In this issue of the ESA Bulletin, you’ll find some background to the recent flight of ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen, the first Danish citizen in space, and a celebration of the ESA Convention with its 40th anniversary earlier this year.After the 50th anniversary of the European space cooperation in 2014, this year we celebrate 40 years since the signing of the Convention for the creation of a single European Space Agency in May 1975.
Forty Years of the ESA Convention traces its history since the document was signed at the European Space Conference in Paris on 30 May, 40 years ago.
The ESA Convention broadened the scope of the new agency’s remit from those of its predecessors to include operational space applications systems. Years after its signature, the Convention has enabled ESA to adapt to changing environments, to embark on new activities and partnerships, and to remain attractive to new Member States.
Never has so much data travelled in space. In Meeting the Big Data Challenge, we look at data transmission from space to the ground, a vital part of all missions. But radio communication channels are a finite resource and are becoming increasingly congested. In the age of ‘Big Data’, many current systems are no longer fit for purpose when it comes to transmitting large amounts of time-sensitive data.
This issue is being addressed by the European Data Relay System (EDRS), one of ESA’s telecommunication public–private partnerships (PPPs), with its revolutionary network that uses laser links from geostationary orbit to collect information.
Next, Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity predicted the existence of ripples in the fabric of space–time called gravitational waves, but so far no experiment has been able to detect them directly. Seeing the Universe Though Gravitational Waves explains how, while not actually detecting gravitational waves, LISA Pathfinder will prove the key technology for future LISA-like space missions to study the gravitational Universe.
The ESA Bulletin is published four times a year to inform the space-interested public of ESA’s activities. In addition to a wide range of articles, every issue provides an overview of the status of ESA’s major space projects.