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European Space Agency

February 9, 2005 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Hubert Curien, 80, former head of French and European space agencies who oversaw launch of the Ariane series of rockets, died Sunday of heart failure at his home in Loury, France. He also had a home in Paris. Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin called Curien the "main craftsman of French space policy." As president of France's National Center for Space Studies from 1976 to 1984, Curien oversaw the first Ariane launch in 1979. He also headed the European Space Agency, from 1981 to 1984.
February 19, 2014 | By Carla Hall
Anyone who thinks the U.S. space program is done with and permanently parked at the California Science Center in the form of the space shuttle Endeavour hasn't heard NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson and aerospace engineer Camille Alleyne (yes, a rocket scientist) talk about the International Space Station. Which is what they were doing on a very earthbound mission this week in Los Angeles to promote NASA's involvement in the space station and the exhibit, “Destination: Station,” showcasing what it's like to live aboard the International Space Station.
February 7, 2004 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
European scientists said Tuesday that they planned to send astronauts to Mars within 30 years. Like President Bush's proposed mission to Mars, the outline put forward by the European Space Agency involves a "stepping stone" approach that includes robotic missions and sending humans to the moon first.
November 8, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
Heads up! A satellite is expected to fall to Earth sometime Sunday night or Monday morning, and scientists can't say yet where it will land. The satellite, known as GOCE, has been circling our planet since 2009, when it was launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) to map Earth's gravity. It weighs 2,425 pounds, and its altitude has been dropping since late October, after it ran out of fuel.  GOCE is a bit bigger than a Volkswagen van, but it won't be crashing to Earth in one piece.
December 28, 2003 | From Associated Press
China announced Saturday that it would launch a research satellite in the coming week with the European Space Agency to study Earth's magnetic fields. The launch of Probe No. 1 is to take place Tuesday or Wednesday aboard a Chinese-made Long March 2C-SM rocket, the National Space Administration of China said. The satellite is to be part of a pair called "Double Star" that is the first joint project between China and the European Space Agency.
May 8, 1985
An Ariane rocket launched from French Guiana successfully placed two communications satellites into orbit, European Space Agency officials reported. The mission went as planned after a two-hour delay--caused by battery failure in the two satellites, a French-built Telecom 1-B and an American G-Star-1, and a drop in hydraulic pressure in the rocket boosters. The European rocket is challenging the U.S. space shuttle as a satellite launcher.
November 26, 1988 | Associated Press
Europe and the United States hope to send a space probe to Titan, the solar system's biggest moon and the only one with an atmosphere believed to be much like primordial Earth's, the European Space Agency announced Friday. The joint mission to Saturn's immense, gas-shrouded moon would begin in 1996 and include a probe that may be able to test the moon's soil.
March 3, 2004 | From Associated Press
A European rocket blasted off Tuesday on a pioneering 10-year journey to land a probe on a comet and search for clues to the origins of the solar system. The Rosetta spacecraft soared into the skies above South America aboard an Ariane-5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana. The European Space Agency had scrubbed two scheduled launches last week. After a final countdown, mission control workers in Darmstadt, outside Frankfurt, stared intently into their monitors as the rocket took off.
July 17, 2000 | From Times Wire Reports
A Russian rocket blasted off into space and placed two German satellites in orbit a day later than planned after a malfunction had halted the mission seconds before launch Saturday. Russian news agencies quoted space officials as saying that the Soyuz rocket had lifted off from Baikonur in Kazakhstan. The press office of Russia's space agency, quoted by the Interfax news agency, said two Cluster-2 satellites were subsequently placed into orbits.
June 20, 2013 | By Karen Kaplan
NASA has signed on to a mission to explore Mercury, the closest planet to the sun. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden inked the agreement to join the BepiColombo mission Thursday in Rome. The mission is already being built and tested by the European Space Agency. Enrico Saggese, president of the Italian Space Agency, also signed the memorandum of understanding. As currently designed, BepiColombo will include two spacecraft that will orbit Mercury and map the planet at multiple wavelengths.
November 29, 2011 | By Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times
  Russia's space program has a bad case of the Red Planet blues. As the NASA rover Curiosity, launched Saturday from Cape Canaveral, Fla., streaks toward Mars, Russia's Phobos-Ground probe is marooned in near-Earth orbit and largely unresponsive to commands from ground controllers. Russian officials acknowledge that the narrow ballistic window for the spacecraft to reach Mars has closed, making it another in a series of failures for the country's space research. Since the retirement of the last space shuttle in July, U.S. astronauts heading to the International Space Station need to hitch a ride with the Russians, but officials say Russia's space program is suffering from worn-out equipment, a graying workforce and inability to attract a new generation of young specialists.
May 17, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
The Russian and European space agencies agreed jointly to build a vehicle for six-person flights around the moon, where only the U.S. has landed. Roscosmos and the European Space Agency chose a conical rather than winged design for the planned spacecraft after six months of study, Roscosmos said this week. The vehicle is to be used in near-Earth and low-lunar orbits. Roscosmos agreed to prepare a delivery rocket for testing by 2015, with people expected to begin flying three years later.
February 23, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Ulysses, the mission to study the sun's poles and the influence of our star on surrounding space, is coming to an end. After more than 17 years in space -- almost four times its originally expected lifetime -- the mission is succumbing to its harsh environment and is likely to finish sometime in the next month or two, astronomers said Friday. A joint mission of the European Space Agency and NASA, Ulysses was launched in 1990 from a space shuttle. Ulysses is in a six-year orbit around the sun. Its long path through space carries it out to Jupiter's orbit and back again.
February 12, 2008 | From the Associated Press
Europe's shiny new $2-billion science laboratory, Columbus, was anchored to the International Space Station on Monday by a team of astronauts laboring inside and out. "A great day for Europe," said the European Space Agency's station program manager, Alan Thirkettle. "She looks just beautiful." French astronaut Leopold Eyharts announced its arrival. Installation was an exhausting daylong affair that took more time than expected.
November 29, 2007 | John Johnson Jr., Times Staff Writer
Venus became the solar system's baking hellhole by making a classic real estate mistake: building in the wrong neighborhood, according to research released Wednesday presenting the first comprehensive findings from Europe's Venus Express spacecraft. Instruments aboard the craft, which has been orbiting the haze-shrouded planet for almost 20 months, show that Venus and Earth are not just sister planets, but are nearly twins in important ways.
June 28, 2003 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Japan and the European Space Agency are planning a joint mission that would be the first to land a probe on Mercury. Three probes would map the topography and study the origins of the closest planet to the sun. Russian Soyuz rockets are expected to launch the probes starting in 2010. They would reach Mercury about four years later, with one probe landing on the planet and the other two orbiting and charting its surface for a year.
September 2, 2006 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Europe's first mission to the moon is due to crash-land in a cloud of dust and rock late today, ending a three-year voyage that gathered data about the lunar surface and tested a new engine intended to propel spacecraft to Mercury and other planets. The European Space Agency's SMART-1, orbiting lower and lower as it makes its final approach at 4,475 mph, should hit its target on a volcanic plain called the Lake of Excellence at 10:41 p.m. PDT.
November 9, 2005 | From Associated Press
A European-built probe designed to explore the hot, dense atmosphere of Venus blasted off early today on a Russian booster rocket, beginning a five-month journey to the nearest planet to Earth. The European Space Agency's Venus Express probe lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Europe's first mission to Venus will concentrate on exploring the planet's greenhouse effect and the permanent hurricane-force winds that encircle it.
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