Astronauts to Boost European Connectivity

Image taken by ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano from outside the International Space Station on the first spacewalk to service the cosmic ray detecting Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02). The image shows the three main laboratory modules, clockwise from top: the US Destiny lab, Japanese Kibo module and the European Columbus lab. (Credit: ESA–L. Parmitano, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Astronauts aboard the International Space Station are planning a spacewalk to install a high-speed satellite link that will improve their connections with Europe.

The system will enable astronauts to connect at home broadband internet speeds – delivering a whole family’s worth of video streaming for communications and a data pipeline connecting the scientific experiments aboard the Station to researchers in Europe.

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SpaceX, L3Harris Win Space Development Agency Awards After Unsuccessful Challenges

National Defense Space Architecture tracking layer. (Credit: Department of Defense)

The Space Development Agency has reaffirmed its decision to award contracts to build missile warning satellites to L3Harris and SpaceX following unsuccessful appeals by rival bidders.

L3Harris and SpaceX will each build four satellites to detect and track ballistic and hypersonic missiles as part of the agency’s Tracking Layer Tranche 0 program. L3Harris received a $193.5 million contract while SpaceX’s contract is worth $149 million.

The Space Development Agency awarded the contracts in October. However, the agency placed issued temporary stop-work orders after Airbus and Raytheon filed protests with the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

SpaceNews reports that the Space Development Agency agreed to reevaluate the selection process in response to the protests. The second review reaffirmed the original decision to award the contracts to L3Harris and SpaceX. GAO has dismissed the protests filed by Airbus and Raytheon.

Airbus Signs Multi-Satellite Contract with Intelsat for OneSat Flexible Satellites

OneSat Intelsat SDS (Credit: Airbus)

Shaping the future with Intelsat: provision of next-generation Software Defined Satellites for global telecommunications services

New success for OneSat, reinforcing its leading position in the market

Toulouse / Mclean, Va, 8 January 2021 – Airbus has signed a contract with Intelsat to build two OneSat satellites operating in multiple frequency bands for Intelsat’s next-generation software-defined network. The contract was signed on 31 December 2020.

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European Space and Digital Players to Study Development of EU’s Satellite-based Connectivity System

BRUSSELS, 23 December 2020 (Airbus PR) — The European Commission has selected a consortium of European satellite manufacturers, operators and service providers, telco operators and launch service providers to study the design, development and launch of a European-owned space-based communication system.

The study will assess the feasibility of a new initiative aiming to strengthen European digital sovereignty and provide secure connectivity for citizens, commercial enterprises and public institutions as well as providing global coverage for rural and ‘not-spot’ areas. Complementing Copernicus and Galileo, this new EU flagship programme, once given the green light, would fully exploit the synergies of the technological potential akin to the Digital and Space industries. The contract value of the year-long feasibility study amounts to € 7.1 million.

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Fraunhofer and Airbus Sign Contract for Payload Mission on ISS Bartolomeo Platform

The Bartolomeo platform, with blue hinges centre-right of the photo, is at the end of the Dextre attachment that is part of Canada’s 16-m robotic arm for the International Space Station. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

Airbus’ novel payload hosting service enables the in-space technology demonstration of a multispectral camera for ConstellR, a Fraunhofer EMI spin-off

Bremen, 14 December 2020 – Airbus and Fraunhofer EMI have signed a contract for an in-orbit demonstration mission on the Bartolomeo platform of the International Space Station (ISS). With this mission, Fraunhofer EMI enables its spin-off ConstellR to demonstrate the core measurement technology required for highly accurate land surface temperature (LST) monitoring on a global scale.

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NASA and DLR Strength­en Co­op­er­a­tion

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — On 17 December 2020, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) extended their framework agreement on bilateral cooperation for a further ten years.

The agreement was signed by NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine, Chair of the DLR Executive Board, Professor Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla, and Member of the DLR Executive Board and Head of the DLR Space Administration, Walther Pelzer, who met via video conference to mark the occasion.

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Interplanetary Internet & Cameras in Space: ESA’s OPS-SAT First Results

As a flying laboratory, ESA’s OPS-SAT will test and validate new techniques in mission control and on-board systems. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — OPS-SAT is the world’s first open, in-orbit testbed for new spacecraft software and applications. By conducting low-cost, low-risk experiments with OPS-SAT, teams from across Europe are ushering in a new era for European spaceflight innovation and commercial opportunity.

