UK Space Innovation Programme Launches with £15 Million for Climate Change, Communications Projects

  • The first projects to be funded will use space technology to tackle global issues such as climate change or increase connectivity
  • £5 million of the funding is set aside exclusively for international space projects, to strengthen the UK’s partnerships with space faring nations

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — A new National Space Innovation Programme has launched, with an initial £15 million funding for projects related to Earth observation, communications and international partnerships.

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Six New Missions for the European Copernicus Earth Observation Program

Sentinel-6/Jason-CS will map up to 95% of Earth’s ice-free ocean every 10 days in order to monitor sea level variability. (Credit: ESA/ATG medialab)
  • On 1 July 2020, the European Space Agency awarded contracts for the development and construction of six further Copernicus satellites.
  • Contracts with a value of more than 800 million euro are being awarded to space companies in Germany, a high percentage of which are SMEs.
  • The new satellites are intended to help find answers to the global challenges posed by climate change, population growth and environmental problems.

BONN, Germany (DLR PR) — Sentinel satellites are at the heart of Copernicus, Europe’s largest Earth observation programme. Sentinels are already reliably and continuously providing large amounts of data on the state of the climate, vegetation and oceans. Now, six more ‘Earth Guardians’, the High Priority Candidate Missions (HPCM), are being added.

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NASA’s PACE Mission Moves Forward Despite Efforts to Kill it

PACE satellite (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA’s Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) satellite has continued to move forward toward an early 2024 launch despite attempts by Trump Administration, according to a new assessment by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

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Greenland and Antarctica Losing Ice Six Times Faster Than Expected

Greenland (Credit: I. Joughin, University of Washington)

PARIS (ESA PR) — According to a new report, Greenland and Antarctica are losing ice six times faster than in the 1990s – currently on track with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s worst-case climate warming scenario.

The findings, published in two separate papers in Nature, show that Greenland and Antarctica lost 6.4 trillion tonnes of ice between 1992 and 2017 – pushing global sea levels up by 17.8 millimetres.

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Trump Administration Proposes Deep Cuts to NOAA Budget

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Trump Administration is proposing a 13.57 percent reduction in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) budget for fiscal year (FY) 2021, according to budget documents.

The $4.63 billion proposal would cut NOAA spending by $727.64 million below the FY 2020 budget. Although key satellite and commercial data purchasing programs would received increases, dozens of other programs would see their funding reduced or eliminated completely.

NOAA’s climate change research programs would be reduced by more than half from $169.5 million to $83.2 million. President Donald Trump has called global warming a hoax invented by the Chinese government to destroy the American economy.

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NASA, NOAA Analyses Reveal 2019 Second Warmest Year on Record

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — According to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2019 were the second warmest since modern recordkeeping began in 1880.

Globally, 2019 temperatures were second only to those of 2016 and continued the planet’s long-term warming trend: the past five years have been the warmest of the last 140 years.

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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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Ireland to Contribute Over €100 million to ESA

SEVILLE, Spain (Irish Government PR) — Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan, T.D., along with Ministers with responsibility for space within the 22 European Space Agency (ESA) Member States and Canada, gathered in Seville, Spain to attend ESA’s  Ministerial Council meeting, Space19+.  The key purpose of the Ministerial meeting is to determine future ESA policies and strategies and to take decisions on Member States’ investment in future space programmes.

During Space19+, Minister Halligan confirmed Ireland’s investment in a number of ESA’s Optional Programmes. Ireland’s investment decisions at Space19+ have been guided by the National Space Strategy for Enterprise 2019-2025, published earlier this year. The national strategy aims to develop a strong and economically sustainable space-active industry in Ireland.

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UK Invests in European Space Agency Programs

SEVILLE, Spain (UKSA PR) — The UK Space Agency has today (28 November) announced it will invest £374m [$411.75 million] per year with the European Space Agency (ESA) to deliver international space programmes over the next five years.

The UK is one of the founding members of ESA, an inter-governmental organisation established in 1975 to promote cooperation in space research, technology and applications development. ESA is independent of the EU, bringing together countries across Europe and around the world.

