Tag: ESA

ATV Ready for its Re-entry Close-up

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Artist’s view of ATV-5’s destructive reentry into Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. (Credit: ESA–D. Ducros, 2014)

Artist’s view of ATV-5’s destructive reentry into Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. (Credit: ESA–D. Ducros, 2014)

PARIS (ESA PR) — As ESA’s remaining supply ferry to the International Space Station burns up in the atmosphere, its final moments as its hull disintegrates will be recorded from the inside by a unique infrared camera.

An ESA-led team designed and developed the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) Break-Up Camera in just nine months in order to make it on board in time.

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ESA Prepares to Launch Experimental Space Plane

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Engineers conduct final tests on ESA’s Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle  (IXV). (Credit: ESA)

Engineers conduct final tests on ESA’s Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV). (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — All eyes are on ESA’s spaceplane to showcase reentry technologies after its unconventional launch on a Vega rocket this November.

Instead of heading north into a polar orbit – as on previous flights – Vega will head eastwards to release the spaceplane into a suborbital path reaching all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

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No Decision Yet on Next-Generation Ariane Launch Vehicle

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Artist's impression of Ariane 6. (Credit: ESA)

Artist’s impression of Ariane 6. (Credit: ESA)

Space News reports that the future of the Ariane 6 launch vehicle remains uncertain after a meeting in Geneva on Tuesday:

The ministers from France, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland took no formal decision but agreed to reassess the situation in September after further study of the costs associated with the two designs.

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The Harpoon: If It Works on Whales, Why Not Space Debris?

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A tethered harpoon system to capture derelict satellites is being studied for ESA's e.DeOrbit mission, part of the Agency's Clean Space initiative to tackle orbital debris while also reducing the impacts of the space industry on the terrestrial environment. The harpoon would be fired into the satellite structure to secure it, allowing it to be reeled in and mated. (Credit: Airbus Defence and Space)

A tethered harpoon system to capture derelict satellites is being studied for ESA’s e.DeOrbit mission, part of the Agency’s Clean Space initiative to tackle orbital debris while also reducing the impacts of the space industry on the terrestrial environment. The harpoon would be fired into the satellite structure to secure it, allowing it to be reeled in and mated. (Credit: Airbus Defence and Space)

4 June 2014

Faced with the challenge of capturing tumbling satellites to clear key orbits, ESA is considering turning to an ancient terrestrial technology: the harpoon.

Used since the Stone Age, first to spear fish and later to catch whales, the humble harpoon is being looked at for snagging derelict space hardware.

Continue reading ‘The Harpoon: If It Works on Whales, Why Not Space Debris?’

Airbus, Safran Combine Forces for Ariane Launcher Programs

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Artist's conception of Ariane 6. (Credit: ESA)

Artist’s conception of Ariane 6. (Credit: ESA)

  • Companies Agree To Reshape Their Space Launcher Business, Create 50-50 Joint Venture
  • New Set-up To Increase Sector Competitiveness and Provide Customers With More Cost-Efficient Solutions
  • Launch of Ariane 5 ME and Ariane 6 Programmes At the Core of the New Industrial Set-Up
  • Signing of Joint Venture Transaction and Initial Start of Operations Expected Before the End of 2014

AMSTERDAM/ PARIS, June 16, 2014 (Airbus/Safran PR) – Airbus Group (stock exchange symbol: AIR) and Safran (stock exchange symbol: SAF) are further strengthening their relationship to propose a new family of competitive, versatile and efficient space launchers, to serve both commercial and institutional needs.

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Bulgaria to Sign Cooperation Agreement with European Space Agency

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ESA logoThe Bulgarian Parliament has approved a draft Cooperation Agreement with the European Space Agency, according to news reports. The vote authorizes the Minister of Economy and Energy to sign the agreement, which will allow formal cooperation on space projects between Bulgaria and ESA.

A Cooperation Agreement is the first step in a multi-year process of becoming a full member of the space agency, which currently has 20 member nations plus Canada as an associate member. Other steps in the process include:

European Cooperating State (ECS) Agreement: The nation increases its financial contribution and becomes eligible to participate in agency procurements.  Under ECS, a country can participate in all ESA activities with the exception of the Basic Technology Research Programme.

