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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Our World is Losing Ice at Record Rate

Arctic ice (Credit: Pixabay/Taken)

LEEDS, UK (ESA PR) — A research team – the first to carry out a survey of global ice loss using satellite data – has discovered that the rate at which ice is disappearing across the planet is speeding up. The findings also reveal that 28 trillion tonnes of ice was lost between 1994 and 2017 – equivalent to a sheet of ice 100 metres thick covering the whole of the UK.

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European Union Consolidating Space Programs Under Expanded & Renamed GNSS Agency

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The European Union (EU) is consolidating its space programs under an existing agency that is being given an expanded mandate.

The European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA), which will be renamed the EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUASP), will take on managing the use of the Copernicus Earth observation satellite system and oversee new initiatives in satellite communications named GOVSATCOM and space situational awareness (SSA).

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The Good, the Bad and the Brexit: UK’s Participation in European Space Programs Curtailed by EU Departure

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Although the United Kingdom’s (UK) “Brexit” departure from the European Union (EU) on Jan. 1 will not affect its membership status in the European Space Agency (ESA), the nation’s participation in a number of European space programs is either ending or being curtailed.

On Christmas Eve, the UK and EU announced an agreement in principle that will govern trade, security and political relations after Brexit. Under the agreement, the UK’s participation in the:

  • Galileo satellite navigation and European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) program will end;
  • Copernicus Earth observation satellite program will continue, contingent upon a further agreement to be worked out next year; and
  • EU Space Surveillance and Tracking (EUSST) program will end, although the Britain will continue to receive data as a non-EU country.
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Teledyne e2v Signs Detector Supply Contract for Copernicus Sentinel MAP Instrument

Teledyne e2v’s Space Imaging division completes signing of Thales Alenia Space contract for the supply of a specialized image sensor for the Multi-Angle Polarimeter (MAP)

CHELMSFORD, UK, December 15, 2020 (Teledyne e2v) – Teledyne e2v, a part of the Teledyne Imaging Group, will supply image sensors to the recently announced grouped proposal of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) industrial policy committee to place six Copernicus Sentinel satellite missions in space. As the sensor partner for Thales Alenia Space, the UK team will develop, manufacture and supply variants of their Capella CMOS visible image sensor from Chelmsford.

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Thales Alenia Space Signs Contract with ESA to Build Copernicus ROSE-L Satellite

ROSE-L satellite (Credit: Thales Alenia Space)

ROME (Thales Alenia Space PR) – Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67 %) and Leonardo (33 %), announced today that it has signed a 482 million euro contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) to build the Copernicus Radar Observation System for Europe in L-band (ROSE-L) environmental monitoring satellite, as part of Europe’s Copernicus program, the first tranche being 90 million euros.

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Vega Launcher: Full Support for the Return to Flight Activities From Italian and French Institutions

Vega takes off on its 17th flight on Nov. 16, 2020. (Credit: Arianespace webcast)

ROME (Avio PR) — After the yesterday meeting in Rome, the Undersecretary of State with responsibility for Space Riccardo Fraccaro and the French Minister of Finance with responsibility for Space Bruno Le Maire, issued a joint statement highlighting the full institutional support to the Ariane and Vega programmes, with particular regard to the return-to-flight of the Italian launcher designed and produced by Avio S.p.A. with the ESA (European Space Agency) mandate.

The support was also reiterated by the Italian Interministerial Committee for Space and Aerospace Policies.

The full statement is below

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Thales Alenia Space to Build Copernicus CHIME Satellites

Copernicus Hyperspectral Imaging Mission (CHIME) satellite. (Credit: Thales Alenia Space)

CANNES, France (Thales Alenia Space PR) — Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67 %) and Leonardo (33 %), announced today that it has signed a 90 million euro [$106.5 million] first tranche contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) to design and build the 2 environmental monitoring satellites of the Copernicus Hyperspectral Imaging Mission for the Environment (CHIME), the global amount being 455 million euros [$538.5 million].

The CHIME mission is part of the expansion of the Copernicus Space Component programme of the European Space Agency, ESA, in partnership with the European Commission. The European Copernicus flagship programme provides Earth observation and in situ data and a broad range of services for environmental monitoring and protection, climate monitoring, natural disaster assessment to improve the quality of life of European citizens.

