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Human space flight

ESA's aim is to implement Europe's participation in the development of space infrastructure, such as the International Space Station, which makes it possible to perform experiments in a weightless environment, very different from that we have on Earth. ESA also supports the development of research and technologies in space - on the International Space Station but also on European sounding rockets, parabolic flights as well as drop towers.

Specific programmes Romania is involved in:

  • Technology Demonstrators and Studies
  • ELIPS 4 - Science Core Activities (current e.c.)
  • ELIPS 4 - Technologies Component: MiDASS and MELiSSA element (current e.c.)
  • Mars Robotic Exploration Programme (MREP-2) - Sub-element 1
  • Mars Robotic Exploration Programme (MREP-2) - Sub-element 2 
  • European Participation in the International Space Station (ISS) Exploitation programme- Phase2

Image credit: ESA/NASA

The European Programme for Life and Physical Sciences (ELIPS) has already produced many advances in a variety of scientific disciplines since its inception in 2001. ELIPS Period 3 will further strengthen Europe's very strong position in research, building on the capabilities already in place on the ISS, principally utilising the European Columbus laboratory as well as other ISS and additional research platforms (ground-based, drop towers, parabolic flights and sounding rockets). 

Image credit: NASA

MELiSSA (Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative) has been conceived as a micro-organisms and higher plants based ecosystem intended as a tool to gain understanding of the behaviour of artificial ecosystems, and for the development of the technology for a future regenerative life support system for long term manned space missions - for example: a lunar base or a mission to Mars.

MiDASS (Microbial detection in air system for space) will develop a miniaturised, automated system for sampling and monitoring the microbiological quality of air and surfaces.

The Mars Robotic Exploration Preparation (MREP) is an Optional Programme intended to prepare Europe's future contribution to the international exploration of Mars. Ongoing robotic exploration has made some tantalising discoveries, but the next major step is to retrieve samples from the Martian surface so they can be analysed in detail in terrestrial laboratories. Many new technologies will be needed to make this happen – some of which have yet to be invented, let along demonstrated and qualified. MREP is needed first to identify and then to develop them.


Image credit: ESA

The International Space Station

Launched in 1998, the International Space Station is one of the most ambitious international collaborations in history. The United States, Russia, Japan and Canada, share with Europe the 360-tonne and 820 cubic metres of pressurised space station - enough room for its crew of six persons and a vast array of scientific experiments.

The 12 Member States of the European Space Agency participating to date on the International Space Station are: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Romania since 2 December 2014. 

More details about ISS are available here.