Plan For European Cooperating State (PECS Charter): A  five-year program of basic research and development activities conducted in cooperation with ESA. The PEC Charter can be renewed.

Full Membership: Negotiations typically begin at the end of the five-year PECS Charter, unless that agreement is renewed.

Bulgaria deepens ESA’s ties with European Union (EU) countries. Of the 28 EU nations, only Croatia lacks some type of formal agreement with the space agency.

QinetiQ Wins Contract for New Docking System on Space Station

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CGI image of the IBDM design

CGI image of the IBDM design (Credit: QinetiQ)

Farnborough, 3 June 2014 (QinetiQ PR: QinetiQ Space has won a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for the development of the International Berthing Docking Mechanism (IBDM), a unique soft docking system for use by spacecraft at the International Space Station (ISS).

Under the current contract phase, which will run until 2015, QinetiQ Space will develop and build an engineering model that it is intended to be tested on the ground. The contract is expected to lead to a follow-on development phase lasting until 2017.

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UK Wants Spaceport, More ISS Research

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UK_space_agencyBy Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

The UK is looking to spend £25 to £50 million ($41.9 to $83.8 million) on a spaceport because it believes that “after the US, the UK has the best chance to be the second country in the world to enable spaceplane operations.”

That’s the word from the UK Department for Business Innovation & Skills (DBIS), which recently published “Creating the Future: A 2020 Vision for Science & Research: A Consultation on Proposals for Long-Term Capital Investment in Science & Research.”

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French Aerospace Enjoyed Good 2013, But Key Decisions Loom in Space

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GIFAS_logoPARIS (GIFAS PR) — Marwan Lahoud, Chairman of GIFAS [French Aerospace Industries Association], presented the French aerospace, defence and security industry results for 2013.

“The sector enjoyed another good year in 2013. Sales rose to €47.9 bn (by 9% on a comparable basis) with exports inputting €30.4 bn (an 11.4% increase) equating to 79% of consolidated sales. The civil sector accounted for 75% of all sales. Our industry is a centre of excellence for France on both technological and economic levels. It is propelled by a sector that is coherent, cohesive, responsive and ambitious and whose performance is frequently quoted as being exemplary”, Marwan Lahoud was pleased to announce to the press.

In 2013 orders rose to a new record height of €73.1 bn – a 49% improvement on 2012 – which was mainly ascribable to the civil sector that drew 84% of the orders.

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EuroSpace: Launch Industry Overhaul, EU & ESA Relations, and Italian Space Corruption

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Inaugural Vega flight. (Credits: ESA - S. Corvaja, 2012)

Inaugural Vega flight. (Credits: ESA – S. Corvaja, 2012)

Airbus Boss Calls for Industry Overhaul. Faced with competition from SpaceX, Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders says the European launch industry needs a fundamental overhaul to avoid becoming irrelevant.

“I believe we are at a defining moment for Europe’s future in space and Europe’s launcher industry,” Enders said. “We need a major reshuffling of the entire space launcher industry, and not just the industry part but what the government agencies do, in order to make that a profitable healthy business going forward.”

Enders called for more public-private partnerships.  NASA used this approach with SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corporation to develop new launchers and cargo ships that serve the International Space Station. Reuters

EU Defers Decision on Deepening ESA Ties: Heeding opposition from Germany and Britain, the European Union’s Competitiveness Council has apparently shelved a proposal that would have turned the European Space Agency into an EU agency. The question of how to deepen cooperation between the two organizations will be studied further.

A key concern involves preserving ESA’s juste retour policy under which nations receive the same proportion of contracts as their contribution to the agency. Germany and Britain want to preserve it; France believes it would benefit more from the EU’s policy of awarded contracts on best value regardless of national origin. Space News

Italian Space Agency Stabilizes: The new president of the Italian Space Agency (ASI),  Roberto Battiston, said he has helped stabilize the agency’s strategy and budget after his predecessor resigned amid corruption allegations. Battiston’s priorities include upgrades for the Italian-led Vega launch vehicle and ensuring that the ExoMars 2018 program is properly funded. Space News