The ETS-VII, or Engineering Test Satellite No. 7, was a satellite launched by the National Space Development Agency of Japan. It is known as KIKU-7, it was launched aboard an H-II rocket from Tanegashima Space Center, on 28 November 1997. The ETS-VII was equipped with a 2 metre long robotic arm, used to carry out several experiments related to rendezvous docking and space robotics, it was the world’s first satellite to be equipped with a robotic arm, the first unmanned spacecraft to conduct autonomous rendezvous docking operations successfully. Although it was intended to be used for 1.5 years, the satellite was functional for a period of five years. ETS-VII decayed from orbit on 13 November 2015; the ETS-VII consists of two main parts. The chaser satellite is the main satellite body, was named Hikoboshi. A 2 m long robotic arm was attached to this part; the smaller target satellite was named Orihime. The box shaped, complete satellite system weighed 2,860 kg; the ETS-VII was equipped with three solar panels, with two on the chaser satellite and one on the target satellite.
The satellite was assisted by relative global positioning system navigation. The satellite was launched using an H-II rocket on 28 November 1997; the launching took place at the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan. The orbit of the ETS-VII was with an inclination of 35 degrees; the ETS-VII was built with an intended mission life of 1.5 years, with the mission to be ended in May 1999. However, in March 1999, it was decided to carry out operations for an additional six months because the satellite was in good condition; the last experiment carried out with the ETS-VII was ended on 16 December 1999. All the planned experiments had been carried out by this time, but the satellite was monitored to evaluate its durability. On 30 October 2002, the operating of the ETS-VII was terminated. NASDA had invited research institutes in Japan and other countries to conduct joint experiments with the ETS-VII; as a result, joint experiments were conducted with organizations such as the European Space Agency. Three rendezvous docking operations were carried out with the ETS-VII, which involved placing the target satellite 200 mm away from the chaser and using the robot arm to retrieve and hold it in place.
Several other experiments were carried out with the satellite’s robotic components. Most of the robot experiments were completed by March 1999, target satellite handling experiments were carried out in May 1999. An error occurred during the second rendezvous docking operation, carried out in August 1998; the troubleshooting to identify this error was done in early March 1999. All planned robot experiments were completed by the end of March. Additional experiments were carried out later; the final rendezvous docking operation was completed on 27 October 1999. The satellite’s final robot experiment was carried out on 29 November. Satellite checkout was conducted as the last experimental operation on 15 and 16 December, concluding all operations carried out by the ETS-VII project team. GIF animation of the docking
Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center
Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center is a Chinese space vehicle launch facility located in the Gobi desert, Inner Mongolia. It is part of the Dongfeng Aerospace City. Although the facility is geographically located within Ejin Banner of Inner Mongolia's Alxa League, it is named after the nearest city, Jiuquan in Gansu Province, it was founded in the first of China's four spaceports. More Chinese launches have occurred at Jiuquan than anywhere else; as with all Chinese launch facilities it is remote and closed to foreigners. The Satellite Launch Center is a part of Dongfeng space city known as Base 10 or Dongfeng base, which includes PLAAF test flight facilities, a space museum and a martyr's cemetery. JSLC is used to launch vehicles into lower and medium orbits with large orbital inclination angles, as well as testing medium to long-range missiles, its facilities are state of the art and provide support to every phase of a satellite launch campaign. The site includes the Technical Center, the Launch Complex, the Launch Control Center, the Mission Command and Control Center and various other logistical support systems.
The center may have housing for as many as 20,000 people. The facilities and launch support equipment were modelled on Soviet counterparts and the Soviet Union has provided technical support to Jiuquan; the launch center has been the focus of many of China's ventures into space, including their first satellite Dong Fang Hong 1 in 1970, their first manned space mission Shenzhou 5 on 15 October 2003. Shenzhou 6, the second human spaceflight of China, launched on 12 October 2005 on a Long March rocket from JSLC. Shenzhou 7, the third human spaceflight mission of the Chinese space program, was launched from JSLC on 25 September 2008 by a Long March 2F rocket; the mission, which included an extra-vehicular activity carried out by crewmembers Zhai Zhigang and Liu Boming, marked the commencement of the second phase of the Chinese government's Project 921. China's fourth crewed spaceflight, Shenzhou 9, launched from JSLC on 16 June 2012 at 18:37 local time; the 13-day mission included China's first female astronaut and docked with the country's Tiangong-1 space station module on Monday, 18 June 2012.
