This issue celebrates the anniversary of the beginning of Europe´s independent adventure into space, the first launch of Ariane 1 in 1979.
The cover shows a later version of Ariane, Ariane 5´s first commercial launch on 10 December 1999 carrying ESA´s XMM-Newton observatory - another anniversary!
Also in this issue of ESA´s flagship magazine, we focus on another area of ESA, Telecommunications and Integrated Applications. It seems strange to think that when the Telecommunications Programme was created in the new European Space Agency of 1975, European industry had virtually no commercial satellite capability, but now most of us use satellite telecommunications every day, often without realising it.
An extraordinary journey ended on 14 July 2009. An international crew of six was welcomed ´home´ from a simulated mission to Mars and back to Earth. ´Life... on the way to Mars´ looks at the Mars500 programme, and what it is like to be confined for 105 days in a habitat designed to resemble a Mars-bound spacecraft.
Since Earth observation from space first became possible over forty years ago, it has been demonstrated as a key tool for the monitoring and understanding of how our Earth system works. Another article describes an exciting new period of integrated Earth observation science, beginning with the scientific exploitation of data from ESA´s Earth Explorers and the upcoming Sentinel missions.
Completing this issue, we look at life on the ISS and Christer Fuglesang´s Alissé mission, and we celebrate Frank De Winne becoming the first European commander of the ISS during his ´OasISS´ mission.
The Bulletin is published four times a year to inform the space-interested public of ESA´s activities. In addition to a wide range of articles, every issue provides an overview of the status of ESA´s major space projects.