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Sonntag, 4. August 2013 - 21:05 Uhr

Astronomie - Hubble findet verräterischen Feuerball nach Gamma Ray Explosion

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NASA's Hubble Space Telescope recently provided the strongest evidence yet that short-duration gamma ray bursts are produced by the merger of two small, super-dense stellar objects.

The evidence is in the detection of a new kind of stellar blast called a kilonova, which results from the energy released when a pair of compact objects crash together. Hubble observed the fading fireball from a kilonova last month, following a short gamma ray burst (GRB) in a galaxy almost 4 billion light-years from Earth. A kilonova had been predicted to accompany a short-duration GRB, but had not been seen before.

"This observation finally solves the mystery of the origin of short gamma ray bursts," said Nial Tanvir of the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. Tanvir lead a team of researchers using Hubble to study the recent short-duration GRB. "Many astronomers, including our group, have already provided a great deal of evidence that long-duration gamma ray bursts (those lasting more than two seconds) are produced by the collapse of extremely massive stars. But we only had weak circumstantial evidence that short bursts were produced by the merger of compact objects. This result now appears to provide definitive proof supporting that scenario."

The team's results appear Saturday, Aug., 3 in a special online edition of the journal Nature.

A kilonova is about 1,000 times brighter than a nova, which is caused by the eruption of a white dwarf.  The self-detonation of a massive star, a supernova, can be as much as 100 times brighter than a kilonova. Gamma ray bursts are mysterious flashes of intense high-energy radiation that appear from random directions in space. Short-duration blasts last at most a few seconds, but they sometimes produce faint afterglows in visible and near-infrared light that continue for several hours or days. The afterglows have helped astronomers determine that GRBs lie in distant galaxies.

Astrophysicists have predicted short-duration GRBs are created when a pair of super-dense neutron stars in a binary system spiral together. This event happens as the system emits gravitational radiation, creating tiny waves in the fabric of space-time. The energy dissipated by the waves causes the two stars to sweep closer together. In the final milliseconds before the explosion, the two stars merge into a death spiral that kicks out highly radioactive material. This material heats up and expands, emitting a burst of light.

In a recent science paper Jennifer Barnes and Daniel Kasen of the University of California at Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory presented new calculations predicting how kilonovas should look. They predicted the same hot plasma producing the radiation also will block the visible light, causing the gusher of energy from the kilonova to flood out in near-infrared light over several days.

An unexpected opportunity to test this model came June 3 when NASA' s Swift space telescope picked up the extremely bright gamma ray burst, cataloged as GRB 130603B. Although the initial blast of gamma rays lasted just one-tenth of a second, it was roughly 100 billion times brighter than the subsequent kilonova flash.

From June 12-13, Hubble searched the location of the initial burst, spotting a faint red object. An independent analysis of the data from another research team confirmed the detection. Subsequent Hubble observations on July 3 revealed the source had faded away, therefore providing the key evidence the infrared glow was from an explosion accompanying the merger of two objects.

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Hubble Finds 'Smoking Gun' After Gamma-Ray Blast

August 3, 2013: Ever since U.S. Air Force satellites serendipitously discovered gamma-ray bursts in the 1960s, astronomers have been searching for the triggering mechanism. Gamma-ray bursts are mysterious flashes of intense high-energy radiation that appear from random directions in space. These titanic explosions unleash as much energy in less than a second as the Sun does in 1 million years.

Now, astronomers are using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to gather key evidence on what powers short-duration gamma-ray bursts, which last up to two seconds. Probing the location of a recent short-duration burst in near-infrared light, Hubble found the fading fireball produced in the aftermath of the blast. The afterglow reveals for the first time a new kind of stellar blast called a kilonova, an explosion predicted to accompany a short-duration gamma-ray burst. The kilonova is the "smoking gun" evidence that short-duration bursts are sparked by the merger of two small, super-dense stellar objects, such as a pair of neutron stars or a neutron star and a black hole.

Quelle: NASA


Tags: Gamma-ray Burst GRB 130603B 

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Samstag, 3. August 2013 - 17:20 Uhr

Mars-Curiosity-Chroniken - Curiosity-News Sol 343-351

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 343 (2013-07-24 12:08:08 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 343 (2013-07-24 12:08:45 UTC).

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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on July 24, 2013, Sol 343 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 14:30:13 UTC.

When this image was obtained, the focus motor count position was 12552. This number indicates the internal position of the MAHLI lens at the time the image was acquired. This count also tells whether the dust cover was open or closed. Values between 0 and 6000 mean the dust cover was closed; values between 12500 and 16000 occur when the cover is open. For close-up images, the motor count can in some cases be used to estimate the distance between the MAHLI lens and target. For example, in-focus images obtained with the dust cover open for which the lens was 2.5 cm from the target have a motor count near 15270. If the lens is 5 cm from the target, the motor count is near 14360; if 7 cm, 13980; 10 cm, 13635; 15 cm, 13325; 20 cm, 13155; 25 cm, 13050; 30 cm, 12970. These correspond to image scales, in micrometers per pixel, of about 16, 25, 32, 42, 60, 77, 95, and 113.

Most images acquired by MAHLI in daylight use the sun as an illumination source. However, in some cases, MAHLI's two groups of white light LEDs and one group of longwave ultraviolet (UV) LEDs might be used to illuminate targets. When Curiosity acquired this image, the group 1 white light LEDs were off, the group 2 white light LEDs were off, and the ultraviolet (UV) LEDS were off.

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This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Left B (FHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 343 (2013-07-24 14:32:36 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 344 (2013-07-25 11:50:11 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 344 (2013-07-25 16:44:38 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 344 (2013-07-25 16:48:20 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 344 (2013-07-25 16:48:49 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Left B (NAV_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 344 (2013-07-25 15:37:59 UTC).

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This image was taken by Rear Hazcam: Right B (RHAZ_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 344 (2013-07-25 13:46:29 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 345 (2013-07-26 15:00:27 UTC).

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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on July 26, 2013, Sol 345 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 14:52:02 UTC.

When this image was obtained, the focus motor count position was 12552. This number indicates the internal position of the MAHLI lens at the time the image was acquired. This count also tells whether the dust cover was open or closed. Values between 0 and 6000 mean the dust cover was closed; values between 12500 and 16000 occur when the cover is open. For close-up images, the motor count can in some cases be used to estimate the distance between the MAHLI lens and target. For example, in-focus images obtained with the dust cover open for which the lens was 2.5 cm from the target have a motor count near 15270. If the lens is 5 cm from the target, the motor count is near 14360; if 7 cm, 13980; 10 cm, 13635; 15 cm, 13325; 20 cm, 13155; 25 cm, 13050; 30 cm, 12970. These correspond to image scales, in micrometers per pixel, of about 16, 25, 32, 42, 60, 77, 95, and 113.

Most images acquired by MAHLI in daylight use the sun as an illumination source. However, in some cases, MAHLI's two groups of white light LEDs and one group of longwave ultraviolet (UV) LEDs might be used to illuminate targets. When Curiosity acquired this image, the group 1 white light LEDs were off, the group 2 white light LEDs were off, and the ultraviolet (UV) LEDS were off.

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This image was taken by Rear Hazcam: Right B (RHAZ_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 345 (2013-07-26 14:34:04 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 346 (2013-07-27 15:10:44 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Left B (NAV_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 346 (2013-07-27 15:08:44 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Left B (NAV_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 346 (2013-07-27 15:10:44 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 347 (2013-07-28 17:40:03 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 347 (2013-07-28 17:43:36 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 347 (2013-07-28 17:46:02 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Left B (NAV_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 347 (2013-07-28 17:37:05 UTC).

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This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Left B (FHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 347 (2013-07-28 17:33:46 UTC).

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This image was taken by Rear Hazcam: Left B (RHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 348 (2013-07-29 14:24:49 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 349 (2013-07-30 21:15:19 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 349 (2013-07-30 21:14:04 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 349 (2013-07-30 21:18:44 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 349 (2013-07-30 21:19:14 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 350 (2013-08-01 00:27:46 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 351 (2013-08-01 08:44:11 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 351 (2013-08-01 18:39:47 UTC).

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This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 351 (2013-08-01 18:39:27 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Right B (NAV_RIGHT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 351 (2013-08-01 18:45:01 UTC).

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This image was taken by Navcam: Left B (NAV_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 351 (2013-08-01 18:45:01 UTC).

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This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Left B (FHAZ_LEFT_B) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 351 (2013-08-01 18:34:49 UTC).

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Fotos: NASA


Tags: Mars-Rover Curiosity 

2693 Views

Samstag, 3. August 2013 - 08:42 Uhr

Mars-Curiosity-Chroniken - Curiosity feiert 1jähriges am 5.August auf dem Mars

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NASA Curiosity Rover Approaches First Anniversary on Mars

NASA's Curiosity rover will mark one year on Mars next week and has already achieved its main science goal of revealing ancient Mars could have supported life. The mobile laboratory also is guiding designs for future planetary missions.

"Successes of our Curiosity -- that dramatic touchdown a year ago and the science findings since then -- advance us toward further exploration, including sending humans to an asteroid and Mars," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "Wheel tracks now, will lead to boot prints later."

After inspiring millions of people worldwide with its successful landing in a crater on the Red Planet on Aug. 6, 2012 (Aug. 5, 2012, PDT), Curiosity has provided more than 190 gigabits of data; returned more than 36,700 full images and 35,000 thumbnail images; fired more than 75,000 laser shots to investigate the composition of targets; collected and analyzed sample material from two rocks; and driven more than one mile (1.6 kilometers).

Curiosity team members at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif.,will share remembrances about the dramatic landing night and the mission overall in an event that will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website from 10:45 a.m. to noon EDT (7:45 to 9 a.m. PDT) on Tuesday, Aug. 6.

Immediately following that program, from noon to 1:30 p.m., NASA TV will carry a live public event from NASA Headquarters in Washington. That event will feature NASA officials and crew members aboard the International Space Station as they observe the rover anniversary and discuss how its activities and other robotic projects are helping prepare for a human mission to Mars and an asteroid. Social media followers may submit questions on Twitter and Google+ in advance and during the event using the hashtag #askNASA.