In August 2016, China launched the first quantum communication satellite, the "Quantum Experiments at Space Scale", from the Center. In August 2018, Chinese private rocket manufacturing startups i-Space and OneSpace launched sub-orbital rockets from the center. Launch Area 2, 2 launch pads: LA-2A: CZ-1, DF-3, DF-5 LA-2B: CZ-2A, CZ-2C, CZ-2D, FB-1The launch pads at Launch Area 2 are located at 41.308833° north, 100.316512° east and 41.306143° north, 100.313229° east. Launch Area 3, 2 launch pads: DF-1, DF-2, R-2. Launch Area 3 is 2.7 km south of Launch Area 2. The launch pads are located at 41.283190° north, 100.304706° east and 41.280457° north, 100.304582° east. Launch Area 4, 2 launch pads, only active complex: SLS-1: CZ-2F launcher with nearby Vertical Assembly Facility. SLS-2: CZ-2C, CZ-2D and CZ-4C, operational since 2003Launch Area 4 is 37.9 km south of Launch Area 3. The launch pads are located at 40.960671° north, 100.298186° east and 40.957893° north, 100.290944° east. Space program of China Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center Xichang Satellite Launch Center Wenchang Satellite Launch Center Base 20 Jiuquan Space Facility on GlobalSecurity.org
Androgynous Peripheral Attach System
The terms Androgynous Peripheral Attach System, Androgynous Peripheral Assembly System and Androgynous Peripheral Docking System, are used interchangeably to describe a family of spacecraft docking mechanisms, are sometimes used as a generic name for any docking system in that family. A system similar to APAS-89/95 is used by the Chinese Shenzhou spacecraft; the name of the system is Russian in origin, is an acronym, АПАС, in the Cyrillic alphabet, from the Russian, Андрогинно-периферийный агрегат стыковки. The English acronym was designed to be just the same letters but in the Latin alphabet, for which the first two words are direct counterparts of those in the original; the third word in Russian comes from the German Aggregat, meaning "complicated mechanism", the last means "docking". The last two words in the English name were picked to begin with the same equivalent letters as in the Russian name; the idea behind the design is that unlike with the probe-and-drogue docking system, any APAS docking ring can mate with any other APAS docking ring.
In each docking there is an active and a passive side. There are three basic variations of the APAS system. Co-developed by American and Soviet engineers through a series of in-person meetings and teleconferences, APAS-75 was planned to be used on an American mission to a Salyut space station which instead became the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project. There were differences between the American and Soviet version of the docking mechanism, but they were still mechanically compatible. Early on, the Americans called the device both the International Rendezvous and Docking Mission Docking Mechanism and the International Docking System; the device is called the Androgynous Peripheral Docking System in the NASA press packet for ASTP. Unlike previous docking systems, either APAS-75 unit could assume the active or passive role as required. For docking, the spade-shaped guides of the extended active unit and the retracted passive unit interacted for gross alignment; the ring holding the guides shifted to align the active unit latches with the passive unit catches.
After these caught, shock absorbers dissipated residual impact energy in the American unit. The active unit retracted to bring the docking collars together. Guides and sockets in the docking collars completed alignment. Four spring push rods drove the spacecraft apart at undocking; the Americans selected North American Rockwell to construct seven docking mechanisms. Russia built five Soyuz spacecraft that used APAS-75; the first three flew as test systems. One was used for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, Soyuz 19 the only Soyuz to use the docking system, the last one flew as Soyuz 22. On the American side the ASTP Docking Module carried one APAS-75 docking collar and one Apollo docking collar. In April 1970 NASA Administrator Thomas O. Paine suggested, in an informal meeting with Russian academician Anatoli Blagonravov in New York, that the two nations cooperate on astronaut safety, including compatible docking equipment on space stations and spacecraft to permit rescue operations in space emergencies.
Engineer Caldwell Johnson proposed a ring and cone system during a meeting in Moscow during October 1970. Boris N. Petrov rejected the simple adaptation of Apollo and Soyuz as a "space stunt" and had proposed developing a universal docking mechanism, Johnson suggested that the Manned Spacecraft Center draw up a "design adequate to requirements of a particular CSM/Salyut mission, the design being representative only of the fundamental form and function of docking gear satisfying the requirements for compatible docking system for future spacecraft."During a meeting in Houston during June 1971, Soviet docking specialist Valentin N. Bobkov indicated that the Soviets favored some version of the double ring and cone. Bobkov illustrated through sketches that the overall diameter of the docking system could not exceed 1.3 meters, because any larger system would require a change in the launch shroud. When Johnson raised the question of altering the shroud, the Soviets stressed the major impact that such a modification would have.
