, , , ,


Obama to unveil vision for space program

By the CNN Wire Staff
April 14, 2010 3:58 a.m. EDT

The president’s announcement will come during what have been uncertain times surrounding the agency. The space shuttle is scheduled for retirement at year’s end, with just three scheduled launches remaining. Obama has cancelled the Bush administration’s Constellation moon program. The space agency had already spent about $9.5 billion on that project to develop a next-generation rocket and the crew capsule.


Obama’s plans would shift some funding away from NASA’s costly human spaceflight program to NASA’s scientific programs, including robotic missions to other planets.

The president’s budget would also provide funding to private launch companies to develop spacecraft to ferry astronauts.

Once the space shuttle is retired, U.S. astronauts will need to ride Russian Soyuz rockets to reach and return from the International Space Station. It’s expected to take several years or more before commercial launch companies are capable of carrying astronauts into orbit.

( . . . )

During a briefing in early April, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden praised the new future being charted for the agency.

“This budget provides an increase to NASA at a time when funding is scarce,” Bolden said. “It will enable us to accomplish inspiring exploration, science and (research and development), the kinds of things the agency has been known for throughout its history.”

The budget “enables NASA to set its sights on destinations beyond Earth orbit and develop the technologies that will be required to get us there, both with humans and robots,” Bolden said.

“We’re talking about technologies that the field has long wished we had but for which we did not have the resources,” he said.

“These are things that don’t exist today but we’ll make real in the coming years. This budget enables us to plan for a real future in exploration with capabilities that will make amazing things not only possible, but affordable and sustainable.”

(excerpted from)



  1. Space Today Online – China explores the Moon

    HUMAN LANDING ON MOON: Xinhua News Agency reported in 2004 that China’s top space official said the country wants to land a human on the Moon in 2020.

  2. Chinese Lunar Exploration Program – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Chang’e-1 Completes Mapping of Moon, December 1, 2008, Source:China National Space Administration; ^ China considering manned lunar landing in 2025–2030

  3. China to Land on the Moon by 2010

    According to a recently published article in the weekly journal Outlook, China will take three steps in carrying out its moon landing program: the first

  4. China plans moon landing by 2017?

    Nov 7, 2005 In a plan that rivals the recent American announcement, China appears to be preparing for a space race. However, appearances may be

  5. Why China Wants To Explore The Moon

    Feb 8, 2007 Beijing, China (XNA) Feb 08, 2007 – China plans to launch its first The Apollo moon landing program launched by NASA in the 1960s and

  6. China’s Space Ambitions Advance with Moon Landing – BusinessWeek

    Mar 2, 2009 China’s space probe has landed on the moon, the end of the first leg of a journey expected to lead to the launch of a rover vehicle by 2012.

from google search “China moon landing”


Obama Envisions Manned Mars Mission for NASA

CBS News – 4 hours ago

Seats purchased on Russian Soyuz rockets include launch and landing and the capsules remain Apollo went to the moon in less than 10. A 5-year STUDY?

Obama To Address Space Program Issues In Florida‎ – RedOrbit
EDITORIAL: Losing it in space‎ – Washington Times
Obama expected to announce spending to create 2500 new space jobs‎ – National Post
Washington Post



2nd lunar probe set for launch this year

By Xin Dingding (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-04-13 07:13
BEIJING – China will push ahead with its lunar exploration program despite the United States’ decision to suspend its return to the moon, a senior space exploration scientist has said.

The country plans to launch its second lunar probe, Chang’e-2, in the latter half of this year as well as send a lunar lander and rover by 2013, Ye said.

The latest signal of China’s resolve in lunar exploration follows US President Barack Obama’s announcement in February that his administration was axing the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Constellation program, which former president George W. Bush started in 2004 to return Americans to the moon by 2020.

Instead, NASA was asked to focus on technologies to prepare for human missions to other destinations in the solar system.

Billions of dollars will be spent on new commercial spacecraft that could carry US astronauts into low Earth orbit, on technology development, and extending the life of the International Space Station, media have reported.

The US investment in new technology is expected to lay the foundation to support effective and affordable journeys to the moon and eventually to Mars.

( . . . )

China's Moon Exploration Program from ChinaDaily

China's Moon Exploration Program from ChinaDaily

“Compared with the country’s first lunar probe launched in October 2007, Chang’e-2 will fly at a lower orbit of 100 km from the moon’s surface, and a more powerful launch vehicle will send it to the Earth-to-Moon transfer orbit in just one shot,” Ye said.

China’s first lunar probe Chang’e-1 – named after a legendary Chinese moon goddess – completed its 16-month mission in March 2008 after hitting the moon surface with a bang, marking the country’s first step toward a moon mission.

The probe flew in an orbit 200 km high and spent seven days circling the Earth before entering the transfer orbit.

Ye said the Chang’e-3 mission is making “good progress” in prototype development and scientists are working on Chang’e-4, of which he did not give details.

China Daily



Space elevator

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

A space elevator for Earth would consist of a cable anchored to the Earth’s surface, reaching into space. By attaching a counterweight at the end (or by further extending the cable for the same purpose), inertia ensures that the cable remains stretched taut, countering the gravitational pull on the lower sections, thus allowing the elevator to remain in geostationary orbit. Once beyond the gravitational midpoint, carriages would be accelerated further by the planet’s rotation. (Diagram is not to scale.)

A space elevator is a proposed structure designed to transport material from a celestial body‘s surface into space. Many variants have been proposed, all of which involve traveling along a fixed structure instead of using rocket powered space launch. The concept most often refers to a structure that reaches from the surface of the Earth on or near the Equator to geostationary orbit (GSO) and a counter-mass beyond.

The concept of a space elevator dates back to 1895 when Konstantin Tsiolkovsky[1] proposed a free-standing “Tsiolkovsky” tower reaching from the surface of Earth to geostationary orbit. Most recent discussions focus on tensile structures (specifically, tethers) reaching from geostationary orbit to the ground. This structure would be held in tension between Earth and the counterweight in space like a guitar string held taut. Space elevators have also sometimes been referred to as beanstalks, space bridges, space lifts, space ladders, skyhooks, orbital towers, or orbital elevators.

Carbon Nanotube Diagram from wikipedia

Carbon nanotubes are one of the candidates for a cable material

Current technology is not capable of manufacturing practical engineering materials that are sufficiently strong and light to build an Earth-based space elevator. The primary issue is that the total mass of conventional materials needed to construct such a structure would be far too great to be economical. Recent conceptualizations for a space elevator are notable in their plans to use carbon nanotube or boron nitride nanotube based materials as the tensile element in the tether design, since the measured strength of microscopic carbon nanotubes appears great enough to make this theoretically possible[2]. Technology as of 1978 could produce elevators for locations in the solar system with weaker gravitational fields, such as the Moon or Mars.[3]

A further issue is that for human riders on an Earth-based elevator, space radiation due to the Van Allen belts would give a dose well above permitted levels.[4] This would not be an issue for most types of cargo however.


Space Elevator diagram from wikipedia

As the car climbs, the elevator takes on a 1 degree lean, due to the top of the elevator traveling faster than the bottom around the Earth (Coriolis force). This diagram is not to scale.

Nuclear energy and solar power have been proposed, but generating enough energy to reach the top of the elevator in any reasonable time without weighing too much is not feasible.[46]

The proposed method is laser power beaming, using megawatt powered free electron or solid state lasers in combination with adaptive mirrors approximately 10 m (33 ft) wide and a photovoltaic array on the climber tuned to the laser frequency for efficiency.[31] A major obstacle for any climber design is the dissipation of the substantial amount of waste heat generated due to the less than perfect efficiency of any of the power methods.

Yoshio Aoki, a professor of precision machinery engineering at Nihon University and director of the Japan Space Elevator Association, suggested including a second cable and using the conductivity of carbon nanotubes to provide power.[29]

Various mechanical means of applying power have also been proposed; such as moving, looped or vibrating cables.



Page last updated at 16:20 GMT, Wednesday, 14 April 2010 17:20 UK


Nasa drone embarks on science flights

By Peter Bowes
BBC News, Mojave Desert, California

An unmanned aircraft, operated by Nasa, has successfully started flying scientific research missions over the Pacific Ocean.

The Global Hawk drone is a robotic plane that is designed to stay up in the air at very high altitudes for an extended period of time.

Nasa has acquired three of the aircraft from the United States Air Force, which used the planes for military surveillance work.


The Global Hawk can fly at altitudes above 60,000 feet (18.3km), which is roughly twice as high as a commercial aircraft. It can stay in the air for up to 30 hours and can travel up to 20,000km, half the circumference of the Earth.

The plane will be used to measure and sample greenhouse gases, ozone depleting substances and other air components in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere.

Scientists want to gather data to help them understand the processes that control both weather and climate. The plane will allow them to travel to parts of the world that have previously been off limits.

“You can’t fly from California up to the arctic but with the Global Hawk you can,” explains Dr Newman.

“It just opened up a whole new realm of things. You can fly to hurricanes and you can orbit those hurricanes for tens of hours. Right now we just have planes that can fly there, probe it and come straight back home.”

Spy plane

The Global Hawk was developed by the US government for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes and has been used in war zones such as Afghanistan.

