The mission has been dubbed Esperia from the Ancient Greek name for the Italian peninsula.
The choice of name reflects how Nespoli's Shuttle mission to the International Space Station (ISS) will be a showcase for European technology, with the delivery of Italian-built Node 2. It also reflects the fact that this flight opportunity stems from the visionary involvement of ASI in providing three pressurised cargo containers (Multi-Purpose Logistics Modules, or MPLMs) to NASA under a bilateral agreement, with their development entrusted to Italian industry.
As a result of that agreement, ASI obtained six flight opportunities. The close cooperation between ESA and ASI led to the assignment of Nespoli, a member of the European Astronaut Corps, to this ASI flight opportunity. The first of these flight opportunities was taken up by Umberto Guidoni, who spent 10 days on board the ISS in April 2000.
An agreement between ESA and ASI for the joint management of this important mission was signed on 19 June 2007 at the Paris Air Show, Le Bourget, between ASI’s President, Professor Giovanni F. Bignami, and ESA’s Director of Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration, Daniel Sacotte.
In line with that arrangement, ASI entrusted the creation of a mission logo to world-famous designer Giorgetto Giugiaro and his ItalDesign SpA company under a sponsorship deal. The imaginative logo depicts how the Esperia mission is key to completing ISS assembly and also how it marks a step forward along the path of further exploration of space, an endeavour in which Italy and ASI are key players in Europe and in the international arena.
“Italy is one the main European players in space activities,” commented Simonetta di Pippo, Director for ASI’s space science and exploration (Osservazione dell’Universo) programme. “As the name suggests, the Esperia mission is an example of Italy’s long-term commitment to space exploration and of our vision and ambition for the future. It is also one more example of Italian industrial capabilities on which we rely to confirm our investments in European space programmes, in particular the Aurora exploration programme.”
The Esperia mission will be Nespoli’s first flight assignment. During the complex assembly mission, as a member of the STS-120 crew of seven, he will have a major role in installing Node 2 (built by Thales Alenia Space), coordinating activities from inside the Shuttle during four spacewalks. His other responsibilities will include conducting a joint ESA/ASI programme of human physiology and biology experiments, and assisting with the maintenance and operation of the orbiter’s onboard systems.
“The first European-built node to be launched, Node 2, is of crucial importance for the future of the ISS,” said Daniel Sacotte. “It will serve as a connecting passageway for ESA’s Columbus laboratory, the US Destiny laboratory and the Japanese Kibo laboratory, as well as the attachment point for the Japanese HII Transfer Vehicle. It will also carry a docking adapter for the Space Shuttle and serve as an attachment point for the MPLMs. Scientists and engineers around the world are eagerly awaiting the module’s safe delivery.”
A further aspect of the Esperia mission is the involvement of the Italian Ministry of Social Solidarity. In order to highlight the rights of all European citizens to equal opportunities, Nespoli will represent all European and Italian citizens during his flight and will carry into orbit a number of testimonials from that Ministry.
ESA Media Relations Office | alfa
First chip-scale broadband optical system that can sense molecules in the mid-IR
24.05.2018 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science
Nuclear physicists leap into quantum computing with first simulations of atomic nucleus
24.05.2018 | DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering
24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy