France Acquires Automatic 3D Geospatial Information Capability with AI4GEO

PARIS, December 10, 2019 (CNES PR) – The AI4GEO project to develop an automatic solution for producing 3D geospatial information, in which €30 million is to be invested over four years, is receiving €13.5 million in funding from the government’s PIA future investment programme led by the Secretariat General for Investment (SGPI) and operated by public investment bank Bpifrance. The signature of the contract marks France’s desire to acquire a 3D geospatial information capability at the cutting edge of innovation.

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Ariane’s 250th Mission Launches 2 Communications Satellites

Ariane 5 booster lifts off. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace has successfully orbited two geostationary satellites: TIBA-1, for Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defence and Space on behalf of the Government of Egypt; and GX5 for the operator Inmarsat.

The launch took place on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 at 18:23 p.m. (local time) from the Guiana Space Center (CSG), Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana (South America).

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Arianespace, ESA Announce EarthCARE Launch Contract

PARIS (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace and the European Space Agency (ESA) today announced the signature of a launch services contract with a Soyuz launch vehicle for the EarthCARE satellite.

EarthCARE (Cloud, Aerosol and Radiation Explorer) satellite – the sixth mission in ESA’s Earth Explorer program – will advance our understanding of the role clouds and aerosols play in reflecting incident solar radiation back into space and trapping infrared radiation emitted from Earth’s surface.

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World Space Alliance Continues to Strengthen

TOULOUSE, France (ESA PR) — The ESA–SAP World Space Alliance continues to grow as Airbus Defence and Space, the Environmental Systems Research Institute and GeoVille join the partnership.

Earlier this year, SAP – a German-based multinational software corporation – and ESA created the World Space Alliance (WSA). This was another milestone in the ESA—SAP partnership that was initiated in 2016.

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EDEN ISS Project Presents Results of New Greenhouse Concept for Future Space Missions

The EDEN ISS greenhouse concept is designed to be launched on a Falcon 9 booster. It would have 30 square meters of cultivate space to provide food for astronauts on the moon or Mars. (Credit: LIQUIFER Systems Group)
  • 268 kilograms of food produced in an area of only 12.5 square metres over 9.5 months.
  • Power consumption less than half as much as previously assumed for greenhouses in space.
  • Concept – a deployable greenhouse suitable for launch on a Falcon 9 rocket.
  • Project in Antarctica continues.

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — Future food production in deserts and cold regions, as well as under the inhospitable conditions of future space missions to the Moon and Mars, is providing the stimulus for research in the Antarctic greenhouse project EDEN ISS, which is led by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR).

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ExoMars Rover Ready for Environmental Testing

STEVENAGE, UK (ESA PR) — The Rosalind Franklin ExoMars rover has completed its construction activities in the UK and will now depart to France for testing under the conditions of the Red Planet’s environment.

The final pieces of the rover’s scientific suite of instruments were attached at the Airbus Defence and Space site in Stevenage over the last weeks. The finishing touches included the ‘eyes’ of the rover: the high-resolution cameras that will provide panoramic and close-up images of the terrain that the rover will explore once on Mars in 2021.

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ExoMars Parachute Fails in Test

ExoMars 2020 parachute deployment sequence (Credit: ESA)

KIRUNA, Sweden, 12 August 2019 (ESA PR) — As the second ExoMars mission, comprising a rover and surface science platform, progresses towards launch next year, teams continue to troubleshoot the parachute design following an unsuccessful high-altitude drop test last week.

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Airbus Announces Three New Communications Contract Awards

Airbus has been awarded contracts for three new communications satellites. The company will build one of the satellites itself and the other two as part of a consortium with Thales Alenia Space.

Airbus will build the MEASAT-3d multi-mission satellite for MEASAT Global Berhad (“MEASAT”), of Malaysia, Positioned at 91.5°E collocated with MEASAT-3b, also built by Airbus, MEASAT-3d will deliver improved performances to progressively replace MEASAT-3 and MEASAT-3a, supporting Asia’s premium DTH (direct to home) video distribution.

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Airbus and Orbital Insight Launch Earth Monitor to Provide Geopolitical and Economic Insights

TOULOUSE, France (Airbus Defence and Space PR) – Airbus Defence and Space and Orbital Insight have expanded upon their partnership agreement to create Earth Monitor, a powerful change analysis and insights service which provides situation awareness over archived or newly tasked areas of interest.

Earth Monitor, available through Airbus’ OneAtlas Platform, leverages Orbital Insight’s machine learning and computer vision expertise through powerful algorithms that detect changes in infrastructure and land use in near real-time, as well as identify and count cars, trucks and soon, aircraft. This advanced service fuses Airbus’ reactive tasking capabilities and premium archive imagery from the Living Library to offer access to advanced statistical analyses, trends and detection maps.