It is typically used in situations that are too dangerous to fly with pilots.

Now retired from military operations, the planes in use by Nasa have been fitted out with a vast array of Earth observation tools, including high definition cameras. They have been described as a hybrid of an aircraft and a satellite.

( . . . )



  1. News results for nasa

    Obama set to defend NASA’s new mission‎ – 46 minutes ago

    By Sharon Gaudin Computerworld – President Obama will be at the Kennedy Space Center tomorrow to defend his plans to change NASA’s mission.

    Computerworld722 related articles »

  2. NASA – Home

    NASA.gov brings you images, videos and interactive features from the unique perspective of America’s space agency. Get the latest updates on NASA missions,
    www.nasa.gov/ – CachedSimilar

    More results from nasa.gov »



NASA.gov brings you images, videos and interactive features from the unique perspective of America’s space agency. Get the latest updates on NASA missions,


Soviet space program

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Part of a series of articles on the
Soviet space program
Coat of arms of the Soviet Union.svg
Soviet space program
Soviet moonshot
Luna programme
v • d • e

Soviet Soyuz rockets like the one pictured above were the first reliable means to transport objects into Earth orbit.[1]

Launch of a Proton K/D

The Soviet space program refers to the rocketry and space exploration programs conducted by the Soviet Union (USSR) from the 1930s until its dissolution in 1991. Over its sixty-year history, this primarily classified military program was responsible for a number of notable accomplishments in space flight, including mankind’s first intercontinental ballistic missile (1957), first satellite (Sputnik 1), first animal in space (the dog Laika on Sputnik 2), first human in space and Earth orbit (cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on Vostok 1), first Moon impact (1959) and unmanned landing, first space station, and first interplanetary probe.

The rocket and space program of the USSR, initially boosted by the assistance of captured scientists from the advanced Nazi German rocket program,[2][3] was performed mainly by Soviet engineers and scientists after 1955, and was based on some unique Soviet and Imperial Russian theoretical developments, many derived by Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovskii, sometimes known as the father of theoretical astronautics.[4][5] Sergey Korolyov[6] (also transliterated as Korolev) was the head of the principal design group; his official title was “chief designer” (a standard title for similar positions in the USSR). Unlike its American competitor in the “space race,” which had NASA as a single coordinating agency, the USSR’s program was split among several competing design groups led by Korolyov, Mikhail Yangel, Valentin Glushko, and Vladimir Chelomei.





A second version of the European Cryosat satellite lifted off Thursday. Credit: ESA


Cryosat-2 enters orbit

Published: 2010 April 8

Russia succeeded with a second attempt to deliver Europe’s crucial Earth-watching satellite, after a loss of the original spacecraft four and half years ago.

The Dnepr booster carrying CryoSat-2 remote-sensing satellite lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome‘s Site 109 as scheduled at 17:57:04 Moscow Time Thursday. The rocket headed south downrange from Baikonur and initial data indicated nominal operation of the first and second stages. Some 15 minutes after the launch, ESA’s ground control station confirmed that the spacecraft had reached its orbit. It was the 14th space mission of the converted Soviet ballistic missile.

The CryoSat-1 was destroyed during the failure of the Rockot booster in October 2005.

The CryoSat satellite was designed to determine exact changes in the thickness of land and sea ice, crucial for understanding how climate change is affecting remote but sensitive polar regions of the Earth. Its main payload was Synthetic Aperture Interferometric Radar Altimeter (SIRAL). Previous radar altimeters have been optimized for operations over the ocean and land, but SIRAL is the first sensor of its kind designed for ice, European Space Agency said.

A decision to build CryoSat-2 satellite was made in the wake of the original spacecraft’s failure and as of March 2007, the launch was expected in March 2009. In the middle of February 2010, the launch was delayed from February 25 and March 2010, due to technical problems.

(etc. – lot’s more info on this page)



European Space Agency


Successful launch for ESA’s CryoSat-2 ice satellite

Venus is alive – geologically speaking

Eurockot to launch two ESA Earth observation missions

Fly us to the Moon…south pole to be precise

Astrium to build ESA’s second Sentinel-2 satellite for GMES

Signature switches ESA lab from Netherlands to Spain


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Fly us to the Moon…south pole to be precise

31 March 2010
The south polar region of the Moon, with dark craters and high ridges, is a world away from the relatively smooth terrain visited by Apollo astronauts four decades ago. This rugged moonscape is the target for Europe’s next leap into space.

The possible deposits of water ice, heavily cratered terrain and long periods of sunlight make the lunar south pole and areas around it extremely interesting for explorers and scientists. It is therefore a prime target for future human missions to the Moon.

Europe is now looking at a lander mission to pave the way for astronauts. This precursor would be the first European Moonlander and the first to visit the south polar region.

ESA is now asking industry to submit proposals for this Lunar Lander mission.

Aldrin’s lunar bootprint

Preparing for human exploration

ESA’s Lunar Lander would pave the way for future human exploration on the Moon. There are two core goals.

The first requires that it uses the latest navigation technology to fly a precise course from lunar orbit to the surface and touch down safely and accurately. On the way down, it must image the surface and recognise dangerous features by itself, using its own ‘intelligence’.

Then the Lander shall investigate this unique region with a suite of instruments. It will investigate the properties and possible health effects of radiation and lunar dust on future astronauts, and it will examine the soil for signs of resources that could be used by human explorers.

Lunar Lander  concept from OHB-System AG
Lunar Lander concept from OHB-System AG

Europe’s vision: a leader in exploration

Several European industrial teams have already assessed the various mission options and designs. The next step is ‘Phase-B1’, which will mature the mission and spacecraft design and examine in detail the demands of landing and working at specific southern sites.

This 18-month phase will begin this summer, taking the Lunar Lander from a design concept to hardware reality. The goal is for launch by the end of this decade.

Involving European researchers and industry is crucial for defining the detailed mission objectives and identifying instruments to address them. For instance, a request for information in 2009 produced more than 200 responses.

Lunar Lander concept  from Astrium GmbH
Lunar Lander concept from Astrium GmbH

Information session on Lunar Lander

As part of the process of involving European researchers and industry in the project, an information day will be held at ESA’s space research and technology centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands on 14 April.

The day is aimed at those who responded to the 2009 request and will include an update on the mission outline, mission objectives and the model payload to be used for Phase-B1.

Further information on the information day can be obtained by contacting explorationcall@esa.int




Proba-2 shows solar eruption that touched Earth

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Proba-2 records solar eruption

14 April 2010
Polar skies glowed with ghostly auroras last week during the biggest geomagnetic storm of 2010. The event owed its origin to a solar eruption a few days earlier – revealed here in high-speed detail by ESA’s small Sun-watcher Proba-2.

Eruptions like this one have several components, most notably solar flares and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs). Solar flares are caused by sudden impulsive releases of magnetic energy from the surface of the Sun.

The flare seen here took place at 11:54 CET on Saturday 3 April. It was officially classed as ‘weak’, though still involved temperatures of tens of millions of degrees and around the same energy the human race consumes on Earth per year.


Significantly, this eruption was lined up with Earth, sending a vast number of charged particles hurtling towards us. Travelling at around 500 km per second, the front of this CME reached Earth the following Monday, 5 April.

The resulting geomagnetic storm was the most powerful in more than three years. It provoked dazzling auroras but no damage was reported to potentially susceptible systems such as satellites and GPS, communications and electrical power infrastructure.

Solar flares are rarely visible in ordinary light, but are often spectacular at extreme ultraviolet wavelengths. The ESA-NASA SOHO mission has been a solar flare ‘watchdog’ producing remarkable images for approaching 15 years, but last year a new ‘pup’ made it to Earth orbit: ESA’s small satellite Proba-2.

Measuring only a cubic metre, the satellite is crammed with technology demonstrations but also carries science payloads: its SWAP (Sun Watcher using APS detectors and imaging processing) instrument is only the size of a large shoebox, but gathers images much more frequently than SOHO’s equivalent sensor.

Solar flare
Close-up of eruption event

“SWAP acquired an image every 100 seconds during the flare while SOHO manages one around every 15 minutes,” said David Berghmans of the Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB), overseeing SWAP operations. “This means we have about 40 images compared to five to six for SOHO, allowing us to see clearly the full range of phenomena associated with such an event.”

LYRA data
LYRA time series during solar eruption event

Most notably, during the onset of the flare itself, a faint puff of material can be seen erupting in a downward direction from it – this is the CME beginning its journey Earthward. It is followed by a spreading ‘EIT wave’ as the area around the flare goes dark then, finally, glowing loops of cooling plasma as the Sun’s magnetic field knits itself back together again.

As well as SWAP, Proba-2 also carries a second Sun-monitoring payload run contributed by ROB: LYRA (Large Yield Radiometer) is a solar radiometer measuring solar radiance at key ultraviolet wavelengths. SWAP and LYRA observed the flare simultaneously, the latter instrument recording a dramatic four-fold radiation peak.

