration commences.

For further information, please contact:
Staffan Persson, Project manager, Swedish Space Corporation (SSC)
Tel: +46 8 627 62 68
Mobile: +46 70 406 66 61
E-mail: [email protected]

Christer Nilsson, Swedish National Space Board
Tel: +46 8 627 64 96
Mobile: +46 70 580 24 05
E-mail: [email protected]

Johan Marcopoulos, Swedish National Space Board
Tel: +46 8 627 64 88
Mobile: +46 70 640 64 88
E-mail: [email protected]

For further information, please visit:


Swedish Space Corporation delivers maritime surveillance system to Poland

The Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) has been engaged by Polskie Zaklady Lotnicze (PZL) (Polish Aviation Factory) in Mielec for the delivery of MSS 6000 to the Polish Border Guard. The system will be installed in an M28 aircraft equipped for the monitoring of Poland's and EU's eastern border.

The MSS 6000 is the latest version of the SSC Maritime Surveillance System, a field-proven, user-friendly system in use with coast and border guard organisations around the world. The system that will be delivered to the Polish Border Guard comprises a Mission Management System, an IR/UV line scanner, video and still camera documentation as well as a portable communication unit. In addition, PZL will equip the aircraft with FLIR (Forward Looking Infra Red) and search radar.

Picture provide and copyrighted by Swedish Space Corporation

The aircraft and its mission equipment will constitute a considerable enhancement of the capability of the Border Guard to execute efficient day and night patrols for the protection of Poland's and EU's eastern border.

We are honoured to do business in Poland again, says Christer Colliander at SSC’s Airborne Systems Department. The Maritime Office of Gdynia and the Polish Navy operate earlier versions of the SSC Maritime Surveillance System, adapted to the unique requirements of each organization.

For further information, please contact :
Ms. Heike Schneider,
Project Manager
tel +46 8 627 6274

Mr. Christer Colliander,
After-Sales Service & Product Support
tel. +46 8 627 63 28

For further information, please visit:


Eagle Flight foal to inspire next generation of explorers

An Idaho based charitable venture is focused on sparking an interest in space exploration among youth around the world.

Formed in 2004, The Eagle Flight offers free flights to youth, introducing them to the wonders of aviation and encouraging them to take the next step and become involved in space exploration. NASA plans to resume lunar missions by 2018, and the exploration of MARS is also one of its top priorities.

Eagle Flight founder Jared Aicher said, “The first person to go to Mars is between 6 and 16 years old right now. We are hoping to inspire children to take an interest in science and show them the exciting opportunities available to them in the world of exploration.”

Aicher traveled through the lower 48 states this summer, giving free flights to over 100 children from various backgrounds.His next venture includes a trip around the world beginning in June of 2006, circumnavigating the globe in an aircraft that has never been used in such a feat. Aicher will reveal the type of aircraft he plans to use at an upcoming fundraiser for the charity in Boise, Idaho on November 12th.

Aicher said, “The goal of the Eagle Flight is to instill the spirit of exploration in the next generation of explorers. I want to make sure that young people know how bright their future can be and explain the importance of space research to them. The days of Christopher Columbus are not over—there is still so much more to be discovered.”

More information on the project is available at:

Eagle Flight founder Jared Aicher
Picture provided and copyrighted by Eagle Flight


Strateole-Vorcore campaign studies the Antarctic ozone layer

From 1 September to 30 October, CNES is taking part in the Strateole-Vorcore balloon launch campaign in Antarctica. This campaign plans to release 20 or so stratospheric balloons in the lower stratosphere to study ozone variations in the polar vortex, using a new design of balloon developed by the agency for long-duration flights.

The McMurdo research station ; credits CNES/Ph. Cocquerez

Scientific ballooning teams from CNES and the LMD* dynamic meteorology research laboratory are currently stationed at the American McMurdo research base in Antarctica, where they are set to release up to 25 superpressure balloons with instrumented gondolas to study variations in the ozone hole inside the winter polar vortex.

Launched in September and October, the balloons will fly over the Antarctic continent, staying aloft for several weeks or months at a constant level of air density. The campaign teams will be enduring constantly low temperatures between –20 and –40°C, at which ozone depletion occurs inside the stratospheric polar vortex, leading to the transport of air masses low in ozone to inhabited regions at mid latitudes.

