Space exploration

Space exploration is the ongoing discovery and exploration of celestial structures in outer space by means of continuously evolving and growing space technology.

While the study of space is carried out mainly by astronomers with telescopes, the physical exploration of space is conducted both by unmanned robotic probes and human spaceflight. Whilst the observation of objects in space, known as astronomy, predates reliable recorded history, it was the development of large and relatively efficient rockets during the early 20th century that allowed physical space exploration to become a reality.

Mars Express orbiter

The Mars Express orbiter, Europe’s first mission to Mars to explore the surface and atmospheric conditions, was launched on 2 June 2003 on a 400 million kilometre journey to the red planet. Arriving on 19 December 2003, Mars Express ejected the Beagle 2 lander so that it could make its own way to the surface of Mars, and then proceeded to successfully enter Martian orbit on 25 December 2003. Airbus Defence and Space was the prime contractor to ESA for the orbiter’s design, manufacture, on-board high-resolution stereo camera and propulsion system as well as Beagle 2’s design and manufacturing. Donated by Airbus