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Sonntag, 6. Juli 2014 - 18:34 Uhr

Raumfahrt-History - ESRO´S ERSTE SOUNDING-RAKETE (4.Juli 1964)

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Fifty years ago this week, ESRO’s first sounding rockets were launched from the Salto di Quirra range in Sardinia, Italy, on 6 and 8 July 1964.
The sounding rocket programme played an important part in the early life of ESRO. It provided opportunities for research during the long waiting period until the first satellites were orbited, and established a nucleus around which a European space science community could grow and accumulate technical knowhow. The very nature of the work at the time generated durable bonds of friendship and solidarity.
The challenge facing the ‘founding fathers’ of ESRO was to devise a scientific programme that would be of benefit to scientists and governments with very different levels of resources (human, financial and industrial). The result was a scientific programme that foresaw the launch over 400 sounding rockets and 17 satellites in the first eight years, a wildly optimistic scenario given available resources and the experience in Europe at the time.
In just one year since Edoardo Amaldi and Pierre Auger had sketched their ideas, European scientists had come up with an ambitious and exciting collaborative programme for an autonomous European presence in space. A European Space Research Study Group (GEERS) was needed to first give more substance to their plans. It was set up in June 1960.
Defining a scientific programme
Five working groups were tasked to define the administrative framework of a new space agency, as well as its scientific and technical priorities. They produced a draft document that was then submitted to a high-level meeting of scientific and government officials that met at CERN from 28 November to 1 December, 1960. The delegates at Meyrin no longer thought of having a single organisation for the European space effort.
In October 1961, COPERS’s scientific working group presented its programme in a 77-page ‘Blue Book’, so named after the colour of its cover, defining an eight-year plan. The package was accepted with only minor modifications by the government representatives that signed the ESRO Convention in June 1962. Three major categories of experiments for the new European organisation in that period were identified: short-term projects based on the use of sounding rockets, medium-term projects requiring small satellites and space probes, and long-term projects involving the use of larger and more complex spacecraft.
No less than 75 experiment proposals using sounding rockets were suggested. Their launch rate was planned to increase incrementally reaching 65 per year by the third year, with a standard launch lofting 50 kg to an altitude of 150 km. There was considerable enthusiasm for developing a northern launching range near the Kiruna Geophysical Observatory, and which could be used for the investigation of the upper atmosphere phenomena in the auroral zone.
About 75 experiments were also suggested for the medium-term programme. Here the Blue Book envisaged launching two small satellites by ESRO’s fourth year and three small satellites and/or deep space probes per year from the fifth year onwards. The long-term programme allowed for two large satellites from the sixth year onwards (so six in all).
Implementing the sounding rocket programme
The sounding rocket programme was relatively free of the tensions that would come to surround the choice of satellites and their payloads. Large sections of the broad field could be covered at relatively low cost. Individual researchers, small groups or graduate students could have an experiment flown relatively quickly, rather than having to wait years to launch something into outer space. Sounding rockets provided a useful means for novices to cut their teeth in a new and challenging domain.
The first ESRO launches were from the Salto di Quirra range in Sardinia, Italy in July 1964. These were boosted British Skylark sounding rockets carrying a canister that released barium and ammonium clouds into the ionosphere. The experimental payloads were provided by researchers in Belgium and Germany. The first launches from Esrange took place in November 1966. When ESRO’s official sounding rocket programme ended in 1972, about a half of all rocket launches made by the organisation had been from Kiruna. Other frequently used ranges were the Italian base in Sardinia and the Norwegian base in Andøya.
Britain’s Skylark and France’s Centaure were the workhorses of the programme, supplemented by the American Arcas. Of the 168 launches carried out between 1964 and 1972, about half were dedicated to ionospheric and auroral studies and about a quarter to atmospheric physics.
These campaigns were adventures, and those who took part in them still recount with pleasure the many unforgettable experiences that they had. This was the world of 'little science', with relatively small budgets, short delays from payload approval to launch, and with that sense of involvement which came from having hands-on experience of the design, construction, test and launch of flight hardware. All the ingredients for building a community tied together by strong bonds of professional and personal allegiance were present.
This was a vanishing world, which would soon transform into the anonymous organisation of large and complex technological projects. Indeed as sounding rockets became increasingly sophisticated, as failure became more scientifically, financially and personally costly, so were the risks reduced. But at a price. Sounding rocket activity was institutionalised, leaving its pioneers to look back with nostalgia on those early days in which together they laid the foundations of ESRO’s space science community.
Quelle; ESA

