Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


International, interplanetary and no interference! Mars Express calls up Spirit


ESA PR 10-2004. A pioneering demonstration of communications between the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter and NASA’s Mars exploration rover, Spirit, has succeeded.

Spirit landed almost exactly in the middle of the area shown in this image taken by the HRSC
Credit: ESA

On 6 February, while Mars Express was flying over the area that Spirit is examining, the orbiter transferred commands from Earth to the rover and relayed data from the rover back to Earth.

"This was the first in-orbit communication between ESA and NASA spacecraft, and we have also created the first working international communications network around another planet," said Rudolf Schmidt, ESA’s Project Manager for Mars Express. "Both are significant achievements, two more ’firsts’ for Mars Express and the Mars exploration rovers."

Jennifer Trosper, Spirit Mission Manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California, USA, said, "We have an international interplanetary communications network established at Mars."

ESA and NASA planned this demonstration as part of continuing efforts to cooperate in space.

The commands for the rover were first transferred from Spirit’s operations team at JPL to ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, where they were translated into commands for Mars Express. The translated commands were transmitted to Mars Express, which used them to command Spirit. Spirit used its ultra-high-frequency antenna to transmit telemetry information to Mars Express, and the orbiter then relayed the data back to JPL via the European Space Operations Centre.

"This is excellent news," said JPL’s Richard Horttor, project manager for NASA’s roles in Mars Express. "The communication sessions between Mars Express and Spirit were pristine. Not a single bit of data was missing or added, and there were no duplications."

This exercise demonstrates the increased flexibility and capabilities of inter-agency cooperation and highlights the close mutual support that is essential when undertaking international space exploration.

More information on the ESA Mars Express mission can be found at

For further information, please contact:

ESA Media Relations Division
Franco Bonacina
Tel: +33(0)
Fax: +33(0)

Donald Savage
NASA Headquarters, Washington DC
Tel: 001 202 358 1547

Guy Webster
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Tel: 001 818 354 5011

Franco Bonacina | ESA
Further information:

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht Product placement: Only brands placed very prominently benefit from 3D technology
07.07.2016 | Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt

nachricht NASA Goddard network maintains communications from space to ground
02.03.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>