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Thales Alenia Space to Build Copernicus CIMR Satellites

Copernicus Imaging Microwave Radiometer (CIMR) satellite. (Credit: Thales Alenia Space)

ROME (Thales Alenia Space PR) — Thales Alenia Space, Joint Venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%) announced today that it has signed a 93 million euro [$110 million], first tranche of the 495 million euro [$585.85 million] global contract, with the European Space Agency (ESA) to build the Copernicus Imaging Microwave Radiometer (CIMR) environmental monitoring satellites.

The CIMR mission is part of the expansion of the Copernicus Space Component programme of the European Space Agency, ESA, in partnership with the European Commission. The European Copernicus flagship programme provides Earth observation and in situ data and a broad range of services for environmental monitoring and protection, climate monitoring, natural disaster assessment to improve the quality of life of European citizens.

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Airbus Wins ESA’s LSTM Temperature-check Mission for Copernicus Next Generation

Copernicus Land Surface Temperature Monitoring (LSTM) satellite. (Credit: Airbus)
  • Contract valued at €380 million [$449.75 million]
  • Airbus Spain to lead industrial consortium: first Copernicus prime for Spain

MADRID (Airbus Defence and Space PR) – The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected Airbus Defence and Space as prime contractor for the new Land Surface Temperature Monitoring (LSTM) mission. LSTM is part of Copernicus, the European Union’s Earth observation programme for global monitoring. It is one of the six new missions, expanding the capabilities of the current Copernicus space component. The contract is valued at € 380 million which includes the development of one LSTM satellite, with an option for two further satellites.

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Thales Alenia Space at Forefront of High-priority Environmental Missions

Copernicus Hyperspectral Imaging Mission (CHIME) satellite. (Credit: Thales Alenia Space)
  • 2 new contracts signed today between Thales Alenia Space and the European Space Agency in the presence of French minister, Bruno Le Maire and Italian Undersecretary  Riccardo Fraccaro
  • Involved in 5 out of 6 Copernicus expansion new missions
  • Prime contractor for CHIME, CIMR and ROSE-L, leading industrial consortium from France and Italy

CANNES (Thales Alenia Space PR) – Thales Alenia Space, a Joint Venture between Thales (67 %) and Leonardo (33 %), signed today with the European Space Agency (ESA) two new contracts in the frame of the new high-priority Copernicus satellite missions planned to expand the current capabilities of the Sentinels and serve EU policy as well as citizens needs.

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ESA Signs Contracts for Three High-priority Environmental Missions

Copernicus Hyperspectral Imaging Mission (CHIME) satellite. (Credit: Thales Alenia Space)

PARIS, November 13, 2020 (ESA PR) — Today, ESA signed contracts with Thales Alenia Space in France and in Italy, and Airbus in Spain to build three of the new high-priority Copernicus satellite missions: CHIME, CIMR and LSTM, respectively.

Each mission is set to help address different major environmental challenges such as sustainable agriculture management, food security, the monitoring of polar ice supporting the EU Integrated Policy for the Arctic, and all will be used to understand climate change.

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Plans Underway for New European Polar Ice and Snow Topography Mission

CRISTAL satellite (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Monitoring the cryosphere is essential to fully assess, predict and adapt to climate variability and change. Given the importance of this fragile component of the Earth system, today ESA, along with Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space, have signed a contract to develop the Copernicus Polar Ice and Snow Topography Altimeter mission, known as CRISTAL.

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ESA Awards Airbus €300 Million Copernicus Satellite Contract

CRISTAL satellite (Credit: ESA)
  • CRISTAL will measure sea ice thickness and ice sheet elevations
  • Airbus in Germany will lead the industrial consortium
  • Contract is worth € 300 million

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany, 21 September 2020 – The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected Airbus to develop and build the Copernicus polar ice and snow topography mission (CRISTAL). With two satellites the CRISTAL mission will ensure the long-term continuation of radar altimetry ice elevation and change records. It is one of six new missions to expand the current capabilities of the Copernicus space component for the benefit of all European citizens. The contract is worth € 300 million [$352 million].

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Contract Signed to Build Europe’s Carbon Dioxide Monitoring Mission

PARIS (ESA PR) — With the amount of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere approaching levels that humans may have never before experienced, the need to monitor sources of emissions is more urgent than ever – hence the Copernicus Carbon Dioxide Monitoring mission being one of Europe’s new high-priority satellite missions.

Taking the mission a significant step forward, ESA and OHB System AG have, today, signed a contract to build the first two satellites that make up the mission.

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