Curiosity, which is the size of a car, traveled 764 yards (699 meters) in the past four weeks since leaving a group of science targets where it worked for more than six months The rover is making its way to the base of Mount Sharp, where it will investigate lower layers of a mountain that rises three miles from the floor of the crater.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft and its unprecedented sky crane landing system placed Curiosity on Mars near the base of Mount Sharp. The mountain has exposed geological layers, including ones identified by Mars orbiters as originating in a wet environment. The rover landed about one mile (1.6 kilometers) from the center of that carefully chosen, 12-mile-long (20 kilometers) target area.

Scientists decided first to investigate closer outcrops where the mission quickly found signs of vigorous ancient stream flow. These were the first streambed pebble deposits ever examined up close on Mars.

Evidence of a past environment well suited to support microbial life came within the first eight months of the 23-month primary mission from analysis of the first sample material ever collected by drilling into a rock on Mars.

"We now know Mars offered favorable conditions for microbial life billions of years ago," said the mission's project scientist, John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. "It has been gratifying to succeed, but that has also whetted our appetites to learn more. We hope those enticing layers at Mount Sharp will preserve a broad diversity of other environmental conditions that could have affected habitability."

The mission measured natural radiation levels on the trip to Mars and is monitoring radiation and weather on the surface of Mars, which will be helpful for designing future human missions to the planet. The Curiosity mission also found evidence Mars lost most of its original atmosphere through processes that occurred at the top of the atmosphere. NASA's next mission to Mars, Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN), is being prepared for launch in November to study those processes in the upper atmosphere.

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This scene combines seven images from the telephoto-lens camera on the right side of the Mast Camera (Mastcam) instrument on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity.
Curiosity Sol 343 Vista With 'Twin Cairns' on Route to Mount Sharp

This scene combines seven images from the telephoto-lens camera on the right side of the Mast Camera (Mastcam) instrument on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity. The component images were taken between 11:39 and 11:43 a.m., local solar time, on 343rd Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (July 24, 2013).  That was shortly before Curiosity's Sol 343 drive of 111 feet (33.7 meters).  The rover had driven 205 feet (62.4 meters) on Sol 342 to arrive at the location providing this vista.  The center of the scene is toward the southwest.

A rise topped by two gray rocks near the center of the scene is informally named "Twin Cairns Island."  It is about 100 feet (30 meters) from Curiosity's position. The two gray rocks, combined, are about 10 feet (3 meters) wide, as seen from this angle.

This mosaic has been white-balanced to show what the scene would look like under Earth lighting conditions, which is helpful in distinguishing and recognizing materials in the rocks and soil.

Image Credit: 
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems
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PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Curiosity rover will mark one year on Mars next week and has already achieved its main science goal of revealing ancient Mars could have supported life. The mobile laboratory also is guiding designs for future planetary missions.

"Successes of our Curiosity -- that dramatic touchdown a year ago and the science findings since then -- advance us toward further exploration, including sending humans to an asteroid and Mars," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "Wheel tracks now, will lead to boot prints later."After inspiring millions of people worldwide with its successful landing in a crater on the Red Planet on Aug. 5, 2012, PDT (Aug. 6, 2012, EDT), Curiosity has provided more than 190 gigabits of data; returned more than 36,700 full images and 35,000 thumbnail images; fired more than 75,000 laser shots to investigate the composition of targets; collected and analyzed sample material from two rocks; and driven more than one mile (1.6 kilometers).

Curiosity team members at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.,will share remembrances about the dramatic landing night and the overall mission in an event that will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website from 7:45 to 9 a.m. PDT (10:45 a.m. to noon EDT) on Tuesday, Aug. 6. Immediately following that program, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. (noon to 1:30 p.m.), NASA TV will carry a live public event from NASA Headquarters in Washington. That event will feature NASA officials and crew members aboard the International Space Station as they observe the rover anniversary and discuss how its activities and other robotic projects are helping prepare for a human mission to Mars and an asteroid. Social media followers may submit questions on Twitter and Google+ in advance and during the event using the hashtag #askNASA.

Curiosity, which is the size of a car, traveled 764 yards (699 meters) in the past four weeks since leaving a group of science targets where it worked for more than six months. The rover is making its way to the base of Mount Sharp, where it will investigate lower layers of a mountain that rises three miles from the floor of the crater.

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Westward View from Curiosity on Sol 347

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity used the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on its mast to record this westward look on the 347th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (July 28, 2013).  The rover had completed a southwestward drive of 60.1 meters on that sol.

The prominent rock in the right foreground, informally named "East Bull Rock," is about 20 inches (half a meter) high. The rock-studded local rise dominating the image is called "Elsie Mountain." A distant portion of the rim of Gale Crater is visible in the upper portion of the view.

Quelle: NASA


3119 Views

Freitag, 2. August 2013 - 10:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Start von Ariane-V-214 Start am 25.Juli 2013

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27.06.2013

VA214 Arrivee MN Colibri passage aux Roches le 03/04/2013

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VA214 Dechargement EPC au Port Pariacabo le 03/04/2013

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VA214 Dechargement EPC au Port Pariacabo le 03/04/2013
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VA214 Convoi EPC du Port Pariacabo au BIL le 04/04/2013
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Destockage EPC, au BIL, le 24/04/2013 – VA214.
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Hissage EPC, au BIL, le 24/04/2013 – VA214.
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VA214 Transfert EAP 2 au BIL le 25/04/2013
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VA214 integration Upper composite au BIL le 13/05/2013
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VA214 integration Upper composite au BIL le 13/05/2013
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VA214 Arrivee INSAT 3D_Felix Eboue le 11/06/2013
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VA214 OUVERTURE CONTENEUR INSAT 3D AU S5C LE 11/06/2013
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VA214 arrivee ALPHASAT CU1 a FELIX EBOUE le 18/06/2013
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deploiement panneau solaire insat 3D au S5C sud le 19/06/13 VA214
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fitcheck alphasat au S1Bsud le 19/06/13 VA214
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Quelle: CNES
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Update: 5.07.2013
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INSAT-3D completes initial preparations for Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 flight from the Spaceport
July 3, 2013 – Ariane Flight VA214
India’s INSAT-3D weather satellite for Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 mission has completed its initial pre-launch checkout at the Spaceport in French Guiana, and is now being readied for fueling.
To be orbited along with the European Alphasat telecommunications spacecraft on July 25, INSAT-3D will provide enhanced meteorological observation and the monitoring of land/ocean surfaces with its six-channel imager and 19-channel sounder.  Also installed on the Indian spacecraft is a data relay transponder, along with a payload to assist in satellite-aided search and rescue operations.
Developed by the country’s space agency – the Indian Space Research Organisation, along with its Space Applications Centre – this satellite is adapted from India’s I-2K spacecraft bus.  Once fueled, INSAT-3D will have an estimated liftoff mass of 2,090 kg.
Pre-launch activities with INSAT-3D in French Guiana have included a solar array test deployment, along with a fit-check on the adapter that will serve as the interface with Ariane 5.   This week, the satellite was transferred within the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation center – moving from its previous location in the S5C large processing hall to the S5B hall, where the fueling will be carried out.
Arianespace’s upcoming mission with INSAT-3D and Alphasat will be its third Ariane 5 liftoff at the Spaceport in 2013, and is designated VA214 to signify the 214th launch of an Ariane-series vehicle.
Other Arianespace flights performed so far this year from French Guiana with the company’s three-member launcher family were one mission each of medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega vehicles.  Completing the activity was a Soyuz flight from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome, performed by the Starsem affiliate of Arianespace. 
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INSAT-3D undergoes its fit-check with the cone-shaped device that will serve the satellite’s interface with Ariane 5 (photo top).  This activity occurred in the Spaceport S5 payload preparation center’s S5C processing hall, and was followed by INSAT-3D’s internal transfer to the S5B zone for fueling.
Quelle: arianespace
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Update: 11.07.2013
Last night three tonnes of propellants were loaded into Alphasat, completing fuelling operations and almost doubling the total weight of the satellite in the process. 
In addition to its xenon ion thrusters, Alphasat sports a bipropellant propulsion system powered by monomethyl hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide. These are hazardous chemicals and must be handled carefully to ensure the safety of both personnel and the satellite.
 
The fuelling by a specialist team in protective suits from Thales Alenia Space took place in the S5 Hazardous Processing Facility at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
Fuelling follows a strict procedure and is monitored from a remote control room by video and voice link. After loading, the propellants are pressurised by helium ready for launch.
The next step is to mate Alphasat with the launcher adaptor and move it to the Final Assembly Building, where it will be encapsulated in the Ariane 5 fairing, ready for integration and launch on 25 July.
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Quelle: ESA
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Update: 14.07.2013
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Alphasat and INSAT-3D are fueled for Arianespace’s heavy-lift Ariane 5 flight from French Guiana on July 25

 

The two satellite passengers for Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 mission are being fueled at the Spaceport, preparing them for a July 25 liftoff on the company’s fifth flight in 2013 from French Guiana with its launcher family.

Utilizing the capacity and flexibility of the Spaceport’s large S5 payload preparation facility, the Indian INSAT-3D meteorological platform is receiving its fuel load in the S5B hall, while Europe’s Alphasat telecommunications spacecraft is undergoing a “top-off” in the separate S5A hall.

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Alphasat is fueled in the S5A hall of the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation facility, while INSAT-3D receives its fuel load in the S5B hall.

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Alphasat is the largest European telecommunications satellite ever built, with a mass exceeding 6.6 metric tons when fueled.  It also is the first to use the Alphabus spacecraft bus – the result of a coordinated European response to the increased market demand for larger telecommunication payloads.

Once in orbit, Alphasat will expand the U.K.-based Inmarsat operator’s global mobile telecommunication network – delivering new capabilities in terms of performance and resource availability, providing 50 percent more accessible spectrum with double spectral efficiency and nearly 20 percent more channels.  The satellite was built by Astrium, and its solar array will span nearly 40 meters once deployed in orbit, generating more than 12 kW of power.

