Latest Space News
Thu, 23 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0100
The 11th annual Mobile Deployable Communications conference will take place in Warsaw, Poland on 1st and 2nd February 2018. Download Conference Agenda | Register to attend this Conference Flexible and continuous connectivity, anywhere, at any time remains a key priority for major defence forces around the world. With the critical threat of cyber warfare intensifying, there is now a pressing need to ensure secure communications can be effectively operated in contested environments. The...
Wed, 22 Nov 2017 19:00:00 +0100
Neutrinos are abundant subatomic particles that are famous for passing through anything and everything, only very rarely interacting with matter. About 100 trillion neutrinos pass through your body every second. Now, scientists have demonstrated that the Earth stops energetic neutrinos-they do not go through everything. These high-energy neutrino interactions were seen by the IceCube detector, an array of 5,160 basketball-sized optical sensors deeply encased within a cubic kilometer of very c...
Wed, 22 Nov 2017 15:09:00 +0100
ESA's first Earth observation satellite was launched on 23 November 1977. When the first Meteosat satellite took its place in the sky, it completed coverage of the whole globe from geostationary orbit and laid the foundations for European and world cooperation in meteorology that continues today. Weather - and particularly extreme weather - affects everything we do. Being able to see the whole disc of Earth allows forecasters to see developing weather systems, as well as working out wind spee...
Wed, 22 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0100
The vault-like, 40-foot diameter, 40-ton door of Chamber A at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston was unsealed on November 18, signaling the end of cryogenic testing for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. The historic chamber's massive door opening brings to a close about 100 days of testing for Webb, a significant milestone in the telescope's journey to the launch pad. The cryogenic vacuum test began when the chamber was sealed shut on July 10, 2017. Scientists and engineers at Johnson pu...
Tue, 21 Nov 2017 16:05:00 +0100
Europe's next four Galileo navigation satellites and the Ariane 5 rocket due to lift them into orbit are being readied for their 12 December launch from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Tuesday saw Galileo satellites 19-22 declared ready for flight, along with their Ariane. Combined activities are now under way, culminating in the satellites meeting their rocket in the Final Assembly Building. The satellites were flown in pairs to French Guiana last month. Once safely unboxed i...
Tue, 21 Nov 2017 14:26:00 +0100
A mini-rover, tools once used on the Moon and lasers for 3D mapping are in the backpack of the explorers of tomorrow. The terrain will be hazardous and it will be dark in volcanic caves, but this equipment could one day help to scout other planets. The alien-like landscapes of Lanzarote, Spain, are almost surreal but this volcanic island is helping to bring future space missions to reality. This month, an expedition with a dozen of experiments mobilised 50 people and four space agencies du...
Tue, 21 Nov 2017 14:00:00 +0100
ViaSat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global broadband services and technology company, announced today it has expanded its current relationship with authorized value-added reseller Satcom Direct (SD), to offer ViaSat's full suite of in-flight connectivity (IFC) systems and services to large and mid-cabin business jets. The new agreement adds ViaSat's latest Ka-band business jet service to SD's IFC portfolio, which already included ViaSat's global Ku-band IFC service. ViaSat's Ka-band service is expecte...
Tue, 21 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0100
We are proud to announce the third annual Maritime Reconnaissance and Surveillance Technology conference will be held in Rome from the 30th-31st January 2018. Download Conference Agenda | Register to attend this Conference Reconnaissance and Surveillance are key to developing clear and accurate maritime situational awareness. In order to maximise their ISR range, Navies and Maritime agencies around the globe are looking beyond the atmosphere to provide new and advanced surveillance capabil...
Mon, 20 Nov 2017 20:47:00 +0100
The propulsion system of the light-weight Angara 1.2 Launch Vehicle Service Module, manufactured by the Khrunichev Space Center (part of ROSCOSMOS State Corporation), completed successful hot-fire testing at the Federal State Enterprise "Rocket & Space Industry Research & Test Center" (RSI RTC) test facility (Peresvet, Moscow Region). The hot-fire tests are the most important and final stage of ground based propulsion system tests prior to flight testing. During the tests, specialists from...
Mon, 20 Nov 2017 17:00:00 +0100
For the first time ever astronomers have studied an asteroid that has entered the Solar System from interstellar space. Observations from ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile and other observatories around the world show that this unique object was traveling through space for millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system. It appears to be a dark, reddish, highly-elongated rocky or high-metal-content object. The new results appear in the journal Nature on 20 November 2017. ...
Mon, 20 Nov 2017 16:30:00 +0100
Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS) has partnered with NASA's Johnson Space Center to successfully complete thermal vacuum testing for the James Webb Space Telescope - validating its ability to operate in the frigid space environment. The Webb telescope will be the premier space observatory of the next decade, and will study galaxy, star and planet formation in the universe. Harris' team helped safeguard the telescope in Houston during Hurricane Harvey and ensured uninterrupted testing - including ...
Mon, 20 Nov 2017 14:31:00 +0100
Orbital ATK (NYSE:OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, contributed to the successful launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket as it lifted off Saturday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, carrying the first Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-1) spacecraft. Orbital ATK's contributions to the Delta II include nine Graphite Epoxy Motors (GEM 40) and a large composite fairing for the rocket. This event marks the penultimate launch of the Delta II rocket. It i...
Mon, 20 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0100
Twice as big as Earth, the super-Earth 55 Cancri e was thought to have lava flows on its surface. The planet is so close to its star, the same side of the planet always faces the star, such that the planet has permanent day and night sides. Based on a 2016 study using data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, scientists speculated that lava would flow freely in lakes on the starlit side and become hardened on the face of perpetual darkness. The lava on the dayside would reflect radiation from th...
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 13:03:00 +0100
Today, NASA launched NOAA's next-generation polar satellite, the Joint Polar Satellite System-1, into space. Two Raytheon (NYSE: RTN) weather programs are mission-critical components of the satellite's mission: the JPSS Common Ground System and the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite sensor. Svalbard, Norway, is home to part of a global network of receiving stations that process and distribute polar satellite data to users worldwide. Photo taken at Kongsberg Satellite Services plateau, ...
Sat, 18 Nov 2017 08:00:00 +0100
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket carrying the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) for NASA and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-2 on Nov. 18 at 1:47 a.m. PST. The JPSS program provides the nation's next generation polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system, delivering key observations for the nation's essential projects and services, including forecasting weather in advance and assessing environmental hazards...
Fri, 17 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0100
Landing on Mars is difficult and not always successful. Well-designed advance testing helps. An ambitious NASA Mars rover mission set to launch in 2020 will rely on a special parachute to slow the spacecraft down as it enters the Martian atmosphere at over 12,000 mph (5.4 kilometers per second). Preparations for this mission have provided, for the first time, dramatic video of the parachute opening at supersonic speed. The Mars 2020 mission will seek signs of ancient Martian life by investiga...
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 15:07:00 +0100
The U.S. Navy's Communications Satellite Program Office, PMW 146, and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) handed over full operational control of the fifth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite to the Naval Satellite Operations Center (NAVSOC). The October 11 milestone followed the successful completion of the MUOS-5 satellite's on-orbit testing and delivery of all operational products needed to "fly" the satellite. In April, the Navy, working with Army Forces Strategic Command (ARSTRAT), con...
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 14:04:00 +0100
As part of ESA's strategy to foster commercial competitiveness in Europe while focusing on its core aims, the agency has transferred ownership of several ground tracking stations for reuse by external organisations. By the end of 2017, ESA will have transferred three stations to national organisations in Spain and Portugal, who will take over the provision of satellite tracking services to a wide variety of commercial customers. The three stations involved in the transfer are all equipped ...
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 19:33:00 +0100
Boeing [NYSE:BA] won large commitments across its twin- and single-aisle commercial airplane families, debuted key capabilities including the CST-100 Starliner docking and KC-46 refueling simulators, and announced services agreements at the 2017 Dubai Airshow. "This has been a very successful show for Boeing. Our regional customers have maintained their trust in our products and technology, and our partnerships in the Middle East region continue to grow," said Bernard Dunn, President, Boeing ...
Wed, 15 Nov 2017 12:00:00 +0100
A temperate Earth-sized planet has been discovered only 11 light-years from the Solar System by a team using ESO's unique planet-hunting HARPS instrument. The new world has the designation Ross 128 b and is now the second-closest temperate planet to be detected after Proxima b. It is also the closest planet to be discovered orbiting an inactive red dwarf star, which may increase the likelihood that this planet could potentially sustain life. Ross 128 b will be a prime target for ESO's Extremely ...
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    Job Description
    Title6 Months Solar Orbiter Test Engineer
    Job codeSO-NB-MAT
    Job posted on14/11/2017 (modified on 16/11/2017)
    LocationVillanueva de la Cañada, Madrid
    Contract typeAny
    Start dateimmediately
    Job Description