Data acquired will serve to refine models used to simulate atmospheric exchanges and physical and dynamic phenomena such as the formation and movement of polar stratospheric clouds. They will also be assimilated into models of chemical processes driving ozone depletion.

Test campaign in Kiruna (Sweden) ; credits CNES/Ph.Cocquerez

New type of balloon
For Strateole-Vorcore, CNES has developed new spherical superpressure balloons with a diameter of 8.5 and 10 metres. These balloons afford high strength and very good tightness, meaning they can stay aloft for several months at a time inside the polar vortex of the lower stratosphere at an altitude of 18 to 20 km.

Located near the South Pole and sheltered from the strong Antarctic winds, the McMurdo research station is ideally suited to release balloons in the core of the polar vortex.

Long-duration balloon observations, a unique competency of the French space agency, have already been proven during test campaigns staged out of Kiruna, Sweden, and in Brazil. CNES also has 40 years’ experience of scientific ballooning, conducting several tens of launches every year.

The Strateole-Vorcore campaign, conducted by collaborating research stations in Antarctica, is an international project involving scientists from France, Australia and the United States.

*LMD : Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, Palaiseau, France (CNRS)

For further information, please visit:


Asia-Pacific Satellite Communications Council (APSCC) Award
for Dr Kasturirangan

Dr K Kasturirangan, Member of Rajya Sabha and former Chairman, ISRO, has been given the prestigious Asia-Pacific Satellite Communications Council (APSCC) Lifetime Achievement Award for the year 2005. The award recognises his achievements in developing space systems, research, development and production of space products.

The award was presented yesterday (September 27, 2005) during the 8th Asia-Pacific Satellite Communication, Broadcasting and Space Conference & Exhibition at Singapore. Mr A Bhaskaranarayana, Programme Director, Satellite Communications Programme of ISRO, who is attending the Conference, received the Award on behalf of Dr Kasturirangan.

It may be noted that India has made significant strides in the use of space systems for communication development, education and health. India has established one of the largest satellite communication systems in the Asia-Pacific region.

APSCC is an international association representing all sectors of satellite related industries of the Asia-Pacific region and aims to promote satellite communications and broadcasting through regional cooperation for the social, cultural and economic prosperity of the region.

As one of these activities, APSCC recognises organisations and individuals who have made significant contribution to the advancement of the satellite and space industry. The APSCC Awards commemorate the significant achievements and contributions of organisations and individuals.

For further information, please visit:


ORBIMAGE announces agreement to purchase assets of space imaging

Dulles, VA, - September 16, 2005 – ORBIMAGE Holdings Inc. (OTCBB: ORBM) announced today that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of Space Imaging LLC. Under the asset purchase agreement, ORBIMAGE will acquire substantially all of the assets of Space Imaging. The total consideration for the transaction is approximately $58.5 million less amounts which will be paid by Space Imaging on its existing debt prior to closing as well as certain other adjustments.

The transaction is subject to government regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. ORBIMAGE is optimistic that such conditions will be satisfied in time for the closing to occur on or prior to December 31, 2005.

Denver, Colorado-based Space Imaging is a leading supplier of visual information products and services derived from space imagery. Space Imaging launched the world's first one-meter resolution, commercial Earth imaging satellite, IKONOS(tm), on Sept. 24, 1999. It is a privately held company with resellers and over a dozen international affiliates and ground stations around the world and provides satellite imagery and imagery products to a wide variety of governmental and commercial customers both in the U.S and internationally.

"Combining Space Imaging and ORBIMAGE is good for each of the companies and for all of our customers – both in the US and around the world," said Matthew O’Connell, ORBIMAGE president and chief executive officer. "Space Imaging's network of domestic and international customers and its terrific employees made this transaction very attractive. The combination will allow us to provide more cost effective, complementary and robust solutions to customers of both companies. Our combined resources will enhance the ability of our customers, such as the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, to deliver to their users high quality commercial satellite imagery and focus on their important mission, whether related to national security or disaster relief," O’Connell added. “Moreover, the combination will position us well to provide continuity of service to our customers in the U.S. and overseas both in the near term and as we consider emerging requirements with future generations of satellites.”