The Alphasat mission was developed in the largest public–private partnership biggest of its kind, involving Inmarsat and the European Space Agency.  This will provide the capacity to handle more than 750 channels in L-band, with improved quality – particularly for satellite phone users.  When in service, Alphasat will augment Inmarsat’s Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service, enabling communications across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East with increased capacity.

Alphasat will ride in Ariane 5’s upper payload position, while the INSAT-3D co-passenger is to be accommodated in the lower portion of the payload “stack.”  Developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) – the country’s space agency, along with its Space Applications Centre – INSAT-3D is to provide enhanced meteorological observation and the monitoring of land/ocean surfaces with a six-channel imager and 19-channel sounder. 

Also integrated on the Indian spacecraft is a data relay transponder, along with a payload to assist in satellite-aided search and rescue operations.  INSAT-3D will have a mass at liftoff of approximately 2,100 kg.

Arianespace’s July 25 mission is designated Flight VA214 to signify the 214th launch of an Ariane-series vehicle from French Guiana.  It follows the company’s launcher family missions already performed at the Spaceport in 2013 by two other heavy-lift Ariane 5s, along with one mission each of medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega vehicles.  Complementing the activity during the first half of 2013 was a Soyuz flight from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome, performed by the Starsem affiliate of Arianespace.

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Quelle: arianespace        

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Update: 18.07.2013 

INSAT-3D is installed on Ariane 5 for Arianespace's July 25 heavy-lift mission

This photo, taken in the upper levels of the Spaceport’s Ariane 5 Final Assembly Building, shows INSAT-3D as it is installed atop the heavy-lift vehicle’s core

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Ariane Flight VA214
Final payload integration is underway for Arianespace’s next heavy-lift flight, with the INSAT-3D weather satellite now integrated atop its Ariane 5 launcher at the Spaceport in French Guiana.
This Indian spacecraft is installed in the lower payload position for Ariane 5’s dual-passenger mission, which is set for liftoff on July 25 along with Europe’s Alphasat telecommunications relay platform.
INSAT-3D’s mating occurred in the upper levels of the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building for Ariane 5.  The satellite is adapted from India’s I-2K spacecraft bus and has a liftoff mass of approximately 2,100 kg. It was developed by the country’s Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) space agency with its ISRO Space Applications Centre.
Carrying a six-channel imager and 19-channel sounder, INSAT-3D will provide enhanced meteorological observation and the monitoring of land/ocean surfaces.  The satellite also carries a data relay transponder, as well as a system to assist in satellite-aided search and rescue operations.
INSAT-3D’s co-passenger for the upcoming Ariane 5 flight is the 6,650-kg. Alphasat satellite, which is one of the most sophisticated commercial communications spacecraft ever built.  Developed by Astrium, it is configured with an advanced, new-generation L-band geo-mobile communications relay system to augment Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service provided by the U.K.-based telecommunications operator Inmarsat – enabling increased-capacity communications across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Alphasat is the result of a large-scale public-private partnership involving Inmarsat and the European Space Agency (ESA), and represents the first flight model of Europe’s new Alphabus high capacity satellite platform.  It will ride in the upper position of Ariane 5’s payload “stack.”
The July 25 mission with Ariane 5 – designated Flight VA214 in its launcher family numbering system – will be Arianespace’s third heavy-lift launch in 2013 from the Spaceport.  In addition, Arianespace has conducted one mission each at French Guiana of the medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega members of its launcher family.  Complementing the activity in the first half of 2013 was a Soyuz flight from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome, performed by the Starsem affiliate of Arianespace.
Quelle: arianespace

 

Update: 22.07.2013

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July 22, 2013 – Ariane Flight VA214
It is a tradition for satellite passengers on Arianespace missions to be accompanied by their logos on a launch vehicle’s payload fairing during the first minutes of flight – and this week’s Ariane 5 mission with Alphasat and INSAT-3D is no exception.
During recent activity in the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building for Ariane 5, a decal with the logo for Inmarsat – which will operate the Alphasat spacecraft once in orbit – was positioned on the fairing’s upper portion. 
Below it is a horizontal band of symbols for INSAT-3D: the Indian flag; the Indian Space Research Organisation’s logo, along with India’s national emblem based on the Lion Capital of Ashoka; and the INSAT-3D name written in Sanskrit and English.
Also included on the fairing are logos for the European Space Agency (ESA), UK Space Agency and the French CNES space agency – all representing the partnership that backed Alphasat’s development.
Alphasat carries an advanced, new-generation L-band geo-mobile communications relay system to augment Inmarsat’s Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service, enabling increased-capacity communications across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. It also is configured with four technology demonstration payloads for ESA.
As Europe’s largest telecommunications satellite ever built, Alphasat is the result of a public-private partnership with ESA and Inmarsat, evolved under ESA’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) program.  The UK Space Agency –with the support of the UK’s Regional Development Agencies for London, South-East England and East of England – was instrumental in making Alphasat a reality by supporting the development of critical new payload technologies under the ESA ARTES program.
Alphasat is the first of a new satellite bus design for high-power communications relay platforms – designated Alphabus – developed by Astrium and Thales Alenia Space.  The CNES space agency was in charge of defining this product line and participating in developing certain equipment within French industry. CNES brought its expertise in integrating a variety of partnerships between agencies and industry, while also providing its experience in guiding the development of complex and innovative systems.
Its INSAT-3D co-passenger on Ariane 5 will provide enhanced meteorological observation and the monitoring of land/ocean surfaces with a six-channel imager and 19-channel sounder.  In addition, the Indian spacecraft caries a data relay transponder along with a payload to assist in satellite-aided search and rescue operations.
The Ariane 5 liftoff with Alphasat and INSAT-3D is set for a July 25 at the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch complex.  Designated Flight VA214, this mission will have a duration of just under 33 minutes.  The launch vehicle’s payload fairing – which also includes the Arianespace corporate logo – will protect Ariane 5’s two satellite passengers during its ascent through the denser layers of the atmosphere, and will be jettisoned at 3 min., 17 sec. into the flight.
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Quelle: arianespace

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Update: 24.07.2013

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The Ariane 5 with Alphasat and INSAT-3D nears its final location on the launch pad to complete this morning’s rollout at the Spaceport.

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Ariane 5 is in the launch zone for Arianespace’s heavy-lift mission with Alphasat and INSAT-3D
July 24, 2013 – Ariane Flight VA214
Arianespace’s Ariane 5 mission with the Alphasat and INSAT-3D satellites is on track for liftoff tomorrow following the workhorse heavy-lift vehicle’s rollout to the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch complex in French Guiana.
Mounted on the first of two large mobile launch tables in service for Ariane 5, the vehicle emerged from its Final Assembly Building this morning at 11:10 a.m. local time and arrived on the pad 40 minutes later – covering the distance at a speed of approximately 3 km./hr.
The launcher has India’s INSAT-3D satellite installed in the lower position of its payload “stack,” with Europe’s Alphasat as the upper passenger.
The launch window opens at 4:53 p.m. and continues until 6:11 p.m. After liftoff, the flight sequence will last nearly 33 minutes, with Alphasat deployed at just under 28 minutes after launch, followed by the separation of INSAT-3D five minutes later.
Alphasat is Europe’s largest telecommunications satellite ever manufactured and results from a large-scale public-private partnership between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Inmarsat. Built by prime contractor Astrium, it is the first flight model of Europe’s Alphabus high-capacity satellite platform, configured with a new-generation L-band geo-mobile mobile communication relay system and four technology demonstration payloads for ESA.
INSAT-3D was developed by India’s Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) space agency and its ISRO Space Applications Centre, designed to provide meteorological observation and monitoring of land/ocean surfaces. The satellite is equipped with a six-channel imager and 19-channel sounder, as well as a data relay transponder and a payload for satellite-aided search and rescue operations.
Tomorrow’ mission – designated Flight VA214 in Arianespace’s launcher family numbering system – will be the 214th launch since operations began with the Ariane series of vehicles in 1979, as well as the 70th flight for the heavy-lift Ariane 5 version.
Quelle: arianespace
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Update: 25.07.2013
 
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Update: Frams - arianespace-Start-Video
 
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Update: 2.08.2013 
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ISRO panel to probe anomalous behaviour of Insat-3DISRO officials faced anxious moments as the spacecraft was "untraceable" for some time before it could be tracked by the space agency's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan
he Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has constituted a committee chaired by a retired top official to probe the "anomalies" on the country's advanced weather satellite Insat-3D immediately after its launch on July 26.
ISRO officials faced anxious moments as the spacecraft was "untraceable" for some time before it could be tracked by the space agency's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan. "A committee headed by T K Alex, a former Director of ISRO Satellite Centre, has been formed to look into the issue," an ISRO source said.
It's immediately not clear if the primary system had suffered damage, and if it had implications vis-a-vis intended life of the spacecraft. Sources said the remaining critical operations were carried out using redundant system.
Meanwhile, ISRO said in a statement today that the Insat-3D, launched by European consortium Arianespace's rocket from Kourou, French Guiana, has successfully been placed in a geosynchronous orbit after three orbit raising manoeuvres commanded from MCF. "Though there was an anomalous behaviour of the satellite after the deployment of its solar panel,the Mission Operations Team of ISRO could immediately bring the Satellite into normalcy using prescribed contingency procedures and then resume the orbit-raising operations," ISRO said.
Insat-3D is now moving towards its final geostationary orbital location of 82 degree East longitude and on August 6 it will reach it, it said. Subsequently, the two meteorological payloads (imaging system and atmospheric sounder), as well as the two transponders (of the Meteorological Data Relay and Satellite-aided Search and Rescue system) would be activated by August 8, the ISRO statement said.
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Tags: Ariane-V-214 Launch Alphasat and INSAT-3D Launch 

2964 Views

Freitag, 2. August 2013 - 09:35 Uhr

Astronomie - War Chelyabinsk Meteor ein Teil von Asteroid EO40 2011 ?

