CNES to Provide Training, Equipment for India’s Gaganyaan Human Spaceflight Program

Capsule descending under parachute (Credit: ISRO)

BANGALORE, India (CNES PR) — On Thursday April 15, 2020, as part of the trip to India of Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, CNES and ISRO, the Indian space agency, announced in Bangalore, at the human spaceflight center, a new space cooperation agreement. France will participate in the Indian Gaganyaan manned space flight program.

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Third Test Cell for the European Research and Technology Test Bench P8

Firing tests of a LOX/methane combustion chamber have been conducted on the DLR P8 bench. (Credits: ArianeGroup)
  • DLR, CNES and ArianeGroup inaugurate the expansion of the European research and technology test bench P8.3 with a virtual celebration.
  • Whether science or industry – the P8.3 offers a unique research and innovation environment for liquid-chemical space propulsion and promotes the fast industrial application of innovative technologies of future propulsion systems.
  • Operation with different fuel combinations.
  • Development and validation of demonstrators with different levels of technology maturity possible.

LAMPODSHAUSEN, Germany (DLR PR) — The German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the French Space Agency Center National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and the company ArianeGroup the European research and technology test bench P8 expanded. The partners opened the new P8.3 test cell on April 14, 2021 as part of a virtual celebration. 

With the expansion, DLR has created the prerequisites for future space propulsion systems to be developed and tested almost entirely at the DLR site in Lampoldshausen. DLR Lampoldshausen has unique skills, infrastructure and many years of experience in this area. The interaction between research and development creates important synergies and strengthens engine expertise as an important pillar of European space transport.

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Philippe Baptiste Appointed New President of CNES

Philippe Baptiste (Credit: CNES/C. Peus)

PARIS (CNES PR) — The Council of Ministers of Wednesday April 14, 2021 appointed Philippe Baptiste, President of the National Center for Space Studies (CNES). Born in 1972, Philippe Baptiste holds a doctorate from the University of Technology of Compiègne and a civil engineer from Mines de Nancy. He also holds an MSc from Strathclyde University in Glasgow, a DEA from Sorbonne University and accreditation to supervise research.

A digital scientist, Philippe Baptiste is a specialist in algorithms, combinatorial optimization, operations research and artificial intelligence. He pursued an academic career as a researcher at the CNRS (1999), at IBM’s Watson Research Center (2000-2001), and as a lecturer at the École Polytechnique (2002-2012). 

He is the author of several books and about 150 scientific publications and communications. He headed the computer science laboratory of École Polytechnique, created the Institute of Information Sciences and their interactions before becoming in 2014 Deputy Managing Director of CNRS, one of the first partners of CNES. Member of the High Scientific Council of ONERA, he also sat on the Board of INRIA.

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NASA’s InSight Detects Two Sizable Quakes on Mars

NASA’s InSight lander used a scoop on its robotic arm to begin trickling soil over the cable connecting its seismometer to the spacecraft on March 14, 2021, the 816th Martian day, or sol of the mission. Scientists hope insulating it from the wind will make it easier to detect marsquakes. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The magnitude 3.3 and 3.1 temblors originated in a region called Cerberus Fossae, further supporting the idea that this location is seismically active.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s InSight lander has detected two strong, clear quakes originating in a location of Mars called Cerberus Fossae – the same place where two strong quakes were seen earlier in the mission. The new quakes have magnitudes of 3.3 and 3.1; the previous quakes were magnitude 3.6 and 3.5. InSight has recorded over 500 quakes to date, but because of their clear signals, these are four of the best quake records for probing the interior of the planet.

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CNES & ANRT Join to Stimulate the Lunar Economy Through Moonshot Institute

This photograph of a nearly full Moon was taken from the Apollo 8 spacecraft at a point above 70 degrees east longitude. Mare Crisium, the circular, dark-colored area near the center, is near the eastern edge of the Moon as viewed from Earth. (Credits: NASA)

PARIS (CNES PR) — Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of CNES (Center National d’Etudes Spatiales) and Patrice Caine, President of ANRT (Association Nationale Recherche Technologie), signed a letter of intent relating to the association from the ANRT to the Moonshot Institute project, led by CNES, with a view to creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem around the economy for and by the Moon.

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Towards a New Launch Complex for Micro-launchers

Illustration of a micro-launcher pad. (Credits: CNES)

PARIS (CNES PR) — The announced development of micro-launchers is speeding up thinking on new, more flexible and agile launch pad concepts. In Guyana, CNES is working on adapting the historic Diamant site, which has already been redeveloped for Callisto and Themis.