"We are extremely proud of our track record of growth and dedicated service to our customers, including the U.S. Government," said Space Imaging chief executive officer Robert Dalal, "The combination of Space Imaging and ORBIMAGE will expand and grow the business. This match is a winner for all of our customers and employees." Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin acted as financial advisor to ORBIMAGE on the transaction.

About Space Imaging
Space Imaging is a premier provider of satellite imagery enabling businesses, governments and individuals to better map, measure, monitor and manage the world in which we live. Based near Denver, Colo., Space Imaging transformed the Earth information market when in 1999 it launched IKONOS, the world's first commercial high-resolution imaging satellite. The company supplies high quality, accurate, visual information about the planet's changing natural and cultural features. Space Imaging's customer-centric business lines include imagery from satellites, geospatial solutions for the defense and intelligence community, and direct access to its satellites for corporations and governments. It is a privately held company with resellers and over a dozen international affiliates and ground stations around the world. Space Imaging is a member of the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation.
For more information please visit

ORBIMAGE is a leading global provider of earth imagery products and services, with digital remote sensing satellites and an integrated worldwide image receiving, processing and distribution network. In addition to the high-resolution OrbView-3 satellite, which is capable of measuring, mapping and monitoring objects smaller than automobiles and spectrally differentiating thousands of land use/land cover types, ORBIMAGE also operates the OrbView-2 ocean and land multispectral imaging satellite and the SeaStar Fisheries Information Service, which provides maps derived from essential oceanographic information to aid in commercial fishing. ORBIMAGE also produces value-added imagery products and provides advanced photogrammetric engineering services at its St. Louis facility. The company distributes its products directly to the U.S. government for national security and related mapping applications. Commercial sales are primarily handled through a worldwide network of value-added resellers, regional distributors, sales agents, and select strategic partners. Over 10 million square kilometers of imagery has been collected since the launch of OrbView-3 in June 2003, which includes imagery of most of the world’s capital cities, airports, and other areas of interest. The company is currently building a next-generation satellite, OrbView-5, to support the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s NextView image acquisition program. When OrbView-5 is launched in 2007, this next-generation commercial imaging satellite will acquire up to 700,000 square kilometers of imagery each day at the unprecedented resolution of 0.41-meters. ORBIMAGE is a member of the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation.

Courtesy of ORBIMAGE

Featured Image

Features of Interest: The impressive Iguazu Falls are located to the south on the Argentina/Brazil border.
Geographic location: Longitude: 43.2 ° Latitude: 22.9 °
Image resolution: 4 meters
Source of imagery: Orbview 3 - multispectral
Commercial image processing software used: Processed by ENVI 4.0 Remote Sensing Software for contrast enhancement
and sharpening process (

To find more information about ORBIMAGE, please see our web site at

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Greg Olsen to Communicate with High School Students
from the International Space Station

September 28, 2005 - Space Adventures, Ltd., the world's leading space experiences company, announced today that their orbital spaceflight client, Greg Olsen, Ph.D., plans to communicate from the International Space Station (ISS) with three select high schools via HAM radio signal during his upcoming mission. The company, which organized spaceflights for the world's first private space explorers, American businessman Dennis Tito and the 'First African in Space' Mark Shuttleworth, has coordinated this effort in conjunction with the Amateur Radio on the ISS (ARISS) international working group.

Dr. Olsen will speak with over 30 high school students during a series of ten minute sessions while in orbit, during October 5 – 7, 2005. The three schools selected include Princeton High School and Ridgefield Park High School in New Jersey, and Fort Hamilton High School in New York.

"I'm looking forward to connecting with the students to be able to share my experiences in space," said Greg Olsen, member of Soyuz TMA-7 crew. "I think it's very important to encourage the youth of today to dream big and let them know that anything is possible through hard work and dedication."

"Even though Dr. Olsen will be quite busy performing technical duties and conducting scientific experiments, he will also find time to speak with students from his beloved 'home' states of New York and New Jersey," said Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures. "We applaud Greg for his dedication to this mission, but also his drive to encourage young people to study science, math and astronomy by giving a first-hand description of the wonders of space."

"It is quite exciting to see the inspirational spark that is produced in students when they talk to explorers living and working in space," said Frank Bauer, ARISS International Chairman and AMSAT's vice president for human spaceflight. "The ARISS team of volunteers looks forward to working with Dr. Olsen and preparing the schools for this once in a lifetime event."