“LYRA adds an extra dimension to solar monitoring,” said Jean-François Hochedez of ROB, LYRA Principal Investigator. “It records at high frequency the extreme ultraviolet brightness radiated by the relatively ‘cool’ solar corona, seen by the SWAP imager, but also phenomena occurring at lower temperatures in the dense chromosphere just above the surface. In addition it examines the rapid variability of the very hot corona – its two metallic filter channels sample extreme ultraviolet pass bands but also the soft X-ray range where the ten million degree corona expresses itself.”




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Proba-2: science payloads

The Proba-2 science payload consists of four instruments: two complementary solar observation instruments;

  • Sun watcher using APS detectors and image processing (SWAP)
  • Lyman-alpha radiometer (LYRA)

and two plasma measurement instruments

  • Thermal plasma measurement unit (TPMU)
  • Dual segmented Langmuir probe (DSLP)

Proba-2  artist impression
Proba-2 artist impression

Sun watcher using APS detectors and image processing (SWAP)

SWAP is an extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) telescope. The instrument builds upon the heritage of the Extreme ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT) carried by the SOHO spacecraft.

The instrument’s objective is to image the solar corona at a temperature of around one million degrees. It will continue the systematic coronal mass ejection watch programme with an improved image sampling rate of one image every minute, instead of every 15 minutes.

“Proba missions incorporate multiple innovations and allow small instruments to be flown.”

The spatial resolution of SWAP complements the high temporal resolution of LYRA. SWAP is demonstrating a number of improvements over the old EIT design. It is an off-axis Ritchey-Chrétien telescope, which allows for simpler baffling and a smaller aperture. Instead of using CCD sensor technology, the SWAP images are focused on a new CMOS APS detector, covered with a EUV sensitive scintillation layer.

On board processing of the SWAP images is being performed, increasing the science data return through the limited bandwidth data downlink by compressing and prioritising the images based on their contents. The SWAP instrument makes use of the agility of the Proba-2 platform to increase its effective field of view when needed.

SWAP was developed by the Centre Spatial de Liège (CSL) of Belgium.

Lyman-alpha radiometer (LYRA)

LYRA is a solar radiometer with four ultraviolet bands. They are:

  • 115-125 nm (Lyman-alpha [121.6 nm])
  • 200-220 nm (Herzberg continuum range)
  • 17-31 nm (aluminium filter channel, including helium II at 30.4 nm)
  • 1-20 nm (zirconium filter channel)

The instrument’s objective is to: observe using the above channels for their relevance to solar physics, aeronomy and space weather.

The radiometric calibration is traceable to synchrotron source standards and the stability is monitored by on board calibration sources (visible and near-ultra-violet LEDs), which allow possible degradations of the detectors and filters to be distinguished.

LYRA employs wide-bandgap detectors based on diamond. Diamond sensors make the instrument resistant to the effects of the radiation encountered in Proba-2’s orbit. LYRA demonstrates technologies important for future missions such as the ESA Solar Orbiter.

LYRA was developed by the Royal Observatory of Belgium.

“Proba-2 is demonstrating new products and provides flight opportunities to guest payloads, in this case for observing the sun and contributing to space weather research.”

Thermal plasma measurement unit (TPMU)

The TMPU comprises a sensor unit, which consists of the probes and their preamplifiers, and a processing unit.

The instrument’s objective is to measure the total ion density and electron temperature, the ion composition and ion temperature, and the floating potential of the satellite body.

The electron temperature part uses three simple circular planar probes with guard rings. A constant voltage shift is maintained by applying the proper amplitude of the radio frequency signal. The probe potential is periodically scanned and adjusted for minimum electron temperature.

The ion part uses a two-grid planar trap. The ion measurement can work in two modes. The first mode measures the ion flux at plasma potential. The second mode is the measurement of volt-ampere retarding characteristics. This uses an analysing voltage sweep which can be selected in the range 0 V to 20 V. Individual measurements are time-stamped and can be related to the satellite onboard time and thus orbital position.

The fields of view of the TPMU sensors are aligned with the flight direction of the satellite as far as is allowed by the Sun-pointing attitude. TPMU shares some interface, power and processing resources with DSLP.

TMPU was developed by a Czech consortium, led by the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague, Czech Republic.

Dual segmented Langmuir probe (DSLP)

DSLP is an instrument to study the magnetospheric background plasma. Data acquired by DSLP will be used to reach these specific scientific goals:

  • Directional Measurements
  • Non-Maxwellian Features in Ionospheric Plasma
  • Ionospheric Irregularities
  • Ionospheric Perturbations by Solar Events (CMEs)
  • Mapping Bulk Plasma Parameters

The DSLP instrument consists of two Langmuir probes, electronics and small data processing unit. DSLP shares some interface, power and processing resourcess with TPMU. DSLP has been developed on the basis of its predecessor ISL (Instrument Sonde de Langmuir), flown on the Demeter mission of CNES.

DSLP was developed by the consortium of Astronomical Institute and Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague, Czech Republic, RSSD ESA ESTEC (J.-P. Lebreton), Noordwijk, The Netherlands, Czech Space Research Centre (CSRC), Brno Czech Republic, and SPRINX Systems, Prague, Czech Republic.

Last update: 3 November 2009




Royal Observatory, Belgium



Launch of the ‘Solar Dynamics Observatory’

published on 10/02/2010

On February 11 2010, NASA launched a new space mission, the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), to take the most detailed observations of the Sun ever, and understand the complex weather and storms of our own star.SDO will provide solar observations of superlative quality, producing extreme amounts of data.

The Royal Observatory of Belgium located in Uccle will be the only European institute that receives all SDO data directly from the US, but it will serve as a relay and redistribute images further in Europe. The scientists anticipate that over its five-year mission, SDO will revolutionize our understanding of the Sun.


Corresponding Astronomers

published on 15/12/2009

Read about our Corresponding Astronomers in Dutch or French.

PROBA2 Launch

published on 22/10/2009

November 2, 2009, will be a red-letter day for the Belgian space industry and space sciences. A rocket containing PROBA2 will be fired off at 02:50 Belgian time from a Russian launch base in Plesetsk. PROBA2 will be the first ESA space weather mission dedicated to observing the Sun. Another important item: the satellite was built in Belgium.




India set to launch manned mission, says ISRO Chairman
Pallava Bagla , Wednesday April 14, 2010, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh

India is all set to announce its indigenous astronaut launch program which involves launching of Indian astronauts, using an Indian rocket from Indian soil, while technical capabilities exist, the government has been sitting tight on ISRO’s proposal for more than two years. Now according to the new chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization Dr K Radhakrishnan, the approval for this Rupees 12,400 crore venture may come even before the Independence Day.


This startling disclosure by the chairman of ISRO comes on the eve of a big launch by ISRO in which it is testing a fully indigenous GSLV rocket slated for launch in the afternoon of April 15, 2010.

Dr Radhakrishnan reveals that in the next few weeks the government may announce approval of India’s most expensive scientific program that of putting two Indian astronauts in space, with this India is set to join the select club of America, Russia and China that have such human space flight capabilities.

Radhakrishnan says ISRO is ready to launch Indian astronauts by 2017 and according to him `as of now what we have is a pre-project study’ and that the astronaut program will be implemented in phases, the first phase is to test the unmanned crew module; a service module in space four years from now after that the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) will be used to launch the Indian astronauts.

Radhakrishnan says the Rupees 12,400 crores will be needed over seven years which would involve setting up of several ground facilities like launch pads, the mission control center, astronaut training center, all permanent assets on the ground. The ISRO chief says `what goes into the orbit will be [costing] about three to four thousand crores’.

( . . . )



