A few ESA odds and ends

The High-Power Radio Frequency laboratory of the European Space Agency is on the move from ESTEC in the Netherlands to Valencia, Spain. The laboratory looks at the effects of radio communications at different powers and frequencies in the space environment. Radio waves interact with plasma and the wrong frequency or too high power a signal can cause problems.

Meanwhile, at ESOC in Germany, representative of the press are invited to watch a broadcast of the launch of CryoSat-2 from Russia to a position 700km in altitude. The new satellite will be the third of ESA’s Earth observation group and will measure the thickness of sea floating and polar landbound ice to an accuracy of one centimetre. The launch will be Thursday 8 April at 15:57 CEST (13:57UT, 12:57 BST) and will be visible on ESA TV.

Mars Express has just completed its present season of Phobos flybys, but more are in the offing in the future. As with the possibility of any place on Earth seeing the International Space Station doing fly overs, the changing orbit of Mars Express brings it closer and farther from the moon. The next window for suitable close passes is in August, with a further one planned for January next year.

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