Membership enables the UK to collaborate with space agencies across the world on projects like the International Space Station and the ExoMars programme to send a UK-built rover to search for signs of life on Mars.

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NOAA Employees Cry Foul as Agency Backs Trump in Sharpiegate; Insiders Worry About President’s Mental Stability

Donald Trump (Credit: Michael Vadon)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Current and past NOAA employees are condemning the agency’s decision to back President Donald Trump’s disputed claim last weekend that Alabama was at risk from Hurricane Dorian even after the storm’s path had moved it away from the state.

“As a former @NOAA leader I can say two things with certainty. No NOAA Administrator I worked for would have done this. And I would have quit if I had been directed to agree to let this BS go out,” tweeted Monica Medina, who previously served as deputy undersecretary of the Commerce Department where NOAA is housed.

In a statement attributed only to a NOAA spokesperson, the agency refuted its own denial last Sunday that Alabama continued to be at risk as Dorian moved toward Florida.

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France & Russia Agree to Expand Space Cooperation

MOSCOW (CNES) — On the occasion of the MAKS international air show in Moscow, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall met Dimitry Rogozin, Director General of the Russian federal space agency Roscosmos, Maxim Yakovenko, Head of Roshydromet, the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring, and Kirill Sypalo, Director General of TsAGI, the Zhukovsky Central AeroHydrodynamic Institute.

In 2018, CNES and Roscosmos signed a framework agreement on space science to promote new space projects and extend their cooperation to a broad range of fields including space biology, solar research with the Russian Interhelioprobe project, the use of French robotics and navigation expertise for Russia’s lunar exploration programme, planetology, universe science and climate monitoring.

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White House Includes Space in Top 5 Research Priorities

NASA’s Orion spacecraft that flew Exploration Flight Test-1 on Dec. 5, 2014 is seen on the South Lawn of the White House, Sunday, July 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. ( Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Trump Administration has included space research and development to support returning astronauts to the moon by 2024 under NASA’s Artemis program among its top R&D priorities for fiscal year 2021, according to a White House memo.

“Departments and agencies should prioritize in-situ resource utilization on the Moon and Mars, cryogenic fuel storage and management, in-space manufacturing and assembly, and advanced space-related power and propulsion capabilities,” the memo said.

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France, India to Develop Ship Tracking Satellite Constellation

PARIS (CNES PR) — On the occasion of the state visit to France of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an agreement signed by CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall and K Sivan, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), was officially announced to start development and production of a constellation of satellites on which studies have been underway since President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to India in March 2018.

This constellation carrying telecommunications (AIS*) and radar and optical remote-sensing instruments will constitute the first space-based system in the world capable of tracking ships continuously. The satellites will be operated jointly by France and India to monitor ships in the Indian Ocean. The system will cover a wide belt around the globe, benefiting a broad range of French economic interests. With a revisit capability making it possible to task acquisitions several times a day, it will also be able to detect oil slicks and trace their origin.

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GHGSat Gets Canadian Government Funding for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Satellites

The Canadian government has awarded $3.3 million (US $2.49 million) to a Montreal company developing nano satellites for collecting data on greenhouse gas emissions.

GHGSat is one of 18 clean tech companies to share in $56 million ( US $42.25 million) in funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) .

“GHGSat’s instrument is designed to operate with limited volume, mass and power budgets typical of nano-satellites and/or unmanned aerial vehicles,” the company said on its website.

“Canadians are leading the world’s transition to a low-carbon economy, and clean technology is part of the solution. Our government is positioning Canadians to seize the opportunities created by cleantech to create good jobs and leave a cleaner planet for our kids,” said Navdeep Bains, Canada’s minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

DLR Creates 7 New Institutes to Further Technology Development

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR) — Digitalisation, climate change and technological disruption are shaping the future. This is where interdisciplinary research at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) proves valuable.

On 27 June 2019, the DLR Senate approved the founding of seven new institutes and facilities. The background to this was a resolution passed in the German Federal Parliament on 23 November 2018. By taking this step, DLR is strengthening Germany as a location for technological research and creating highly-skilled jobs.

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