The best pictures of 2017

The year 2017 was shaped by our next major Mars simulation: Besides defining a host country, we selected the experiments for the simulation and trained our team to be prepared for February 2018.  Moreover we organized the European Mars Conference and inspired countless children for space sciences. Today, on the last day of 2017, we review our year with 12 pictures.

Inigo Munz in the cryo chamber (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder)

1 “Testing. Testing. Testing”
In January, the Aouda spacesuit simulators were tested in an extensive campaign, ranging from cryotests, exposing the suits to 6 Megavolt lightening #strikes, humidity, calibrating sensors, exploring the radio emission behavior and many other tests: The 17A-test campaign was one of the most rigorous and extensive professional test series ever conducted on the Aouda suits. – This was a crucial step for major field campaigns.
(c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder)


2 “Space policy in action”
Every February, the United Nations Committee for the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPOUS) gathers for a technical meeting. Members of the Austrian Space Forum are traditionally a part of the national delegation of Austria reporting on the most important space activities of the country in this forum. This is one mechanism, how the OeWF maintains its international network with space agencies, industrial partners and policy makers far beyond Austria’s borders.

Negev desert Israel

3 “Scouting in the Negev desert”
A number of potential host countries were selected for the AMADEE-18 mission – finally 2 candidates made it into the final round: Israel and Oman. Hence, a scouting team of the Austrian Space Forum made two field reconnaissance missions both into the Israeli Negev desert (seen here) and the Dhofar Region in Oman. 3500km off road, meeting extraordinary people and legendary hospitality in both countries, negotiating with decision makers and researchers, visiting hospitals, assessing climate records and many other factors led to the final selection.

Analog Astronaut S. Dobrovolny with ESA Astronaut Luca Parmitano

4 “Luca Parmitano and the Aouda.X exoskeleton”
Sometimes we get to interact with ISS-experienced astronauts: Astronaut Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency, is getting a first taste of the Aouda.X exoskeleton and shares some insights into the ergonomics of ISS spacesuits with OeWF analog astronaut Stefan Dobrovolny after a donning at the European Astronaut Center in Cologne.

bread during board meeting

5 “Board of Directors enjoy a break”
Annually, the Board of Directors of the Austrian Space Forum gather for a three-day workshop, discussing the policy, projects and prospects of the organization. This year’s workshop was held in Vienna – and the Board members obviously enjoy a short break from the intense strategy discussions and decision-making debates.

Building water rockets at a local lake "Baggersee"

6 “3.2.1. Lift-off”
Building water rockets is an example of low-threshold science outreach activities of the Austrian Space Forum: Inspiring the next generation of space explorers is an integral part of our work, reaching more than thousand children every year across Austria. Together with children’s spaces suits, the “Mars rover” dignity and virtual reality tools, space is brought to schools – also with the generous support of the European Space Agency.

Husky Rover during testing

7 “Only the best: AMADEE-18 Experiment selection”
About one year before a field mission, the Austrian Space Forum invites researchers worldwide to submit ideas for the science and engineering activities. Usually, there are many more submissions than slots available, hence, there is a peer-reviewed selection process
making sure, the most interesting and ambitious experiments make it into the final round. One of the experiments selected was the Husky rover of the Technical University of Graz, which will use a LIDAR to map the surroundings of the base station in Oman.

Analog Astronauti Carmen Köhler on the vertical treadmill

8 “No, this photo is in the correct orientation”
At the Institute for Aerospace Medicine of the German Space Agency DLR, OeWF analog astronaut Carmen Koehler is performing an instrument check at the Vertical Treadmill in Cologne. This suspension device mimics the gravitational levels of Moon, Mars and Asteroids to study walking patterns. This was the first time; this exquisite machine was used with a fully-fledged spacesuit simulator.

ECM17 (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder)

9 “Mars experts gathering”
Every year, the European Mars Conference brings together specialists from across the continent to discuss the latest scientific discoveries and strategies for the exploration of the Red Planet. The 2017 session was organized by the OeWF and hosted at the University of Innsbruck. As a “first”, it also included a dedicated student forum, where young researchers shared their work and vision with senior experts who would judge them for their soundness and presentation quality. This part was strongly supported by the Government of Tyrol’s science section. (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder)

Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in Oman

10 “Signing for Mars”
At the State Council Palace of the Sultanate of Oman, the delegation of the Austrian Space Forum signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the National Steering Committee for the AMADEE-18 mission. This marked a major step ahead in the preparation of this major field campaign in February 2018 and stirred a significant media echo in the region.

group photo AMBT participants

11 “Learning to fly”
The OeWF has devised an internal training scheme including the AMBT (Analog Mission Basic Training) and the AMAT (Analog Mission Advanced Training) courses: During these, now flight controllers, field crew members, remote science support personnel, ground support and security team members, flight planners and IT specialists learn about the ins and outs of OeWF field missions. These have become too complex, that the traditional “training on the job” is not possible anymore since a few years. This has definitely increased the quality of the Mission Support Center capabilities and the effectiveness of the field crews.

Dress Rehearsal 3 training (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder)

12 “Practicing for Mars”
The Dress Rehearsal 3 was the third and final integrated practice run for the AMADEE-18 Mars simulation in Oman. Researchers, analog astronauts, flight controllers and many other specialists from across Europe, Northern America and Oman joined for this dry run. These events are a vital component of the mission preparation, demonstrating the experiment and infrastructure readiness. It is also a test case for emulating malfunctions and contingency situations which hopefully never happen in reality – it’s like a big flight simulator for a Mars analog mission. (c) OeWF (Florian Voggeneder)

This article is available in: German

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