As part of their training, ESA´s new astronauts experience ´parabolic flight´, creating weightless conditions to simulate working in space, featured on the cover and inside the ESA Bulletin.
In this issue of ESA´s flagship magazine, we also mark ten years of operations of the International Charter ´Space and Major Disasters´, demonstrating the importance of space in helping to deal with natural and technological hazards around the world.
Initiated by ESA and the French space agency CNES in 1999, the Charter officially came into operation on 20 October 2000. Since then, the Charter has grown, with more space agencies joining and many more relief organisations able to access its systems.
Next, two articles on different but timely aspects of the International Space Station: highlighting the challenges of changing from essentially a construction project to a permanently manned operational outpost, and, with the ISS partners now deciding on extending the life of the ISS, a look at ways to increase the efficiency of running a ´home´ in space.
Also in this issue, we look at ´risk management´, a major part of ESA´s management activity. Like any other business, space programmes face risks, but these are not only from technical challenges or extreme environments, they could also come from many other unexpected situations on Earth, such as project delays, cost overruns or even from legal barriers between countries.