quinta-feira, 24 de abril de 2014

An Odyssey in space with 50 years

The first steps of Europe in space occurred in the early 1960-in the heat of the cold war. The world began to turn his attention to the space. Sputnik had sent the first signal and there was a competition between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Historian John Krige recalls that era: "the world was a place extremely fragile and dangerous. The rivalry of the superpowers probably had its peak in the 1960, the Cuban missile crisis, when I was young ... I thought that would be the end of the world and I think a lot of people also thought. "

The Italian Eduardo Amaldi and Pierre Auger â€" two physicists in Europe entered in this climate of tension. Believed fervently that the rockets and satellites should be used in favour of science and not of conflict.

Roger-Maurice Bonnet, former Scientific Director of the ESA adds: "countries that built the space industry in Europe were those who 20 years earlier were at war, a terrible war. These European countries that had been at war gathered and decided to use a language that excluded the conflict â€" the language of science. "

Under the leadership of Amaldi and Auger, Europe took two giant steps, and founded two organizations: a space for rockets, named ELDO and another for science, ESRO. In the early years the budget was limited, with tensions between partners such as the United Kingdom and France.

This obligation to finance science within the new European Space Agency was seen as a masterstroke, since boosted the research sector. But Europe still needed its own rocket: "the Germans were against the development of Ariane and the British were extremely hostile. It took the French say to advance. Was frankly thanks to French Gaulismo and a supposed motivation of the United States that the French moved on. Was undoubtedly the biggest hit of all European space efforts, "adds John Krige.

The Ariane-1 was first released in 1979. Although it may have been designed with the telecommunications sector in expansion in mind, also went into orbit in scientific missions. One of the early highlights was the flight of the Giotto probe with Halley's Comet in 1986.

A decade later, in 1996 there was a low point in European Space Odyssey. The new Ariane 5 made the first flight from always taking the precious scientific satellites on board.

Forty seconds later exploded in midair. Roger-Maurice Bonnet will never forget this day: "these giants, project managers, great men, true heads crying in a small hangar behind the rocket control station. I swore I would restart the Cluster mission and that's what we did. "

The Cluster is still active and in 2005 the ESA, in conjunction with Nasa, did land the Huygens probe on the surface of the Moon of Saturn. It was a new milestone in science.

Get financing has always been a struggle. In all negotiations is present the principle of fair return of ESA: what a country invests gets back into jobs. The Space Odyssey in Europe lasted for 50 years and continues with satellites in orbit and probes at the forefront of knowledge.

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