The European Space Agency (ESA) has picked three candidates for its next middle class space mission, including Theseus, an early universe surveyor mission that includes Slovenian scientists from the Nova Gorica University and the Vesolje-SI centre of excellence. If picked, the mission is scheduled for launch in 2032.
Theseus, an acronym for Transient High Energy Sky and Early Universe Surveyor, aims to monitor transient events in the high-energy universe such as Gamma-ray bursts across the whole sky and over the entirety of cosmic history, says ESA’s website.
It would make a complete census of gamma-ray bursts from the universe’s first billion years to help shed light on the life cycle of the first stars.
In addition, Theseus would also be able to follow up on gravitational wave observations by locating and identifying radiation from sources spotted by other detectors, adds ESA’s website.
Around 200 scientists from Europe, the US, Japan, China, Taiwan and South Africa are working on the project. From Slovenia, the Vesolje-SI centre of excellence and the Nova Gorica University participate with satellite and land communications technology development, and help with the definition of the mission with gamma-ray bursts expertise, respectively.
Theseus was picked as a potential mission of the ESA Cosmic Vision Science 2015-2025 programme. In addition to Theseus, Spica and EnVision projects have been picked as potential missions. The former is aimed at studying the origin and evolution of galaxies and the latter at studying geologic activity on Venus.
A total of 25 projects have applied for the programme, with the selected three moving forward to the next selection phase, told astrophysicist Andreja Gomboc, who works on Theseus
The final decision on which mission to launch is expected in 2021. According to Gomboc, much will depend on how well the project will be conceived technologically, on national space agencies’ backing and the costs, which cannot surpass EUR 550m for ESA.
Should it be picked, Theseus will be launched in 2032 and start collecting data in the low Earth orbit, at an altitude of about 600 kilometres.
Space-SI was actively involved in the International Conference on Space Technologies for Digital Economy in Vitanje, Slovenia. The conference held on April 19, 2018at the Centre for Space Technologies Herman Potočnik Noordung was organised by the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, SPIRIT Slovenia, the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Slovenia and the Russian State Corporations for Space Activities, “Roscosmos” and “URSC” (United Rocket and Space Corporation).
Activities in the field of space technologies supported by digital economy contribute to sectoral policies, enable responses to social change, effectively contribute to a reasonable growth in the competitiveness of the global economy and job creation. The conference was devoted to the creation of a strong ecological system for the development of space technologies, the exchange of business practices and the increased opportunities for the further development of the “New Economy” in “New Space”.
The official launch ceremony of the Copernicus Relays and Copernicus Academy took place on June 6th 2017 at the European Parliament. The event named ‘Copernicus Goes Local – Implementig the Space Strategy for Europe’ gathered more than 300 Earth Observation actors and industry representatives from acoss Europe, including Space-SI as the Slovenain Relay Centre.
The Copernicus Relays are the regional voices of Copernicus in the individual Member States, thus creating a bridge between the EC and the end-users of Copernicus. The Academy aims to educate and release an increasing amount of Copernicus-savvy people into the workforce bringing together the educational and research sectors across the EU.
Slovenian Centre of Excellence for Space Science and Technologies Space-SI is a DriDanube (Drought risk in Danube region) project partner. On March 16 we attended the Kick-off conference of the project partners which was held in Ljubljana.
The main outputs and expected results of the project were presented and connections with similar initiatives were sought at Danube Region, EU and global level. The event was focused on the needs and challenges for drought management in the Danube region. It aimed to serve as a forum for discussion among stakeholders from the whole region, experts working on drought, water managers, scientists and representatives of authorities.
Along the meetings and project-themed discussions the event offered a number of informal opportunities for partners to interact such as tourist tur through Ljubljana’s historical center and dinner. To the interested participants Space-SI presented its mobile ground control infrastructure for communication with a wide array of academic and commercial satellites stationed on the outskirts of Ljubljana and the multidisciplinary development lab.
More data on DriDanube project can be found on project’s web page: http://www.interreg-danube.eu/approved-projects/dridanube.