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Asteroid pinpointed as likely source of Russian meteor
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Who's been taking potshots at Earth? A new study shows how a 200-metre-wide cluster of rocks, first spotted by scientists in 2011, could have spawned the Chelyabinsk meteor which exploded over Russia earlier this year.
If correct, that means we may need to watch out for further impacts from other fragments of the cluster, which are still at large, in orbit around the sun.
The meteor that exploded over Russia on 15 February, scattering debris across the Chelyabinsk region and injuring hundreds , came as a complete surprise. Since then researchers have traced it to the Apollo asteroid family, but no one had matched it to a particular member of the group.
Now Carlos de la Fuente Marcos and his brother Raul, both of the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain, are pointing the finger at asteroid 2011 EO40. Roughly 200 metres wide, it is a rock – or cluster of rocks – previously listed as potentially hazardous by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Rubble pile
First the pair used a computer simulation to create hypothetical orbital paths around the sun that would have intersected with Earth at the time that the meteor hit. Then they searched a database of known asteroids for ones that could have produced rocks that follow those orbits . The closest match was with 2011 EO40.
Most asteroids aren't solid rocks but rather rock clusters that have been gradually fragmenting for eons. "Most asteroids are rubble piles, very fragile," says Carlos. So the brothers also simulated the disintegration of an object the size of 2011 EO40 and showed that it could fragment to produce a Chelyabinsk-size object that would impact with Earth at the correct time.
Future observations of 2011 EO40 could help confirm it as the Chelyabinsk parent. Analysing the light bouncing off it would let us match its composition to fragments of the meteorite collected in Russia. Sending a probe to bring back samples of the asteroid is the only way to be sure, but that is a hugely expensive mission that is unlikely to happen. "The cheap but not fully conclusive approach will have to suffice for the time being," says Carlos.
Asteroid census
If 2011 EO40 really is Chelyabinsk's parent, future observations should also help us predict if Chelyabinsk has any siblings still in orbit that might also pose a threat to Earth, says Carlos. "Having a precise census of this population can help us predict similar impacts in the future."
Jorge Zuluaga of the University of Antioquia in Colombia, who traced the Chelyabinsk meteor to the Apollo asteroid family, cautions that EO40 2011 has yet to be confirmed as the parent. And even it is, he is not too worried about it spawning further impacts.
"I don't think this particular asteroid is more hazardous than others in the MPC list," he says. He also points out that the asteroid itself isn't on a direct collision course with Earth, in any case.
Meanwhile, other researchers are working to piece together the orbit of the Chelyabinsk meteor by different methods. One recent study by Simon Proud of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, unearthed satellite pictures that show what the meteor looked like from space as it streaked through our atmosphere.
Quelle: NewScientist

3104 Views

Freitag, 2. August 2013 - 08:20 Uhr

Astronomie - Monster Galaxien verlieren ihren Appetit mit dem Alter

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This image shows two of the galaxy clusters observed by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and Spitzer Space Telescope missions. Galaxy clusters are among the most massive structures in the universe. The central and largest galaxy in each grouping, called the brightest cluster galaxy or BCG, is seen at the center of each image.
The image on the left shows the cluster known as Abell 2199, which is relatively nearby at a distance of 400 million light-years from Earth (redshift of 0.0302). This image combines infrared data from WISE (in red) with shorter wavelengths of light extending into the visible spectrum from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (in blue and green).
On the right is the cluster ISCS 1433.9+3330, which is significantly farther away at a distance of 4.4 billion light-years (redshift of 0.42). Infrared data from Spitzer (red) is combined with similar shorter wavelength data taken by the Mayall Telescope on Kitt Peak, Ariz.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SDSS/NOAO
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Our universe is filled with gobs of galaxies, bound together by gravity into larger families called clusters. Lying at the heart of most clusters is a monster galaxy thought to grow in size by merging with neighboring galaxies, a process astronomers call galactic cannibalism.
New research from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) is showing that, contrary to previous theories, these gargantuan galaxies appear to slow their growth over time, feeding less and less off neighboring galaxies.
"We’ve found that these massive galaxies may have started a diet in the last 5 billion years, and therefore have not gained much weight lately," said Yen-Ting Lin of the Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan, lead author of a study published in the Astrophysical Journal.
Peter Eisenhardt, a co-author from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said, "WISE and Spitzer are letting us see that there is a lot we do understand -- but also a lot we don’t understand -- about the mass of the most massive galaxies." Eisenhardt identified the sample of galaxy clusters studied by Spitzer, and is the project scientist for WISE.
The new findings will help researchers understand how galaxy clusters -- among the most massive structures in our universe -- form and evolve.
Galaxy clusters are made up of thousands of galaxies, gathered around their biggest member, what astronomers call the brightest cluster galaxy, or BCG. BCGs can be up to dozens of times the mass of galaxies like our own Milky Way. They plump up in size by cannibalizing other galaxies, as well as assimilating stars that are funneled into the middle of a growing cluster.
To monitor how this process works, the astronomers surveyed nearly 300 galaxy clusters spanning 9 billion years of cosmic time. The farthest cluster dates back to a time when the universe was 4.3 billion years old, and the closest, when the universe was much older, 13 billion years old (our universe is presently 13.8 billion years old).
"You can't watch a galaxy grow, so we took a population census," said Lin. "Our new approach allows us to connect the average properties of clusters we observe in the relatively recent past with ones we observe further back in the history of the universe."
Spitzer and WISE are both infrared telescopes, but they have unique characteristics that complement each other in studies like these. For instance, Spitzer can see more detail than WISE, which enables it to capture the farthest clusters best. On the other hand, WISE, an infrared all-sky survey, is better at capturing images of nearby clusters, thanks to its larger field of view. Spitzer is still up and observing; WISE went into hibernation in 2011 after successfully scanning the sky twice.
The findings showed that BCG growth proceeded along rates predicted by theories until 5 billion years ago, or a time when the universe was about 8 billion years old. After that time, it appears the galaxies, for the most part, stopped munching on other galaxies around them.
The scientists are uncertain about the cause of BCGs' diminished appetites, but the results suggest current models need tinkering.
"BCGs are a bit like blue whales -- both are gigantic and very rare in number. Our census of the population of BCGs is in a way similar to measuring how the whales gain their weight as they age. In our case, the whales aren't gaining as much weight as we thought. Our theories aren't matching what we observed, leading us to new questions," said Lin.
Another possible explanation is that the surveys are missing large numbers of stars in the more mature clusters. Clusters can be violent environments, where stars are stripped from colliding galaxies and flung into space. If the recent observations are not detecting those stars, it's possible that the enormous galaxies are, in fact, continuing to bulk up.
Future studies from Lin and others should reveal more about the feeding habits of one of nature's largest galactic species.
Quelle: NASA

3328 Views

Freitag, 2. August 2013 - 08:15 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Merkur Messenger-Sonde nimmt elliptischen Krater auf

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Elliptical Crater on Mercury
This color image, taken on May 1, 2013 by the Wide Angle Camera (WAC) instrument aboard NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft orbiting Mercury, features Hovnatanian crater, named for Armenian painter Hakop Hovnatanian. The crater's elliptical shape and the bright rays' butterfly pattern indicate that a very oblique impact produced the crater. The brightness of the rays indicate that they are relatively young features on Mercury's surface.
This image was acquired as a targeted high-resolution 11-color image set. Acquiring 11-color targets is a new campaign that began in March, 2013 and that utilizes all of the camera's 11 narrow-band color filters. Because of the large data volume involved, only features of special scientific interest are targeted for imaging in all 11 colors.
The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury, and the spacecraft's seven scientific instruments and radio science investigation are unraveling the history and evolution of the solar system's innermost planet. MESSENGER has acquired over 150,000 images and extensive other data sets, and is capable of continuing orbital operations until early 2015.
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2975 Views