Indian Space Research  Organization


PSLV-C14 successfully launches Seven Satellites – OCEANSAT-2, Four CUBESAT Satellites and Two RUBIN-9 from Sriharikota (Sept. 23, 2009).
PSLV-C12 successfully launches RISAT-2 and ANUSAT from Sriharikota (April 20, 2009).
PSLV-C11 successfully launches CHANDRAYAAN-1 from Sriharikota (October 22, 2008).
PSLV-C9 successfully launches CARTOSAT-2A, IMS-1 and 8 foreign nano satellites from Sriharikota (April 28,2008).
PSLV-C10 successfully launches TECSAR satellite under a commercial contract with Antrix Corporation (January 21, 2008).
Successful launch of GSLV (GSLV-F04) with INSAT-4CR on board from SDSC SHAR (September 2, 2007).
ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C8, successfully launched Italian astronomical satellite, AGILE from Sriharikota (April 23, 2007).
Successful launch of INSAT-4B by Ariane-5 from Kourou French Guyana, (March 12, 2007).
Successful recovery of SRE-1 after manoeuvring it to reenter the earth’s atmosphere and descend over the Bay of Bengal about 140 km east of Sriharikota (January 22, 2007).
ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C7 successfully launches four satellites – India’s CARTOSAT-2 and Space Capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE-1) and Indonesia’s LAPAN-TUBSAT and Argentina’s PEHUENSAT-1 (January 10, 2007).
Second operational flight of GSLV (GSLV-F02) from SDSC SHAR with INSAT-4C on board. (July 10, 2006). Satellite could not be placed in orbit.
Successful launch of INSAT-4A by Ariane from Kourou French Guyana, (December 22, 2005).
ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C6, successfully launched CARTOSAT-1 and HAMSAT satellites from Sriharikota(May 5, 2005).
The first operational flight of GSLV (GSLV-F01) successfully launched EDUSAT from SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota (September 20, 2004)
ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C5, successfully launched RESOURCESAT-1(IRS-P6) satellite from Sriharikota(October 17, 2003).
Successful launch of INSAT-3E by Ariane from Kourou French Guyana, (September 28, 2003).
The Second developmental launch of GSLV-D2 with GSAT-2on board from Sriharikota (May 8, 2003).
Successful launch of INSAT-3A by Ariane from Kourou French Guyana, (April 10, 2003).
ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C4, successfully launched KALPANA-1 satellite from Sriharikota(September 12, 2002).
Successful launch of INSAT-3C by Ariane from Kourou French Guyana, (January 24, 2002).
ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C3,successfully launched three satellites — Technology Experiment Satellite (TES) of ISRO, BIRD of Germany and PROBA of Belgium – into their intended orbits (October 22, 2001).
The first developmental launch of GSLV-D1 with GSAT-1 on board from Sriharikota (April 18, 2001).
INSAT-3B, the first satellite in the third generation INSAT-3 series, launched by Ariane from Kourou French Guyana, (March 22, 2000).
Indian Remote Sensing Satellite, IRS-P4 (OCEANSAT), launched by Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C2) along with Korean KITSAT-3 and German DLR-TUBSAT from Sriharikota (May 26, 1999).
INSAT-2E, the last satellite in the multipurpose INSAT-2 series, launched by Ariane from Kourou French Guyana, (April 3, 1999).
INSAT system capacity augmented with the readiness of INSAT-2DT acquired from ARABSAT (January 1998).
INSAT-2D, fourth satellite in the INSAT series, launched (June 4, 1997). Becomes inoperable on October 4, 1997. (An in-orbit satellite, ARABSAT-1C, since renamed INSAT-2DT, was acquired in November 1997 to partly augment the INSAT system).
First operational launch of PSLV with IRS-1D on board (September 29, 1997). Satellite placed in orbit.
Third developmental launch of PSLV with IRS-P3, on board (March 21, 1996). Satellite placed in polar sunsynchronous orbit.
Launch of third operational Indian Remote Sensing Satellite, IRS-1C (December 28, 1995).
INSAT-2C, the third satellite in the INSAT-2 series, launched (December 7, 1995).
Second developmental launch of PSLV with IRS-P2, on board (October 15, 1994). Satellite successfully placed in Polar Sunsynchronous Orbit.
Fourth developmental launch of ASLV with SROSS-C2, on board (May 4, 1994). Satellite placed in orbit.
First developmental launch of PSLV with IRS-1E on board (September 20, 1993). Satellite could not be placed in orbit.
INSAT-2B, the second satellite in the INSAT-2 series, launched (July 23, 1993).
INSAT-2A, the first satellite of the indigenously-built second-generation INSAT series, launched (July 10, 1992).
Third developmental launch of ASLV with SROSS-Con board (May 20, 1992). Satellite placed in orbit.
Second operational Remote Sensing satellite, IRS-1B, launched (August 29, 1991).
INSAT-1D launched (June 12, 1990).
INSAT-1C launched (July 21,1988). Abandoned in November 1989.
Second developmental launch of ASLV with SROSS-2 on board (July 13, 1988). Satellite could not be placed in orbit.
Launch of first operational Indian Remote Sensing Satellite, IRS-1A (March 17, 1988).
First developmental launch of ASLV with SROSS-1 satellite on board (March 24, 1987). Satellite could not be placed in orbit.
Indo-Soviet manned space mission (April 1984).
INSAT-1B, launched (August 30, 1983).
Second developmental launch of SLV-3. RS-D2 placed in orbit (April 17, 1983).
INSAT-1A launched (April 10, 1982).
Deactivated on September 6, 1982.
Bhaskara-II launched (November 20, 1981).
APPLE, an experimental geo-stationary communication satellite successfully launched (June 19, 1981).
RS-D1 placed in orbit (May 31, 1981)
First developmental launch of SLV-3.
Second Experimental launch of SLV-3, Rohini satellite successfully placed in orbit. (July 18, 1980).
First Experimental launch of SLV-3 with Rohini Technology Payload on board (August 10, 1979). Satellite could not be placed in orbit.
Bhaskara-I, an experimental satellite for earth observations, launched (June 7, 1979).
Satellite Telecommunication Experiments Project (STEP) carried out.
Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) conducted.
ISRO First Indian Satellite, Aryabhata, launched (April 19, 1975).
Becomes Government Organisation (April 1, 1975).
Air-borne remote sensing experiments.
Space Commission and Department of Space set up (June 1, 1972). ISRO brought under DOS.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) formed under Department of Atomic Energy (August 15, 1969).
TERLS dedicated to the United Nations (February 2, 1968).
Satellite Telecommunication Earth Station set up at Ahmedabad.
Space Science & Technology Centre (SSTC) established in Thumba.
First sounding rocket launched from TERLS (November 21, 1963).
Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) formed by the Department of Atomic Energy and work on establishing Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) started.



Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

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Jump to: navigation, search

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
宇宙航空研究開発機 構
Jaxa logo.svg
Owner Japan
Established October 1, 2003
(Successor agency to NASDA 1969-2003, ISAS 1981–2003 and NAL 1955–2003)
Headquarters Chōfu, Tokyo
Primary spaceport Tanegashima Space Center
Motto One JAXA
Administrator Keiji Tachikawa
Budget ¥225 (USD 2.15) billion (FY2005)[1]
Website www.jaxa.jp

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (独立行政法人宇宙航空研究開発機構, Dokuritsu-gyōsei-hōjin Uchū Kōkū Kenkyū Kaihatsu Kikō?, literally “Independent Administration on the Exploration and Aviation of Space Study and Development Organization”), or JAXA, is Japan’s national aerospace agency. JAXA was formed on October 1, 2003, as an Independent Administrative Institution through the merger of three previously independent organizations. JAXA is responsible for research, development and launch of satellites into orbit, and is fundamentally involved in many missions such as asteroid exploration and a possible human mission to the Moon.[2] Its motto is One JAXA[3] and corporate message is Reaching for the skies, exploring space.[4]

(from – there’s lot’s more)



“JAXA Channel” Official YouTube channel

Small Body Exploration: Hayabusa mission

On May 9, 2003, Hayabusa (meaning, Peregrine falcon), was launched from an M-V rocket. The goal of this mission is to collect samples from a small near-Earth asteroid named 25143 Itokawa. The craft was scheduled to rendezvous in November 2005, and return to Earth with samples from the asteroid by July 2007. It was confirmed that the spacecraft successfully landed on the asteroid on November 20, 2005, after some initial confusion regarding the incoming data. On November 26, 2005, Hayabusa succeeded in making a soft contact, but whether it gathered the samples or not is unknown. Hayabusa is slated to return to earth in 2010.

For details see Hayabusa, Hayabusa 2

Japan Space Program - JAXA rockets - H-IIA & H-IIB

Japan Space Program - JAXA rockets - H-IIA & H-IIB





Apr. 14, 2010

Angel Falls: The World’s Highest Waterfall

Today, when science and technology are deemed highly developed, people may think that mankind’s explorations have reached every corner of the Earth. Nevertheless, there are still hidden places where people can hardly set foot. The Guiana Highlands may be the king of such mysterious places.

Angel Falls and Its Vicinity
Angel Falls and Its Vicinity
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Fig. 1. Angel Falls and Its Vicinity

Figure 1 depicts Angel Falls and its vicinity as observed by ALOS (“Daichi”) in December 2009. The Guiana Highlands are located in northern South America, extending over Columbia, Venezuela, Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana, and Brazil. More than 100 isolated table-like mountains (mesas) tower above the Amazon rainforest, and cover a total area of about 30,000 km2, which is equivalent to the size of Belgium. The dark green and brown area in the center of the image is one such mesa, called “tepui,” (“House of the Gods”) in the native tongue. These geological features are the remains of the hard rock bed of an ancient large plateau that was eroded by rain, etc., over the course of Earth’s history. The rims of these tepuis are sheer cliffs about 1,000 meters high.
Rocks of the Guiana Highlands are very old, formed about 2 billion years ago. As seen by the many groups of clouds in Figure 1, the rainfall of this area is also world class. Annual precipitation exceeds 4,000 millimeters.
Because of their ancient isolation from the forest floor, an entirely unique ecosystem has evolved on the mesa tops, with various endemic species of plants, insects, and animals, including those still undiscovered. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes books, was inspired by the mysterious Guiana Highlands and novelized The Lost World, a story in which dinosaurs survived on the highland. Those outstanding figures of table-like mountains make it easy for us to believe that such imagination could be real.
Water falls in abundance from the rim of the mesas to the ground below. Angel Falls is the highest among them and is located at the table-like mountain called Auyantepui in Venezuela. With a circumference of 700 km, Auyantepui is the largest table-like mountain in the Guiana Highland and as large as the Tokyo metropolitan area in Japan. Such a clear image of Auyantepui and Angel Falls is very rare since this area is cloudy most of the time. Canaima National Park, which includes Angel Falls, was added to the World Heritage of UNESCO in 1994.

