Telecommunication

In the field of telecommunications the emphasis is put on broadband multimedia applications and on mobile communication services. Satellite-Satellite telecommunica- . .

j.¡ . riinnl___. . based services supplement here the terrestrial communications network tion to supplement ter- rr restrial communication within some areas (in particular for thinly settled or difficultly accessible networks regions):

• GEO-systems for less interactive „asymmetric" data communication (television, video-on-demand etc.)

• Networks of satellites in near-earth orbits for interactive highspeed applications (e.g. „Internet in the Sky") by using optical intersatellite links

• Mobile satellite communication services (e.g. S-UMTS)

From a German view a focus is put on optical intersatellite links in the framework of the demonstration project COMED, serving to develop critical technologies and components with the goal of opening up new markets for the German space industry, ensuring its global competitiv-ness and increasing the German market share of satellite components and subsystems significantly within five years (BMBF 2001).

GALILEO

4.2.3 Navigation and positioning

Within navigation and positioning, the establishment of the civilian European satellite navigation system Galileo, is the priority objective of the Planned European satel ESA and the DLR, in order to become independent of nationally control- ^te ¡ ^Vg^mn system led systems. Here, a strong commitment from the private industrial sector is aimed at. Applications are expected particularly in the establishment of intelligent traffic-guidance-systems for safer, environmentally friendly and more efficient traffic management. Especially for sensitive application areas like automatic landing aids for airplanes, the reliable availability of a positioning system under European sovereignty will be a crucial safety factor for traffic (BMBF 2001).

4.2.4 Science and exploration

In the field of science exploration, the emphasis of ESA activities lies in the investigation of the solar system (in particular Mars and Mercury), astrophysics (especially the search for planets outside the solar system) and fundamental physics (e.g. detection of gravity waves). The exploration of space aims at a better understanding of origin, structure and development of the cosmos and at the same time of origin, conditions and future of our own existence. Observatories in earth orbits allow the observation of the universe and its objects within all ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum without interferences through the earth's atmosphere (multi-frequency astronomy with emphasis in the infrared and x-ray/ gamma range). In this context for example, the ESA will take part in the development of the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST) in co-operation with NASA, which will be the successor of the Hubble space telescope. In the solar system the study of Mars is of special interest, in order to understand the development of earth similar planets and to draw conclusions for earth by "comparative planetology". Planned for the future, among other things is a Mars Sample Return Mission likewise in co-operation with NASA.

4.2.5 Manned spaceflight and microgravity

In the field of manned spaceflight the participation in the establishment and the utilization of the international space station is the most important goal for the ESA. The European contribution to ISS is in particular made with the completion and operation of the Columbus module and ap propriate devices for microgravity research. In addition, the development of robotic systems and probes to support the operation of the IS S are planned by the ESA. As a visionary goal, a manned Mars mission under participation of the ESA is being discussed at present.

In the frame of microgravity research the missing gravity force is used Microgravity research for experiments and developments in particular in the range of biology, for the investigation of medicine and material sciences. For this, apart from other manned and gravity dependent phe- unmanned flight opportunities, the international space station is playing nomena the most important role as the "laboratory in the universe". In the life sciences range, an improved understanding of the functions of organs and systems of the human body and their cooperating interactions regarding the adaption to microgravity conditions stands in the center of interest. Investigations for material sciences deal mainly with a detailed un-derstandig of solidification processes as well as fundamental mechanisms of combustion processes. Investigations on three-dimensional colloidal plasmas (plasma crystals), a phase state which was unknown until a few years ago, will mainly examine basic aspects of plasma physics, but in the longer term also application-relevant aspects of industrial plasma processes. A goal in the microgravity research is to increase the participation of private companies by promoting application orientated research with own financial contributions from the participating enterprises. The microgravity research and in particular its potential use for nanotechnology is discussed in detail in chapter 6.

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