Catching A Comet in Science Magazine
23 January 2015 - In August 2014, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft arrived at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Once in orbit, it swooped as low as 10 kilometers to get unprecedented data from the comet (and to drop off its short-lived Philae lander). Today, Science Magazine is publishing a suite of new papers detailing some of the mission’s first findings.
BIRA-IASB scientists are involved with their analyses of data coming from the ROSINA instrument that measured the coma composition of comet 67P.
These measurements show large fluctuations in composition in a heterogeneous coma that has diurnal and possibly seasonal variations in the major outgassing species:
Other new findings suggest a wide range of deuterium-to-hydrogen (D/H) ratios in the water within Jupiter family objects (based on measurements around the Jupiter family comet 67P) and preclude the idea that this reservoir is solely composed of Earth ocean–like water.
Origin of high-latitude auroras revealed
19 December 2014 - Auroras are the most visible manifestation of the Sun’s effect on Earth, but many aspects of these spectacular displays are still poorly understood.
Thanks to ESA’s Cluster and NASA’s Image satellites working together, a particular type of very high-latitude aurora has now been explained. Romain Maggiolo of the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB) is involved.
Academic Session "50 years"
27 November 2014 - An Academic Session was organized on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB).
The session took place on Tuesday 25th of November 2014 in the Academy Palace.
Visit Prince Laurent
15 October 2014 - At the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB), Prince Laurent of Belgium visited the Institute on 10th October 2014 and talked to ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst in the International Space Station from the Belgian User Operations Center (B.USOC) hosted at the Institute.
Activities 50th anniversary of the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB)
22 years EURECA, European Retrievable Carrier
31 July 2014 - The EUropean REtrievable CArrier (EURECA) was launched on 31 July 1992 by the Space Shuttle Atlantis. The launch mass of EURECA was 4490 kg with a payload capacity of up to 1000 kg. At that time, EURECA was the largest spacecraft so far built and flown by ESA.
The satellite carried a number of experiments for microgravity studies, atmospheric and solar observations, and material technology investigations. Among them, the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy was involved in two experiments...
Complete article Eureca @ 50.aeronomie.be
Venus Express took a plunge into the Venus atmosphere
17 July 2014 - Daring aerobraking operations of the Venus Express (VEX) probe were undertaken by ESA to gain new insights about usually inaccessible regions of the planet’s atmosphere and about how the spacecraft and its components respond to such a hostile environment.
The campaign also provides the opportunity to develop and practise the critical operation techniques required for aerobraking, an experience that will be precious for the preparation of future planetary missions. After a month surfing in and out of the atmosphere of Venus down to only 130 km above the planet’s surface, Venus Express now embarked on a 15 day climb up to the lofty heights of 460 km.
The Planetary Aeronomy team at the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy is responsible for the analysis of the data recorded by the SOIR instrument onboard VEX. The team was following with great interest and in suspense the development of the operations and the state of the satellite.
Read more on the Venus Express aerobraking.
Space weather forecasts in support of the Venus Express Aerobraking campaign
After eight years in orbit, ESA’s Venus Express has completed routine science observations and has recently started to descend into the planet’s atmosphere.
The SSCC (SSA Space Weather Coordination Centre) is providing support to the Venus Express Aerobraking campaign.
Complete articleSpace Weather Forecasts Venus Express
The Belgian Senate and Its Space Working Group
The Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB) came into being on the 25 November 1964 and it will celebrate its 50th anniversary later on this year. In that space of time, the Institute has become a partner of international renown in the field of research and aeronomy.
The Working Group’s jubilee year was launched this Monday at a meeting of the Senate’s Space Working Group.
The eruption of Kelut
21 February 2014 - The Kelut eruption on the island of Java has produced a large ash and SO2 cloud that has been tracked by polar orbiting satellite instruments (IASI and GOME-2 onboard MetOp-A and MetOp-B, OMI on Aura, and AIRS on Aqua).
The ash has reached high altitudes where commercial aircraft fly and is a significant hazard to aviation. Three airports on Java have been closed and air routes from Australia to Singapore, Bangkok and beyond affected.
Wake up, Rosetta! The comet chaser and the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy
If everything goes according to plan, the comet chaser Rosetta will wake up from hibernation the 20th of January 2014, and start the last phase of its 10-year journey to the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
The Rosetta space mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) will for the first time study a comet up close during its journey around the Sun. The Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB) has helped to build the ROSINA (Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis) instrument on board of the satellite.