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European Space Agency

December 28, 2003 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
Britain's Beagle 2 Mars lander remained silent for a third day Saturday, and scientists believe that their best hope for receiving a signal is the spacecraft's mother ship. Mars Express, Beagle 2's mother ship produced by the European Space Agency, entered orbit around the Red Planet on Christmas Eve, about the same time that Beagle was scheduled to land on the surface. Controllers have to make a complicated series of maneuvers before it will be in position to contact the lander.
December 27, 2003 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
For the second nerve-racking day, British scientists waited in vain Friday for their Beagle 2 lander to phone home and confirm that it had landed safely on Mars. The 26-inch-wide craft was scheduled to touch down Wednesday evening on the Red Planet, but it has missed four opportunities to contact its controllers on Earth, suggesting that the lander has encountered serious difficulties.
September 28, 2003 | From Times Wire Services
Europe's first mission to the moon blasted off Saturday night aboard an Ariane rocket that also carried two commercial satellites, space officials said. The Ariane-5 rocket carrying a SMART-1 moon exploration probe took off from the European Space Agency launch center at Kourou on the northeastern coast of South America. Forty-one minutes after the launch, the rocket released SMART-1 into space for a 15-month journey to lunar orbit. The 815-pound probe will scan the moon for up to 30 months.
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.
June 3, 2003 | From Associated Press
An unmanned spacecraft built by the European Space Agency blasted off atop a Russian rocket Monday on a mission to Mars, where it will orbit the planet for nearly two years and search for signs of life. The Mars Express spacecraft was launched by a Soyuz FG booster rocket from the Russian-operated Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the space agency said.
April 5, 2003 | Associated Press
A satellite that relies on solar power to put it into orbit around the moon has been unveiled by the European Space Agency, which plans to use the spacecraft in Europe's first attempt at a lunar exploration. The Smart-1 craft is set to be launched in July for a two-year mission orbiting the moon to look for water, believed to be hidden deep in craters on the lunar surface. The satellite will also gather evidence to test the theory that the moon was created when a giant asteroid struck Earth.
A bust of Christopher Columbus stands proudly outside the office of the head of the European Space Agency, a reminder of Europe's grand tradition of exploration and the riches it can bring. Nowadays, space is the new frontier, and Europe has mostly ceded its trailblazing role to the powerful nation in the New World whose settlement Columbus initiated. But that doesn't mean the treasure hunt is over.
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.
There's a market overhead that could be worth $55 billion over the next decade. Competition to win a piece of it is fierce and getting fiercer, drawing in Americans, Western Europeans, Russians, Chinese, Ukrainians, Japanese, Indians, Brazilians. Welcome to a unique line of business that truly is rocket science--making express deliveries into outer space for $10,000 a pound or more.
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