2020 was a productive year for the European Space Agency. From the launch of Solar Orbiter at the beginning of the year to the discovery of one of the hottest planets known so far, ESA has brought together the highlights that mark this year in a photo gallery and a video.
Despite speaking in a particularly challenging year, ESA considers that it has managed to overcome obstacles and challenges. As for the future, he believes in a “brighter” path to space.
See in the gallery some of the photographs that ESA has chosen to define this year.
In addition to the gallery, the space agency also published a video on the YouTube channel highlighting this year’s achievements.
Throughout 2020, SAPO TeK also highlighted a large part of ESA’s “achievements” and we now bring together some of them.
January: Launch of Eutelsat Konnect
ESA announced that the Eutelsat Konnect satellite started its journey into space on January 16, 2020, after the successful launch of the Ariane 5 rocket. Built by Thales Alenia Space, in partnership with ESA, the satellite has a mission guarantee broadband network coverage in 40 African and 15 European countries over the past 15 years, joining the constellation of 40 Eutelsat satellites.
February: Solar Orbiter begins to investigate the mysteries of the Sun
On February 11, 2020 ESA launched Solar Orbiter, the probe whose mission is to capture the first images of the poles of the Sun. The satellite that carries technology from the Portuguese Critical Software, Active Space Technologies and Deimos Engenharia on board was launched with success from the base of Cape Canaveral, in the United States, following the “ride” from NASA’s Atlas V rocket. With “special” protection from heat and light, the probe is able to stay closer than ever to the sun.
November: Sentinel-6 from the constellation Copernicus sets out to measure Earth’s sea level
The satellite is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and will make it possible to measure Earth’s sea level with high precision. The project also had Portuguese collaboration through Critical Software, one of the five national companies hired by ESA to develop at least 12 satellites and participate in six new missions, in a contract of 2.5 billion euros. The space agency Portugal Space chose Active Space Technologies, Critical Software, Deimos Engenharia, Frezite High Performance and the Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering (INEGI).
October: BepiColombo passes “close” to Venus and takes the opportunity to take pictures
In October, the spacecraft approached Venus and recorded the moment. The probe was 10,720 kilometers from Venus and did not “resist” taking pictures.
BepiColombo, the mission that brings together the European and Japanese space agencies and brings Portuguese technology on board, will explore the mysteries of Mercury, where it is expected to establish orbit in 2025.
COVID-19: ESA’s contribution
Among the several highlights, ESA did not let the pandemic go unnoticed. The agency recalls the partnership with NASA and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, which resulted in the birth of the COVID-19 Earth Observation Dashboard in June. The initiative aims to raise awareness of the main changes in air, water and climate quality, as well as the changes caused by the spread of the disease in economic activities and agriculture.
At European level, ESA highlights the launch of the Rapid Action coronavirus Earth observation (RACE) dashboard, in partnership with the European Commission. The objectives defined in June were to monitor the social and economic changes that result from the COVID-19 pandemic. More recently, data were released on Portugal.