Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

European experiments back on Earth with successful conclusion of Foton-M2 mission

17.06.2005


The re-entry module of the Foton-M2 spacecraft, which has been in low-Earth orbit for the last 16 days made a successful landing today in an uninhabited area 140 km south-east of the town of Kostanay in Kazakhstan, close to the Russian border at 09:37 Central European Time, 13:37 local time.

The unmanned Foton-M spacecraft, which was launched on 31 May from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carried a European payload of 385 kg covering 39 experiments in fluid physics, biology, crystal growth, meteoritics, radiation dosimetry and exobiology.

All de-orbit to landing procedures went according to plan beginning with the jettison of the Foton-M2 battery module three hours prior to landing. At an altitude of about 300 kilometres, travelling at 7.8 km/s and 30 minutes prior to landing, the retro-rocket situated on the Foton service module was fired for 45 seconds slowing the spacecraft down to reduce its altitude. The Foton-M2 service module was hereafter separated from the re-entry module and, as planned, burnt up in Earth’s atmosphere.



Twenty minutes prior to landing the spherical re-entry module entered the stratosphere, experiencing temperatures up to 2000°C and an acceleration of up to 9g. At 8.5 minutes before landing, the drogue parachute was deployed, which in turn opened the brake parachute, reducing the descent speed from supersonic to subsonic. The main parachute was deployed thirty seconds later, at an altitude of 2.5 km, reducing the speed of the re-entry module to 10 m/s. Brake rockets finally reduced the speed of the re-entry module to 3 m/s, 0.35 seconds before landing impact.

ESA representatives were on hand at the landing site to undertake initial procedures related to European experiments. This included immediate retrieval of the Biopan, Stone and Autonomous Experiments. The same team removed the FluidPac experiment facility’s digital tape recorder and configured FluidPac for safe transport to the TsSKB-Progress factory in Samara. The Foton capsule is currently being transported to Samara where the FluidPac facility and the Telescience Support Unit will be removed from the capsule and shipped to ESA/ESTEC in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

“I am extremely pleased that the majority of experiments have performed well.” said ESA’s Project Manager for Foton missions, Antonio Verga. “My thanks to the ESA Operations Team who has closely followed the mission from the Payload Operations Centre at Esrange in Kiruna, Sweden and our Russian counterparts at Roskosmos, TsSKB-Progress and the Barmin Design Bureau for General Engineering. The hard work and dedication of everyone involved has been crucial in making this mission a success and optimising the scientific returns from the mission”.

The Foton-M2 staff at Esrange, consisted of a team of 30 scientists, engineers and operators who worked in close coordination with the Mission Operation Centre at TsSKB, Samara, and with the Flight Control Centre in Moscow, which continuously reported and informed about the orbital phases of Foton-M2, via a powerful and effective data network operated and maintained by ESA’s European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany.

Fluid physics experiments were conducted in the FluidPac and SCCO experiment facilities. The data return from these was nearly complete and most of the scientific objectives were achieved. The BAMBI experiment produced some excellent images, a substantial role in which was played by the on-line processing capability of TeleSupport Unit.

The Agat furnace performed flawlessly as well. The processed samples should provide the material science community with good specimens to analyse. Unfortunately, the Russian Polizon furnace suffered a failure due to as yet unknown reasons, which prevented the processing of the semiconductor alloys stored in its drum at the required high temperatures.

The very successful technology experiment MiniTherm was performed during the mission, which deals with the performance of a new design of heat pipes. This experiment was controlled from Esrange, during its 5 days-long execution.

Also numerous experiments attached to the outside of the Foton satellite were performed, which deal with space exposure and technology aspects.

The European Space Agency has been participating in this type of scientific mission for 18 years and with a total of 385 kg of European experiments and equipment, this mission constituted the largest European payload that has been put into orbit.

"The Foton-M2 mission has been a resounding success and I look forward to seeing the positive impact the results of the experiments will have in the future,” said Daniel Sacotte, ESA’s Director of Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration Programmes. “I also look forward to building on this success with the Foton-M3 mission, which is planned to be launched in 2007.“

Dieter Isakeit | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.spaceflight.esa.int/foton

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Significantly more productivity in USP lasers
06.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Shape matters when light meets atom
05.12.2016 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

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

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>