    Aurora is an established supplier of skilled manpower to ESA and in particular at ESTEC and ESAC. Aurora has the opportunity to expand our support within the Science Directorate (D/SCI). Aurora currently has a team of 30 engineers and scientists at ESAC. This position is to cover our engineer who shall be on maternity leave.


    The work is to provide a number of specialised services to support ESA in developing the Solar Orbiter mission’s Science Operations Centre (SOC) at ESAC. This covers software design, definition, implementation and maintenance service support to Solar Orbiter Science Ground Segment (SGS) development, operations and maintenance at ESAC, including the science operations planning system, the low-latency data generation and visualization system, the auxiliary data products generation system and also supports the archiving of science data products.

    Solar Orbiter is the first of the medium size missions in the ESA’s Cosmic Vision Science Programme, developed in collaboration with NASA. It is a solar observatory carrying 10 instruments provided by Principal Investigators: 6 remote sensing instruments (an EUV telescope, a polarimetric telescope, an X-ray telescope, a coronagraph, an heliospheric imager, and a spectrometer) and 4 in-situ instruments (magnetometer, radio and plasma waves, energetic particle detector and a solar wind analyser). The primary goal of the mission is to operate the whole payload in a coordinated way to address some of the outstanding scientific questions on the relationship between the Sun and the heliosphere. The spacecraft is expected to be launched in February 2019, and after a 3 month commissioning phase it will cruise for 3 years until the proper orbital geometry is achieved. The nominal mission is expected to last 3 years more with a post operations phase of 2 additional years.