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UK Delivers World’s Most Accurate Weather Satellite Instrument

SWINDON, England (UKSA PR) — Collaboration between the UK and France has developed a sophisticated forecasting instrument that will set new standards of accuracy in short term weather prediction.

Using high-performance infrared detectors made in Southampton, the new device will improve short-range weather forecasts by monitoring atmospheric instability and cloud structure. It will also analyse the content of the Earth’s atmosphere, detecting and tracking pollutants around the globe.
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Europe’s Exoplanet Satellite Completes Final Tests

Artist impression of Cheops, the Characterising Exoplanet Satellite, with an exoplanet system in the background. (Credit: ESA/ATG medialab)

MADRID (ESA PR) — ESA’s Characterising Exoplanet Satellite, Cheops, was recently declared ready to fly after completing a series of final spacecraft tests.

Cheops will lift off as a secondary passenger on a Soyuz-Fregat rocket launching from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The satellite will be stored at the Airbus Defence and Space facility in Madrid for a few months before being shipped to the launch site, targeting the launch time slot between 15 October and 14 November in 2019.
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Firefly, Airbus Sign MOU to Partner on Launch Solutions for Constellations

CEDAR PARK, Texas, March 19, 2019 (Firefly Aerospace PR) – Firefly Aerospace, Inc. (Firefly), a provider of economical and dependable launch vehicles, spacecraft and in-space services, announced today the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus) to develop new space launch solutions for Airbus customers.

“Firefly is pleased to enter into an MOU with Airbus to formulate an integrated market offering that will provide Airbus customers rapid deployment of Airbus manufactured satellites,” said Firefly CEO Dr. Tom Markusic. “We are very impressed by the versatility and low cost of the Airbus ARROW platform and Airbus’s investment in leading edge satellite mass production capabilities. We look forward to working closely with Airbus to bring economical launch solutions to their customers. This initial MOU covering several launches is the first step of a long-term relationship which will provide Airbus customers the highest level of flexibility for their small satellite launches.”

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ExoMars Rover Named After Co-Discoverer of DNA Structure

Rosalind Franklin (Credit: Jewish Chronicle Archive/Heritage-Images)

STEVENAGE, UK, February 7, 2019 (UKSA PR) — The UK made ExoMars rover, due to roam the surface of the red planet in 2021, has been named after UK scientist and co-discoverer of the structure of DNA – Rosalind Franklin.

The name was revealed this morning by Science Minister Chris Skidmore and British European Space Agency (ESA) Astronaut Tim Peake in the ‘Mars Yard’ at Airbus Defence and Space UK in Stevenage, where the rover is being built.

Chris Skidmore, UK Science Minister said:

“It is a tremendously fitting tribute that the rover has been named after Rosalind Franklin as she helped us understand life on Earth and now her namesake will do the same on Mars.

“Just as Rosalind Franklin overcame many obstacles during her career, I hope ‘Rosalind the rover’ will successfully persevere in this exciting adventure, inspiring generations of female scientists and engineers to come.

“This is a big moment for British science and through our modern Industrial Strategy we are embracing this moment as part of our ambition to be the world’s most innovative economy, creating opportunities for business through science.”

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Airbus & Partner OneWeb Win DARPA Contract to Support Blackjack Program

HERNDON, Va., USA, 14 January 2019 – Airbus Defense and Space Inc. has been awarded a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a satellite bus in support of the Blackjack program.

DARPA describes the Blackjack program as an architecture demonstration intending to show the military utility of global low-earth orbit constellations and mesh networks of lower size, weight and cost. DARPA wants to buy commercial satellite buses and pair them with military sensors and payloads. The bus drives each satellite by generating power, controlling attitude, providing propulsion, transmitting spacecraft telemetry, and providing general payload accommodation including mounting locations for the military sensors.

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Ariane 6 Moving Forward

Artist’s view of the configuration of Ariane 6 using four boosters (A64) (Credit: ESA – D. Ducros)

PARIS (ESA PR) — This has been an intense year for Ariane 6 development, with progress boosted across Europe: plants are manufacturing new parts using novel methods, all engines have been tested, and the construction of launch facilities is well underway.

ESA has worked with an industrial network led by prime contractor ArianeGroup, of more than 600 companies in 13 European countries, including 350 small- and medium-sized enterprises, to fine-tune the design and start production. Meanwhile, France’s CNES space agency has been preparing its launch facilities at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

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