2016 European Space Agency Objectives

An exciting space year lies ahead. While the Rosetta mission to an end, a new era of Mars exploration has started for the European space Nations. Also for Earth observation to be sent new satellites into space, where continued European astronauts on the ISS are working.

End of Rosetta

For twelve years, the Rosetta mission is on its way and thanks to it the name of the comet 67/P Tschurjumov Gerassimenko of not only space enthusiast has become. In November 2014 the probe successfully the small Lander Philae, although also somewhat bumpy, on the surface of “Tan” off.

The transmission of signals by the Rosetta spacecraft to the ground station takes about 30 minutes. Photo: DLR
The transmission of signals by the Rosetta spacecraft to the ground station takes about 30 minutes. Photo: ESA

Now, after the mission originally late last year should be phased out, an extension is planned. The probe itself, which is currently located between Mars and Jupiter, to descend to the Comet and find their symbolic end in September 2016.

ExoMars Trip to Mars and project maintenance

Meanwhile the attention is aimed with the ExoMars mission on the red planet. Together with the Russian space agency of Roskosmos, the European Space Agency wants to explore ESA the surface of Mars on the spot, and not only from a distance. In March, the probe from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan  start and answer scientific questions after landing in October.

With a trace gas orbiter, researchers want to decrypt biological and geological origins of important trace gases on Mars. Also, EDM landing technology for future Mars missions will be tested with the entry and descent – landing demonstration module.

Satellite system allows data services almost in real time

The beginning of the year is heralded a lot closer to the ground with the launch of the first payload (EDRS-A) of the European data relay satellite system, a public private partnership between the ESA and Airbus defense

ESA Rover Schiaparelli to land,
Here the ESA Rover Schiaparelli to land, in the Meridiani Planum in the Equatorial Highlands of Mars.

& space in January. The EDRS, which enables data from satellites in non-geostationary orbit, will drastically increase the speed of transmission and thus global in quasi real time enable the provision of services.

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Logo of the living planet Symposium: the ESA event is the world’s largest on the subject of Earth observation. Photo: ESA

SmallGEO – faster multimedia services

Also SmallGEO is a public-private partnership in the field of telecommunications. With the modular multi purpose platform to deploy faster multimedia services for Spain, Portugal, the Canary Islands and America. The launch is scheduled for the end of the year.

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The first payload of the European data relay satellite system EDRS-A starts in January.

Galileo – four new navigation satellites

In October, four Galileo satellites are launched for the first time aboard an Ariane-5 rocket. Thus, the number of navigation satellite in orbit will increase to 16. In Europe’s space airport in French Guiana, where Ariane-5 launches, will incur a further launch complex for the Ariane 6.

Copernicus – the Earth under observation

For the Earth observation program Copernicus, a joint initiative of ESA and the European Commission, several satellites be launched also. After Sentinel-2 already since the middle of last year observed the global state of the land surfaces and their vegetation, now follows Sentinel-3A, whose starting is planned for at the beginning of the year.

2016 European Space Agency Objectives
Sentinel-2 satellite to monitor the condition of the vegetation and land surfaces. Photo: P. Carril / ESA

It is the measurement of sea surface topography, sea and land surface temperature and the color of the ocean`s surfaces to support Ocean forecast systems. In April followed by sentinel-1B and the end of Sentinel-2B. Once all satellites are in orbit, Europe will have a sophisticated radar and high resolution multi spectral camera in orbit an optimum detection and data transmission.

Two ESA astronauts on the ISS

Even 2016, ESA astronauts in low Earth orbit on the international space station will conduct scientific experiments. The British ESA astronaut Tim Peake is already working on the ground and will return in June to the Earth. French ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet is leaving in November to a six-month long-term flight. A German astronaut should also be determined in the coming year, its use on the ISS for 2018 is planned.

The ESA on the Earth’s surface

In May to the ESA Symposium “Living planet” in Prague to become the biggest Earth-observation event. It is the Fifth Conference of this kind, for which the Scientific Committee currently views the submitted abstracts of 2700. Also at the aviation fair in Berlin (ILA) in June and the international air show in Farnborough in July, ESA will be represented. The ESA Council meeting at ministerial level will be the highlight of the year in December, which this time is aligned in Lucerne.

2016 European Space Agency Objectives
Space year 2016 is from the perspective of the ESA an exciting. For the ESA astronauts Tim peak it already has on the ISS started. Photo: ESA