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Prometheus Test Campaign Moves Forward

The Prometheus engine (Credits: ArianeGroup)

LAMPOLDSHAUSEN, Germany (CNES PR) — While the 1st copy of the engine of the future will soon be delivered, the 1st phase of demonstration tests is being prepared. The campaign will take place in 2 stages, in Vernon then at the P5 test bench in Lampoldshausen (Germany), refitted to accommodate Prometheus.

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Perseverance Rover’s SuperCam Science Instrument Delivers First Results

Combining two images, this mosaic shows a close-up view of the rock target named “Yeehgo” from the SuperCam instrument on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. The component images were taken by SuperCam’s Remote Micro-Imager (RMI). To be compatible with the rover’s software, “Yeehgo” is an alternative spelling of “Yéigo,” the Navajo word for diligent. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/CNRS/ASU/MSSS)

Data from the powerful science tool includes sounds of its laser zapping a rock in order to test what it’s made of.  

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — The first readings from the SuperCam instrument aboard NASA’s Perseverance rover have arrived on Earth. SuperCam was developed jointly by the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico and a consortium of French research laboratories under the auspices of the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES). The instrument delivered data to the French Space Agency’s operations center in Toulouse that includes the first audio of laser zaps on another planet.

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CNES, ArianeGroup Move Forward on Themis Reusable Rocket Project

Themis demonstrator comes in for a landing. (Credit: ArianeGroup/CNES)

PARIS (CNES PR) — The joint innovation team of CNES and ArianeGroup tested the first elements of the future Themis demonstrator in 2020. The project is gaining momentum in 2021, when the ArianeWorks device has entered its second phase.

For ArianeWorks , the joint innovation accelerator created by CNES and ArianeGroup to work on the launchers of the future, season 2 has just started. At the end of the 18-month pilot phase, and in view of the positive results of the first achievements, the mechanism was extended for a further 18-month period with increased resources and renewed support from external partners. 

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Sentinel-6 Passes In-orbit Tests with Flying Colors

Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich 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)

PARIS (ESA PR) — In November 2020, the Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite was launched into orbit from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, US. Now, months later, the satellite has successfully passed what is known as the ‘in-orbit verification phase’, where its equipment is switched on and the instruments’ performance is checked.

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SpaceBlower, a Rocket Against Space Debris

PARIS (CNES PR) — SpaceBlower, in French “space blower”. The purpose of this light suborbital launcher is to eject its plume at large unmaneuverable space debris. By avoiding collision with one another and their fragmentation into several thousand others, the aim is to preserve the safety of orbits and satellites. SpaceBlower is a preliminary project initiated and funded by CNES, with the support and co-funding of Bertin Technologies (now CT France). Christophe Bonnal, senior expert at the CNES launchers department, discusses it with us.

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The Top 50 Most Dangerous Pieces of Space Debris

Location of the 24,000 debris larger than 10 cm in low orbit in 2020. (Credits: NASA)

For the first time, an international team has drawn up a list of the 50 most dangerous space debris in low orbit. This unpublished Top 50 is published online on January 22, 2021 by the journal Acta Astronautica.

PARIS (CNES PR) — It is a landmark article. For the first time, space debris in low orbit (located at an altitude of less than 2,000 km) has been classified according to their dangerousness for operational satellites by a team that includes experts from China, the United States and Russia. France via CNES is one of the signatories of this historic paper published on January 22, 2021 by Acta Astronautica and whose results had already been presented, in October 2020, at the 71st International Astronautical Congress (IAC2020).

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Report on Commerce Department’s Space Accomplishments

WASHINGTON (Commerce Department PR) — The Office of Space Commerce published a report on the Commerce Department’s space commerce accomplishments under Secretary Wilbur Ross and the Trump Administration.

The report recaps the Department’s success in achieving its strategic objective to expand commercial space activities through a host of actions. The text of the report is below.

Department of Commerce Accomplishments Space and Space Commerce

Under the leadership of Secretary Wilbur Ross, the Department of Commerce emphasized the importance of space and space commerce to U.S. national and economic security, prosperity, and the growing role of the Department in this area. Strategic Objective 1.1 of the Secretary’s Strategic Plan for 2018-2022 was to increase U.S. commercial space activities; the Department’s efforts to improve space situational awareness were Agency Priority Goals in FY2020 and FY2021.

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ESA Books Two Payload Missions on Airbus Bartolomeo Platform

Bartolomeo external experiment platform (Credit: NASA)
  • Exobiology and material exposure experiments on new ISS payload hosting facility
  • Framework agreement facilitates future slot bookings by ESA

BREMEN / NOORDWIJK, 21 January 2021 (Airbus PR) — The European Space Agency (ESA) and Airbus have agreed on service orders for two independent payload missions to be launched to the Bartolomeo payload hosting facility on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2022 and 2024, respectively.

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