Tag: ESA

Europe’s IXV Atmospheric Reentry Demonstrator Ready for Final Tests

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ixv_reentry_demonstrator
CANNES, France, March 21st, 2014 (Thales Alena Space PR) –
IXV (Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle), the European Space Agency’s atmospheric reentry demonstrator developed by Thales Alenia Space, has finished development, and is now completing integration at Thales Alenia Space’s clean rooms in Turin.

The spacecraft will be delivered to ESA’s ESTEC center in the Netherlands, where it will undergo final testing before being shipped to the launch site at the Guiana Space Center (CSG), Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

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QinetiQ Signs Deal With ESA for Space Recycling System

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esa_logoKRUIBEKE, Belgium (QinetiQ Space PR) — QinetiQ Space has signed a 1.1 million euro contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for the development of a ground prototype water treatment unit to recycle urine and waste water for use in space.

The prototype will be used to develop a system that will be used in future space missions to treat water for re-use by astronauts to wash, or to be purified further to drinking water. The ground prototype and testing will ensure the future system works successfully in space, with a design that has to take into account the lack of gravity, the launch and the life expectancy of the components in different environments.

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ESA Looks to Reduce Debris Threat From Batteries

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So far, about 200 explosions and at least 5 collisions in space have occurred. Further explosions and collisions are very likely. The explosions are mainly caused by on board energy sources, either due to pressure build-up in propellant tanks, battery explosions, or the ignition of hypergolic fuels. (Credit: ESA)

So far, about 200 explosions and at least 5 collisions in space have occurred. Further explosions and collisions are very likely. The explosions are mainly caused by on board energy sources, either due to pressure build-up in propellant tanks, battery explosions, or the ignition of hypergolic fuels. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Across a satellite’s working life, batteries keep the craft’s heart beating whenever it leaves sunlight. But after its mission ends, those same batteries may threaten catastrophe.

Space debris mitigation rules require the complete deactivation of electrical power sources aboard a satellite on retirement, in order to guard against explosive accidents that might produce fresh debris dangerous to other satellites.

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Airbus Builds Space Furnace to Test New Metals Aboard ISS

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EML Electromagentic Levitator - Dennis Mitschke is fixing the Sample chamber to the Experiment module (Credit: Airbus Defence and Space)

EML Electromagentic Levitator – Dennis Mitschke is fixing the Sample chamber to the Experiment module (Credit: Airbus Defence and Space)

TOULOUSE, France (Airbus PR) — Airbus Defence and Space, world’s number two in space technologies, has built the Electromagnetic Levitator (EML) facility which was developed under parallel contracts of the European Space Agency ESA and the DLR Space Administration.

EML is a containerless processing furnace for materials research in the European Columbus lab, set to uncover a deeper understanding of advanced alloy and semiconductor materials and their molten state properties for the optimisation of industrial scale casting as well as for basic research. The EML together with the first batch of samples is part of the cargo complement scheduled to be transported to the International Space Station (ISS) in June by the European resupply spacecraft ATV-5 (Automated Transfer Vehicle).

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ESA Explores How to Catch a Satellite

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One capture concept being explored through ESA's e.Deorbit system study for Active Debris Removal - capturing the satellite in a net attached to either a flexible tether (as seen here) or a rigid connection. (Credit: ESA)

One capture concept being explored through ESA’s e.Deorbit system study for Active Debris Removal – capturing the satellite in a net attached to either a flexible tether (as seen here) or a rigid connection. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) -- Standard space dockings are difficult enough, but a future ESA mission plans to capture derelict satellites adrift in orbit. Part of an effort to control space debris, the shopping list of new technologies this ambitious mission requires is set for discussion with industry experts.

ESA’s Clean Space initiative is studying the e.DeOrbit mission for removing debris, aiming to reduce the environmental impact of the space industry on Earth and space alike.

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ESA Makes Space Inventions Available

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Credit: ESA/Guus Schoonewille

Credit: ESA/Guus Schoonewille

PARIS (ESA PR) — Space companies and organisations from ESA Member States and Canada are invited to submit their interest in using ESA’s inventions.

As a research organisation, ESA encourages, protects and licenses innovations or inventions resulting from its own activities in order to fulfil its mission of cooperation among Member States in space research and technologies and their applications, and supports the worldwide competitiveness of European industry.

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Future of Italian Booster Company Avio Deeply Intwined With Ariane 6 Decision

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Avio_logoSpace News reports on the status of Italian rocket builder Avio S.p.A., whose future is dependent on its owners efforts to sell it and ESA’s decision later this year on whether to proceed with development of the Ariane 6 launch vehicle.

Italy’s space strategy will be key to the outcome of a scheduled December meeting of European Space Agency ministers on the future of Europe’s launch sector and its participation in the international space station.

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ESA Alters Procurement Practices for Ariane 6 Program

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

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

ESA has tossed aside one of its key spending practices — juste retour — in an attempt to produce a new Ariane 6 launch vehicle that can compete with cheaper ones offered by SpaceX and Chinese and Indian providers.

Juste retour (“fair return”) is the space agency’s way of spreading work around to companies in different nations in proportion to what national governments  put into a program. The approach produced the highly reliable but expensive Ariane V, whose components and systems are produced throughout Europe.

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Airbus Wins New ESA Contract for Ariane 6 Work

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Depiction of Ariane 5 ME. (Credit: ESA)

Depiction of Ariane 5 ME. (Credit: ESA)

TOULOUSE, France (Airbus PR) — Airbus Defence and Space, number two worldwide in space technologies, has been awarded a 60–million-euro contract by the European Space Agency (ESA) to continue definition and feasibility studies in 2014 for the new Ariane 6 European launcher.

These studies will pinpoint the detailed architecture developed so far and consolidate the launcher’s main characteristics. The results of these studies will be revealed in November 2014 at ESA’s System Requirements Review (SRR).

Validation of the programme’s smooth progress should allow ESA to set the specifications of the Ariane 6 launch system, which will then enable member states to decide on continuation of the new launcher’s development at the next ESA Ministerial Council meeting, scheduled for December 2014.

Airbus Defence and Space will continue fine tuning the definition of the Ariane 6 launcher, while in parallel developing the Ariane 5 ME launcher and, in particular, developing many features common to both Ariane 5 ME and Ariane 6. The ESA contracts awarded to Astrium (now integrated into Airbus Defence and Space) in 2013 include developing the Ariane 5 ME with the aim of improving Ariane 5 performance by over 20% by 2018.

At the November 2012 Ministerial Council meeting, ESA decided to commence definition studies for the new Ariane 6 launcher and to continue with the development of Ariane 5 ME, while also seeking to maximise synergies between the two future launchers.

ESA Faces Large Cost for Ariane 5 Upgrade, New Ariane 6 Rocket

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

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

The preliminary cost estimates are in the planned upgrade of the Ariane 5 launch vehicle and its Ariane 6 successor, and the one general conclusion can already be drawn:

Europe is in deep trouble.

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