Enlarged Image of Angel Falls
Enlarged Image of Angel Falls
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Fig. 2. Enlarged Image of Angel Falls
Angel Falls (kmz, 4.36 MB, High Resolution) as seen on Google Earth

Angel Falls is the highest (978 meters) and most spectacular waterfall in the world with an uninterrupted descent of 800 meters. Figure 2 clearly show the white plume of the waterfall. If you listen closely, you may even hear the roaring sound. However, it has no basin because the height of the falls is so great that much of the water evaporates or is carried away as a fine mist before reaching the bottom.

Three-Dimensional View of Angel Falls
Three-Dimensional View of Angel Falls
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Fig. 3. Three-Dimensional View of Angel Falls
(Staring at the image for a long time may cause eye-strain. A color print is available in PDF. PDF files for the left and right eyes are also available for stereoscopic viewing.)

The table-like mountain and Angel Falls can be enjoyed in 3D if viewed with a blue glass over the right eye and a red glass over the left eye. The difference of heights between the top of the table-like mountain and the valley, and dissipating water during the fall might also be recognized. Note that upward is north in Fig. 1 and 2, whereas the right hand side is north in Fig. 3, a result of the flight direction of the satellite.

Mr. Angel Found the World’s Highest Waterfall at “Devil’s Mountain”

In its indigenous language, Auyantepui means “Devil’s Mountain.” It is not hard to imagine that this mountain, mostly hidden in the clouds, is a sacred place for the indigenous people. The opposing names Angel Falls and Devil’s Mountain are interesting, but the falls are simply named after their discoverer. In 1937, American explorer Jimmie (James) Angel and his companions found this great waterfall when they flew over the mountain searching for a gold ore bed. They landed atop Auyantepui but the airplane was damaged in the marshy ground and was unable to take off. They were forced to descend the tepui on foot and after 11 days of hard walking returned to civilization. The news of their adventure spread and Angel Falls became known worldwide.

President of Venezuela Claims “Angel Falls” To Be Renamed

A small ripple involving the name of Angel Falls spread around the world in January 2010 when President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela claimed that Angel Falls should be renamed. President Chavez is known as a radical leftist, and is appealing for the building of “Socialism of the 21st century.” After his assumption to power in 1999, the name of the country was changed from “The Republic of Venezuela” to “The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.” According to The Guardian, he was reported to have said: “This is ours, long before Angel ever arrived there… this is indigenous property,” and insisted on changing the name to “Kerepakupai Meru,” which in the indigenous language means “Waterfall of the Deepest Place.”
Regardless of what people call it, the world’s greatest waterfall has been dropping water in its inaccessible hidden location since the dawn of time.

Reference Sites:

Explanation of the Images:

Satellite: Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) (Daichi)
Sensor: Advanced Visible and Near Infrared Radiometer-2 (AVNIR-2) and
Panchromatic Remote-sensing Instrument for Stereo Mapping (PRISM)
Date: 1445 (UTC) on December 31, 2009 (Simultaneous observation of AVNIR-2 and PRISM)
Ground resolution: 10 m (AVNIR-2) and 2.5 m (PRISM)
Map Projection: Universal Transversal Mercator (UTM)

AVNIR-2 has four observation bands. The composite images are usually produced by assigning red to Band 3 (610 to 690 nm), green to Band 2 (520 to 600 nm), and blue to Band 1 (420 to 500 nm). The resulting images have natural coloring as if seen by the naked eye. Thus, the following colors designate ground objects:

Dark Green: Forests
Light Green: Jungles
Brown: Rocky stretch
White: Clouds

PRISM is an optical sensor for observing ground surfaces with visible and near-infrared signals in the 520- to 770-nanometer (one-billionth of a meter) band. The acquired image is monochrome. PRISM has three independent optical systems (telescopes) to acquire images for nadir, forward, and backward views simultaneously. Only the nadir image was used in this article.
The above AVNIR-2 composite image was then transformed into hue, saturation, and intensity, and the intensity was replaced by the PRISM image. The hue, saturation, and intensity data were then reversed into a color image. As a result, a virtual 2.5-m ground-resolution color image was obtained. This kind of high-resolution color image, composed by combining the higher resolution monochrome image and the lower resolution color image, is called a pan-sharpened image. Figure 2 is a high-resolution, pan-sharpened image composed this way.

Figure 3 combines nadir (red) and forward (green and blue) images of PRISM. The left eye sees the nadir image, and the right eye sees forward image, which means the left side corresponds to the satellite flight direction pointing south.




Document created: 4 September 03
Air & Space Power Journal Fall 2003

Latin American Countries
with Space Programs
Colleagues or Competitors?

Lt Col Robert D. Newberry, USAF

Space technology, now taken for granted, is an accepted part of modern life. Space-derived products and services for communications, imagery, navigation, and weather forecasting are available to everyone around the world, even in less-developed and underdeveloped regions. Every country in Latin America has access to a wide variety of space-based services. Telecommunications are available through International Telecommunications Satellites (INTELSAT), International Maritime Satellites (INMARSAT), and Iridium telephones, in addition to many satellite television and radio broadcasts throughout the hemisphere. News reporters routinely use satellite-communications videophones for live reporting in remote areas of Latin America. Space-derived imagery products are available from indigenous regional satellites, several commercial-imagery satellites, and the Internet. The Global Positioning System provides free navigation services, and that system’s receivers are prevalent throughout Latin America. Regionally specific weather information is available from space-based systems. These space services have become pervasive due to their relatively low cost and the ability to access most of them by means of handheld units, small-dish antennae, or the Internet. As a region, Latin America has shown significant interest in developing indigenous space capabilities to assist with managing resources and exercising sovereignty. Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Peru in particular have participated in space programs beyond the level of merely subscribing to a satellite service.




<!– Russia to help Chávez with space program Boston Globe Russia has offered to help Venezuela set up its space industry, including a satellite launch site, as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made his first visit to the South American country yesterday. April 3, 2010 –>

The Associated Press

Russia to help Chávez with space program

Associated Press / April 3, 2010


CARACAS — Russia has offered to help Venezuela set up its space industry, including a satellite launch site, as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made his first visit to the South American country yesterday.

President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela announced Russia’s offer before Putin arrived, saying officials would discuss the possibility of setting up a “satellite launcher and a factory.’’ Chávez didn’t give details or say how much that might cost.

The countries are also discussing new weapons deals, Chávez said Thursday night in televised remarks, without giving details.

The Obama administration yesterday dismissed Chávez’s suggestion that his country wants to set up a space program with Russian help.

The State Department said that Venezuela and Russia are free to cooperate in any area they want but pointed out that the populist Chávez’s government is dealing with potentially more pressing matters for its citizens than “space travel.’’

“We would note that the government of Venezuela was largely closed this week due to energy shortages,’’ spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters. “To the extent that Venezuela is going to expend resources on behalf of its people, perhaps the focus should be more terrestrial than extraterrestrial.’’

Chávez has built close ties with Russia, buying more than $4 billion in Russian weapons since 2005.

Russian and Venezuelan officials said they planned to sign agreements for energy projects in Venezuela, as well as industrial, commercial, and agriculture projects.


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Baikonur Cosmodrome

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Jump to: navigation, search

Baikonur Cosmodrome’s “Gagarin’s StartSoyuz launch pad prior to the rollout of Soyuz TMA-13, October 10, 2008.

Map showing the location of Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan

The Baikonur Cosmodrome (Kazakh: Байқоңыр ғарыш айлағы, Bayqoñır ğarış aylağı; Russian: Космодром Байконур, Kosmodrom Baykonur), also called Tyuratam, is the world’s first and largest operational space launch facility. It is located in the desert steppes of Kazakhstan, about 200 kilometers (124 mi) east of the Aral Sea, north of the Syr Darya river, near Tyuratam railway station, at 90 metres above sea level. The facility derives its name from a wider area known as Baikonur and is also traditionally linked with the town of Jezkazgan. It is leased by the Kazakh government to Russia (currently until 2050) and is managed jointly by the Russian Federal Space Agency and the Russian Space Forces. The shape of the area leased is an ellipse, measuring 90 kilometres east-west by 85 kilometres north-south, with the cosmodrome at the centre. It was originally built by the Soviet Union in the late 1950s as the base of operations for its ambitious space program. Under the current Russian space program, Baikonur remains a busy space port, with numerous commercial, military and scientific missions being launched annually.[1]

Vostok 1, the first manned spacecraft in human history, was launched from one of Baikonur’s launch pads, which is presently known as Gagarin’s Start.


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Russian sources have claimed the name “Baikonur” was chosen to misdirect the West to Baikonur, a mining town about 320 kilometers (199 mi) northeast of the launch center, near Jezkazgan. “Baikonur” may also refer to the entire region.[2] In the Kazakh language, Tyuratam means “broken arrow”. For whatever reason, the name of “Baikonur Cosmodrome” became official when the nearby town of Leninsk, was renamed to Baikonur by Boris Yeltsin on December 20, 1995.


