Late last night Denmark’s biggest space adventure yet, the DTU Space-led ASIM project, was successfully launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
It is believed the ASIM project, which can take advanced x-ray images of lightning and storms in space, thereby giving us a better insight into our climate, has helped plant Denmark firmly on the space map.
“With this project Denmark demonstrates it can develop new and advanced technology as well as lead groundbreaking international research projects,” said Kristian Pedersen, the head of DTU Space.
“ASIM will provide insight into climate processes, which can contribute to better global climate models. ASIM will be both an inspiration and benefit to Denmark as well as the global society.”
The noted Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen was at hand at the Kennedy Space Center to follow the launch, and he will help guide his colleagues up on the ISS when they intercept the space capsule.
The ASIM observatory, which has been 20 years in the making, will in particular measure x-rays and gamma rays from thunderstorms and the production of antimatter in order to better develop climate prediction models.
”Lightning in the upper thin atmosphere is slower and larger, and this allows our instruments to measure them in detail. One could say the new phenomena observed by ASIM will represent a window into the inner processes of lightning,” said Torsten Neubert, the scientific leader and chair of ESA’s ASIM Facility Science Team.
“We expect ASIM will give us new knowledge of the workings of lightning. We also need ground observations of thunderstorms from the many active regions on the planet and to collaborate, therefore, with scientific teams in more than 20 countries.”
If everything goes well, the space capsule will reach the ISS on April 4. Read more about the ASIM project here (in English).