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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Germany Invests 3.3 Billion Euros in European Space Exploration, Becomes ESA’s Largest Contributor

  • Three years after the last ESA Council Meeting at Ministerial Level, held in Lucerne, Switzerland, government representatives from the 22 Member States met in Seville, Spain, on 27 and 28 November 2019 and committed a total of almost 14.4 billion euro [$15.87 billion] for space programmes over the next few years.
  • Germany is contributing 3.3 billion euro [$3.6 billion] to ESA programmes focusing on Earth observation, telecommunications, technological advancement and commercialisation / NewSpace.
  • At 22.9 percent, Germany is now ESA’s largest contributor, followed by France (18.5 percent, 2.66 billion euro), Italy (15.9 percent, 2.28 billion euro) and the United Kingdom (11.5 percent, 1.65 billion euro).
  • The ESA Council Meeting at Ministerial Level is the highest political decision-making body, and it defines the content and financial framework for ESA’s space programmes every two to three years.
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Ariane 6 Parts Come Together, Europe’s Spaceport Prepares

Ariane 6 mobile gantry over the launch pad. (Credit: ESA)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — The first test models of Ariane 6 are being manufactured while Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, is preparing to test the launch vehicle and all systems involved with launch.

Details on the progress of activities for Ariane 6 were recently shared at the 70th International Astronautical Congress held in Washington, USA – downloadable here (.pdf).

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ESA Ministers Commit to Biggest Ever Budget of $15.84 Billion

Credit: ESA

Ministers approved funding lunar Gateway, space station operations until 2030, Mars Sample Return and Hera asteroid missions

SEVILLE, Spain (ESA PR) — ESA’s Council at Ministerial Level, Space19+, has concluded in Seville, Spain, with the endorsement of the most ambitious plan to date for the future of ESA and the whole European space sector. The meeting brought together ministers with responsibility for space activities in Europe, along with Canada and observers from the EU.

The Member States were asked to approve a comprehensive set of programmes to secure Europe’s independent access to and use of space in the 2020s, boost Europe’s growing space economy, and make breakthrough discoveries about Earth, our Solar System and the Universe beyond, all the while making the responsible choice to strengthen the efforts we are making to secure and protect our planet.

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Ariane 6’s Core Engine Completes Qualification Tests

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

LAMPOLDSHAUSEN, Germany (ESA PR) — Ariane 6, Europe’s next-generation launch vehicle, has passed another key development milestone. Its Vulcain 2.1 liquid-fuelled engine has now completed its qualification testing, which means combined tests can now begin.

The main stage Vulcain 2.1 engine will deliver 135 t of thrust to propel Ariane 6 in the first eight minutes of flight up to an altitude of 200 km.

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Arianespace Backlog Stands at 52 Launches as Company Prepares for Ariane 6, Vega C

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

PARIS (Arianespace PR) — With Arianespace once again participating in the World Satellite Business Week (WSBW) event in Paris from September 9 to 13, the company continues to confirm the attractiveness of its launcher family, with nine new contracts signed since the beginning of the year – including Ariane 6’s maiden flight and the concluding payload contract for the SSMS demonstration flight on Vega (which is now fully booked). Arianespace’s backlog currently stands at 52 launches to be carried out by the Ariane 5/Ariane 6, Vega/Vega C and Soyuz vehicles.

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Arianespace’s “GO-1” Mission to Provide Small Satellites with Direct Flight to Geostationary Orbit

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

EVRY, France (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace to introduce an innovative service providing fast-track access to Geosynchronous Equatorial Orbit (also known as geostationary orbit, or GEO) for the new generation of small satellites, offering a first flight opportunity with more than 4,500 kg. of such payloads on its “GO-1” mission in the first half of 2022.

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Ariane 6 Mobile Gantry Rolled Out for First Time

Ariane 6 mobile gantry. (Credit: ESA)

KOUROU, French Guiana, 29 July 2019 (ESA PR) — At Europe’s Spaceport the Ariane 6 mobile gantry, a 90 metre-high metallic structure built to house Ariane 6 underwent a 97 m rollout test last week to mimic prelaunch.

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Ariane 6 Vulcain Engine Completes Successful Qualification Testing

Artist’s view of the configuration of Ariane 6 using four boosters (A64) (Credit: ESA – D. Ducros)
  • The qualification tests of the Vulcain® 2.1 engine, which will power the Ariane 6 main stage, were completed during the 26th development test.
  • This final qualification test took place on July 16 on the P5 test stand at the DLR site in Lampoldshausen
  • Both Ariane 6 liquid propulsion engines have now completed their firing qualification tests
  • The qualification tests for the Vinci re-ignitable engine for the Ariane upper stage were completed in October 2018

LAMPOLDSHAUSEN, Germany (ArianeGroup PR) — This final qualification test, carried out on the P5 test stand at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) site in Lampoldshausen, lasted almost 11 minutes (655 seconds).

