Proba-2's journey to Russia marks its first step towards space

Jul 06, 2009
Proba-2, final checks. (ESA)

(PhysOrg.com) -- Proba-2, one of the smallest satellites ESA has ever built for space, is about to leave its Belgian homeland. Its development and testing complete, the satellite is being packed up for the first leg of its journey to orbit - shipment to the distant Plesetsk launch site in northern Russia.

Proba-2 is second in ESA's Project for OnBoard Autonomy series, building on nearly eight years of operational experience gained with Proba-1. While standard satellites are truck-sized structures, the Proba satellites have a volume of less than one cubic metre. But this small scale does not limit their functionality: Proba-2 incorporates a total of 17 new technological developments and four scientific experiments, focused on solar and weather observations.
Like Proba-1 before it, Proba-2 was constructed for ESA by Verhaert Design & Development in the East Flanders town of Kruibeke, with the support of the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office. On Wednesday Belgian Minister for Science Policy Sabine Laruelle visited the company to bid farewell to the and emphasise again the importance of space technology for the Belgian space policy.

“Proba-2 is the result of ESA's commitment to technological innovation,” said Director Courtois. “This mission is serving as a testbed for a variety of new space technologies. And the next two in the Proba series, the Proba-3 formation flying demonstrator and Proba-V vegetation monitoring mission, are already in preparation.”

"PROBA was developed under the ESA General Studies Technology Programme (GSTP), which fosters the development of flight hardware,” explained Frank Preud’homme, Verhaert Space Business Unit Manager. “This allowed Verhaert Space to build up satellite engineering capabilities and to attain a competitive position on the international market for small satellites."

David Berghmans of the Royal Observatory of Belgium briefed journalists on Proba-2's Sun-monitoring instruments: LYRA (Lyman-Alpha Radiator) is designed to measure solar irradiance in key ultraviolet bands, while SWAP (Sun Watcher using Active pixel detector and image Processing) will make ultraviolet observations of the corona around the Sun. Two further science instruments developed by a scientific consortium from the Czech Republic will detect the radiation and plasma environment around the spacecraft.

Provided by European Space Agency (news : web)

Explore further: Curiosity brushes 'Bonanza king' target anticipating fourth red planet rock drilling

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Proba-3: ESA’s first step towards formation flying

Aug 08, 2006

Proba-3 is the third in ESA’s series of missions for validating developments in space systems while carrying an ‘added value’ user payload which can directly benefit from the innovations under test. Proba-3 ...

ESA's SOHO will lead a fleet of solar observatories

May 24, 2006

New funding, to extend the mission of ESA's venerable solar watchdog SOHO, will ensure it plays a leading part in the fleet of solar spacecraft scheduled to be launched over the next few years.

ESA provides space images to Google Earth

Nov 16, 2006

The European Space Agency says it will create special content to appear in Google Earth, focusing on such events as volcanic eruptions and dust storms.

ESA's director comments on the loss of CryoSat

Oct 10, 2005

A European satellite that was to have helped understand global warming by scanning the thickness of polar ice sheets crashed into the Artic Ocean after its Russian launcher failed. The 170-million-dollar CryoSat satellite ...

Recommended for you

Australian amateur Terry Lovejoy discovers new comet

5 hours ago

It's confirmed! Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy just discovered his fifth comet, C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy). He found it August 17th using a Celestron C8 fitted with a CCD camera at his roll-off roof ...

Students see world from station crew's point of view

Aug 19, 2014

NASA is helping students examine their home planet from space without ever leaving the ground, giving them a global perspective by going beyond a map attached to a sphere on a pedestal. The Sally Ride Earth ...

Mars deep down

Aug 19, 2014

Scarring the southern highlands of Mars is one of the Solar System's largest impact basins: Hellas, with a diameter of 2300 km and a depth of over 7 km.

User comments : 0