Tags: Raumfahrt 

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Sonntag, 6. Juli 2014 - 11:09 Uhr

Astronomie - Asteroiden Ceres und Vesta Konjunktion

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MONSTER ASTEROIDS CONVERGE: The two most massive objects in the asteroid belt, dwarf planet Ceres and minor planet Vesta, are converging for a close encounter in the night sky on July 4th and 5th. Last night in Italy, Gianluca Masi used a remotely operated telescope to photograph the monster asteroids only 13 arcminutes apart--less than half the width of a full Moon. The line splitting the two is a terrestrial satellite:
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At closest approach on July 5th, the two asteroids will be only 10 arcminutes apart in the constellation Virgo. They are too dim to see with the unaided eye, but easy targets for binoculars and small telescopes.
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Quelle: Spaceweather

Tags: Astronomie 

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Samstag, 5. Juli 2014 - 12:05 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Start von Rokot Trägerrakete mit drei Kommunikationssatelliten auf Plessezk am 3.Juli

2.07.2014

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The rocket, which belongs to a light class of carrier rockets, will take into orbit three communication satellites Gonets-M, which will enlarge the Russian orbital satellite system Gonets to ten satellites

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Rockot carrier rocket transported to Plesetsk cosmodrome

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The Rokot carrier rocket built at the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center will be launched into space from Plesetsk cosmodrome on July 3. The rocket, which belongs to a light class of carrier rockets, will take into orbit three communication satellites Gonets-M, which will enlarge the Russian orbital satellite system Gonets to ten satellites, the press service of the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) told ITAR-TASS on Wednesday.
The Gonets satellite system is intended for establishing communication and transmitting various data, including coordinates and temperature parameters provided by the satellite communication system GLONASS. The information is transmitted by a group of space apparatuses flying on a low orbit at the altitude of 1,400km, the press service said.
The Gonest satellite communication system is used for monitoring different infrastructure facilities, transmitting navigation and time parameters, established by means of the Glonass system, from moving objects to different dispatcher and monitoring centers and ensuring communication with facilities on remote territories.
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Rokot launch vehicle with 3 military satellites set off from Plesetsk spaceport
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The Rokot’s high technical parameters were achieved due to the “Briz -KM” accelerator block which performs multiple functions, such as taking a space apparatus into orbits at different altitudes and with different inclinations. The accelerator block enables to ensure with a high precision the assigned orientation of a space apparatus during a launching process and throughout its orbital flight of up to seven hours, Roscomos said.
The preparations for launching the Rokot carrier from Plesetsk cosmodrome are in the final stage, spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry department that supervises air space defense troops Colonel Alexei Zolotukhin told ITAR-TASS.
A Rokot launch vehicle already successfully taken to the orbit three Gonets satellites for the Russian defense ministry on May 23, 2014.
Quelle: ITARTASS
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Update: 5.07.2014
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Russia Launches Rokot Carrier Rocket with Three Satellites

Russia launched on Thursday a light-class Rokot carrier rocket with three telecoms satellites from its northern Plesetsk space center, the Defense Ministry said.
"The launch of the Rokot carrier rocket with three Gonets-M communications satellites was carried out successfully at 04.43 p.m. Moscow time [12:43 GMT] from the Plesetsk space center," spokesman for Russia's Aerospace Defense Forces, Col. Alexei Zolotukhin said.
The separation of the satellites from the rocket’s Briz-KM booster is expected at 06.28 p.m. Moscow time (14:28 GMT) on Thursday, the spokesman said.
The Gonets-M satellites will be part of Russia’s low-orbit grouping of telecoms satellites designed to provide communications services for remote areas of the country.
The Rokot launch vehicle, developed by the state-run Khrunichev Center, is a modification of the RS-18 (SS-19 Stiletto) two-stage ballistic missile that is being decommissioned from Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces.
The rocket is designed to put spacecraft weighing less than two tons into near-earth orbits.
The latest launch of the carrier rocket with a block of military satellites was successfully carried out late May.
The first launch of the rocket from the Plesetsk space center took place May 16, 2000. Since then, 21 Rokot carrier rockets have been launched from the space center.
Quelle: RIANOVOSTI


Tags: Raumfahrt 

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Freitag, 4. Juli 2014 - 09:39 Uhr

Astronomie - NASA NEOWISE Infrarot-Aufnahme von Komet C/2012 K1/Pan-STARRS

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NASA's NEOWISE mission captured a series of infrared images of comet C/2012 K1 -- also referred to as comet Pan-STARRS -- as it swept across our skies in May 2014.

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Comet Pan-STARRS Marches Across the Sky

NASA's NEOWISE mission captured a series of pictures of comet C/2012 K1 -- also known as comet Pan-STARRS -- as it swept across our skies in May 2014.
The comet is named after the astronomical survey project called the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System in Hawaii, which discovered the icy visitor in May 2012.
Comet Pan-STARRS hails from the outer fringes of our solar system, from a vast and distant reservoir of comets called the Oort cloud.
The comet is relatively close to us -- it was only about 143 million miles (230 million kilometers) from Earth when this picture was taken. It is seen passing a much more distant spiral galaxy, called NGC 3726, which is about 55 million light-years from Earth, or 2 trillion times farther away than the comet.
Two tails can be seen lagging behind the head of the comet. The bigger tail is easy to see and is comprised of gas and smaller particles. A fainter, more southern tail, which is hard to spot in this image, may be comprised of larger, more dispersed grains of dust.
Comet Pan-STARRS is on its way around the sun, with its closest approach to the sun occurring in late August. It was visible to viewers in the northern hemisphere through most of June. In the fall, after the comet swings back around the sun, it may be visible to southern hemisphere viewers using small telescopes.
The image was made from data collected by the two infrared channels on board the NEOWISE spacecraft, with the longer-wavelength channel (centered at 4.5 microns) mapped to red and the shorter-wavelength channel (3.4 microns) mapped to cyan. The comet appears brighter in the longer wavelength band, suggesting that the comet may be producing significant quantities of carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide.
Originally called the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), the NEOWISE spacecraft was put into hibernation in 2011 after its primary mission was completed. In September 2013, it was reactivated, renamed NEOWISE and assigned a new mission to assist NASA's efforts to identify the population of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects. NEOWISE is also characterizing previously known asteroids and comets to better understand their sizes and compositions.
Quelle: NASA

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Freitag, 4. Juli 2014 - 08:59 Uhr

Astronomie - Dämpfer bei Suche nach Exoplaneten

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Exoplanets once trumpeted as life-friendly may not exist

Spots on nearby star could have led to false planet detections

Two planets considered among the most promising for life outside the solar system don’t exist, scientists report July 3 in Science. The signals embedded in starlight that were attributed to the planets may instead have been caused by the changing magnetic activity of their star, Gliese 581.
Although the study isn’t the final word on these enticing yet controversial worlds, scientists say it reinforces the need for meticulous analyses to separate planets’ signals from those generated by spots and flares on stars. “This is a big warning concerning the interpretation of [small] signals as being planets,” says Stéphane Udry, an astronomer at the University of Geneva.
Quelle: ScienceNews

Tags: Astronomie 

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Donnerstag, 3. Juli 2014 - 23:46 Uhr

Astronomie - Spechtel-Alarm: Spica bei Mars und Mondsichel am Südwesthimmel

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Blick auf Astro-Programm:

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Und so in Natur am Nachthimmel über Mannheim / Aufgenommen 3.07.2014 - 23.30 MESZ:

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Fotos: ©-hjkc


Tags: Astronomie 

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Donnerstag, 3. Juli 2014 - 20:33 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Magnetblase könnte Weltraumsonde sanfte Landung geben

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PARACHUTES made of plasma trapped in a magnetic field could soon be helping space probes glide safely back to Earth.
Two private aerospace companies have won NASA contracts to demonstrate magnetoshell aerocapture, a way of shrouding a falling spacecraft in a magnetic bubble akin to the plasma shield around Earth. But whereas Earth's magnetosphere protects it from solar radiation, a similar bubble around a spacecraft creates drag, slowing it down. If a test next year proves successful, the technique could help future probes land heavy loads on Mars or bring back human missions to deep space.
"I'm really excited about these awards that have been made," says Michelle Munk at NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate in Hampton, Virginia. "It's a low-cost way to investigate these kinds of things and see if they will bear fruit."
When a spacecraft enters a planet's atmosphere, it ploughs into air molecules at high speed, creating intense heat. Structures designed to create drag can slow the descent, but probes must also rely on heat shields that either burn away or insulate to protect the cargo inside. The heavier the payload, the more challenging the task of getting the craft down in one piece.
For larger landers, NASA has been looking at lightweight technologies such as an inflatable "flying saucer" for Mars missions, tested last week over Hawaii (see 'Flying saucer' makes a splash). Magnetoshell aerocapture is one of the most revolutionary ideas, says Munk. It not only slows a craft's descent but can also greatly reduce heating.
Last month, aerospace firm MSNW of Redmond, Washington, won a NASA grant to demonstrate the technique on a CubeSat. The small, boxy satellite should be delivered to the International Space Station in 2015. It will then be deployed and attempt to enter Earth's atmosphere without burning up.
The satellite will carry a copper coil, powered by a lithium-ion battery, that generates a magnetic field around the probe. As it descends, the spacecraft will eject a small amount of plasma. This gets trapped in the magnetic field, creating a protective bubble that stops air molecules colliding with the craft and producing heat.
The air molecules flow into the plasma bubble and absorb electrons from it, becoming ionised. The newly ionised air becomes trapped in the magnetic field, and the craft ends up dragging a patch of atmosphere with it, effectively creating a parachute of gas.
The CubeSat's magnetoshell aerocapture system will be built by Altius Space Machines of Louisville, Colorado. NASA awarded it a contract to develop such systems, which will feature an external magnetic coil up to 5 metres across. These could be used on larger landers, including human missions to deep space that need to return to Earth, says Altius's Jonathan Goff.
The system has hefty power requirements that will strain the limits of any battery the CubeSat could carry, says Goff. But if the test succeeds, it could also boost efforts to make rockets reusable, allowing parts discarded in orbit to return to Earth intact, he says. "Basically it's a way of moving beyond the Apollo throwaway philosophy."
Quelle: NewScientist