    The Solar Orbiter SOC at ESAC is responsible for the development of the SGS following the Science Implementation Requirements provided by the Project Scientist which covers all the operational activities originating from the mission science objectives defined by the Science Working Team (SWT), including interactions with the Instrument Teams and the Mission Operations Centre (MOC) at ESOC. Operational activities for Solar Orbiter cover coordination of science operations for the cruise and nominal phases of the mission, generation of specific quick turnaround “low latency” data products, production of auxiliary data to support operations, as well as the archiving of Principal Investigator (PI) provided science data products.

    Interaction is expected with the members of the Solar Orbiter Science Operations Working Group (SOWG) and with software engineers in the PI teams. Frequent interactions are expected to take place with the SOC manager, the SOC team members and within the team working on Solar Orbiter. Also, frequent interactions are expected to take place with the technical IT Unit and the Science Archives Team at ESAC.

    Interactions with the general international community of astronomers/users are also expected via workshops and the helpdesk.

    The job is intended to provide a number of specialised services to support ESA in developing science operations systems and tools, including:

    • System engineering and architectural design activities, including operating plans and procedures,
    • Designing, developing, implementing, testing, deploying, operating and maintaining software tools and systems, e.g.:
      • Observation proposal handling, mission planning and quick-look systems, parts of which may be distributed to the community
      • User support tools
      • Interactive analysis and calibration systems, to be distributed -as needed- to the community for data reduction and analysis
      • Data processing pipelines
      • Scientific data archives and interfacing these to the Virtual Observatory (VO).
      • Scientific and technical WWW systems to support the SOC, SGS and the scientific community
    • Contribute to the definition of Interface Control Documents (ICD's) and file interchange formats with external coordination units
    • Organise and perform end to end system testing with the scientific communities
    • Contribute to the maintenance of the overall system, including configuration control and versioning

    Specific Service Tasks

    As part of the service the following main activities will have to be carried out (prioritized order):

    • Test SOC systems for the daily processing of Solar Orbiter data.
    • Test SOC systems for the generation of Solar Orbiter payload operations requests.
    • Integration of the SOC systems in different environments.
    • Assist in automation of SOC (testing) procedures.
    • Contribute to the maintenance of the overall system, including configuration control and versioning.
    • Provide support for testing, particularly for End-to-End (E2E) and operational rehearsal campaigns.
    • Report on operational activities including the gathering and presentation of processing summary statistics.
    • Contribute to procedure writing and the implementation of those procedures.
    • Follow procedures and operate Solar Orbiter SOC systems.
    • Further integration, test and scale SOC products.
    • Participate in the optimization of software processing.
    • Gather operational constraints for software running at SOC.
    • Interact appropriately with and support the providers of all software SOC systems.
    • Interact appropriately with the users of Solar Orbiter data products.

    Specific qualification requirements

    At least a graduate degree (Masters or Ph.D) in a relevant subject area.

    Relevant professional experience of at 3 years.

    In particular, experience is preferred in:

    • Integration and Testing on different levels.
    • Setting up and working with different environments.
    • Interfacing with RDBMS.
    • ECSS standards for software development.
    • Testing environments and tools.
    • Configuration management tools.

    In addition applicants should:

    • Have good communications skills.
    • Be able to document their work.
    • Be comfortable in an international working environment and be fluent in English; a high level of written and spoken English is essential.

    Legal and Security Requirements

    • All applicants must be legally allowed to work in Spain without the need to obtain a work visa. Only European Union citizens can be employed by Aurora in Spain.
    • Applicants are required to provide a copy of their passport and degree certificate. Aurora will validate the Degree with the issuing University and provide evidence to ESA.
    • Prior to issuing a letter of employment the applicant shall provide to Aurora a recent official document declaring that they are of good conduct from the country where currently resident.


    The work will be performed at the ESAC, the European Space Astronomy Centre, at Villafranca del Castillo, near Madrid, Spain.


    • You will be registered for both social security and tax in Spain.
    • The standard working hours are 40 per week. There are 12 public holidays and an additional 30 annual days holiday.
    • In addition to public health services Aurora provides private medical insurance in Spain.
    • Training to improve efficiency and provide strength for future career are of course included.
    • Aurora can assist financially and provide recent experience information for relocation.

    To be considered for this Position

    Provide prior to 1 December 2017 a summary of why you are a good candidate for the position together with a complete and detailed Candidate Proposal Form or CV and Motivation Letter to Mr. Alex Jeanes, at email quoting reference SO-NB-MAT.
    Web Page
    Contact information
    CompanyAurora Technology B.V.
    Contact nameMr. Alex Jeanes
    AddressHeereweg 345
    Web Page

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