PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA’s exoplanet mission Cheops has revealed a unique planetary system consisting of six exoplanets, five of which are locked in a rare rhythmic dance as they orbit their central star. The sizes and masses of the planets, however, don’t follow such an orderly pattern. This finding challenges current theories of planet formation.
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.
DELFT, The Netherlands, 25 January 2021 (Dawn Aerospace PR) — IoT solutions provider Hiber has successfully launched their 3U CubeSat, Hiber Four, onboard SpaceX’s dedicated rideshare mission: Transporter-1. The satellite was equipped with a new-to-market green propulsion system from Dawn Aerospace and Hyperion Technologies.
AMSTERDAM (Netherlands Space Office PR) — Dutch space technology for laser communication will be tested on the Norwegian satellite NorSat-TD, due for launch in 2022. This partnership was stated in an agreement signed this morning by the directors of both space agencies, NSO from the Netherlands and NOSA from Norway. The signing took place in parallel at the embassies of both countries in The Hague and Oslo in the presence of both ambassadors.
The satellite payload named SmallCAT has been developed by the research institute TNO and the Delft based company Hyperion Technologies. This technology makes use of laser beams rather than radio signals to transmit valuable information from space to earth. There is great interest in this new technology because it enables satellites to transmit larger amounts of information 10 times faster and more securely.
PARIS (ESA PR) — For the first time ever, a telecommunications satellite has used an iodine propellant to change its orbit around Earth.
The small but potentially disruptive innovation could help to clear the skies of space junk, by enabling tiny satellites to self-destruct cheaply and easily at the end of their missions, by steering themselves into the atmosphere where they would burn up.
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.
BRUSSELS (European Commission PR) — Today the Commission awarded two contracts for 12 Satellites (6 satellites each) for a total of €1.47 billion, to Thales Alenia Space (Italy) and Airbus Defence & Space (Germany) following an open competition.
With this, the Commission is initiating the launch of the 2nd Generation of Galileo, the European satellite positioning system. The aim is to keep Galileo ahead of the technological curve compared to global competition and maintaining it as one of the best performing satellite positioning infrastructures in the world while strengthening it as a key asset for Europe’s strategic autonomy.
PARIS (ESA PR) — Astronauts aboard the International Space Station are planning a spacewalk to install a high-speed satellite link that will improve their connections with Europe.
The system will enable astronauts to connect at home broadband internet speeds – delivering a whole family’s worth of video streaming for communications and a data pipeline connecting the scientific experiments aboard the Station to researchers in Europe.
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).
PARIS, January 14, 2021 (ArianeGroup PR) — Following the visit to the ArianeGroup site in Vernon by President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron, Minister of the Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire, and Minister for Overseas France Sébastien Lecornu, ArianeGroup CEO André-Hubert Roussel and CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall signed an agreement preparatory to the testing of the new Prometheus rocket engine at the Vernon site in Normandy.
The spacecraft, which has been gathering data on the gas giant since July 2016, will become an explorer of the full Jovian system – Jupiter and its rings and moons.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA has authorized a mission extension for its Juno spacecraft exploring Jupiter. The agency’s most distant planetary orbiter will now continue its investigation of the solar system’s largest planet through September 2025, or until the spacecraft’s end of life. This expansion tasks Juno with becoming an explorer of the full Jovian system – Jupiter and its rings and moons – with multiple rendezvous planned for three of Jupiter’s most intriguing Galilean moons: Ganymede, Europa, and Io.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — With only about 50 million miles (80 million kilometers) left to go in its 293-million-mile (471-million-kilometer) journey, NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover is nearing its new planetary home. The spacecraft has begun its approach to the Red Planet and in 43 days, on Feb. 18, 2021, Perseverance will blaze through Mars’ atmosphere at about 12,100 mph (19,500 kph), touching down gently on the surface about seven minutes later.
ESA Director General Johann-Dietrich ‘Jan’ Wörner has announced he plans to leave his post running the space agency on Feb. 28, four months ahead of the original no-later-than date of June 30.
In a blog post, Wörner said a quicker transition was possible because his successor, Josef Aschbacher, already serves as ESA’s director for Earth Observation and is thus familiar with how the agency functions. In December, the ESA Council named Aschbacher to secede Wörner, who is nearing the end of his five-year term.
Wörner also cited planning work needed for the ESA ministerial in 2022. At that session, ministers from ESA’s 22 member states, two associate members and cooperating nation Canada meet to set the agency’s budget and policies.
Dutch consortium secures technology demonstration within the ESA ScyLight programme
DELFT, The Netherlands, 5 January 2021 (Hyperion Technologies PR) — Ultra-high data rates for small satellites, free of licencing fees and year-long application processes – this will soon be reality. Thanks to the award to carry out an ESA ScyLight technology demonstration project supported by the Netherlands Ministry of Defense and Netherlands Space Office (NSO), a Dutch consortium consisting of TNO and Hyperion Technologies will be launching the jointly developed laser satellite terminal into space. Target launch is set for early 2022 on board the NorSat-TD satellite.
PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA signed a contract today with Thales Alenia Space to start building the European module for the lunar Gateway that will provide the new human exploration facility with communications and refuelling.
The Gateway is being built by the partners of the International Space Station and will enable sustainable exploration around – and on – the Moon, while allowing for space research and demonstrating the technologies and processes necessary to conduct a future mission to Mars.