Donnerstag, 1. August 2013 - 21:45 Uhr

Luftfahrt - Drohnen im USA-Innland-Einsatz umstritten und EU-Drohnen-Pläne

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Local Anti-Drone Activism Begins: 'If They Fly in Town, We Will Shoot Them Down'
Will surveillance-state opponents start to fight at the municipal level, as anti-nuclear activists did in the 1970s and 1980s?
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Charles Krauthammer once predicted that the first American to shoot down a domestic drone would be a folk hero. Phillip Steele, a resident of Deer Trail, Colorado, wants to enable that hero. As the FAA loosens regulations on domestic drone use, Steele has submitted an ordinance to his town's board of trustees that would create America's most unusual hunting license: It would permit hunting drones and confer a bounty for every one brought down. Only 12-gauge shotguns could be used as weapons, so the drones would have a sporting chance.
Wouldn't the hunters be breaking federal law?
Of course. I wouldn't be surprised if the feds are already watching Steele as a result of his rabble-rousing. But he isn't dumb. "This is a very symbolic ordinance," he told a local TV station. "Basically, I do not believe in the idea of a surveillance society, and I believe we are heading that way .... It's asserting our right and drawing a line in the sand." Actually, it's more like drawing a line in the clouds. But you get the idea. 
Whether or not the Deer Trail ordinance passes on August 6, when it's up for a vote, Americans should expect to see a lot more efforts at the local level to thwart the surveillance state and protect privacy. Some measures will be effectively symbolic. Others will vex or even thwart federal authorities. Privacy activists pondering these measures would do well to study up on the history of the anti-nuclear ordinances the passed in the U.S. and abroad beginning in the 1970s.
By the time Oakland's especially stringent nuclear-free ordinance was declared unconstitutional in 1990, there were anti-nuclear ordinances on the books in more than 160 localities.
One of the first was passed in Missoula, Montana, in 1978:
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The biggest jurisdictional victory, for those opposed to nuclear energy, was the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987. It declared nuclear energy verboten in the whole country and barred nuclear ships and submarines from entry into NZ waters. Will a liberal democracy declare itself a surveillance-free zone to escape a defining feature of our era?
Privacy buffs can hope.
Meanwhile, I wonder what U.S. municipality will next declare that it doesn't want spying to happen within its borders, whether symbolically or by trying to thwart surveillance in some clever way. City leaders probably can't stop the NSA from monitoring communications that originate locally. But they can, for example, refuse to track any license plates in their jurisdiction. 
The Framers intended the states and the people to act as a check on any excessive concentration of power at the federal level. The surveillance state, as presently constituted, concentrates extraordinary power in the executive branch, has already been abused since 9/11, and is certain to be abused again unless it is reformed. The first priority should be changing the makeup of Congress, so that members are more invested in safeguarding the civil liberties of the people than the power of the executive branch and the bottom lines of defense contractors. But big symbolic statements and small dissents at the local level aren't to be ignored. The surveillance state should be fought at all levels of government until it is consistent with the Bill of Rights, targeting suspects with a warrant rather than everyone in America.
Residents of Deer Trail shouldn't actually shoot 12-gauge shotguns into the sky. But they should pass that ordinance. If its symbolism inspires more pragmatic ordinances in other jurisdictions, Steele may himself turn out to be the folk hero for saying, "Down with domestic drones," at least until, per Senator Rand Paul's efforts, the FBI needs a warrant to use them.
Quelle: The Atlantic
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Reaktion der EU auf NSA? Drohnen und Spionagesatelliten über Europa.
EU's response to NSA? Drones, spy satellites could fly over Europe
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COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
Towards a more competitive and efficient defence and security sector
"The world needs a Europe that is capable of deploying military missions to help stabilise the situation in crisis areas.... We need to reinforce our Common Foreign and Security Policy and a common approach to defence matters because together we have the power, and the scale to shape the world into a fairer, rules based and human rights' abiding place."
President Barroso, State of the Union Speech September 2012
"The Council reiterates its call to retain and further develop military capabilities for sustaining and enhancing the CSDP. They underpin the EU's ability to act as a security provider, in the context of a wider comprehensive approach (and) the need for a strong and less fragmented European defence industry to sustain and enhance Europe's military capabilities and the EU's autonomous action".
Foreign Affairs Council, 19 November 2012, Conclusions
1. EUROPEANCOMMISSION'SCONTRIBUTIONTOSTRENGTHENINGEUROPE'S DEFENCE AND SECURITY SECTOR
This Communication builds on the work of the Commission's Defence Task Force established in 2011 with the objective to strengthen the defence sector by mobilising all relevant EU policies. The EEAS and EDA have been fully associated to the work of the Task Force and in the preparation of this Communication.
1.1. Introduction
The strategic and geopolitical environment is rapidly and constantly evolving. The world’s balance of power is shifting as new centres of gravity are emerging and the US is rebalancing its strategic focus towards Asia. In this situation, Europe has to assume greater responsibilities for its security at home and abroad. To punch its weight, the EU needs to develop a credible CSDP. This evolution must be fully compatible with NATO and its principles.
The security challenges we are facing today are numerous, complex, interrelated and difficult to foresee: regional crises can occur and turn violent, new technologies can emerge and bring new vulnerabilities and threats, environmental changes and scarcity of natural resources can provoke political and military conflicts. At the same time, many threats and risks spread easily across national borders, blurring the traditional dividing line between internal and external security.
These security challenges can only be tackled in a comprehensive approach combining different policies and instruments, short and long-term measures. This approach must be underpinned by a large range of civil and military capabilities. It is increasingly unlikely that Member States can bear this burden in isolation.
This is the case in particular for defence, where new equipment is often technologically complex and expensive. Today, Member States encounter difficulties to equip their armed forces adequately. Recent operations in Libya have highlighted important European shortfalls in key military capabilities.
The crisis in public spending induces cuts in defence budgets which exacerbates the situation, in particular, because they are neither co-ordinated nor implemented with regard to common strategic objectives. From 2001 to 2010 EU defence spending declined from €251 billion to €194 billion. These budget cuts are also having a serious impact on the industries that develop equipment for our armed forces with cutbacks in existing and planned programmes. They affect in particular the investment in defence R&D that is crucial for developing capabilities of the future. Between 2005 and 2010 there was a 14% decrease in European R&D budgets down to €9 billion; and the US alone spends today seven times more on defence R&D than all 27 EU Member States together.
Defence budgets are falling, and the cost of modern capabilities is rising. These cost increases come from the long-term trend of growing technological complexity of defence equipment, but also from the reduction of production volumes which are due to the reorganisation and downsizing of European armed forces since the end of the Cold War. These factors will continue to shape defence markets in Europe regardless of budget levels.
This situation has knock-on effects for an industry that plays a crucial role in the wider European economy. With a turnover of €96 billion in 2012 alone, it is a major industrial sector, generating innovation and centred on high-end engineering and technologies. Its cutting-edge research has created important indirect effects in other sectors, such as electronics, space and civil aviation and provides growth and thousands of highly skilled jobs. Defence industry in Europe directly employs about 400,000 people and generates up to another 960,000 indirect jobs. It is, therefore, a sector that is essential to retain if Europe is to remain a world-leading centre for manufacturing and innovation. This is why action to strengthen the competitiveness of the defence industry is a key part of the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
At the same time, the importance of this industry cannot be measured only in jobs and turnover. The European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB) constitutes a key element for Europe's capacity to ensure the security of its citizens and to protect its values and interests. Europe must be able to assume its responsibilities for its own security and for international peace and stability in general. This necessitates a certain degree of strategic autonomy: to be a credible and reliable partner, Europe must be able to decide and to act without depending on the capabilities of third parties. Security of supply, access to critical technologies and operational sovereignty are therefore crucial.
Currently defence companies are surviving on the benefits of R&D investment of the past and have been able to successfully replace falling national orders with exports. However, this often comes at the price of transfers of technology, IPRs and production outside the EU. This in turn has serious implications for the long-term competitiveness of the EDTIB.
The problem of shrinking defence budgets is aggravated by the persisting fragmentation of European markets which leads to unnecessary duplication of capabilities, organisations and expenditures. Cooperation and EU-wide competition still remains the exception, with more than 80% of investment in defence equipment being spent nationally. As a result, Europe risks losing critical expertise and autonomy in key capability areas.
This situation necessitates a reorientation of priorities. If spending more is difficult spending better is a necessity. There is significant scope to do so. In spite of cuts, in 2011 EU Member States together still spent more on defence than China, Russia and Japan together1. Budgetary constraints must therefore be compensated by greater cooperation and more efficient use of resources. This can be done via supporting clusters, role specialisation, joint research and
procurement, a new, more dynamic approach to civil-military synergies and more market integration.
1.2. The Commission's strategy
Defence is still at the heart of national sovereignty and decisions on military capabilities remain with Member States. However, the EU does have a significant contribution to make. It has policies and instruments to implement structural change and it is the best framework for Member States to maintain collectively an appropriate level of strategic autonomy. With Members States having amongst themselves around 1.6 million soldiers and annual defence budgets of €194 billion the EU has the capacity to be a strategic actor on the international stage, in line with its values.
The European Council, in its Conclusions of 14 December 2012, therefore called upon "... the High Representative, notably through the European External Action Service and the European Defence Agency, as well as the Commission, (...) to develop further proposals and actions to strengthen CSDP and improve the availability of the required civilian and military capabilities...".
The ultimate objective is to strengthen European defence to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Member States will be in lead on many of the necessary reforms. The European Defence Agency (EDA) has as its mission to support them in their effort to improve the Union's defence capabilities for the CSDP. The Commission can also make an important contribution, and it has already started to do so. As President Barroso has stressed: "The Commission is playing its part: we are working towards a single defence market. We are using our competences provided under the Treaty with a view to developing a European defence industrial base."
With these objectives in mind, the Commission has put forward the two Directives on defence and sensitive security procurement (2009/81) and transfers (2009/43), which constitute today the cornerstone of the European defence market. Moreover, it has developed industrial policies and specific research and innovation programmes for security and space. The Commission has also developed policies and instruments supporting both internal and external security in areas such as protection of external borders, maritime surveillance, civil protection, or crisis management, which have numerous technological, industrial, conceptual and operational similarities and links with defence.
The present Communication consolidates this acquis and develops it further within the scope of its competencies as defined in the Treaty of Lisbon. It tries, in particular, to exploit possible synergies and cross-fertilisation which come from the blurring of the dividing line between defence and security and between civil and military.
To achieve these objectives, the Commission intents to take action in the following strands:
• Further deepen the internal market for defence and security. This means first of all to ensure the full application of the two existing Directives. Based on this acquis, the Commission will also tackle market distortions and contribute to improving security of supply between Member States;
• Strengthen the competitiveness of the EDTIB. To this end, the Commission will develop a defence industrial policy based on two key strands:
– Support for competitiveness – including developing 'hybrid standards' to benefit security and defence markets and examining the ways to develop a European certification system for military airworthiness.
– Support for SMEs – including development of a European Strategic Cluster Partnership to provide links with other clusters and support defence-related SMEs in global competition.
• Exploit civilian military synergies to the maximum extent possible in order to ensure the most efficient use of European tax payers' resources. In particular by:
– concentrating its efforts onpossible cross-fertilisation between civil and military research and the dual-use potential of space;
– helping armed forces reduce their energy consumption and thereby contribute to the Union’s 20/20/20 targets.
• In addition, the Commission suggests actions which aim at exploring new avenues, driving the strategic debate in Europe forward and preparing the ground for more and deeper European cooperation. In particular by:
• Assessing the possibility of EU-owned dual-use capabilities, which may in certain security areas complement national capabilities and become effective and cost-efficient force multipliers;
• Considering launching a preparatory action for CSDP-related research focusing on those areas where EU defence capabilities are most needed.
The Commission invites Heads of State and Government to discuss this Communication at the European Council in December 2013, together with the report prepared by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
Action Plan2
2. STRENGTHENINGTHEINTERNALMARKETFORDEFENCE
2.1. Ensure market efficiency
• With the Defence and Security Procurement Directive 2009/81 being fully transposed in all Member States, the regulatory backbone of a European Defence Market is in place. For the first time specific Internal Market rules are applicable in this sector to enhance fair and EU-wide competition. However, defence remains a specific market with a longstanding tradition of national fragmentation. The Commission will therefore take specific measures to ensure that the Directive is correctly applied and fulfils its objective.
Action:
• The Commission will monitor the openness of Member States' defence markets and regularly assess via the EU’s Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) and other specialised sources how the new procurement rules are applied. It will coordinate its market monitoring activities with those of the EDA in order to exploit potential synergies and avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts.
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Any envisaged action in this Action Plan is coherent and compatible with the relevant financial instruments established under the Multi-annual Financial Framework.
In times of budget constraints, it is particularly important to spend financial resources efficiently. Pooling of demand is an effective way of achieving this objective. The Directive contains specific provisions on central purchasing bodies which enable Member States to use the new rules also for joint procurement, for example via the EDA. Member States should use this tool as much as possible to maximise economies of scale and take full benefit of EU-wide co-operation.