The connection from the ISS to each individual school will be established through the ARISS tele-bridge system. The tele-bridge is an ARISS network of worldwide amateur radio ground stations employed to link Dr. Olsen directly with the school students, similar to the way mission control centers in the United States and Russia talk to their space explorers.

Currently, Dr. Olsen is finishing his final spaceflight preparations at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for his 10-day spaceflight. His launch date is scheduled for October 1, 2005. Dr. Olsen will be a member of the Soyuz TMA-7 crew which will also include NASA astronaut William McArthur and cosmonaut Valery Tokarev.

ARISS is an international working group of volunteers from the national amateur radio organizations (ARRL in the U.S.) and the international AMSAT (Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation) organizations from each country. To date, the ARISS team has performed nearly 200 school contacts with crew members on the ISS, including schools for Mark Shuttleworth's flight. This team has also set up numerous family contacts for space explorers via HAM radio---including contacts for Dennis Tito during his stay on the ISS.

Space Adventures, the only company to have successfully launched private explorers to space, is headquartered in Arlington, Va. with offices in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Moscow and Tokyo. It offers a variety of programs such as Zero-Gravity and MiG flights, cosmonaut training, spaceflight qualification programs and reservations on future suborbital spacecrafts. The company's advisory board comprises Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, shuttle astronauts Kathy Thornton, Robert (Hoot) Gibson, Charles Walker, Norm Thagard, Sam Durrance, Byron Lichtenberg, Pierre Thuot and Skylab astronaut Owen Garriott.

For furrther information about Space Adventures, please visit:


Success of the 1702nd launch of Soyuz

Picture provided and copyrighted by STARSEM

Evry, October 1, 2005 - The 1702nd flight of a Soyuz launch vehicle was performed Saturday, October 1, 2005 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 9:54 a.m. Baikonur time (5:54 a.m., in Paris).

Starsem, Arianespace and their Russian partners report that the Soyuz TMA-7 manned transport spacecraft was accurately placed on the target orbit for another mission to the ISS. This was the ninth Soyuz family mission in 2005. The next Soyuz flight will be accomplished by Starsem for the European Space Agency, launching the Venus Express interplanetary probe, scheduled for October 26, 2005.

Soyuz sustained launch rate confirms its position as one of the world's primary launch vehicles. This rate also demonstrates Samara Space Center's continuous production capacity, as well as the operational capability of launch teams at Baikonur under the authority of the Russian Federal Space Agency.

With the introduction of the Soyuz at the Guiana Space Center (CSG), this famed Russian launch vehicle becomes an integral part of the European launcher fleet, together with the heavy-lift Ariane 5 and the lightweight Vega. To be offered exclusively by Arianespace to the commercial market, the Soyuz at CSG is Europe's reference medium-class launch vehicle for governmental and commercial missions.

Starsem is the Soyuz Company, bringing together all key players involved in the production, operation and international commercial marketing of the world's most versatile launch vehicle. Shareholders in Starsem are Arianespace, EADS, the Russian Federal Space Agency and the Samara Space Center.

The Starsem manifest for Soyuz missions currently includes contracted launches for the European Space Agency and Eumetsat.

For further information, please visit:

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Former Astronaut Dan Bursch Joins Aerospace

MONTEREY, Calif. (9/30/05) -- Newsworthy events in 1969 included the first flight of the Boeing 747, the last public performance by the Beatles, and the first manned moon landing. It was this last event that made a bigger impression on former astronaut Dan Bursch than he realized. For Bursch, who joined Aerospace in July, the moment was remarkable at the time but soon forgotten. He was just 12 years old then and preoccupied by the present. Little did he know that the career path he would take would one day lead him to become an astronaut himself. “I remember being at summer camp and listening to a broadcaster describing the moon landing,” Bursch said. “It was a neat thing but not something I thought about again until years later when I graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy.”

Astronaut Years
Bursch received a bachelor of science degree in physics from the academy in 1979, completed the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in 1983 as a test flight officer, and received a master of science degree in engineering science from the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, Calif., in 1991.

While completing his graduate work at NPS he was selected by NASA for the astronaut program and became an astronaut in 1991. Bursch has made four trips into space aboard various space shuttles, logging more than 227 days in space. He and former astronaut Carl Walz share the U.S. single space flight endurance record of 196 days in space.

