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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UK Space Agency Provides More than £900,000 for Education and Range Control for Launch UK

Close to £1 million [$1.28 million] of government funding will be used to inspire the next generation of engineers and support future commercial range control services for UK spaceflight.

SWINDON, UK (UKSA PR) — The UK Space Agency is awarding £325,000 [$415,357] to the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC) to bring the latest space science to children and families across the UK.

This will help create new resources based on real scientific and engineering challenges, including those facing the operation of UK spaceports, rockets and spaceplanes.

Together, up to 14 UK science centres and museums will deliver activities to 200,000 children and adults until March 2021, building on the success of ASDC’s Destination Space education programme, which reached more than 900,000 people during Tim Peake’s Principia mission.

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Kleos Space Signs Second MoU with Airbus Defence and Space

MoU covers the companies’ agreement to collaborate on In-Space
manufacturing technology

Luxembourg/ Bremen (G), 15 October 2018 (Kleos Space PR) — Luxembourg-based and ASX listed Kleos Space S.A. (ASX:KSS), state-of-the-art space technology operator, today announces the signature of a second Memorandum of Understanding with Airbus Defence and Space, as both companies investigate opportunities to collaborate for the manufacture In-Space of structural elements.

Kleos Space and parent Magna Parva (UK) have developed an In-Space manufacturing system that will provide a method of producing huge carbon composite 3D structures in space.

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Airbus, Orbital Insight Partner on OneAtlas Platform for World-class Geospatial Analytics

TOULOUSE, France, 12 September 2018 (Airbus PR) – Airbus Defence and Space has entered into a partnership with Orbital Insight, a U.S.-based geospatial analytics company, to build a suite of geospatial analytics services and tools. The agreement will provide Orbital Insight with access to Pleiades and SPOT satellite imagery at scale and provide Airbus with analytics services, making Orbital Insight the first analytics partner for the Airbus Digital Platform, “OneAtlas.”

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Space is Hard: Tough Testing for 3D Printed Parts

Laser-based 3D printing (Credit: AMAZE – Fraunhofer ILT/Airbus)

HARWELL, UK (ESA PR) — 3D-printed metal parts produced through a Europe-wide collaboration of high-performance industrial sectors have undergone extensive testing for space use – tested to destruction in many cases – by ESA’s specialist advanced manufacturing lab in the UK.

ESA’s Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory based in Harwell, UK, took delivery of the sample parts, produced as an output of the four-year AMAZE programme, harnessing metal 3D printing to produce lighter, cheaper, better products.

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Complex Organics Bubble From Depths of Ocean World Enceladus

Enceladus jets and shadows. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Data from the international Cassini spacecraft have revealed complex organic molecules originating from Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus, strengthening the idea that this ocean-world hosts conditions suitable for life.

Very little was known about Enceladus prior to 2005 – the year when Cassini first flew close. Since then, it has become a continuous source of surprises, with secrets still being revealed even now, after the mission end.

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Space-to-Ground Laser Communications System for European ISS Platform

Bartolomeo with laser (Credit: Airbus)

BREMEN, German (Airbus PR) — The first high capacity space-to-ground laser communication system is to be installed on the Bartolomeo platform of the International Space Station (ISS) as part of a collaboration between Airbus Defence and Space, the Institute of Communications and Navigation of DLR (German Aerospace Center) and Tesat-Spacecom GmbH & Co. KG. The system called OSIRIS will provide direct to earth (DTE) technology with a data rate of 10 Gbps over range of about 1.500 km.

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Falcon 9 Launch Delayed Until Wednesday

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is seen as it launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base Space Launch Complex 4 East with the Jason-3 spacecraft onboard, , Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

A SpaceX Falcon 9 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California has been delayed until Wednesday, Feb. 21. The launch had been previously scheduled for Feb. 16 and Feb. 18.

The primary payload is the Paz satellite for Hisdesat of Spain. The spacecraft will provide radar imaging as well as ship tracking and weather data. The flight will use a previously-flown first stage.

Elon Musk’s company will also launch two of its own satellites, Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b, that will demonstration technologies needed to provide global broadband services. The company plans to orbit 12,000 in two separate constellations for its Starlink broadband service.

Here is the launch schedule for the next two weeks. Check for updates here.

Feb. 21

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payload: Paz
Launch Time: 9:17 a.m. EST; 6:17 a.m. PST (1417 GMT)
Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

Built by Airbus Defense and Space, Hisdesat’s Paz satellite will provide radar imaging as well as ship tracking and weather data. The flight will use a previously-flown first stage.

Feb. 24/25

Launch Vehicle: H-2A
Payload: IGS Optical 6
Launch Window: 11:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m. EST on Feb. 24 (0400-0600 GMT on Feb. 25)
Launch site: Tanegashima Space Center, Japan

The Japanese government’s Information Gathering Satellite carries an optical reconnaissance payload.

Feb. 25

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9
Payload: Hispasat 30W-6
Launch Window: 12:35 a.m. EST (0535 GMT)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, Florida

The Hispasat 30W-6 satellite, built by Space Systems/Loral, will provide communications services over Europe, North Africa and the Americas.

March 1

Launch Vehicle: Atlas 5
Payload: GOES-S
Launch Time: 5:02-7:02 p.m. EST (2202-0002 GMT)
Launch Site: SLC-41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

The United Launch Alliance rocket will launch the second next-generation geostationary weather satellite for NASA and NOAA.

March 6

Launch Vehicle: Soyuz
Payload: O3b F4
Launch Time: 11:38:36 a.m. EST (1638:36 GMT)
Launch Site: French Guiana

The four O3b Networks will provide broadband services to developing countries.