Cleared for Commercialization – Bartolomeo External Platform to Expand ISS Usage

Bartolomeo with laser (Credit: Airbus)
  • Europe’s first commercial external platform on the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled for launch on 6 March 2020.
  • Built and tested in Germany, the Bartolomeo platform is a major step towards commercial ISS use in Europe.
  • Bartolomeo offers companies and research institutions ideal conditions for exposing their experiments and technological developments to the conditions of space simply and directly.

Its days on Earth are numbered – the external platform Bartolomeo is currently waiting for its launch to the International Space Station (ISS) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida inside a SpaceX Dragon capsule.

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Gradel Working on Lightweight Manufacturing for Space

Claude Maack (Credit: Luxembourg Space Agency)

Luxembourg Space Agency Q&A

Gradel MD, Claude Maack, on the future of ultra-lightweight construction for space.

Gradel has worked in the nuclear industry for 50 years and for the last decade the company has also been involved in the space industry, constructing highest end mechanical ground support equipment.

In the last year and a half Gradel has been working with the German company, AMC. They’re specialists in ultra-lightweight construction and collaborate with Gradel to develop ultra-lightweight materials for the space market.

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ESA, Airbus Sign Contract for Bartolomeo Platform on ISS

Bartolomeo with laser (Credit: Airbus)

BREMEN, 23 January 2020 (Airbus PR)  – The Bartolomeo platform from Airbus gives new opportunities for research on the International Space Station (ISS). The European Space Agency ESA has now firmly booked a payload slot for a Norwegian instrument to monitor plasma density in the Earth’s atmosphere.

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Second Space Data Highway Satellite Set to Beam

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

PARIS (ESA PR) — The second satellite in the European Data Relay System has reached its intended orbit and completed its in-orbit tests.

Dubbed the “SpaceDataHighway” by its commercial operator Airbus, EDRS uses innovative laser technology to enable Earth-observation satellites to deliver their information to users on the ground in near real-time, accelerating responses to emergency situations and spurring the development of new services and products.

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HawkEye 360, Airbus Form Strategic Partnership

Herndon, Va., January 20, 2020 (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 analytics, today announced that it has formed a strategic partnership with Airbus, a global leader in the aerospace and defense industry. Through the partnership, Airbus and HawkEye 360 will deliver high-impact geospatial intelligence solutions not currently available. Both companies can leverage the platforms and services of the other partner to address client mission needs.

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ESA Reports Promising Progress for ExoMars Parachutes

A series of clips from different angles and at different speeds showing parachute extraction tests using a NASA/JPL test rig powered by compressed air.  The lid of the parachute assembly is pulled along a suspended cable at high speed while the end of the assembly is fixed to a wall. When the release mechanism is activated, the parachute bag is pulled away from the parachute at the target speed, mimicking the extraction as it will be on Mars. At the highest speeds, the tests enable the extraction to take place at more than 200 km/h.

PARIS (ESA PR) — A series of ground-based tests designed to check the extraction of the ExoMars 2020 mission’s parachutes from their bags have started successfully with promising results to keep the mission on track for next year’s launch.

Landing on Mars is a high-risk endeavour with no room for error. In just six minutes, a descent module with its precious cargo cocooned inside has to slow from around 21 000 km/h at the top of the planet’s atmosphere, to a soft landing at the surface controlled by the lander’s propulsion system.

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Soyuz Booster to Launch COSMO-Skymed, Cheops, ANGELS, Eyesat and OPS-SAT

Replica of OPS-SAT (Credit: ESA–Stijn Laagland)

PARIS (CNES PR) — On Tuesday 17 December, Soyuz will lift off for the 23rd time from the Guiana Space Centre (CSG), Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana, carrying COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation for the Italian space agency ASI and the Italian Ministry of Defence, CHEOPS for the European Space Agency (ESA), ANGELS and EyeSat for CNES, and OPS-SAT for operator Tyvak on behalf of ESA.

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Helping Heracles EL3 to Survive the Long, Cold, Dark Lunar Nights

Heracles lander and rover (Credit: ESA/ATG Medialab)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA has kicked off an activity with Prototec – a NORCE company – and its partners Airbus and Air Liquide to develop alternative technologies for surviving the lunar night

When the European Large Logistic Lander (EL3) lands on the Moon, some of its cargo might require to survive the lunar night that lasts up to two weeks on Earth.

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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.