On May 12, the National Space Science Center(NSSC) of Chinese Academy of Sciences held a remote video conference with the European Space Agency (ESA). Both sides gave brief updates of status and progress of the ongoing mission. Director General of NSSC, Academician WANG Chi congratulated ESA on the successful launch of Solar Orbiter. Prof. WANG also mentioned that the mission study and development efforts have assumed the momentum at NSSC to keep abreast with the mission schedule. Both sides exchanged ideas on the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on the ESA-China cooperative programmes.
As for Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer (SMILE), the development on the Chinese side has progressed as scheduled and as of this press release the spacecraft SM mechanical test has been completed. On the ESA side, certain electronics components are suffering from the Export Control restrictions imposed by the U.S., and the decision will be made to start the back-up scenario where the relative parts will be redesigned. The mission delay is under assessment of ESA side. Both sides also reported the collaborations and development status for other missions, e.g. Einstein Probe.
Due to the covid-19 outbreak, the China-ESA space science bilateral meeting originally scheduled at the beginning of the year has been suspended. Both sides are eager to organize a face-to-face meeting as soon as the situation allows, so as to discuss on crucial collaboration issues and to mitigate the impact of the epidemic on the progress of cooperation projects.
Academician WANG Chi, and Günther Hasinger, Director of ESA science directorate, co-chaired the remote meeting with participation from the engineering management and international cooperation teams.
(supplied by Space Science Program Center & International Cooperation Office)