Thales and Airbus Selected by DGA to Upgrade France’s Joint Electronic Warfare Capabilities

TOULOUSE/PARIS, France, 11 February 2021 (Airbus PR) – The French defence procurement agency (DGA) has awarded Thales and Airbus a contract for the new joint tactical signals intelligence (SIGINT) system to upgrade the French forces’ critical signals monitoring, direction finding and spectrum analysis capabilities.

The 10-year contract will equip the three armed forces with a common information system and set of sensors and is designated a high-impact programme (PEM), alongside CONTACT and SCORPION, under France’s defence spending plan. This joint tactical SIGINT system will provide French armed forces command with an expanded tactical electronic support measures (ESM) capability.

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SSC & Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands to Collaborate in Optical Communication

Laser satellite (Credit: Swedish Space Corporation)

SOLNA, Sweden (SSC PR) — Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) and Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands (Airbus DS NL) have signed an MOU for collaborative activities regarding ground equipment for space-to-ground optical communication. The agreement will accelerate the development of commercially viable optical ground stations that will be offered by Airbus DS NL and used by SSC in delivering ground network services.

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LIST & Gradal Announce Joint Luxembourg Lab Producing Ultra-lightweight Structures for Satellites

Ultra-lightweight technology. (Credit: Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology)

LUXEMBOURG (LIST PR) — The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) is thrilled to announce a new partnership venture with established Luxembourg company Gradel to research and produce ultra-lightweight structures for the aeronautics and space industry. Parts will be produced for three European giants in satellite construction; Thales Alenia Space (France), Airbus Defence and Space (France), and OHB (Germany).

*LIST will be the home of a joint laboratory at the institute’s new premises in Hautcharage to research and develop the ground-breaking Gradel’s technology known as “xFK in 3D”. 

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ESA’s Exoplanet Watcher Cheops Reveals Unique Planetary System

Artist impression of the TOI-178 planetary system. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA’s exoplanet mission  Cheops has revealed a unique planetary system consisting of six exoplanets, five of which are locked in a rare rhythmic dance as they orbit their central star. The sizes and masses of the planets, however, don’t follow such an orderly pattern. This finding challenges current theories of planet formation.

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Fourth Flight for OneWeb will be First Arianespace Mission from Vostochny Cosmodrome

OneWeb satellites being prepared for launch aboard a Soyuz-2.1b booster from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. (Credit: Roscosmos)

VOSTOCHNY COSMODROME, Russia (Arianespace PR) — OneWeb – the global satellite communications company based in the UK – resumes flights.

This 53rd Soyuz mission conducted by Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate will be operated from Vostochny Cosmodrome and represents OneWeb’s fourth launch overall and the third for this year.

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Supercapacitors Ready to Deliver Maximum Power to Space

Bank of supercapacitors engineering model (Credit: ESA/Airbus Defence and Space)

High-power supercapacitors – already found within terrestrial electric cars, trains, lifts and cranes – are on their way to space.

PARIS (ESA PR) — An ESA-led project with Airbus Defence and Space developed and tested a supercapacitor design able to provide brief bursts of very high power levels to space missions as required. Potential uses might include operation of high-power satellite radar systems, to stabilise overall onboard power during solar eclipses or other such events or launcher thrust vectoring.

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Vega Booster Fails for Second Time in Three Launches

Vega flight 17 lifts off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on Nov. 16, 2020. (Credit: Arianespace webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

KOUROU, French Guiana — Europe’s Vega booster failed on Monday night for the second time in the last three launch attempts.

The flight of the solid-fuel rocket appeared to go nominally until the first of four planned burn of the AVUM fourth stage. At that point, the stage deviated from its planned trajectory.

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Airbus Wins ESA’s LSTM Temperature-check Mission for Copernicus Next Generation

Copernicus Land Surface Temperature Monitoring (LSTM) satellite. (Credit: Airbus)
  • Contract valued at €380 million [$449.75 million]
  • Airbus Spain to lead industrial consortium: first Copernicus prime for Spain

MADRID (Airbus Defence and Space PR) – The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected Airbus Defence and Space as prime contractor for the new Land Surface Temperature Monitoring (LSTM) mission. LSTM is part of Copernicus, the European Union’s Earth observation programme for global monitoring. It is one of the six new missions, expanding the capabilities of the current Copernicus space component. The contract is valued at € 380 million which includes the development of one LSTM satellite, with an option for two further satellites.