In addition to having to design a new shroud, they would have to test out the launch aerodynamics of the altered hardware. The Americans had hoped to argue for a larger tunnel, but such a change appeared to be too great for their counterparts. After the June meetings, Johnson had put Bill Creasy and his mechanical designers to work on the preliminary design of a docking mechanism. By the time the NASA delegation left for Moscow, Creasy's crew had designed and built a 1-meter double ring and cone docking system that had four guide fingers and attenuators on both rings, so either half could be active or passive during docking; the Structures and Mechanics Laboratory at MSC made 16-millimeter movies demonstrating this system in action, which Johnson took to Moscow in November, along with a booklet describing the system and a model of the capture latches. To Johnson's surprise, Vladimir Syromyatnikov had been working on a variation of NASA's ring and cone concept since the previous October. Instead of the four guide fingers in the American proposal, Syromyatnikov suggested three, in lieu of hydraulic shock-absorbers, he proposed electromechanical attenuators.
In essence, the Soviets had accepted the idea of using a set of intermeshing fingers to guide the two halves of the docking gear from the point of initial contact to capture. The concept of using shock absorbing attenuators on the active spacecraft's capture ring to buffer the impact of two spac
Cantonese is a variety of Chinese spoken in the city of Guangzhou and its surrounding area in Southeastern China. It is the traditional prestige variety and standard form of Yue Chinese, one of the major subgroups of Chinese. In mainland China, it is the lingua franca of the province of Guangdong and neighbouring areas such as Guangxi, it is the official language of Hong Kong and Macau. Cantonese is widely spoken amongst Overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia and throughout the Western world. While the term Cantonese refers to the prestige variety, it is used in a broader sense for the entire Yue subgroup of Chinese, including related but mutually unintelligible languages and dialects such as Taishanese; when Cantonese and the related Yuehai dialects are classified together, there are about 80 million total speakers. Cantonese is viewed as a vital and inseparable part of the cultural identity for its native speakers across large swaths of Southeastern China, Hong Kong and Macau, as well as in overseas communities.
Although Cantonese shares a lot of vocabulary with Mandarin, the two varieties are mutually unintelligible because of differences in pronunciation and lexicon. Sentence structure, in particular the placement of verbs, sometimes differs between the two varieties. A notable difference between Cantonese and Mandarin is; this results in the situation in which a Cantonese and a Mandarin text may look similar but are pronounced differently. In English, the term "Cantonese" can be ambiguous. Cantonese proper is the variety native to the city of Canton, the traditional English name of Guangzhou; this narrow sense may be specified as "Canton language" or "Guangzhou language". However, "Cantonese" may refer to the primary branch of Chinese that contains Cantonese proper as well as Taishanese and Gaoyang. In this article, "Cantonese" is used for Cantonese proper. Speakers called this variety "Canton speech" or "Guangzhou speech", although this term is now used outside Guangzhou. In Guangdong and Guangxi, people call it "provincial capital speech" or "plain speech".
Academically called "Canton prefecture speech". In Hong Kong and Macau, as well as among overseas Chinese communities, the language is referred to as "Guangdong speech" or "Canton Province speech", or as "Chinese". In mainland China, the term "Guangdong speech" is increasingly being used amongst both native and non-native speakers. Given the history of the development of the Yue languages and dialects during the Tang dynasty migrations to the region, in overseas Chinese communities, it is referred to as "Tang speech", given that the Cantonese people refer to themselves as "people of Tang". Due to its status as a prestige dialect among all the dialects of the Yue branch of Chinese varieties, it is called "Standard Cantonese"; the official languages of Hong Kong are English, as defined in the Hong Kong Basic Law. The Chinese language has many different varieties. Given the traditional predominance of Cantonese within Hong Kong, it is the de facto official spoken form of the Chinese language used in the Hong Kong Government and all courts and tribunals.