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Donnerstag, 3. Juli 2014 - 20:15 Uhr

Raumfahrt - ESA Startiger Projekt: Quadcopter transportiert einen Rover um diesen sanft auf felsigen Marsoberfläche zu landen.

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The 'dropship' quadcopter and mockup rover used for testing ESA's latest StarTiger project, Dropter. The dropship steers itself to lower a rover gently onto a safe patch of the rocky martian surface. Starting from scratch for the eight-month project, the Dropter team was challenged to produce vision-based navigation and hazard detection and avoidance for the dropship. It has to identify a safe landing site and height before winching down its passenger rover on a set of cables. Flying to a maximum height of 17 m, the dropship comes gently down to 10 m above the ground, where it begins lowering the rover on a 5 m-long bridle, coming lower until the rover touches down. Then it returns to a safe altitude.
The test platform is about 1 m by 1 m in size, with 41 cm diameter rotors. Its total lift-off mass is about 16.8 kg, with the dropship weighing 13.2 kg and the rover 3.6 kg. Maximum flight time is limited to about 15 minutes due to battery capacity.
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The dramatic conclusion to ESA’s latest StarTiger project: a ‘dropship’ quadcopter steers itself to lower a rover gently onto a safe patch of the rocky martian surface.
StarTiger’s Dropter project was tasked with developing and demonstrating a European precision-landing capability for Mars and other targets.
The Skycrane that lowered NASA’s Curiosity rover onto Mars showed the potential of this approach, precisely delivering rovers to their science targets while avoiding rock fields, slopes and other hazards.
“StarTiger is a fresh approach to space engineering,” explains Peter de Maagt, overseeing the project. “Take a highly qualified, well-motivated team, gather them at a single well-equipped site, then give them a fixed time to solve a challenging technical problem.”
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Frams: ESA-Video

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This latest team was hosted at Airbus Defence & Space’s facility in Bremen, Germany, joined by engineers from the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, Portgual’s Spin.Works aeronautics company, and Poland’s Poznań University of Technology Institute of Control and Information Engineering.
Starting from scratch for the eight-month project, the Dropter team was challenged to produce vision-based navigation and hazard detection and avoidance for the dropship.
It has to identify a safe landing site and height before winching down its passenger rover on a set of cables.
Flying to a maximum height of 17 m, the dropship comes gently down to 10 m above the ground, where it begins lowering the rover on a 5 m-long bridle, coming lower until the rover touches down. Then it returns to a safe altitude.
Flight testing took place at Airbus’s Trauen site in northern Germany, which back in the 1940s was the scene of spaceplane pioneer Eugen Sänger’s rocket experiments.
A 40 m by 40 m Mars-scape was created, littered with hazardous rocks, where the dropship had to pick a safe spot to deliver its passenger.
The dropship was customised for the project from commercial quadcopter components, with a smaller drone used for preparatory indoor testing.
Using GPS and inertial systems to fly into position, it then switched to vision-based navigation supplemented by a laser range-finder and barometer to land its rover autonomously.
This demonstration having proved the concept, the dropship approach is now available for follow-on development by planetary missions to come.
StarTiger stands for ‘Space Technology Advancements by Resourceful, Targeted and Innovative Groups of Experts and Researchers’ working within the Agency’s TRP Basic Technology Research Programme.
It brings team members together on a single site to work on a set challenge, aiming to produce a working prototype by the end of the project’s time limit.
Quelle: ESA

