Artist's impression of one of the Earth Explorer Swarm satellites. Three identical satellites make up the constellation that is studying the dynamics of Earth's magnetic field. Credit: ESA/AOES Medialab

Debris manoeuvre abort

Today’s debris avoidance manoeuvre has been cancelled! To recap: Based on an assessment of information on hand as of late yesterday, it was clear that the conjunction – a close flyby – of a ca. 15-cm chunk...

Swarm satellite in space Credit: ESA

Swarm debris manoeuvre cancelled

Assessment this AM of latest debris object tracking data and Swarm-B orbit indicated conjunction risk has fallen to acceptable levels.

Commands for a debris avoidance manoeuvre were uploaded to Swarm-B from the EO mission control room at ESOC on 25 January 2017 at 08:51 CET. Credit: ESA

Commands on board

Update 10:30CET 25.01 Today’s debris avoidance manoeuvre is set! To recap: yesterday, it became clear to the Swarm mission team at ESA that an avoidance manoeuvre will most likely be necessary today to boost Swarm-B out of...

Main Control Room at ESA's European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany. Credit: ESA/P. Shlyaev

Planned debris manoeuvre looks good

The Space Debris Office at ESOC have updated their conjunction alert based on the on-going manoeuvre planning. The news is positive! If the manoeuvre is conducted, the object is now forecast to pass in front of Swarm-B...

Swarm satellite in space Credit: ESA

Taking action at ESOC

If you read our earlier post, you’ll know that today there’s some interesting action going on at ESA’s ESOC operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany, where teams are reacting to a forecast conjunction between a piece of space...

The three identical satellites were launched together on one rocket in 2013. Two satellites orbit almost side-by-side at the same altitude – initially at about 460 km, descending to around 300 km over the lifetime of the mission. The third satellite is in a higher orbit, at 530 km, and at a slightly different inclination. Credit: ESA–P. Carril, 2013

ESA teams respond to debris risk

A close approach for Swarm-B with a piece of ca. 15-cm debris is forecast for 25 January at 23:10:55 UTC. We're doing something about it.

Skimming an alien atmosphere

Mission controllers are preparing for the ultimate challenge: using drag from the Red Planet’s atmosphere to lower ExoMars/TGO into its final Mars orbit.

Time to update?

Updating TGO OS

The ExoMars Trace Gas orbiter received an updated ‘operating system’ – the basic software that runs the craft just like the Windows® software that runs a PC.

Strengthening the Mars Telecommunications Network credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA

Aced: TGO data relay capability

On 22 November 2016, the NASA radio system on ESA’s Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), which arrived at Mars in October, succeeded in its first test of receiving data transmitted from NASA Mars rovers, both Opportunity and Curiosity....

Maspalomas station. Credit: ESA/F. Macia

Rumba decides to spontaneously reboot

The Cluster flight control team communicates avidly via mobile text messaging, and soon the on-call engineer was being assisted by two colleagues who came in to provide assistance.

Cluster satellites study the effects of solar wind. Credit: ESA

Come back from the dark side

Cluster spacecraft 3 and 4 went through a Moon eclipse this morning at around 06:00z (08:00 CET). In both cases, the eclipse lasted on the order of 30 minutes.