It is used as the medium of instruction in schools, alongside English. A similar situation exists in neighboring Macau, where Chinese is an official language alongside Portuguese; as in Hong Kong, Cantonese is the predominant spoken variety of Chinese used in everyday life and is thus the official form of Chinese used in the government. The Cantonese spoken in Hong Kong and Macau is mutually intelligible with the Cantonese spoken in the mainland city of Guangzhou, although there exist some minor differences in accent and vocabulary. Cantonese first developed around the port city of Guangzhou in the Pearl River Delta region of southeastern China. Due to the city's long standing as an important cultural center, Cantonese emerged as the prestige dialect of the Yue varieties of Chinese in the Southern Song dynasty and its usage spread around most of what is now the provinces of Guangdong and Guangxi. Despite the cession of Macau to Portugal in 1557 and Hong Kong to Britain in 1842, the ethnic Chinese population of the two territories originated from the 19th and 20th century immigration from Guangzhou and surrounding areas, making Cantonese the predominant Chinese language in the territories.
On the mainland, Cantonese continued to serve as the lingua franca of Guangdong and Guangxi provinces after Mandarin was made the official language of the government by the Qing dynasty in the early 1900s. Cantonese remained a dominant and influential language in southeastern China until the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949 and its promotion of Standard Chinese as the sole official language of the nation throughout the last half of the 20th century, although its influence still remains strong within the region. While the Chinese government vehemently discourages the official use of all forms of Chinese except Standard Chinese, Cantonese enjoys a higher standing than other Chinese langua
Hanyu Pinyin abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, written using Chinese characters; the system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters; the pinyin system was developed in the 1950s by many linguists, including Zhou Youguang, based on earlier forms of romanizations of Chinese. It was published by revised several times; the International Organization for Standardization adopted pinyin as an international standard in 1982, was followed by the United Nations in 1986. The system was adopted as the official standard in Taiwan in 2009, where it is used for international events rather than for educational or computer-input purposes, but "some cities and organizations, notably in the south of Taiwan, did not accept this", so it remains one of several rival romanization systems in use.
The word Hànyǔ means'the spoken language of the Han people', while Pīnyīn means'spelled sounds'. In 1605, the Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci published Xizi Qiji in Beijing; this was the first book to use the Roman alphabet to write the Chinese language. Twenty years another Jesuit in China, Nicolas Trigault, issued his Xi Ru Ermu Zi at Hangzhou. Neither book had much immediate impact on the way in which Chinese thought about their writing system, the romanizations they described were intended more for Westerners than for the Chinese. One of the earliest Chinese thinkers to relate Western alphabets to Chinese was late Ming to early Qing dynasty scholar-official, Fang Yizhi; the first late Qing reformer to propose that China adopt a system of spelling was Song Shu. A student of the great scholars Yu Yue and Zhang Taiyan, Song had been to Japan and observed the stunning effect of the kana syllabaries and Western learning there; this galvanized him into activity on a number of fronts, one of the most important being reform of the script.
While Song did not himself create a system for spelling Sinitic languages, his discussion proved fertile and led to a proliferation of schemes for phonetic scripts. The Wade–Giles system was produced by Thomas Wade in 1859, further improved by Herbert Giles in the Chinese–English Dictionary of 1892, it was popular and used in English-language publications outside China until 1979. In the early 1930s, Communist Party of China leaders trained in Moscow introduced a phonetic alphabet using Roman letters, developed in the Soviet Oriental Institute of Leningrad and was intended to improve literacy in the Russian Far East; this Sin Wenz or "New Writing" was much more linguistically sophisticated than earlier alphabets, but with the major exception that it did not indicate tones of Chinese. In 1940, several thousand members attended a Border Region Sin Wenz Society convention. Mao Zedong and Zhu De, head of the army, both contributed their calligraphy for the masthead of the Sin Wenz Society's new journal.
Outside the CCP, other prominent supporters included Sun Fo. Over thirty journals soon appeared written in Sin Wenz, plus large numbers of translations, some contemporary Chinese literature, a spectrum of textbooks. In 1940, the movement reached an apex when Mao's Border Region Government declared that the Sin Wenz had the same legal status as traditional characters in government and public documents. Many educators and political leaders looked forward to the day when they would be universally accepted and replace Chinese characters. Opposition arose, because the system was less well adapted to writing regional languages, therefore would require learning Mandarin. Sin Wenz fell into relative disuse during the following years. In 1943, the U. S. military engaged Yale University to develop a romanization of Mandarin Chinese for its pilots flying over China. The resulting system is close to pinyin, but does not use English letters in unfamiliar ways. Medial semivowels are written with y and w, apical vowels with r or z.
Accent marks are used to indicate tone. Pinyin was created by Chinese linguists, including Zhou Youguang, as part of a Chinese government project in the 1950s. Zhou is called "the father of pinyin," Zhou worked as a banker in New York when he decided to return to China to help rebuild the country after the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, he became an economics professor in Shanghai, in 1955, when China's Ministry of Education created a Committee for the Reform of the Chinese Written Language, Premier Zhou Enlai assigned Zhou Youguang the task of developing a new romanization system, despite the fact that he was not a professional linguist. Hanyu Pinyin was based on several existing systems: Gwoyeu Romatzyh of 1928, Latinxua Sin Wenz of 1931, the diacritic markings from zhuyin. "I'm not the father of pinyin," Zhou said years later. It's a lo
Inner Mongolia or Nei Mongol the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region or Nei Mongol Autonomous Region, is one of the autonomous regions of the People's Republic of China, located in the north of the country. Its border includes most of the length of China's border with Mongolia; the rest of the Sino–Mongolian border coincides with part of the international border of the Xinjiang autonomous region and the entirety of the international border of Gansu province and a small section of China's border with Russia. Its capital is Hohhot; the Autonomous Region was established in 1947, incorporating the areas of the former Republic of China provinces of Suiyuan, Rehe and Xing'an, along with the northern parts of Gansu and Ningxia. Its area makes it the third largest Chinese subdivision, constituting 1,200,000 km2 and 12% of China's total land area, it recorded a population of 24,706,321 in the 2010 census, accounting for 1.84% of Mainland China's total population. Inner Mongolia is the country's 23rd most populous province-level division.
The majority of the population in the region are Han Chinese, with a sizeable titular Mongol minority. The official languages are Mandarin and Mongolian, the latter of, written in the traditional Mongolian script, as opposed to the Mongolian Cyrillic alphabet, used in the state of Mongolia. In Chinese, the region is known as "Inner Mongolia", where the terms of "Inner/Outer" are derived from Manchu dorgi/tulergi. Inner Mongolia is distinct from Outer Mongolia, a term used by the Republic of China and previous governments to refer to what is now the independent state of Mongolia plus the Republic of Tuva in Russia; the term Inner 内 referred to the Nei Fan 内藩, i.e. those descendants of Genghis Khan who granted the title khan in Ming and Qing dynasties and lived in part of southern part of Mongolia. In Mongolian, the region was called Dotugadu monggol during Qing rule and was renamed into Öbür Monggol in 1947, öbür meaning the southern side of a mountain, while the Chinese term Nei Menggu was retained.
Much of what is known about the history of Greater Mongolia, including Inner Mongolia, is known through Chinese chronicles and historians. Before the rise of the Mongols in the 13th century, what is now central and western Inner Mongolia the Hetao region, alternated in control between Chinese agriculturalists in the south and Xiongnu, Khitan, Jurchen and nomadic Mongol of the north; the historical narrative of what is now Eastern Inner Mongolia consists of alternations between different Tungusic and Mongol tribes, rather than the struggle between nomads and Chinese agriculturalists. Slab Grave cultural monuments are found in northern and eastern Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, north-western China, central-eastern and southern Baikal territory. Mongolian scholars prove. During the Zhou dynasty and western Inner Mongolia were inhabited by nomadic peoples such as the Loufan, Dí, while eastern Inner Mongolia was inhabited by the Donghu. During the Warring States period, King Wuling of the state of Zhao based in what is now Hebei and Shanxi provinces pursued an expansionist policy towards the region.
After destroying the Dí state of Zhongshan in what is now Hebei province, he defeated the Linhu and Loufan and created the commandery of Yunzhong near modern Hohhot. King Wuling of Zhao built a long wall stretching through the Hetao region. After Qin Shi Huang created the first unified Chinese empire in 221 BC, he sent the general Meng Tian to drive the Xiongnu from the region, incorporated the old Zhao wall into the Qin dynasty Great Wall of China, he maintained two commanderies in the region: Jiuyuan and Yunzhong, moved 30,000 households there to solidify the region. After the Qin dynasty collapsed in 206 BC, these efforts were abandoned. During the Western Han dynasty, Emperor Wu sent the general Wei Qing to reconquer the Hetao region from the Xiongnu in 127 BC. After the conquest, Emperor Wu continued the policy of building settlements in Hetao to defend against the Xiong-Nu. In that same year he established the commanderies of Wuyuan in Hetao. At the same time, what is now eastern Inner Mongolia was controlled by the Xianbei, who would on eclipse the Xiongnu in power and influence.
During the Eastern Han dynasty, Xiongnu who surrendered to the Han dynasty began to be settled in Hetao, intermingled with the Han immigrants in the area. On during the Western Jin dynasty, it was a Xiongnu noble from Hetao, Liu Yuan, who established the Han Zhao kingdom in the region, thereby beginning the Sixteen Kingdoms period that saw the disintegration of northern China under a variety of Han and non-Han regimes; the Sui dynasty and Tang dynasty re-established a unified Chinese empire, like their predecessors, they conquered and settled people into Hetao, though once again these efforts were aborted when the Tang empire began to collapse. Hetao was taken over by the Khitan Empire, founded by the Khitans, a nomadic people from what is no
European Space Agency
The European Space Agency is an intergovernmental organisation of 22 member states dedicated to the exploration of space. Established in 1975 and headquartered in Paris, France, ESA has a worldwide staff of about 2,200 in 2018 and an annual budget of about €5.72 billion in 2019. ESA's space flight programme includes human spaceflight; the main European launch vehicle Ariane 5 is operated through Arianespace with ESA sharing in the costs of launching and further developing this launch vehicle. The agency is working with NASA to manufacture the Orion Spacecraft service module, that will fly on the Space Launch System; the agency's facilities are distributed among the following centres: ESA science missions are based at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands. After World War II, many European scientists left Western Europe in order to work with the United States. Although the 1950s boom made it possible for Western European countries to invest in research and in space-related activities, Western European scientists realised national projects would not be able to compete with the two main superpowers.
In 1958, only months after the Sputnik shock, Edoardo Amaldi and Pierre Auger, two prominent members of the Western European scientific community, met to discuss the foundation of a common Western European space agency. The meeting was attended by scientific representatives from eight countries, including Harrie Massey; the Western European nations decided to have two agencies: one concerned with developing a launch system, ELDO, the other the precursor of the European Space Agency, ESRO. The latter was established on 20 March 1964 by an agreement signed on 14 June 1962. From 1968 to 1972, ESRO launched seven research satellites. ESA in its current form was founded with the ESA Convention in 1975, when ESRO was merged with ELDO. ESA had ten founding member states: Belgium, France, West Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom; these signed the ESA Convention in 1975 and deposited the instruments of ratification by 1980, when the convention came into force. During this interval the agency functioned in a de facto fashion.
ESA launched its first major scientific mission in 1975, Cos-B, a space probe monitoring gamma-ray emissions in the universe, first worked on by ESRO. The ESA collaborated with NASA on the International Ultraviolet Explorer, the world's first high-orbit telescope, launched in 1978 and operated for 18 years. A number of successful Earth-orbit projects followed, in 1986 ESA began Giotto, its first deep-space mission, to study the comets Halley and Grigg–Skjellerup. Hipparcos, a star-mapping mission, was launched in 1989 and in the 1990s SOHO, Ulysses and the Hubble Space Telescope were all jointly carried out with NASA. Scientific missions in cooperation with NASA include the Cassini–Huygens space probe, to which ESA contributed by building the Titan landing module Huygens; as the successor of ELDO, ESA has constructed rockets for scientific and commercial payloads. Ariane 1, launched in 1979, carried commercial payloads into orbit from 1984 onward; the next two versions of the Ariane rocket were intermediate stages in the development of a more advanced launch system, the Ariane 4, which operated between 1988 and 2003 and established ESA as the world leader in commercial space launches in the 1990s.
Although the succeeding Ariane 5 experienced a failure on its first flight, it has since established itself within the competitive commercial space launch market with 82 successful launches until 2018. The successor launch vehicle of Ariane 5, the Ariane 6, is under development and is envisioned to enter service in the 2020s; the beginning of the new millennium saw ESA become, along with agencies like NASA, JAXA, ISRO, CSA and Roscosmos, one of the major participants in scientific space research. Although ESA had relied on co-operation with NASA in previous decades the 1990s, changed circumstances led to decisions to rely more on itself and on co-operation with Russia. A 2011 press issue thus stated: Russia is ESA's first partner in its efforts to ensure long-term access to space. There is a framework agreement between ESA and the government of the Russian Federation on cooperation and partnership in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, cooperation is underway in two different areas of launcher activity that will bring benefits to both partners.
Notable outcomes are ESA's include SMART-1, a probe testing cutting-edge new space propulsion technology, the Mars Express and Venus Express missions, as well as the development of the Ariane 5 rocket and its role in the ISS partnership. ESA maintain