Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Students Test 'Space Postal Service' During Foton Mission

Date:
May 14, 2007
Source:
European Space Agency
Summary:
How do you deliver a parcel down to Earth from space without using a rocket engine and fuel" The answer is YES2, a student experiment that was prepared, built and tested at ESA's research and technology centre, ESTEC, in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. Today, YES2 (Young Engineers Satellite) will be transported to Russia; the launch and operations will follow in September.

A student works on YES2 in the vibration facility at ESA's research and technology centre, ESTEC, in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
Credit: Image courtesy of European Space Agency

How do you deliver a parcel down to Earth from space without using a rocket engine and fuel? The answer is YES2, a student experiment that was prepared, built and tested at ESA's research and technology centre, ESTEC, in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. Today, YES2 (Young Engineers Satellite) will be transported to Russia; the launch and operations will follow in September.

Related Articles


Almost five hundred students from all over Europe have worked on the experiment. With that one of the aims of the mission has already been achieved, says ESA project manager Roger Walker from the ESA Education Department: "YES2 represents a whole collection of university dissertations and theses. Students have gained valuable hands-on experience that will certainly be put to good use immediately if they should continue in the space industry or come to work for ESA."

Technical demonstration

Besides the educational challenge, YES2 is also a demonstration of new technologies. For the first time in history a thirty kilometre long tether will be deployed in space. And it will be the first time a parcel will be shot back down to Earth from a tether.

The procedure is straightforward. The three-part experiment is mounted on the outside of the Russian research capsule Foton M3. In September Foton M3 will be launched into Earth orbit from the launch base at Baikonur. Just before the Foton returns to Earth, YES2 will be activated.

Fotino

At an altitude of 260 to 300 kilometres a half millimetre thick, thirty kilometre long tether will be rolled out below Foton. This is so long, that the tether will even be visible from Earth in the night sky (from South America and eastern Russia).

At the end of the tether hangs the spherical re-entry capsule Fotino (the parcel). Because of gravity Fotino will swing forwards and back to the vertical. At exactly the right moment the mini-Foton is released from the tether and the slingshot places the capsule on a path towards the Earth's atmosphere, starting its return journey to Earth. A parcel delivery service from space, destination: a remote location in Russia.

A heat shield protects the experiment against the same heat the Space Shuttle faces during its return to Earth. Fotino uses parachutes to prepare for a soft landing. 'If the Fotino capsule lands in the area we are targeting, then our second mission aim is achieved', explains YES2 engineer Fabio De Pascale from Italy. 'If all instruments register the descent and landing, then the third scientific part of the mission is also accomplished.'

Kite rope

More than twenty experiments have been conducted in which a tether has been deployed in space. The longest so far was twenty kilometres and never before was a re-entry capsule attached to the end. Despite the weight of Fotino – six kilograms – the tether is just half a millimetre in diameter. YES2 engineer Marco Stelzer from Germany: 'The tether is made of Dyneema. The same material used by kite surfers to surf through the waves on the end of their kite. Strong stuff.'

If YES2 is successful it will be the first proof that 'space mail' can be sent to Earth using a relatively simple and cheap mechanism. In theory the re-entry capsule could weigh as much as tens of kilograms, says De Pascale. Enough to send experiments from the International Space Station down to scientists on Earth…


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Space Agency. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Space Agency. "Students Test 'Space Postal Service' During Foton Mission." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070510093242.htm>.
European Space Agency. (2007, May 14). Students Test 'Space Postal Service' During Foton Mission. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070510093242.htm
European Space Agency. "Students Test 'Space Postal Service' During Foton Mission." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070510093242.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: China Launches Moon Orbiter

Raw: China Launches Moon Orbiter

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) China launched an experimental spacecraft Friday to fly around the moon and back to Earth in preparation for the country's first unmanned return trip to the lunar surface. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Prepares Unmanned Mission To Lunar Orbit

China Prepares Unmanned Mission To Lunar Orbit

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) The mission is China's next step toward automated sample-return missions and eventual manned missions to the moon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russian Cosmonauts Kick Off Final Spacewalk of 2014

Russian Cosmonauts Kick Off Final Spacewalk of 2014

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 22, 2014) Russian cosmonauts Maxim Suraev and Alexander Samokutyaev step outside the International Space Station to perform work on the exterior of the station's Russian module. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) A comet from the farthest reaches of the solar system passed extremely close to Mars this weekend, giving astronomers a rare opportunity to study it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins