Europe’s JUICE Spacecraft Begins to Take Shape

Unpacking of JUICE primary structure in Lampoldshausen. (Credits: Airbus, ArianeGroup)

LAMPOLDSHAUSEN, Germany (ESA PR) — The assembly of the flight model of ESA’s JUICE spacecraft began in September, with the delivery of the spacecraft’s primary structure, followed by integration of the propulsion system that will enable the mission to reach and study Jupiter and its moons.

On 2 September, the main skeleton of JUICE was delivered to the Arianegroup facility in Lampoldshausen, Germany.

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UNOOSA, Airbus Announce Opportunity for Utilizing Bartolomeo ISS Platform

bartolomeo platform on ISS. (Credit: Airbus Defence and Space)

VIENNA and WASHINGTON D.C., 24 October 2019 (Airbus/UNOOSA PR) – At the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Washington D.C., the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and Airbus issued an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) for utilizing the Airbus Bartolomeo external platform on the International Space Station (ISS) for missions in the space environment.

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Quantum Satellite Completes Thermal Vacuum Testing

Quantum satellite in thermal vacuum facility. (Credit ESA)

TOULOUSE, France (ESA PR) — The Quantum satellite – Europe’s reprogrammable telecommunications satellite – built through an ESA Partnership Project with its operator Eutelsat successfully completed thermal vacuum testing on 28 September. 

The huge test chamber at Airbus’s Astrolabe facility in Toulouse took the “chameleon satellite” through its paces over the past five weeks.

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Airbus Wins Design Study Contract for UK Defense Satellite

Oberon satellite cluster (Credit: Airbus)

London, 11 September 2019 – Airbus has won a design study from the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) to develop the technologies for a cluster of ultra-high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites for the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD). The satellites will also have the ability to collect radio frequency (RF) signals.

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CIMON Mobile Astronaut Assistant Back on Earth After 14 Months on ISS

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst interacts with the CIMON mobile astronaut assistant aboard the International Space Station. (Credit: ESA)
  • On 27 August 2019, the robotic astronaut assistant CIMON, which was developed and built in Germany, returned from the International Space Station on board the SpaceX CRS-18 spacecraft
  • A successor model of the technology experiment with extended functionality is currently being built and tested by Airbus on behalf of the DLR Space Administration; the ‘second’ CIMON also uses IBM ‘Watson’ artificial intelligence technology and he scientific aspects of the assistance system were co-developed and supervised by a team at Ludwig-Maximilian University Hospital in Munich

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — The Crew Interactive Mobile CompaniON (CIMON) mobile astronaut assistant, which is equipped with artificial intelligence (AI), returned to Earth on 27 August 2019. The SpaceX CRS-18 Dragon spacecraft carrying CIMON was undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) at 16:59 CEST; the capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean approximately 480 kilometres southwest of Los Angeles and was recovered at 22:21 CEST.

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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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Softbank Writes Down $424.7 Million Investment in OneWeb

Ouch!

Citing a story in the Sunday Telegraph, City A.M. reports that Softbank took a £380 million ($424.7 million) impairment loss on its investment in OneWeb. Softbank is the largest shareholder in the Internet satellite company.

Airbus, Qualcomm and Virgin Group are among other shareholders in the London-based satellite firm, which boasts a valuation of more than $1bn (£823m) and has earned sought-after “unicorn” status.

In addition to the Softbank writedown, some early investors have lost as much as half of the value of their stakes, according to the report

Oneweb, which secured $1.25bn in its latest Softbank-led funding round, has ramped up its plans for satellite production amid competition from Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’s Amazon.

EDRS-C Satellite Launched to Expand Space Data Highway

EDRS-C is prepared for launch. (Credit: ESA-CNES-Arianespace Optique Vidéo du CSG – S Martin)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — The second satellite to join the constellation that forms the European Data Relay System (EDRS) has been successfully launched.

The satellite was launched on board an Ariane 5 from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on 6 August at 21:30 CEST (19:30 UTC).

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Two Weeks of Science and Beyond

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano performs a European experiment called GRIP that studies astronauts’ perception of of mass and movement and how they interface with the human body and change in microgravity. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Over two weeks have flown by since ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano was launched to the International Space Station for his second six-month stay in orbit. His arrival, alongside NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan and Roscosmos Soyuz commander Alexander Skvortsov, boosted the Station’s population to six and the crew has been busy ever since – performing a wide range of science in space.

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Ariane 5 Orbits Communications Satellites on Third Launch of 2019

Ariane 5 lifts off with the Intelsat 5 and EDRS-C communications satellites aboard. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace marked another success for global telecommunications with launch of the Intelsat 39 and EDRS-C satellites, which were deployed to geostationary transfer orbit on its latest flight using a workhorse Ariane 5.

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HawkEye 360 Secures $70 Million in Series B Financing to Deploy Constellation

HERNDON, Va., August 6, 2019 (HawkEye 360 PR) – ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​HawkEye 360 Inc., the first commercial company to use formation flying satellites to create a new class of radio frequency (RF) data and data analytic products, today announced that it has secured $70 million in Series B financing.

This financing capitalizes the company’s business plan to include buildout and launch of the HawkEye 360 commercial satellite constellation and development of the company’s line of RF analytic products by 2021.

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RUAG Space Builds Brain, Heat Protection for EDRS Data Highway Satellite

Artist’s impression of EDRS system in space. (Credit: DLR)

BERN, Switzerland (RUAG Space PR) — The European Data Relay System (EDRS), dubbed the “SpaceDataHighway”, uses innovative laser technology to dramatically cut the time needed for Earth observation satellites to deliver information to the ground. The second satellite to join the sister satellite already in orbit is due for launch on 6 August.

The “brain” (onboard computer) of the latest satellite, called EDRS-C, was delivered from RUAG Space to the satellite builder OHB System AG. The onboard computer controls and monitors the payload of the satellite and many other subsystems.

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European Space Data Relay System Shows its Speed

The European Data Relay System monitors the Earth in almost real time. (Credit: ESA)

BRUSSELS (ESA PR) — A satellite network that can zoom in on ships at sea and check for oil spills in almost real time has demonstrated its capabilities at a high-level international event in Brussels.

The demonstration of the capabilities of the European Data Relay System (EDRS) was made to delegates at the headquarters of the European External Action Service on 10 July.

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OneWeb, Airbus Open High-production Satellite Manufacturing Facility in Florida

Inside OneWeb’s satellite manufacturing facility in Florida. (Credit: OneWeb)

EXPLORATION PARK, Florida, USA, July 22, 2019 – OneWeb Satellites – a joint venture of OneWeb and Airbus – today officially opened the world’s first high-volume, high-speed advanced satellite production facility to bring transformative internet connectivity to everyone, everywhere.

Historically, satellites are custom built, costing tens of millions of dollars to build, and taking more than a year to produce a single one. The OneWeb Satellites facility is the first to employ industrial-scale mass production techniques for satellites, enabling dramatically reduced costs and production times that can deliver one satellite per production shift or two a day, while significantly expanding internet connectivity and making space technology far more accessible.

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Airbus to Develop CO3D Earth Observation Program for CNES

CO3D satellite (Credit: Airbus)
  • The next generation in optical satellite constellations
  • Production of 3D high-resolution data for global digital elevation model
  • Strategic move to support export contracts for French industry

PARIS (Airbus PR) – The French Space Agency (CNES) has awarded the CO3D (Constellation Optique 3D) contract to Airbus. Under this agreement, Airbus will deliver a global high-resolution Digital Surface Model (DSM).

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