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Airbus Wins ESA TRUTHS Mission Study for Metrological Traceability of Earth Observation Data

The TRUTHS satellite mission will collect measurements of the Sun radiation and of the sunlight reflected off Earth’s surface traced to an absolute metrological reference, which will then be used to improve the climatological data sets and calibrate the observations of other satellites. (Credit: National Physical Laboratory)
  • TRUTHS to provide benchmark of Earth’s Radiation budget by consistent calibration traced to a metrological reference
  • Consistent calibration will also enhance existing satellite missions

TOULOUSE, France (Airbus PR) – Airbus has been awarded the lead in the European Space Agency (ESA) contract for the TRUTHS A/B1 (System feasibility Studies and Pre-Developments) as part of ESA’s Earth Observation Earth Watch programme.

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ROXY Turns Moon Dust into Oxygen

ROXY enables the design of a small, simple, compact and cost-efficient regolith to oxygen and metals conversion facility, and is therefore ideally suited to support a wide range of future exploration missions. (Credit: Airbus Defence and Space)
  • New technology from Airbus achieves breakthrough
  • Chemical reduction process opens new horizons in human space exploration
  • Emission-free method could also contribute to UN sustainability goals on Earth

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN/DRESDEN/BOSTON/SEVILLE (Airbus PR) – An international team led by Airbus Defence and Space (Friedrichshafen, Germany) with scientists from Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM (Dresden, Germany), Boston University (Massachusetts, USA) and Abengoa Innovación (Seville, Spain) has successfully demonstrated the production of oxygen and metals from simulated lunar dust (regolith) with the Airbus-invented process named ROXY (Regolith to OXYgen and Metals Conversion). Airbus believes ROXY could revolutionise human space exploration.

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ArianeGroup to Deliver Key Orion Propulsion System Components for Artemis III Moon Mission

Orion near the moon (Credit: NASA)
  • Airbus Defence and Space has placed several propulsion contracts with ArianeGroup for the third European Service Module (ESM) for NASA’s Artemis Moon mission
  • ArianeGroup will be delivering several key components, including the attitude control system, as well as providing propulsion system integration and testing services
  • These contracts follow on from the decisions taken at ESA’s Space 19+ Conference

LAMPOLDSHAUSEN & BREMEN, Germany (ArianeGroup PR) — ArianeGroup has just signed several agreements with Airbus Defence and Space for the adaptation and construction of the third European Service Module (ESM) flight model for the Orion spacecraft. ArianeGroup will therefore:

— provide integration and testing services for the propulsion sub-system, as well as for certain parts of the thermal sub-system and the corresponding electronic sub-systems

— deliver several major components of the propulsion sub-system: notably 24 attitude control engines, two high-pressure regulators, various fuel valves, four fuel tanks, and two high-pressure helium tanks for pressurizing the fuel tanks in zero-gravity conditions

— provide technical support during system integration and acceptance of the Orion spacecraft’s ESM in the United States.

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Kongsberg Awarded Contract for Mobile Communications

Thuraya 4-NGS satellite in orbit. (Credit: Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace)

HORTEN, Norway (Kongsberg PR) — Kongsberg has developed world-class signal processing equipment that provides improved mobile coverage in areas with insufficient ground network.

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KSAT, Planet, and Airbus Awarded First-Ever Global Contract to Combat Deforestation

Global map showing the extent of monthly Planet Basemaps to be provided through the partnership for tropical forest monitoring. (Credit: Planet Labs)

KSAT will together with partners Planet and Airbus deliver satellite-based optical imagery for deforestation monitoring and control to Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) in a 4 year Groundbreaking agreement.

TROMSO, Norway (KSAT PR) — Norway’s Ministry of Climate and Environment has awarded an international contract to KSAT who together with Planet, and Airbus provide universal access to high-resolution satellite monitoring of the tropics in order to support efforts to stop deforestation and save the world’s tropical forests. The contract is valued up to 405M NOK (~$43.5M, ~37M €). 

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First Results from Cheops: ESA’s Exoplanet Observer Reveals Extreme Alien World

Artist impression of exoplanet WASP-189b orbiting its host star. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA’s new exoplanet mission, Cheops, has found a nearby planetary system to contain one of the hottest and most extreme extra-solar planets known to date: WASP-189 b. The finding, the very first from the mission, demonstrates Cheops’ unique ability to shed light on the Universe around us by revealing the secrets of these alien worlds.

Launched in December 2019, Cheops (the Characterising Exoplanet Satellite) is designed to observe nearby stars known to host planets. By ultra-precisely measuring changes in the levels of light coming from these systems as the planets orbit their stars, Cheops can initially characterise these planets — and, in turn, increase our understanding of how they form and evolve.

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Plans Underway for New European Polar Ice and Snow Topography Mission

CRISTAL satellite (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Monitoring the cryosphere is essential to fully assess, predict and adapt to climate variability and change. Given the importance of this fragile component of the Earth system, today ESA, along with Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space, have signed a contract to develop the Copernicus Polar Ice and Snow Topography Altimeter mission, known as CRISTAL.

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