  • OPS-SAT’s commissioning phase ended in September and the first experiments are now being carried out in orbit
  • Innovative new technologies are being tested on OPS-SAT in areas such as artificial intelligence, data compression, and space-based web services
  • Initial experimental results have exceeded expectations
  • Results from many more experiments expected soon
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ArianeGroup Signs Contract with ESA to Develop Themis Reusable Stage Demonstrator

Themis rocket in flight. (Credit: CNES)
  • The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded ArianeGroup the contract for the initial development phase of the Themis reusable rocket stage demonstrator
  • This first contract, worth 33 million euros, was awarded to ArianeGroup following preparatory work done by ArianeWorks, the innovation accelerator platform created by the French space agency CNES and ArianeGroup
  • Themis, powered by the Prometheus engine, will enable Europe to develop technologies for future low-cost reusable launchers

PARIS (ArianeGroup PR) — ArianeGroup has received a 33-million-euro contract from the European Space Agency (ESA), to begin the first development phase for the Themis reusable rocket stage demonstrator. Themis will use Prometheus, the very low-cost rocket engine demonstrator currently under development as an ESA programme.

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Arianespace to Launch CO3D Constellation on Vega C Booster

Artist’s impression of Vega-C launcher in flight. (Credit: ESA-Jacky Huart)

EVRY, France (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace has signed a contract with Airbus to launch four new-generation optical observation satellites of the CO3D (Composante Optique 3D) constellation, to be orbited using the Vega C launcher.

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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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ESA Signs Contracts for Three High-priority Environmental Missions

Copernicus Hyperspectral Imaging Mission (CHIME) satellite. (Credit: Thales Alenia Space)

PARIS, November 13, 2020 (ESA PR) — Today, ESA signed contracts with Thales Alenia Space in France and in Italy, and Airbus in Spain to build three of the new high-priority Copernicus satellite missions: CHIME, CIMR and LSTM, respectively.

Each mission is set to help address different major environmental challenges such as sustainable agriculture management, food security, the monitoring of polar ice supporting the EU Integrated Policy for the Arctic, and all will be used to understand climate change.

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Airbus, Raytheon Protest SDA Contract Awards to SpaceX & L3Harris

National Defense Space Architecture tracking layer. (Credit: Department of Defense)

Raytheon and Airbus US Space and Defense have filed formal protests with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) over the Space Development Agency’s (SDA) decision to award contracts worth $342.5 million to L3Harris Technologies and SpaceX to build eight missile warning 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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Launchspace Technologies To Test Orbital Debris Collection & Spacecraft Shielding Experiment on ISS

Launchspace will utilize a slot on the new ISS-external Bartolomeo platform for the in-orbit demonstration of an Orbital Debris Collection and Spacecraft Shielding payload

TOULOUSE, France (Airbus PR) — Airbus and Launchspace Technologies Corporation (LTC) have signed a contract for a mission on the International Space Station (ISS): Airbus’ Bartolomeo platform will host the Launchspace Orbital Debris Collection and Spacecraft Shielding Demonstration Payload for a 12-month period starting in 2022.

The payload consists of orbital ‘Debris Impact Pads’, which house a series of sensors that record the impact, force and orbital location of debris on the ISS.

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The INNOspace Masters 2019/20 Awards Clever Ideas for Tomorrow’s Space Travel

The overall winner of the INNOspace Masters 2020. (Credit: DLR)
  • On October 14, 2020, the winners of the INNOspace Masters competition were honored in an online conference.
  • More than 300 companies, start-ups, universities and research institutions in 15 European countries answered the call.
  • The new 2020/21 competition will start under the motto “Innovations for sustainable infrastructures – in space and on earth”.

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — Under the motto “New Ideas between Space and Earth”, the space management of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) searched the fifth INNOspace Masters competition for new ideas and concepts that address current challenges in space travel and other industries and offer innovative solutions. Five competition categories – called “Challenges” – from different development and innovation phases in the value chain were available for the participants to choose from. 

The “DLR Space Management Challenge” focused on the research and development phase, while the industrial partners Airbus and OHB were looking for proposals for solutions that were already ready for the market. DB Netz AG, since this year an additional industrial partner of the competition, focused on innovations from the space industry for the monitoring, inspection and maintenance of the rail infrastructure. The “ESA BIC Start-up Challenge”, which was aimed at the start-up

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