Time travel at the Paris Air Show

A time travel

We write the year 1969

Journalists - like millions of viewers - explore the fascination of space watching the moon landing.

 

During the Paris Air Show we go on a time travel and will share the stories with you here: When will the next human make a step on the moon? When are we going to reach mars? Is there an earthlike planet somewhere?

2019: Satellite repaired while in orbit

Back on the air: Automated maintenance unit prevented TV satellite from becoming space debris

 

For the first time in the history of space technology, a communications satellite was caught in mid-vacuum and equipped with a new propulsion and energy unit. Back in commission since yesterday, the satellite has been back to transmitting TV signals to the earth.

 
There were no plans for the Tilly satellite’s maintenance and refuelling when it went into geostationary orbit in 2001. It was originally intended for a fifteen-year lifespan, after which it was going to be written off as space junk.

 
But along came a service satellite – complete with solar panels. It automatically docked to the satellite yesterday, thrusting it back into a proper orbit. As soon as the solar panels were deployed, the satellite was back on air. And if nothing else gets in the way, Tilly is now equipped to provide service for several more years.

 

2024: Moon base up and running

Igloos built of Moon dust constructed in a matter of days and committed to their first inhabitants / Next mission step: Preparing the ground for radio telescope

 

This house-warming party was reserved to very few VIPs: Due to the cumbersome journey , six astronauts were the only guests. Meanwhile, as the Moon Station LunaSearch was committed to its first inhabitants, champagne corks were popping in the Mission Control Center on Earth as well. Millions of people watched the event life via television and the internet.

 
The construction works did not run entirely smoothly. The 3D printing process, using moon dust for microwave sintering and contour crafting, jammed and required fixing twice. Both times the astronauts were able to repair the works, once going on an extensive outdoor mission. The second time, it proved to be sufficient to manipulate the software so the robots would perform their automated construction work dutifully.

 
The Moon base building looks like a collection of igloos, with wall structures built up in layers which are hollow on the shadier side, shielding the station with their vacuum against the freezing temperatures of space. On the sunnier side, the wall’s solid construction is meant to absorb the sun’s heat in order to keep it warm and cosy inside. The Moon dust, used as building material, was melted at contact points to sinter them brick-like. Solar energy was used for the process.

 
The design reflects the sustainability commitment of the European Space Agency (ESA), aiming to preferably use materials indigenous to the respective celestial body. Water supply has been secured as robotic vehicles managed to retain ice from craters on the lunar surface.

 
With the construction work completed, the crew will continue preparations necessary to build the super telescope on the far side of the moon. In six months, the astronauts from Russia, China, the US, France, Japan and India are due to be relieved, as the second moon mission will arrive. The following team of astronauts is scheduled to set up the radio telescope, which promises unprecedented insights into the depths of the universe free of atmospheric disturbances.

 
By the way, the menu at the house warming party consisted of moon cheese and crackers served with small bottles of Armenian cognac.

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