Certain contracts are excluded from the scope of the Directive, since the application of its rules would not be appropriate. This is particularly the case for cooperative programmes, which are an effective means to foster market consolidation and competitiveness.
However, other specific exclusions, namely those of government to government sales and of contract awards governed by international rules, might be interpreted in a way undermining the correct use of the Directive. This could jeopardize the level playing field in the internal market. The Commission will therefore ensure that these exclusions are interpreted strictly and that they are not abused to circumvent the Directive.
Action:
• The Commission will clarify the limits of certain exclusions. To that end, it will provide, in consultation with Member States, specific guidance, notably on government to government sales and international agreements.
2.2. Tackle market distortions
In order to further develop the Internal Market for defence and work towards a level playing field for all European suppliers, the Commission will tackle persisting unfair and discriminatory practices and market distortions. It will in particular mobilise its policies against offsets, i.e. economic compensations required for defence purchases from non- national suppliers. Offset requirements are discriminatory measures which stand in contrast to both EU Treaty principles and effective procurement methods. They can therefore not be part of the internal market for defence.
Action:
• The Commission will ensure the rapid phasing out of offsets. Since the adoption of the defence procurement directive, all Member States have withdrawn or revised their national offset legislation. The Commission will verify that these revisions comply with EU law. It will also ensure that these changes in the legal framework lead to an effective change in Member States’ procurement practice.
The Commission has extensively applied the merger control rules to the defence sector. Those cases allowed the Commission to guarantee effective competition control, contributing to an improved functioning of the market for defence. Concerning state aid, and in line with the Communication on the Modernisation of State Aid policy, public spending should become more efficient and better targeted. In that respect, state aid control has a fundamental role to play in defending and strengthening the internal market, also in the defence sector.
Member States have an obligation, under the Treaty, to notify to the Commission all state aid measures, including aid in the pure military sector. They may only derogate from that obligation if they can prove that non-notification is necessary for reasons of essential security interests under Article 346 TFEU. Therefore, if a Member State intends to rely on Article 346, it must be able to demonstrate that the concrete measures in the military sector are necessary and proportionate for the protection of their essential security interests and that they do not go
beyond what is strictly necessary for that purpose. The burden of proof that these conditions are fulfilled lies upon Member States.
Action:
• The Commission will ensure that all necessary conditions are fulfilled when Article 346 TFEU is invoked to justify state aid measures.
2.3. Improve Security of Supply
Security of supply is crucial to ensure the functioning of the internal market for defence and the Europeanisation of industrial supply chains. Most security of supply problems are the responsibility of Member States. However, the Commission can develop instruments which enable Member States to improve the security of supply between them. Directive 2009/43 on intra-EU transfers is such an instrument, since it introduces a new licencing system which facilitates the movement of defence items within the internal market. Member States should now fully exploit the possibilities of this Directive to enhance security of supply within the Union.
Actions:
• The Commission, together with the EDA, will launch a consultative process aimed at bringing about a political commitment by Member States to mutually assure the contracted or agreed supply of defence goods, materials or services for the end-use by Member States' armed forces.
• The Commission will optimise the defence transfer regime by: a) supporting national authorities in their efforts to raise awareness of it with industry; b) establishing a central register on general licences and promote their use; and c) promoting best practices in managing intra-EU transfers.
Security of supply depends also on the control and ownership of critical industrial and technological assets. Several Member States have national legislation for the control of foreign investment in defence industries. However, the more international industrial supply chains become, the more can a change of ownership of one company (also at lower tiers) have an impact on the security of supply of other Member States' armed forces and industries. It is also an issue affecting the extent of the autonomy Europe has, and wishes to retain, in the field of military capacity, as well as the general question of control of incoming foreign investment in that sector. A European approach may be needed to cope with this challenge.
Action:
• The Commission will issue a Green Paper on the control of defence and sensitive security industrial capabilities. It will consult stakeholders on possible shortfalls of the current system, including the possible identification of European capacities, and explore options for the establishment of an EU-wide monitoring system, including mechanisms of notification and consultation between Member States.
3. PROMOTING A MORE COMPETITIVE DEFENCE INDUSTRY
The creation of a genuine internal market for defence requires not only a robust legal framework but also a tailored European industrial policy. The future of the EDTIB lies in more co-operation and regional specialisation around and between networks of excellence. A further reinforcement of their civil-military dimension, can foster more competition and contribute to economic growth and regional development. Moreover, in an increasingly
globalised defence market it is essential that European defence companies have a sound business environment in Europe to enhance their competitiveness worldwide.
3.1. Standardisation – developing the foundations for defence co-operation and competitiveness
Most standards used in EU defence are civilian. Where specific defence standards are required they are developed nationally, hindering co-operation and increasing costs for the industry. Therefore, the use of common defence standards would greatly enhance co- operation and interoperability between European armies and improve the competitiveness of Europe's industry in emerging technologies.
This highlights the need for creating incentives for the Member States to develop European civil-military standards. Clearly, these should remain voluntary and there must be no duplication with the standards-related work of NATO and other relevant bodies. However, much more could be done to develop standards where gaps and common needs are identified. This concerns particularly standards in emerging technologies, such as in Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and in established areas, such as in camp protection, where markets are underdeveloped and there is a potential to enhance the industry's competitiveness.
Actions:
• The Commission will promote the development of 'Hybrid Standards', for products which can have both military and civilian applications. It has already issued a standardisation request for such a “hybrid standard” in 2012 for Software Defined Radio. The next candidates for standardisation requests could deal with Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear & Explosives (CBRNE) detection and sampling standards, RPAS, airworthiness requirements, data sharing standards, encryption and other critical information communication technologies.
• The Commission will explore options with the EDA and European Standardisation Organisations for establishing a mechanism to draft specific European standards for military products and applications after agreement with Member States. The main purpose of this mechanism will be to develop standards to meet identified needs while handling sensitive information in an appropriate way.
• The Commission will explore with the EDA new ways of promoting existing tools for selecting best practice standards in defence procurement.
3.2. Promoting a Common Approach to Certification – reducing costs and speeding up development
Certification, as with standards, is a key enabler for industrial competitiveness and European defence co-operation. The lack of a pan-European system of certification of defence products acts as a major bottleneck delaying the placing of products on the market and adds substantially to costs throughout the life-cycle of the product. There is a need for better arrangements in the field of the certification so that certain tasks currently performed at national level should be carried out in common.
In particular, in military airworthiness, according to the EDA, this is adding 50% to the development time and 20% to the costs of development. Moreover, having a set of common and harmonised requirements reduces costs by enabling cross-national aircraft maintenance or training of maintenance personnel.
Ammunition is another example. The lack of a common certification for ground launched ammunition is estimated to cost Europe €1,5 billion each year (out of a total of €7,5 billion spent on ammunition each year).
Action:
• Building on the civil experience of EASA, its experience gained by certifying the Airbus A- 400M (in its civil configuration) and the work of the EDA in this area, the Commission will assess the different options for carrying out, on behalf of the Member States, the tasks related to the initial airworthiness of military products in the areas specified by the EDA.
3.3. Raw Materials – tackling supply risks for Europe's defence industry
Various raw materials, such as rare earths elements, are indispensable in many defence applications, ranging from RPAS to precision guided munitions, from laser targeting to satellite communications. A number of these materials are subject to increased supply risks, which hamper the competitiveness of the defence sector. A key element of the EU overall raw materials strategy consists of a list of raw materials that are considered to be of critical importance to the EU economy. The current list of critical raw materials at EU level is expected to be revised by end 2013. Although these are often the same materials that are important for civil and defence purposes, there would be a clear value-added if this work would take into account the specific importance of raw materials to Europe’s defence sector.
Action:
• The Commission will screen raw materials that are critical for the defence sector within the context of the EU’s overall raw materials strategy and prepare, if necessary, targeted policy actions.
3.4. SMEs – securing the heart of Europe's defence innovation
The defence directives on procurement and transfers offer new opportunities for SMEs to participate in the establishment of a European defence market. This is the case in particular for the subcontracting provisions of the procurement directive which improves access to supply chains of non-national prime contractors. Member States should therefore actively use these provisions to foster opportunities for SMEs.
Further steps are necessary, in particular in the area of clusters. These are often driven by a prime company that works with smaller companies in a supply chain. Moreover, clusters are often part of networks of excellence bringing together prime contractors, SMEs, research institutes and other academic sectors.
Clusters are therefore particularly important for SMEs, as they offer them access to shared facilities, niches in which they can specialise, and opportunities to cooperate with other SMEs. In such clusters, companies can combine strengths and resources in order to diversify into, and create new markets and knowledge institutions. They can also develop new civilian products and applications based on technologies and materials initially developed for defence purposes (e.g. internet, GPS) or vice versa, which is an increasingly important trend.
Actions:
• The Commission will explore with industry – taking a bottom-up approach - how to establish a European Strategic Cluster Partnership designed to support the emergence of new value chains and to tackle obstacles faced by defence-related SMEs in global competition. In this context, the Commission will use tools designed to support SMEs,
including COSME, for the needs of defence-related SMEs. To this end the use of European Structural and Investment Funds may also be considered. This work will include clarifying eligibility rules for dual use projects.
• The Commission will also use the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) to guide defence- related SMEs towards networking and partnerships, internationalisation of their activities, technology transfers and funding business opportunities.
• The Commission will promote regional networking with the objective of integrating defence industrial and research assets into regional smart specialisation strategies particularly through a European network of defence-related regions.
3.5. Skills – managing change and securing the future
The defence industry is experiencing profound change to which Member States and industry must adapt. As the European Council in December 2008 stated: "restructuring of the European defence technological and industrial base, in particular around centres of European excellence, avoiding duplication, in order to ensure its soundness and its competitiveness, is a strategic and economic necessity".
The restructuring process is mainly the responsibility of industry but there is a complementary role for the Commission, national governments and local authorities. The Commission and Member States have a range of European tools available that foster new skills and tackle the impacts of restructuring. These should be deployed with a clear understanding of the capabilities and technologies critical to the industry. The Commission will encourage Member States to make use of labour flexibility schemes to support enterprises, including suppliers, that suffer from temporary slump in demand for their products and to promote an anticipative approach to restructuring. In this context, Member States can use the support that can be provided by the European Social Fund (ESF) and in certain cases of mass redundancies also by the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. An important foundation of this work will be to map existing skills and identify skills needed for the future, possibly on the basis of a European Sector Skills Council for Defence under the leadership of the sectors' representatives.
Actions:
• The Commission will promote skills identified as essential to the future of the industry including through the "Sector Skills Alliances" and "Knowledge Alliances" programmes currently being trialled.
• The Commission will encourage the use of the ESF for workers' retraining and re-skilling, in particular for projects addressing skills needs, skills matching and anticipation of change.
• The Commission will take into account the potential of the European Structural and Investment Funds to support regions adversely affected by defence industry restructuring, especially to help workers to adapt to the new situation and to promote economic reconversion.
4. EXPLOITING DUAL-USE POTENTIAL OF RESEARCH AND REINFORCING INNOVATION
Since a range of technologies can be dual in nature, there is growing potential for synergies between civil and military research. In this context, there is an on-going coordination between the Security Theme of the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development and European defence research activities. Work has so far concentrated on CBRNE and has recently also addressed cyber defence in the context of CSDP and its synergies with cyber security. A number of activities in this regard are announced in the EU's Cyber Security Strategy, designed to make the EU's online environment the safest in the world. Furthermore, the SESAR Joint Undertaking has launched research activities on cyber security in the field of Air Traffic Management.
Within Horizon 2020, the areas of "Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies" including the "Key Enabling Technologies" (KETs) and "Secure Societies" (Societal Challenge), offer prospects of technological advances that can trigger innovation not only for civil applications, but also have a dual-use potential. While the research and innovation activities carried out under Horizon 2020 will have an exclusive focus on civil applications, the Commission will evaluate how the results in these areas could benefit also defence and security industrial capabilities. The Commission also intends to explore synergies in the development of dual-use applications with a clear security dimension or other dual-use technologies like, for example, those supporting the insertion of civil RPAS into the European aviation system to be carried out within the framework of the SESAR Joint Undertaking.
Defence research has created important knock-on effects in other sectors, such as electronics, space, civil aviation and deep sea exploitation. It is important to maintain such spill-over effects from defence to the civil world and to help defence research to continue feeding civilian innovation.
The Commission also sees the potential benefits of additional possibilities for CSDP-related research outside the scope of Horizon 2020. This could take the form of a Preparatory Action on defence capabilities critical for CSDP operations seeking synergies with national research programmes. The Commission will define content and modalities together with Member States, EEAS and the EDA. In parallel Member States should maintain an appropriate level of funding for defence research and do more of it co-operatively.