Soviet era

U-2 Photograph of R-7 Launch Pad in Tyura-Tam

Baikonur was founded on June 2, 1955. It was originally built as a long-range-missile center and later expanded to include launch facilities for space flight. Sergei Korolev, the Chief Designer of the Soviet R-7 Semyorka ICBM, selected the site, as the radio control system of the rocket required a ground station several hundred kilometres down range of the launch pads. The expense of constructing the launch facilities and the several hundred kilometres of new road and train lines made the Cosmodrome one of the most costly infrastructure projects the Soviets undertook. A supporting town was built around the facility to provide housing, schools and support infrastructure for workers. It was raised to city status in 1966 and named Leninsk.

The Soviet government established the Nauchno-Issledovatel’skii Ispytatel’nyi Poligon N.5 (NIIIP-5), or Scientific-Research Test Range N.5, by its decree of 12 February 1955. The U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance plane found and photographed the Tyuratam missile test range (cosmodrome Baikonur) for the first time on 5 August 1957. See a composite satellite image of the early Tyuratam launch complex, the cosmodrome (30 May 1962).

Many historic flights lifted off from Baikonur: the first operational ICBM; the first man-made satellite, Sputnik 1, on October 4, 1957; the first spacecraft to travel close to the Moon, Luna 1, on January 2 1959 ; the first manned orbital flight by Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961; and the flight of the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, in 1963. 14 cosmonauts of 13 other nations, such as Czechoslovakia, East Germany and France, started their historic journeys from here as well under the Interkosmos program. In 1960, a prototype R-16 ICBM exploded before launch, killing over 100 people.

Russian era

Following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 the Russian space program continued to operate from Baikonur under the auspices of the Commonwealth of Independent States. In 1995, the city surrounding the spaceport was renamed Baikonur. On June 8, 2005 the Russian Federation Council ratified an agreement between Russia and Kazakhstan extending Russia’s rent term of the spaceport until 2050. The rent price – which is fixed at 115 million US dollars per year – is the source of a long-running dispute between the two countries. That dispute has prompted Russia to begin upgrading its own Plesetsk Cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk Oblast of Northern Russia as a fallback option.[citation needed]


Baikonur is fully equipped with facilities for launching both manned and unmanned space vehicles. It supports several generations of Russian spacecraft: Soyuz, Proton, Tsyklon, Dnepr, Zenit and Buran. During the temporary lapse of the United StatesSpace Shuttle program after the Columbia Disaster in 2003 it played an essential role in operating and resupplying of the International Space Station (ISS) with Soyuz and Progress spacecraft. Its high latitiude of 46 N required the high orbital inclination of the ISS.

Downrange from the launchpad, spent launch equipment is dropped directly on the ground where it is salvaged by the workers and by the local population.[3]

List of launchpads

ICBM testing

Although Baikonur has always been known around the world as the launch site of Soviet and Russian space missions, from its outset in 1955 and until the collapse of the USSR in 1991, the primary purpose of this center was to test liquid-fueled ballistic missiles. The official (and secret) name of the center was State Test Range No. 5 or 5 GIK. It remained under control of the Soviet and Russian Ministry of Defense until the second half of the 1990s, when the Russian civilian space agency and its industrial contractors started taking over individual facilities.

In 2006, the head of Roskosmos, Anatoly Perminov said the last Russian military personnel would be removed from the Baikonur facility by 2007. However, on Oct. 22 2008 an SS-19 Stiletto missile was test fired from Baikonur, indicating this may not be the case.[4]

Future projects

On December 22, 2004, Kazakhstan and Russia signed a contract establishing the “Russia-Kazakhstan Baiterek JV” joint venture, in which each country holds a 50-percent stake. The goal of the project is the construction of the Bayterek (poplar tree) space launch complex, to facilitate operations of the Russian Angara rocket launcher. The site is scheduled to be completed in 2009.[5] This will allow launches with a payload of 26 tons to low earth orbit, compared to 20 tons using the Proton system. An additional benefit will be that the Angara uses kerosene and oxygen as fuel, which is less hazardous to the environment than the toxic fuels used by older boosters. The total expenditure on the Kazakhstani side will be $223 million over 19 years.[6]


  1. ^ Wilson, Jim (2000-08-05). “Safe Launch For Critical Space Station Module”. Popular Mechanics. http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/air_space/1282666.html. Retrieved 2009-08-12.
  2. ^ “The Partnership: A History of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project”. NASA. http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-4209/ch9-12.htm.
  3. ^ http://www.russianspaceweb.com/baikonur_downrange.html Baikonur Downrange
  4. ^ http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE49L2L320081022
  5. ^ ““Baiterek” Space Launch Complex”. Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center. http://www.khrunichev.ru/khrunichev_eng/live/full_proect.asp?id=13499. Retrieved 2006-05-10.
  6. ^ “Kazakh President Signs Law Re Baiterek Rocket Center”. Interfax. 2005-10-24. http://www.space-travel.com/reports/Kazakh_President_Signs_Law_Re_Baiterek_Rocket_Center.html. Retrieved 2006-05-10.

External links

Search Wikimedia Commons Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Baikonur

Coordinates: 45°57′54″N 63°18′18″E / 45.965°N 63.305°E / 45.965; 63.305


v • d • e

Baikonur Cosmodrome launch sites

LC-1 · LC-31 · LC-41 · LC-45 · LC-51 · LC-60 · LC-67 · LC-69 · LC-70 · LC-75 · LC-80 · LC-81 · LC-90 · LC-101 · LC-102 · LC-103 · LC-104 · LC-105 · LC-106 · LC-107 · LC-108 · LC-109 · LC-110 · LC-130 · LC-131 · LC-132 · LC-133 · LC-140 · LC-141 · LC-142 · LC-160 · LC-161 · LC-162 · LC-163 · LC-164 · LC-165 · LC-170 · LC-171 · LC-172 · LC-173 · LC-174 · LC-175 · LC-176 · LC-177 · LC-179 · LC-181 · LC-191 · LC-192 · LC-193 · LC-194 · LC-195 · LC-196 · LC-200 · LC-241 · LC-242 · LC-243 · LC-244 · LC-245 · LC-246 · LC-250

v • d • e


Asia and the
Middle East
North America
South America


After a single spacecraft “Vostok” were developed by multi-seat spacecraft Voskhod and Voskhod-2 “ , and then spacecraft “Soyuz” , designed for maneuvering, rendezvous and docking in orbit satellites.

In 1986 was launched on the base unit Mir, which for more than 15 years, numerous scientific and technical experiments.

March 23, 2001. Long-term manned space station “Mir” drowned in the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Она отработала 15 лет (вместо запланированных трех). She worked 15 years (instead of the planned three).



Other JAXA satellites currently in use

  • Exos-D (Akebono) Aurora Observation, since 1989.
  • GEOTAIL magnetosphere observation satellite (since 1992)
  • DRTS (Kodama) Data Relay Satellite, since 2002. (Projected Life Span is 7 years)

On going joint missions with NASA are the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), the Aqua Earth Observation Satellite.

Finished Missions

  • OICETS, Technology Demonstration 2005-2009 (retired)
  • SELENE, Moon probe 2007-2009 (retired)
  • Micro Lab Sat 1, Small engineering mission, launch 2002. (retired 27 September 2006)
  • HALCA, Space VLBI 1997-2005 (retired)
  • Nozomi, Mars Mission 1998-2003 (failed)
  • MDS-1, Technology Demonstration 2002-2003 (retired)
  • ADEOS 2, (Midori 2) Earth Observation 2002-2003 (lost)

Future missions


As JAXA shifted away from international efforts beginning in 2005, plans are developing for independent space missions, such as a proposed manned mission to the moon.

2009 and beyond

On February 23, 2008 JAXA launched the Wideband InterNetworking engineering test and Demonstration Satellite (WINDS), also called “KIZUNA.” WINDS will facilitate experiments with faster internet connections. The launch, using H-IIA launch vehicle 14, took place from the Tanegashima Space Center.[11]

On September 10, 2009 the first H-IIB rocket was successfully launched, delivering the HTV-1 freighter to resupply the International Space Station.[12]

Another project is the Global Precipitation Measurement/Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (GPM/DPR) which is a joint development with NASA. This mission is the successor to the highly successful TRMM mission. JAXA will develop the radar and provide the launch vehicle. Other countries/agencies like China, India, ESA etc. will provide the subsatellites. The aim of this mission is to measure global rainfall. However because of NASA budget limitations this project was pushed back to 2010.

In the year 2009 JAXA plans to launch the first satellite of the Quasi Zenith Satellite System (QZSS), a subsystem of the global positioning system (GPS). Two others are expected to follow later. If successful, one satellite will be in a zenith position over Japan full time. The QZSS mission is the last scheduled major independent mission for JAXA, as no major civilian projects were funded after that for now. The only exception is the IGS programme which will be continued beyond 2008. However it seems Japan is pressing forward now with the GCOM earth observation satellites as successors to the ADEOS missions. First launch is planned for 2010. In 2009 Japan also plans to launch a new version of the IGS with an improved resolution of 60 cm.

Launch schedule

First launch of the H-IIB and the HTV is September 1, 2009. After the first flight one HTV launch is planned during each FY until 2015. (If not mentioned otherwise launch vehicle for the following missions is the H-IIA.)