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Ariane 6 Development on Track

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — Europe’s Ariane 6 launch vehicle is set to debut with a commercial mission in 2020 – industry is carrying out the final tests and starting production. The Ariane 6 launch zone at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana is near completion.

Ariane 6’s core stage is powered by the Vulcain 2.1 engine, its upper stage is powered by the reignitable Vinci engine. Strapped on to the core stage will be two or four P120C solid-fuel boosters, a technology shared with Vega-C, to provide thrust at liftoff.

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MT Aerospace, ArianeGroup Sign Development Contracts with ESA for Ariane 6 Composite Upper Stage Technologies

PARIS (MT Aerospace/ArianeGroup PR) — The European Space Agency (ESA) today signed two contracts for technology maturation with MT Aerospace AG, an affiliate of the listed OHB SE space and technology group and with ArianeGroup, lead contractor for Ariane 6.

MT Aerospace and ArianeGroup are combining their respective skills in Augsburg and Bremen to design and test the Prototype of a Highly OptimizEd Black Upper Stage (PHOEBUS). The continuous evolution of the Ariane 6 launcher in terms of greater competitiveness and improved performance requires the exploration and utilization of composite technologies.

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Ariane 6 Series Production Begins with First Batch of 14 Launchers

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

  • Production of this initial batch of Ariane 6 launchers, which are to fly during the 2021-2023 timeframe, will be in parallel with the final batch of 8 Ariane 5 launchers.
  • These first series-production Ariane 6 launchers will roll out of the ArianeGroup plants from early 2021.
  • Ariane 6 is carried out within a European Space Agency (ESA) program. The Ariane 6 maiden flight is scheduled for 2020.

EVRY-COURCOURONNES, France (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace has signed an order with ArianeGroup to begin manufacturing the first series-production batch of 14 Ariane 6 launchers across the European space industry.

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OneWeb to Launch Satellites on Ariane 6, Options 2 Additional Launches

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

EVRY, France (Arianespace PR) — OneWeb is the developer of a new global, high-speed, low latency satellite-based network designed to address the most demanding global connectivity challenges worldwide. Ariane 6 will be available to OneWeb from the second half of 2020 to provide launch capacity that supports the full deployment and replenishment of the OneWeb constellation.

The launch service agreement specifies the use of the qualification launch of the Ariane 62 version, scheduled for the second half of 2020; the two Ariane 6 options (either in its 62 version, accommodating up to 36 OneWeb satellites, or in the 64 version, up to 78 OneWeb satellites) will be utilized starting in 2023.

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Shetland Space Centre Forms Partnership with ArianeGroup for Spaceport Study

Unst Island

GRANTOWN-ON-SPEY, Scotland (Shetland Space Center PR) — The Shetland Space Centre today announces a major partnership with ArianeGroup.

The joint venture, equally owned by Airbus and Safran and lead contractor for Europe’s Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 launchers, will define a concept of operations and assess the range of missions for the SSC spaceport project in the frame of a three-month study. The spaceport will be designed from the ground up to be a commercial facility operated by SSC.

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Austrian Research Promotion Agency Signs Joint Statement on Institutional Use of Ariane 6, Vega C

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

PARIS, 30 January 2019 (ESA PR) — This morning, the Austrian Research Promotion Agency added its signature to the joint statement signed by other European institutions (ASI, ESA, CDTI, CNES & DLR) and the Swiss Confederation in October last year in support to the European launcher industry and to Ariane 6 and Vega-C.

Through this Statement, signatories recognise the benefit of aggregating their institutional demand for launch services to ensure an independent, cost-effective, affordable, and reliable access to space for Europe.

Klaus Pseiner, Managing Director at the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft, FFG) signed the joint statement in the presence of Jan Wörner, ESA’s Director General, and Daniel Neuenschwander, ESA Director of Space Transportation, at ESA Headquarters in Paris.

Space capacities are strategically important to civil, commercial, security and defence-related policy objectives. Space is an enabler for responding to societal challenges and for stimulating job and growth creation. Europe needs to maintain a leading position in this sector. Europe’s autonomy of action in space is conditional on autonomy in accessing space.