Actions:
• The Commission intends to support a pre-commercial procurement scheme to procure prototypes. The first candidates for these could be: CBRNE detection, RPAS and communication equipment based on software defined radio technology.
• The Commission will consider the possibility to support CSDP-related Research, such as through a Preparatory Action. The focus would be on those areas where EU defence capabilities would be most needed, seeking synergies with national research programmes where possible.
5. DEVELOPMENTOFCAPABILITIES
The Commission is already working on non-military capability needs supporting both internal and external security policies, such as civil protection3, crisis management, cyber security,
3
In the case of civil protection the development of capabilities is set out in the Commission's proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism (COM (2011) 934 final
protection of external borders and maritime surveillance. Up until now, these activities have been limited to co-funding and coordination of Member States’ capabilities. The Commission intends to go one step further in order to ensure that Europe disposes of the full range of security capabilities it needs; that they are operated in the most cost-efficient way; and that interoperability between non-military and military capabilities is ensured in relevant areas.
Actions:
• The Commission will continue to enhance interoperability of information service sharing between civilian and defence users as piloted by the Common Information Sharing Environment for Maritime Surveillance;
• Building on existing EU networks, the Commission will explore together with Member States the establishment of a civil-military cooperation group in the areas of a) detection technologies, and b) methods to counter improvised explosive devices, man-portable air defence systems (MANPADs) and other relevant threats, such as CBRNE threats;
• The Commission will work with the EEAS on a joint assessment of dual-use capability needs for EU security and defence policies. On the basis of this assessment, it will come up with a proposal for which capability needs, if any, could best be fulfilled by assets directly purchased, owned and operated by the Union.
6. SPACE AND DEFENCE
Most space technologies, space infrastructures and space services can serve both civilian and defence objectives. However, contrary to all space-faring nations, in the EU there is no structural link between civil and military space activities. This divide has an economic and political cost that Europe can no longer afford. It is further exarcebated by European dependence on third country suppliers of certain critical technologies that are often subject to export restrictions.
Although some space capabilities have to remain under exclusive national and/or military control, a number of areas exist where increased synergies between civilian and defence activities will reduce costs and improve efficiency.
6.1. Protecting space infrastructures
Galileo and Copernicus are major European space infrastructures. Galileo belongs to the EU, and both Galileo and Copernicus will support key EU policies. These infrastructures are critical as they form the backbone for applications and services that are essential for our economy, our citizens' well-being and security. These infrastructures need to be protected.
Space debris has become the most serious threat to the sustainability of our space activities. In order to mitigate the risk of collision it is necessary to identify and monitor satellites and space debris. This activity is known as space surveillance and tracking (SST), and is today mostly based on ground-based sensors such as telescopes and radars. At present there is no SST capability at European level; satellite and launch operators are dependent on US data for anti-collision alerts.
The EU is ready to support the emergence of a European SST service built on a network of existing SST assets owned by Member States, possibly within a trans-Atlantic perspective. These services should be available to public, commercial, civilian, military operators and authorities. This will require the commitment of Member States owning relevant assets to cooperate and provide an anti-collision service at European level. The ultimate objective is to ensure the protection of European space infrastructures with a European capability.
Action:
• The Commission has put forward a proposal for EU SST support programme in 2013. Building on this proposal, the Commission will assess how to ensure, in the long-term, a high level of efficiency of the SST service.
6.2. Satellite Communications
There is a growing dependence of military and civilian security actors on satellite communications (SATCOM). It is a unique capability which can ensure long-distance communications and broadcasting. It facilitates the use of mobile or deployable platforms as a substitute for ground-based communication infrastructures and to cater for the exchange of large quantities of data.
Commercial SATCOM is the most affordable and flexible solution to meet this growing need. Since the demand for security SATCOM is too fragmented pooling and sharing SATCOM acquisition could generate significant cost savings due to economies of scale and improved resilience.
Commercial SATCOMs cannot fully substitute core governmental/military satellite communications (MILSATCOM) which are developed individually by some EU Member States. However, these communications lack capacity to cater for the needs of smaller entities, most notably military aircraft or Special Forces in operation.
Furthermore, by the end of this decade, current Member States' MILSATCOM will come to the end their operational life. This key capability must be preserved.
Actions:
• The Commission will act to overcome the fragmentation of demand for security SATCOM. In particular, building on the EDA's experience, the Commission will encourage the pooling of European military and security commercial SATCOM demand;
• The Commission will explore the possibilities to facilitate, through existing programmes and facilities, Member States efforts to deploy government-owned telecommunications payloads on board satellites (including commercial) and develop the next generation of government-owned MILSATCOM capability at European level.
6.3. Building an EU satellite high resolution capability
Satellite high resolution imagery is increasingly important to support security policies including CSDP and CFSP. EU access to these capacities is crucial to perform early warning, timely decision making, advanced planning and improved conduct of EU crisis response actions both in the civilian and military domains.
In this field several national defence programmes are being developed. Some Member States have also developed high resolution dual systems to complement defence-only national programmes. These dual systems have allowed new forms of collaboration among Member States to emerge for the exploitation of satellite imagery whereby the acquisition takes place either on the market or through bilateral agreements. This successful approach, combining civil and defence user requirements, should be pursued.
As the need for high resolution imagery continues to grow, in order to prepare the next generation of high resolution imagery satellites which should be deployed around 2025, a number of technologies must be explored and developed such as hyper-spectral, high
resolution satellites in geostationary orbit or advanced ultra-high resolution satellites in combination with new sensor platforms such as RPAS.
Action:
• The European Commission together with EEAS and EDA will explore the possibility to develop progressively new imaging capabilities to support CFSP and CSDP missions and operations. Also the European Commission will contribute to developing the necessary technologies for the future generations of high resolution imagery satellites.
7. APPLICATIONOFEUENERGYPOLICIESANDSUPPORTINSTRUMENTSINTHE DEFENCE SECTOR
Armed forces are the biggest public consumers of energy in the EU. According to the EDA, their combined annual expenditures for electricity alone sum up to an estimated total of more than one billion euros. Moreover, fossil fuels remain the most important source to meet these energy needs. This implies sensitive dependencies and exposes defence budgets to risks of price increases. Therefore, to improve security of supply and reduce operational expenditures, armed forces have a strong interest in reducing their energy footprint.
At the same time, armed forces are also the largest public owner of free land and infrastructures, with an estimated total of 200 million square meters of buildings and 1 % of Europe's total land surface. Exploiting this potential would enable armed forces to reduce their energy needs and cover a considerable part of these needs from their own low-emission and autonomous sources. This would reduce costs and dependences and contribute at the same time to accomplishing the Union's energy objectives.
In the research field, the Commission has developed the Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan to promote innovative and low-carbon energy technologies which have better efficiencies and are more sustainable than existing energy technologies. Given its important energy needs, the defence sector could be a frontrunner in the deployment of the emerging energy technologies of the SET-Plan.
Actions:
• The Commission will set up a specific consultation mechanism with Member States experts from the defence sector by mid-2014, based on the model of the existing Concerted Actions on renewables and energy efficiency. This mechanism will focus on a) energy efficiency, particularly in building sector; b) renewable energy and alternative fuels; c) energy infrastructure, including the use of smart grid technologies and will:
– Examine the applicability of the existing EU energy concepts, legislation and support tools to the defence sector.
– Identify possible objectives and focus areas of action at EU level for a comprehensive energy concept for armed forces.
– Develop recommendations for a guidebook on renewable energies and energy efficiency in the defence sector with a focus on the implementation of the existing EU legislation, innovative technologies’ deployment and the use of innovative financial instruments.
– Exchange information with the SET-Plan Steering Group on a regularly basis. • The Commission will also consider developing a guidance document on implementation of
Directive 2012/27/EU in the defence sector.
• The Commission will support the European armed forces GO GREEN demonstration project on photovoltaic energy. Following its successful demonstration, the Commission will also help to develop GO GREEN further, involving more Member States and possibly expanding it to other renewable energy sources such as wind, biomass and hydro.
8. STRENGTHENINGTHEINTERNATIONALDIMENSION
With defence budgets shrinking in Europe, exports to third countries have become increasingly important for European industries to compensate for reduced demand on their home markets. Such exports should be authorised in accordance with the political principles laid down in Common Position 2008/944/CFSP, adopted on 8 December 2008, and in accordance with the Arms Trade Treaty adopted on 2 April 2013 by the General Assembly of the United Nations Organisation. At the same time, Europe has an economic and political interest to support its industries on world markets. Lastly Europe needs to ensure a coherent approach to the monitoring of incoming foreign investment (as set out in section 2.3 on ownership and security of supply).
8.1. Competitiveness on third markets
Whereas defence expenditure has decreased in Europe, it continues to increase in many other parts of the world. Access to these markets is often difficult, depending on political considerations, market access barriers, etc. The world's biggest defence market, the United States, is basically closed for imports from Europe. Other third countries are more open, but often require offsets which put a heavy burden on EU companies. Finally, on many third markets, several European suppliers compete with each other, which makes it difficult from a European perspective to support a specific EU supplier.
Action:
• The Commission will establish a dialogue with stakeholders on how to support the European defence industry on third markets. With respect to offsets on third markets, this dialogue will explore ways of mitigating possible negative impacts of such offsets on the internal market and the European defence industrial base. It will also examine how EU institutions could promote European suppliers in situations where only one company from Europe is competing with suppliers from other parts of the world.
8.2. Dual Use Export Controls
Dual-use export controls closely complement arms trade controls and are key for EU security as well as for the competiveness of many companies in the aerospace, defence and security sectors. The Commission has initiated a review of the EU export control policy and has conducted a broad public consultation, which conclusions are presented in a Commission Staff Working Document issued in January 2013. The reform process will be further advanced with the preparation of a Communication which will address remaining trade barriers that prevent EU companies to reap the full benefits of the internal market.
Action:
• As part of the ongoing export control policy review, the Commission will present an impact assessment report on the implementation of Regulation (EC) 428/2009 and will follow up with a Communication outlining a long-term vision for EU strategic export controls and concrete policy initiatives to adapt export controls to rapidly changing technological, economic and political conditions. This may include proposals for legislative amendments to the EU export control system.
9. CONCLUSIONS
Maintaining and developing defence capabilities to meet current and future challenges in spite of severe budget constraints will only be possible if far-reaching political and structural reforms are made. Time has come to take ambitious action.
9.1. A new framework for developing civil / military co-operation
Civil / military co-operation is a complex challenge with numerous operational, political, technological and industrial facets. This is particularly true in Europe, where distribution of competences and division of work adds another layer of complexity. This Communication provides a package of measures that can help to overcome these challenges and incentivise co-operation between Member States. In this context, our objective is to develop an integrated approach across the civ-mil dividing line, with a seamless transition throughout all phases of the capability life cycle i.e. from the definition of capability needs to their actual use on the ground.
As a first step towards this objective, the Commission will review its own internal way of dealing with security and defence matters. Based on the experience of the Defence Task Force, it will optimise its mechanisms for cooperation and coordination between its own services and with stakeholders.
9.2. A call to Member States
This Communication sets out an Action Plan for the Commission’s contribution to strengthening the CSDP. The Commission invites the European Council to discuss this Action Plan in December 2013 together with the report prepared by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the basis of the following considerations:
– Decisions on investments and capabilities for security and defence should be based on a common understanding of threats and interests. Europe therefore needs to develop, in due course, a strategic approach covering all aspects of military and non- military security. In this context, a wider political debate on the implementation of relevant provisions of the Lisbon Treaty should be held;
– The Common Security and Defence Policy is a necessity. To become effective, it should be underpinned by a fully-fledged Common European Capabilities and Armaments Policy as mentioned in Article 42 of the TEU;
– To ensure coherence of efforts, CSDP must be closely coordinated with other relevant EU policies. This is particular important in order to generate and exploit synergies between the development and use of defence and civil security capabilities;
– For CSDP to be credible, Europe needs a strong defence industrial and technological base. To achieve this objective, it is crucial to develop a European Defence Industrial Strategy based on a common understanding of the degree of autonomy Europe wants to maintain in critical technology areas;
– To maintain a competitive industry capable of producing at affordable prices the capabilities we need, it is essential to strengthen the internal market for defence and security and to create conditions which enable European companies to operate freely in all Member States;
– Facing severe budget constraints, it is particularly important to allocate and spend financial resources efficiently. This implies inter alia to cut back operational costs, pool demand and harmonise military requirements;
– To show real added value of the EU framework, what is needed is to identify a joint project in the area of key defence capabilities, where EU policies could fully be mobilized.
9.3. Next Steps
On the basis of the discussions with Heads of State and Government, the Commission will develop for the areas defined in this Communication a detailed roadmap with concrete actions and timelines.
For the preparation and implementation of this roadmap, the Commission will set up a specific consultation mechanism with national authorities. The mechanism can take different forms, depending on the policy area under discussion. The EDA and the External Action Service will be associated to this consultation mechanism.

