ISS’s researcher, IAA Newly Elected Member 2016

©ISS The award ceremony of IAA member, L. A. Popa together with IAA’s President and Vicepresident.

On the 25th September 2016, Dr. Lucia Aurelia Popa, senior researcher at the Institute of Space Science (ISS), became a full member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) at the Basic Sciences Section.

The award ceremony took place in frame of the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Dr. Lucia Popa is the Romanian representative of the Planck and Euclid ESA’s Missions and has been a Corresponding Member of IAA for three years, since 2013.


This post is also available in: Romanian

©ISS The IAA award of L. A. Popa

Celebrating 30 years of PRODEX

Source of the artistic image of Euclid: ESA

On September 5th and 6th 2016, PRODEX is organising an event for the “PRODEX 30th anniversary” at the ESA’s Space Research and Technology Centre, ESTEC, in Noordwijk, The Netherlands.

Created in June 1986, PRODEX (PROgramme de Développement d’Expériences scientifiques) offers institutions and industry the chance to work on ESA experiments. The programme works to help countries to get returns on their investments, and to promote scientific and industrial excellence and competitiveness.

The PRODEX Programme is an open programme. ESA Member States, as well as non-Member States, can become participating states. Romania became the 16th full ESA member state in 2011, and joined the PRODEX Programme in 2012. The PRODEX Participating States are 12 in total, reprezentated by Switzerland, Ireland, Belgium, Norway, Austria, Denmark, Hungary, Czech Republic, Greece, Romania, Netherlands, Poland.

In this image: Dr. Lucia Popa

In the presence of the PRODEX team and delegates from participating countries, Dr. Lucia Popa, seniour researcher at the Institute of Space Science (ISS), is invited to give a talk on the PRODEX project “Romanian Contribution to the Science Ground Segment of the Euclid Mission”. The detailed program of the event can be found here.

ISS signed a PRODEX Institute Agreement in September 2015, which enhance the project contributions in the field of space science to the PRODEX Programme.



Flag raising Ceremony for Romania at CERN


On 5th of September 2016, in the Globe of Science and Innovation at CERN, Geneva, Switzerland, takes place a great ceremony in the presence of His Excelency Mr. Klaus Iohannis, President of Romania, including national institutional representatives and romanian scientists, marking the accession of Romania as a Member State of CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research, the world’s leading laboratory for particle physics).

This is a memorable day, since Romania became the 22nd Member State of CERN on 18th July 2016.

However, bilateral contacts began back in 1991, when a scientific and technical cooperation agreement was signed between CERN and the Government of Romania, establishing the legal framework for later developments. Presently, Romania has particularly strong involvement in several LHC experiments, like ATLAS, ALICE and LHCb, with main contributions from the National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering “Horia Hulubei” and the Institute of Space Science (ISS).

ISS is part of the ALICE Collaboration since 2006, and has a long-standing experience in the study of Quark Gluon Plasma produced in heavy ion collisions at relativistic energies. The ISS-ALICE group, consisting of 6 physicists and 3 guest scientists, has various activities related to jet and flow analysis, offline production management and software service tasks, GRID maintenance and operation in frame of the ALICE Collaboration. ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) is one of the four large experiments operating at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), dedicated to study the properties and behaviour of the strongly interacting matter, at the very high temperatures and energy densities reached in ultra-relativistic collisions.

Launch of the First Orbital Telescope for the detection of ultra-high energy cosmic rays induced air showers

Image: Lomonosov Moscow State University

On Thursday, April 28, the TUS telescope aboard the Lomonosov satellite was successfully launched from the Vostochny spaceport. Lomonosov along with two other satellites, Aist-2D and SamSat-218, were carried into orbit by an unmanned Soyuz-2.1A rocket, the first rocket to fly from the new Russian spaceport.

The TUS (Tracking Ultraviolet Set-Up) orbital telescope aboard the Lomonosov satellite will detect Extensive Air Showers (EAS) produced by Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Rays (UHECR) and contribute to the study of the energy spectrum and arrival distribution of the cosmic rays with energies above 1020 eV.

“It is one more important step towards UHECR measurements from space!” said Pavel Klimov from the Skobeltsyn Institute of Nuclear Physics, Moscow State University, one of the lead scientists in the collaboration.

In 2013, a team of scientists from the Institute of Space Science lead by Dr. Maria Haiduc joined the TUS collaboration and signed a protocol with the Skobeltsyn Institute for Nuclear Physics to this effect. The involvement of the ISS team in the TUS collaboration is concerned with the development, together with a team form the Joint Institute of Nuclear Physics lead by Dr. Leonid Grigorievich Tkatchev, of a ground-based high-power LED UV light system to be used for the orbital calibration of the TUS telescope.

The TUS telescope can be regarded as a pathfinder for the future space-based UHECR detectors (e.g. KLYPVE, JEM-EUSO) and will gather preliminary data that will be extremely useful for the fine-tuning of the operational parameters of these future missions.

This post is also available in Romanian here.

More details on the event along with a movie of the launch can be found at:

Lomonosov Satellite

A new technique to gauge the distant Universe

Image credit:  ESA/XMM-Newton/G. Hasinger, N. Cappelluti, and the XMM-COSMOS collaboration
Image credit: ESA/XMM-Newton/G. Hasinger, N. Cappelluti, and the XMM-COSMOS collaboration

Scientists have developed a technique to use quasars – powerful sources driven by supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies – to study the Universe’s history and composition. To demonstrate the new method, based on a relation between a quasar’s luminosity at X-ray and ultraviolet wavelengths, they made extensive use of data from XMM-Newton X-ray observatory of the European Space Agency (ESA). This approach promises to become an important tool to constrain the properties of our Universe.

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Pierre Auger Observatory continues operations for another decade — Romania takes part at the International Agreement signature ceremony

AugerPrime-symposiumOn 16 November, Dr. Paula Gina Isar, researcher at the Institute of Space Science (ISS) and institutional representative at the Pierre Auger Observatory, took part together with other Romanian researchers at the signature ceremony of a new International Agreement for continued operation of the Observatory until 2025. The event took place during the AugerPrime Symposium, which was held from 15 to 16 November 2015 in Malargüe, Argentina, to celebrate 15 years of achievements and the AugerPrime upgrade to the Observatory. The International Collaboration counts about 450 scientists from 16 countries and 82 institutions. Former associated country during 2011-2014, Romania became a full member state of the largest cosmic ray experiment in the world in 2014.

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