FY 2010

FY 2011

  • GCOM-W, Climate Observation satellite, launch: Feb, 2012

FY 2012

  • ALOS 2 SAR, Earth Observation satellite, launch: Winter 2012
  • ASTRO-G (VSOP-2) successor to the Halca mission, launch: Summer 2012
  • TOPS Telescope Observatory for Planets on Small-satellite launch Feb, 2012 (First launch of the new Advanced Solid Rocket, the successor to the M-V.

FY 2013

  • GPM, successor to the TRMM joint NASA mission
  • BepiColombo, joint ESA mission to Mercury, launch: 2013 (LV: Ariane 5)
  • ASTRO-H x-ray observatory, launch: summer 2013.
  • GCOM-C, Climate Observation satellite, launch: Feb, 2014

Other missions

For the 2012 ESA EarthCare mission, JAXA will provide the radar system on the satellite. JAXA is also providing the Light Particle Telescope(LPT) for the 2008 Jason 2 satellite by the French CNES. JAXA will provide the Auroral Electron Sensor (AES) for the Taiwanese FORMOSAT-5.[8]

  • SmartSat-1, small communication test and sun corona observation, Mission status unclear
  • XEUS joint X-Ray telescope with ESA, launch after 2015.
  • Sohla-2 Small PETSAT Demonstration Satellite

New orientation of JAXA

Planning interstellar research missions can take up to seven years, such as the ASTRO-E. Due to the lag time between these interstellar events and mission planning time, opportunities to gain new knowledge about the cosmos might be lost. To prevent this, JAXA plans on using smaller, faster missions from 2010 onwards. JAXA is also planning to develop a new solid fueled rocket to replace the twelve year old M-V.

Developing Projects

  • IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun), a small size powered-solar sail experimental spacecraft. Future mission will use solar sail for Jupiter and Trojan asteroids exploration.

Future plans

  • ALOS 2, earth observation
  • SPICA, a 3,5 meter infrared telescope to be placed at L2
  • JASMINE, infrared telescope for measuring the universe
  • DIOS, small scale x-ray observation

Human Space Program

Japan has not yet developed its own manned spacecraft and is not currently developing one. Sometime ago an unmanned space shuttle HOPE-Xproject launched by conventional space launcher H-II was developed for several years but was postponed. Then the simpler manned capsule Fuji was proposed but not adopted. Projects of single-stage to orbit, reusable launch vehicle horizontal takeoff and landing ASSTS and vertical takeoff and landing Kankoh-maru also exist but have not been adopted.

The first Japanese citizen to fly in space was Toyohiro Akiyama, a journalist sponsored by TBS, who flew on the Soviet Soyuz TM-11 in December 1990. He spent more than seven days in space on the Mir Space station, in what the Soviets called their first commercial spaceflight which allowed them to earn $14 million. The first professional Japanese astronaut was Mamoru Mohri, a NASDA astronaut who flew his first space mission aboard the STS-47 mission in 1992.

Under a new plan, JAXA has set a goal of constructing a manned lunar base in 2030. Astronauts would be sent to the Moon by beyond 2020 which is approximately the same time as Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) manned lunar mission beyond 2020, China National Space Administration (CNSA) manned lunar mission in 2030 and NASA‘s Project Constellation plans to return to the Moon in 2019 with its OrionAltair project) so that they will start construction of the base to be completed by 2030.[14]

Before this Moon goals JAXA intends to develop the manned spacecraft launched by space launcher H-IIB [9]

Supersonic aircraft development

Besides the H-IIA and M-5 rockets, JAXA is also developing technology for a next-generation supersonic transport that could become the commercial replacement for the Concorde. The design goal of the project (working name NEXST) is to develop a jet that can carry 300 passengers at Mach 2. A subscale model of the jet underwent aerodynamic testing in September and October 2005 in Australia.[15][dead link] The economic success of such a project is still unclear, and as a consequence the project has been met with limited interest from Japanese aerospace companies like Mitsubishi Heavy Industries so far.

Reusable Launch Vehicles

Until 2003[citation needed] JAXA (ISAS) conducted research on a reusable launch vehicle under the Reusable Vehicle Testing (RVT) project.

Research centers and offices

JAXA has research centers in many locations in Japan, and some offices overseas. Its headquarters are in Chōfu, Tokyo. It also has

Other space agencies in Japan

Not included into the JAXA organization is the Institute for unmanned space experiment free flyer (USEF), Japan´s other space agency.


^ “IV. 決算報告書 (Balance Report)” (in Japanese) (PDF). 平成17事業年度 JAXA財務諸表等に関する事項. JAXA. 2006-08-30.


External links

These three links are archived sites of the JAXA predecessor agencies:

(from wikipedia entry for JAXA – Japan)



Tai-robot-kun, University of Kitakyushu, Japan
Robotic Red SnapperEngineers at the University of Kitakyushu have developed one of the most realistic biomimetic robot in the world.
This red snapper is actually a robotic fish known as “Tai-robot-kun”.
Tai-robot-kun weighs 7kg and mimics a real fish swimming silently in the water, and can go for as long as an hour with a full battery.
It has a silicone body covered in realistically hand-painted scales, features a unique propulsion system that allows it to move its tail and drift silently through the water like a real fish (source: OTAKU).

Video of Tai-robot-kun : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WINc1mV-L8Y


RoboTuna I (robot-tuna), David Barrett, and
RoboTuna II, David Beal and Michael Sachinis, MIT, the U.S.A.
RoboTuna The Robotuna project started in 1993 with the objective to develop a better system of propulsion for the autonomous underwater vehicles. The tuna was selected as model for its speed (a blue fin tuna can go up to 74 km/h) and its accelerations. It is a question of including/understanding how a fish can generate energy enough to reach such speeds. RoboTuna evolves/moves in the aquarium of MIT, suspended by a mast, itself fixed at a system which slides along the tank (see the white mast on the photograph). The mast is also used for to pass the cables which connect the robot to the controllers. Thus, the controllers receive information from the sensors in entry and return instructions to robot-tuna. This one includes/understands 8 vertebrae and a system of cables which is used of tendons and muscles. The envelope is made up of a fine and flexible layer of foam covered with Lycra to approach the flexibility and smoothness the tuna skin. RoboTuna and RoboTuna II : http://web.mit.edu/towtank/www/Tuna/tuna.html
See also the project of Caltech (videos) : http://robotics.caltech.edu/~kristi/

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RoboPike, John Kumph, MIT, the U.S.A.
Robopike After RoboTuna, another robotic fish is designed at MIT: RoboPike, the robot pike (the pike interests the researchers for its fulgurating accelerations). RoboPike is not maintained in the aquarium by a system of pulley like its predecessor and can swim freely. But it is not autonomous: its navigation is directed by human and it is the computer which interprets the orders and returns the signals appropriate to each engine. At the time, John Kump studies the movements of fish thoroughly to be able to reproduce them. He also works on the form and the flexibility to be given to his robot. Thus, it equips it with a exosquelette in the shape of spring with spiral.
RoboPike (81 cm length) can swim rather well but it is not equipped yet with sensors to prevent it from running up against the obstacles (as it will be then the case of Essex Robotic Fish).

RoboPike : http://web.mit.edu/towtank/www/Pike/pike.html
Movies (Swimming, Turning) : http://web.mit.edu/towtank/www/media.html#pike

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PPF-04, Koichi Hirata, NMRI, Japan
PPF-04 NMRI-Anguillenages NMRIThe NMRI (National Maritime Research Institute) developed many projects of robotic fish (series PF and series PPF) with a view to apply, in the future, the capacities of fish to our boats and submarines. The PPF-04 is one (all) small robotic fish of 19 cm and 400 g, remote controlled. Its size makes it possible to test it in a small tank (like a bath-tub). The study carried, inter alia, on the relation between the speed and the amplitude of the oscillations of the caudal fin.

Robotic fish homepage of NMRI : http://www.nmri.go.jp/eng/khirata/fish/
Do not hesitate to visit the most possible pages: they contain photographs, diagrams, videos.
La page du PPF-04.

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Cœlacanth, Yuuzi Terada, Mitsubishi, Japan
Coelacanth-Mitsubishi On its part, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries carried out coelacanth (large very primitive fish that one believed disappeared) robotized of 70 cm length and weighing 12 kg. This model is the first of a series called “Mitsubishi Animatronics”. Animatronics (of the words animation and electronics) indicates the techniques which make it possible, with the cinema, to give life to artificial creatures. Intended to be distributed in the aquariums and the parks, the coelacanth was first presented at the museum of sciences Aquatom of Fuki in Japan in June 2001. Coelacanth is located between the automat and the robot. It is entirely controlled by computer, via a communication without wire, and when a visitor wants to see it swimming, it must press on a button. This project, which particularly looks after the aspect of its “fish”, gives the opportunity to see an alive fossil.
In fact, it is a subsidiary company of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the company Ryomei Engineering, which carried out Coelacanth as well as a sea-bream, a gilded carp, a carp koï (vidéos).