Tags: Local Anti-Drone Activism 

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Donnerstag, 1. August 2013 - 16:30 Uhr

Astronomie - VdS feiert 60-jähriges Bestehen

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HEPPENHEIM. Weltall-Experten haben den Sternenhimmel fest im Blick. Aber nicht nur aus beruflichem Interesse - auch aus Leidenschaft für Sonne, Mond und Sterne. Über 4000 Amateur-Astronomen sind Mitglieder in der Vereinigung der Sternfreunde (VdS), darunter etwa 180 Volkssternwarten und astronomische Vereinigungen. Der Verein mit Sitz im südhessischen Heppenheim gilt damit als größter dieser Art in Deutschland - und feiert dieses Jahr sein 60-jähriges Bestehen. Die erste Mitgliederversammlung war vom 8. bis 11. August 1953.

"Wir sind ein Bindeglied zwischen Hobby- und Fach-Astronomen", sagt der 60-jährige VdS-Vorsitzende Otto Guthier. Das Büro in Heppenheim ist keine Zentrale im klassischen Sinn, eher eine Adresse. "Wir sind weltweit vernetzt, fast 100 Mitglieder wohnen im Ausland."
Entstanden ist die Vereinigung 1953 in Berlin als Nachfolger des Bundes der Sternfreunde, die Robert Henseling 1921 gegründet hatte. "Die Astronomie gilt als die älteste Wissenschaft", sagt Guthier. "Der Himmel hat die Menschen schon immer interessiert, schon die Mayas, schon die Römer. Der Sternenhimmel ist eines unserer Naturwunder."
Geschätzt wird die Vereinigung für den Kontakt der Hobby-Astronomen untereinander. "Sinn und Zweck ist es, die bundesweiten Aktivitäten zu koordinieren, eine Basis zu geben", sagt Rainer Kresken, Vorsitzender der Sternwarte Starkenburg in Heppenheim. "Wir haben viele Kontakte mit der Vereinigung. Ihre Mitgliederzahl ist schon erheblich, das zeigt auch ihre Bedeutung." Der 50-Jährige ist von Beruf Weltraum-Ingenieur bei der Europäischen Weltraumorganisation Esa.
In ihrer Satzung hat sich die Vereinigung die "Pflege und Förderung der volkstümlichen Astronomie" zum Auftrag gemacht, Ziel ist "Astronomie zum Anfassen" - Sonne, Mond und Sterne für alle. Dazu gibt es 18 Fachgruppen, die etwa "Planeten", "Kometen", "Meteore", "Sonne" oder "Astrofotografie" abdecken. Jedes Jahr lädt der Verein zum bundesweiten "Astronomietag".
Quelle: Mannheimer Morgen
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CENAP gratuliert als 11jähriges Mitglied (Mitglied-Nr.16999) ganz herzlich aus Mannheim.
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Donnerstag, 1. August 2013 - 10:50 Uhr

Astronomie - Stars of Heavy Metal

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The most lead-rich stars known to science may represent a brief stage in stellar evolution that scientists have theorized but previously haven’t seen. The small suns, known as HE 2359-2844 (artist’s representation shown) in the constellation Sculptor and HE 1256-2738 in Hydra, were among nine identified as being helium-rich in a previous survey of stars. But new analyses show that these two are doubly unusual because they also sport atmospheres with lead concentrations about 10,000 times those seen in the atmosphere of our sun, the researchers report online today in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The surface temperatures of these two bluish stars are estimated to be about 38,000°C (far hotter than our sun’s surface temperature of about 5500°C), so hot that lead atoms in their atmospheres have been stripped of three electrons. The stars may be passing through a stage of stellar evolution that lasts no more than a few tens of thousands of years, the scientists say—a phase between red giants (about 30 or 40 times the size of our sun) and blue subdwarfs (stars about one-fifth the size of our sun but seven times hotter and 70 times brighter). The lead surrounding the stars—which was part of the original cloud of gas and dust from which these stars formed, not generated by reactions in the evolving stars themselves—may be dispersed within an atmospheric layer as much as 100 kilometers thick (depicted patchily in pink) that altogether weighs up to 100 billion metric tons.

Quelle: Science AAAS


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