The poject Remote and Close Range Sensing of Drought, submitted by Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana to the tender ”Project work with industry and public sector in the local and regional environment” was rated with the highest possible number of points. Within the project 8 students will have the opportunity to test and compare different methods of drought detection and monitoring on agricultural land. Students will be supervised by mentors from industry, academic and public sector, one of them is Žiga Kokalj from SPACE-SI.
SPACE-SI has been awarded by European Comission to become Copernicus Relay Centre.
As Copernicus Relay Centre SPACE-SI will play a key role by promoting Copernicus as a sustainable source of full, free, open and reliable information to meet the needs of national/regional/local public services, as well as a booster for the development of services with high commercial potential by local entrepreneurs. It will ultimately contribute to increase Copernicus awareness at the national, regional and local level.
DriDanube (Drought Risk in the Danube Region) project started on 1.1.2017. Project was approved in the first call within Interreg Danube Transnational Programme, programme priority 2 – Environment and culture responsible Danube region, specific objective 2.4 – Improve preparedness for environmental risk management. Beside SPACE-SI there are 22 other project partners from 10 different countries. Lead partner is Slovenian Environmental Agency.
DriDanube aims to improve capacity of the region for drought emergency response and enhance preparedness for drought management by introducing recently developed monitoring and risk assessment tools. Following a transnational approach, DriDanube will harmonize the currently heterogeneous methodologies for risk and impact assessments, based on existing achievements in participating countries and on EU guidelines in the frame of the Civil Protection Mechanism. DriDanube aims to change mainly ad-hoc drought response to pro-active response based on risk management procedures. Cooperation among all relevant institutions will be strengthen leading to increase culture of preparedness throughout the Danube region.
MARTINA (Materials and Technologies for New Applications) programme started on 1.8.2016. Project was approved in the call for RTD programms published by Ministry of education, science and sport.
In MARTINA programme the consotium of 16 partners from Slovenia will develop a high-strength steels and aluminum alloys with the aim of achieving material properties which are essential for new applications in the automotive industry to reduce the weight of vehicles and related CO2 footprint and energy consumption during production and the use of vehicles. In the case of multicomponent materials we will take advantage of the ease of use of plastic materials and specific properties of metallic materials. With the introduction of new materials we will develop advanced manufacturing technologies and transformation, which will set new requirements for tools and tool steels. In addition to the properties of tool steels they will challenge even the correct distribution of these features in the tool and sensors, allowing control of the operating conditions of the tool. Due to the increasingly complex shapes of tools, we studied the program procedures innovative 3D printing tools. The result of the program will be prototypes of tool steels. Their properties and the suitability of 3D printing tools will be tested on tools prototypes. The result of the program will also be prototypes visokotrnostnih steel kneading and molding aluminum alloys and prototypes of new multicomponent materials with specific properties. Their properties will be tested and optimized on sample cases, components of the car ilske and electrical industry, which is the horizontal links.
Centre of Excellence Space-SI participated in the conferenceInformation Society2015 at Jozef Stefan Institute. At the workshop Smart cities and communities as a development opportunity for Sloveniawe presentedthe potential of space technologies for smartcities and communities.
Satellite technologies have a huge potential to help design more sustainable cities. Combination of Earth observation imagery and crowdsourced data enables a creation of a series of data analyses and applications to support smart urban planning, climate change mitigation and to enhance the quality of life in smart cities and communities.
SPACE-SI with its micro satellite for multispectral Earth observation, ground station, multidisciplinary laboratory, satellite data processing chain and a distribution system based on web and mobile applications ensure the whole chain from the space technologies to the end user friendly data and derived information. Timely geolocated information is crucial for well-organized smart cities and communities. Our expertise is near-real-time processing of space-borne data and the extraction of the needed information from this ever-growing data source.
The Expo presents key information on the European space programmes – from satellite navigation (Galileo and EGNOS) to Earth observation (Copernicus) in an engaging and entertaining way. Highlights include the ‘OmniGlobe‘ – an interactive hologram of the earth’s atmosphere, an impressive model of the ‘Galileo’ satellite and lots more…
The aim of the Expo is to show citizens how European space policy and space-based technologies benefit our everyday lives on earth and also of course, their importance for the European economy and job creation.
Completely FREE to the general public, record attendances have greeted the Expo throughout its tour.