Former astronaut Dan Bursch in the Joint Airlock module prior to leaving the International Space Station
for a spacewalk in February 2002. Photo courtesy of NASA

Of his experiences as an astronaut Bursch said one of the most memorable was his first view of Earth while climbing to final altitude on his first mission. “I remember the pilot telling me to come look at something as he stuck my face in the window to see Earth,” said Bursch. “It was an amazing view—you had to pinch yourself to believe it.”

Plans for the space shuttle program, he said, call for the shuttle to be retired in 2010. The shuttle is expected to be replaced by the Crew Exploration Vehicle, which will take astronauts to the Moon and beyond. The future vehicle, Bursch said, will probably carry the crew separately from the payload. It won’t have the flexibility, he said, of the shuttle, which Burschrefers to as a “space truck” in reference to its ability to carry a variety of payloads along with the crew.

Bursch remains optimistic about space exploration in the years ahead. The need for humans to explore new frontiers is innate, he said. And the benefits, he said, will be worth it.

Bursch said he sees space travel as a catalyst for the development of more advanced technologies such as the mining of helium-3 from the Moon’s surface for nuclear fusion reactions. Space travel, he believes, will also lead to the development of closed-loop environments where atmospheric components such as the carbon dioxide produced when theastronauts exhale is reused to grow food for them to eat while in space.

“Right now, a lot of the resources we are looking at to be a part of the closed-loop environment are thrown away,” Bursch said. “I think we can develop environmental systems for space and here on Earth that will benefit the world.”

Aerospace Experience
As a senior project engineer in The Aerospace Corporation’s Tactical Development and Acquisition Directorate, Electronic Programs Division, National Systems Group, Bursch keeps close to the field of space as he works with students at NPS.

He is the prospective National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) chair at NPS. While the school offers a diverse number of degree programs, Bursch will be involved with space-related activities in support of national security space, and specifically, the NRO. The primary duty of the chair is to facilitate interchange of advanced degree-seeking officers and technical research of interest to the NRO.

To fulfill these requirements, Bursch will act in a variety of capacities to include thesisadvisement, support to symposia and seminars, and assisting students with projects involving satellite design.

Aerospace also supports an NRO chair position at the Air Force Institute of Technology at Dayton, Ohio. It is filled by Dr. Brad Ayres. Bursch and Ayres will work to increase cooperation between the schools and identify areas where each institution can support NRO research.

“I am proud to be a new member of the Aerospace family,” said Bursch. “I continue to discover many connections that Aerospace has had throughout my career and, in fact, have ecently discovered that [Dr.] Karen Scott, Engineering and Technology Group, was involved with the evaluation and testing of the Centerline Berthing Camera System for the International Space Station (ISS). She also has been involved with the development and calibration of the Destiny module window and research facility.

“The camera system has been a key enabler in the construction of the ISS and the module window is the best view of the Earth that we have on the space station,” said Bursch. The Aerospace Corporation is an independent, nonprofit company that provides objective technical analyses and assessments for national security space programs and selected civil and commercial space programs in the national interest.

For further information, please visit:

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Dubai, the 9th International Aerospace Exhibition
from 20 to 24 November 2005

Welcome to Dubai 2005! This will be the ninth international aerospace exhibition in the series to take place in Dubai. Since 1999 it has moved to a new home at Airport Expo with world-beating purpose built exhibition facilities.

Dubai 2003 took place in December with over 550 exhibitors from 36 countries, a 12% increase on the 2001 event. Despite overcoming huge challenges with the downturn in the aviation industry and the political upheaval in the Middle East, the Dubai 2003 event proved itself to be the fastest growing air show in the fastest growing region.

Dubai 2005 will continue this momentum with an expanded show site to accommodate the increasing demand for exhibition space, dedicated pavilions, focused conferences and increased exhibitor and visitor facilities. On behalf of the team for Dubai 2005, we look forward to extending a warm welcome to exhibitors and visitors at the show.

The Dubai Air Show is organised by Fairs & Exhibitions (1992) Ltd in cooperation with the Government of Dubai Department of Civil Aviation and Dubai International Airport in collaboration with the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces.

For further information please visit:

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