Mitsubishi homepage : http://www.mhi.co.jp/enews/e_0898.html
The Cœlacanth at Aquatom : http://www.jaea.go.jp/09/aquatom/exhibit_1f.html

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Robotic fish SPC-03, BUAA – CASIA, China
Poisson-robot chinois SPC The SPC-03 measures 1,23 meter length and resembles as much a fish by its form that by its movements. It is stable, very handy, and is controlled remotely by technicians. It can work 2 to 3 hours in immersion, at the maximum speed of 4 km/h. This robotic fish is intended for underwater archaeological exploration but the two persons in charge for the project, Wang Tianmiao (BUAA) and Tan Min (CASE), consider many other uses such as underwater photography, the cartography of the underwater funds, the transport of small objects…
Result of several years of research, the robot was tested in August 2004 on the site of a marooned warship. The Chinese archaeologists are interested in this warship because it sank near the island of Dongshan (province of Fujian, China) approximately 340 years ago. This ship belonged to the general Zheng Chenggong who took again the island of Taiwan to the Dutchmen in 1662 (Dongshan and Taiwan are to only 277 km one of the other, on each side of the strait of Taiwan). Arms and valuable articles (porcelain) having already been found on this site, the Chinese authorities decided to continue research in order to locate other vestiges. Thus, the robotic fish explored a surface of more than 4000 m2 over 6 hours of immersion. It took many photographs and transmitted to the surface.

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Robotic Eel, Robea Project, multi-field team, CNRS, France
Projet Robea-AnguilleProjet  Robea-AnguilleThe objective of the ROBEA-Eel project is to “design, study and produce a robotic eel able to swim in three dimensions”. Whereas certain fish as tuna have a mode of locomotion based on oscillations of the body, the locomotion anguilliforme (eel, lamprey…) is based on undulations of the body. Thus, the swimming of eel presents remarkable performances in term of maneuverability. It is the high number of internal degrees of freedom of this fish which enables him to thread in the most difficult places of access. The prototype of project ROBEA consists of a stacking of platforms of the kneecap type, imitating the vertebrae of eel. This national project gathers several laboratories of which the LAG, Laboratoire of automatic of Grenoble, which is for example charged to set up the systems of control of the movements of the eel (orientation, speed) as well as stabilization in rolling of the robot.

Robea Project, robotic eel  : http://www.irccyn.ec-nantes.fr/hebergement/ROBEA/
See also links to the concerned laboratories:

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Boxybot (from boxfish), Daisy Lachat, BIRG – EPFL, Suiss
Boxybot - BIRG EPFLDeveloped with the BIRG (Biologically Inspired Robotics Group), the Boxybot project aims at the realization of an autonomous robot able to evolve/move in water. Research related in particular to the study and the realization of the various forms and uses of the fins in fish of the labriform type and ostraciiform: these fish have a rigid body and a low speed but a great maneuverability thanks to their fins. In fish of the labriform type, the pectoral fins are used for the propulsion and the caudal fin is used as rudder. Boxybot is 25 cm long and can swim up to 0,37 m/s. It can plunge, swim ahead, behind, on the side and carry out gimlets. The speed depends on the amplitude and the frequency of the oscillations on the fins (with thresholds not to be exceeded), and also size and rigidity of those.

See project and videos (> demo.mpg).
To see Daisy Lachat personal page with the presentation document (in French).

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Essex Robotic Fish, Jindong Liu, Huosheng Hu,
Dept of Computer Science University of Essex, G.B.
Robot G8 Fish EssexThe goal of the researchers of the university of Essex was to carry out a robot-fish which can swim like a real fish and which is autonomous. A fish has various modes of displacement (speed, turns, accelerations, braking) and the challenge of the researchers of Essex was to obtain an autonomous robot-fish who can reproduce all these behaviors and not one or two in a more or less uniform way. They thus indexed the various behaviors in a library used by the computer to generate varied and unexpected trajectories of stroke. Robotic Fish (50 cm length) is for example able to curve its body according to a great angle in a very reduced time (approximately 90°/0.20sec). Several models were designed, since G1 in 2003 until G8 and G9 in 2005. The researchers continue to work on the improvement of the algorithms of training which make it possible the robot to generate adaptive behaviors in a changing environment and thus unpredictable.

To learn more: http://dces.essex.ac.uk/staff/hhu/
Videos : http://dces.essex.ac.uk/staff/hhu/jliua/videogal.htm
Video shot at the Aquarium.

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Robotic koi (carp koï), Ryomei Engineering, Japan
Carpe koiA robot-fish inspired of the carp koï was presented in March 2006 in Japan. It was developed by three companies of which Ryomei Engineering, a subsidiary company of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which is already at the origin of the series “Mitsubishi Animatronics” (see Coelacanth). The carp koï was selected because it is symbol of force and chance in Japan. The robot, which measures 80 cm and weighs 12 kg, is remote controlled. Its mouth is equipped with sensors being used to control the oxygen concentration in water, information essential if one wants to supervise the health of fish.
In a second step, the researchers want to make their robot autonomous. Thanks to its camera, the robot could be sent in recognition to examine the resources present in the depths. It could be also used to inspect the oil platforms to locate and supervise possible damage.

Video of the robot: http://youtube.com/watch?v=M7YGEVuJ4mM
another video : http://youtube.com/watch?v=3P0aafialbg.

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Remote Controlled Robotic Shark
Robotic SharkIn the category “Toys and Games”, a store of New York sells (on line also) a remote-controlled shark for a hundred dollars. It is said that this robot swims in an elegant and gracious way like its model. It can plunge to 2,7 m of depth, and operates by a remote control which functions up to 12 m of distance, is also waterproof, which makes it possible to swim with him. This robot-toy measures approximately 61 cm and two models are available (blue or red) and function over different frequencies to be able to use them at the same time.

The website HAMMACHER SCHLEMMER : http://www.hammacher.com/publish/72824.asp#

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Jessiko, ROBOTSWIM, France
Jessiko Jessiko is one of the smallest robotic fish in the world (20cm/100g). Thanks to its communication potential uses and its artificial intelligence, Jessiko can swim in a school of 10 fish or more, so that they make attractive aquatic and luminous choreographies. On November 2009, Christophe Tiraby, the inventor of the robotic fish and founder of Robotswim, won the “Grand Prix de l’Innovation de la Ville de Paris” (Great Prize for Innovation of Paris City) in the Industrial Decorative Design category for the Jessiko project. At first, it is designed for the events market and aquatic museums. After, it will be proposed to mass market as a kit to enliven pools during long summer nights.

Video of Jessiko V2 at the pool: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yO-3s23HHUU
Vidéo of JessikoV3 in an aquarium: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFZiMPzGc5M
Vidéo of 7 Jessiko V4 in an aquarium: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzRzXGO6XNw
ROBOTSWIM Website with other videos of Jessiko : http://www.robotswim.com/

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Manta Ray, EvoLogics, Germany
Robotic Manta Ray Evologics is a spin-off of the Technical University Berlin with Festo partnership. Due to the use of “Festo Fluidic Muscles” actuators, wings shape can adapt gradually to water movements around the body. 3 propulsion modes are used. First use wings movement for quiet, fast and efficient moving with high manoeuvrability. Second use buoyancy variation with volume adjustment to sailplane up and down. Third use hydrojet propulsion for add-on speed requirements or stable trajectory needed by sensors.
This technology will be useful for deep sea exploration, offshore industry, sensible ecological research, environmental monitoring and marine security.

Video of the Robotic Ray : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kDZViMmHL0

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Robofish, University of Washington, U.S.A.
Robofish The “Robofish” of the University of Washington measures a half meter long and weighs 3kg. It is highly manoeuvrable and can swim backwards by inverting pectoral fins.
Since radio signals travel badly in salt water, Kristi Morgansen and colleagues studied a system that allow robots to communicate each others. Thus, robots can swim in the same direction or spread out to cover larger surface.
During the experiment, 3 Robofish broadcasted their headings to each other, and used any information received to adjust their own courses.
According to Kristi Morgansen, the group remained coordinated despite about half of all information packets being lost – showing that the system is relatively robust.
With the same technique, it will be possible to explore large areas, track a pollution spill, or to report the location of marine animals.

The official page with videos : http://vger.aa.washington.edu/fish_project.html
Video of the “school of” 3 Robofish : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kk40ZnuzNNw

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Stingray, Knifefish and overs, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Robotic Stingray
Researchers of the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Nanyang Technological University study fish propulsion. Their objective is to design and optimize robotic fish using undulating fin mechanisms. Thus, for experiments they designed different types of robotic fish like a Stingray Robot, a Knifefish Robot, an Arowana Robot and more…
In this document gently sent to us by Yu Zhong, you can find more information about the design of undulating fins and their efficiency.

Video of the NAF-I Robotic Fish : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKVNprWTceo
Video of the Stingray Robot NCF-I: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sIFHOw4WC0
Video of the Knifefish Robot NKF-II: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qU_bnb5q0RA

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Tai-robot-kun, University of Kitakyushu, Japan
Robotic Red SnapperEngineers at the University of Kitakyushu have developed one of the most realistic biomimetic robot in the world.
This red snapper is actually a robotic fish known as “Tai-robot-kun”.
Tai-robot-kun weighs 7kg and mimics a real fish swimming silently in the water, and can go for as long as an hour with a full battery.
It has a silicone body covered in realistically hand-painted scales, features a unique propulsion system that allows it to move its tail and drift silently through the water like a real fish (source: OTAKU).

Video of Tai-robot-kun : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WINc1mV-L8Y