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Donnerstag, 3. Juli 2014 - 13:00 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - Tag des Ufos ohne Außerirdische

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2.07.2014

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Himmelserscheinungen werden immer seltener. Ist die Erde kein Ziel mehr für Raumschiffe oder geht den Menschen einfach die Phantasie aus? Wenigstens hat ein Besucher von fremden Sternen bei uns überlebt

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Außergewöhnliche Himmelserscheinungen sind etwas für Romantiker. Doch auch die werden im Augsburger Land immer seltener. Der heutige Welttag des Ufos jedenfalls ist hierzulande eigentlich kein Thema. Das war nicht immer so. Die Zeitungsarchive geben noch viele Beispiele her. Und auch Zeitzeugen wissen mehr.
Rudolf Karl, Vizepolizeichef von Schwabmünchen, fällt spontan ein Nachtdienst ein, als er vor vielen Jahren noch in der Inspektion Haunstetten tätig war: „Da kamen kurz hintereinander fünf, sechs Meldungen herein über ungewöhnliche Lichter am Himmel. Es gab Nachforschungen, aber wir haben über das Ergebnis nie etwas gehört.“
Schneller bekamen seine Kollegen in Bobingen Klarheit, als im November 2007 unabhängig voneinander drei Anrufer aus unterschiedlicher Perspektive eine Lichter-Formation über Königsbrunn meldeten. Unter anderem war vom „Tanz roter Bälle“ die Rede. Werner Walter vom Centralen Erforschungsnetz außergewöhnlicher Himmelsphänomene (CENAP) in Mannheim lieferte die Erklärung: Da hätten wohl Gäste einer Geburtstagsfeier kurz nach Mitternacht sogenannte Himmelslaternen aufsteigen lassen. Diese Papierlampions, die wie kleine Heißluftballone fliegen, sind inzwischen wegen der Brandgefahr beim Landen verboten.
Und natürlich haben – ähnlich wie in den USA – auch Militärpiloten Seltsames gesichtet. Doch ihre Schilderungen gaben ebenfalls wenig Ufo-Rätsel auf, als sie von Memmingerberg kommend leuchtende Wolken ausmachten. Die Piloten kannten sich nämlich nicht nur in der Luft gut aus. Sie vermuteten den Ausgangspunkt von Laserstrahlung gleich am Dach zweier Diskotheken. Tatsächlich wiesen sowohl das Amadeus in Königsbrunn als auch das PM in Untermeitingen ihrem Publikum lange Zeit den Weg mit sogenannten Skybeamern, also Lichtstrahlen, die in den Nachthimmel ragten.
Rätsel gab in jüngster Zeit nur eine Fotoserie einer Frau aus Aystetten auf. Sie hatte im Januar Aufnahmen vom Abendhimmel im Abstand weniger Sekunden gemacht. Auf den Bildern entdeckte sie dann einen Lichtpunkt, der sich in dieser kurzen Zeit extrem weit bewegt haben muss. Polizei und Flugsicherung fanden keine Erklärung. Dafür die astronomische Vereinigung Augsburg. Durch Vergrößerungen und Vermessung identifizierten sie das unechte Flugobjekt als Reflex der Sonne im Kameraobjektiv. In dem Lichtpunkt fand sich sogar eine Spiegelung des Bildmotivs.
Außerirdische scheinen also die Erde zu meiden. Nur dem Schauspiel sind sie offenbar noch zugetan – und der Staudenregion. So erheiterte 2010 „Wally von der Wega“ den Bobinger Stadtteil Waldberg. Doch trat Wally nur auf der Bühne des Theatervereins auf. Weit mehr kamen „Xaver und sein Außerirdischer Freund“ herum. Zwischen Untermeitingen und Mittelneufnach hielten sie ihre Erlebnisse 1985 auf Film fest. Daraus wurde ein Kultstreifen für humorvolle Cineasten. Viel Spaß verstehen auch die Begründer des Welt-Ufo-Tages. Sie begehen diesen seit 2001 vor allem mit bunten Partys unterm Sternenhimmel.
Quelle: Augsburger Allgemeine
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CENAP-TV-Beitrag heute abend um 20.00 Uhr in SAT-1 und N24
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Und so feiert sich die Ufologie in ihrer Beweisnot selbst:
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Update: 20.15 MESZ
Frams N24-Beitrag:
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Frams von Beitrag in SAT-1:
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Tags: UFO-Forschung 

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