First Satellite in Europe’s SpaceDataHighway Forges 20,000 Successful Laser Links

EDRS-A (Credit: ESA)

PARIS, 2 April 2019 (ESA PR) — The European Data Relay System (EDRS)—dubbed the “SpaceDataHighway” by its private operator, Airbus—has passed another milestone.

EDRS-A, the first satellite in what will eventually be a global constellation, has made its 20,000th successful optical link to its customer satellites since its launch in January 2016, marking a world first in laser communication in space.

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EU Shapes its Future Space Policy Program

BRUSSELS (European Union PR) — The EU is designing its space policy programme for the years 2021-2027. EU ambassadors meeting in Coreper today confirmed the common understanding reached by the Romanian Presidency with the European Parliament on the draft regulation on an EU space programme.

The common understanding excludes financial and other horizontal aspects of the programme, which will depend on the future overall agreement on the next multiannual financial framework.

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European Union Provides $109 Million in Additional Funding for ESA’s Copernicus Program

BRUSSELS, 22 January 2019 (ESA PR) — An amendment to the current Copernicus Agreement has been signed by the EU and ESA, adding €96 million [$109.1 million] to ESA’s space component budget for the world’s largest environmental monitoring programme: Copernicus.

The 3rd Amendment of the EU–ESA Copernicus Agreement was signed at the 11th European Policy Conference in Brussels, Belgium.

This additional contribution of €96 million is related to ESA being entrusted with additional tasks such as the development of the Copernicus Sentinel-6 mission and the new European Copernicus Data Access and Information Services.

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NASA Postpones Rogozin Visit to U.S. Amid Criticism

Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)

NASA has postponed a planned visit by Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin amid sharp criticism in Washington over the sanctioned Russian official.

“NASA has informed the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, that the proposed visit of Roscosmos Director General, Dr. Dmitry Rogozin, currently planned for February 2019 will need to be postponed. A new date for the visit has not been identified,” the space agency said in a statement.

The Roscosmos head was to have conferred with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and other agency officials. He was also set to visit Johnson Space Center in Houston.

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DLR Developing Reusable Rocket Engine for Small Satellite Launcher

Rocket motor during hot fire test (Credit: DLR)
  • DLR researchers have developed a reusable rocket engine specifically for the launch of small satellites.
  • The rocket engine consists of two central components: a metal injector head manufactured by means of metal 3D printing and a ceramic combustion chamber.
  • Small satellites have the potential to fundamentally change the space industry.
  • Focus: space, small satellites, new manufacturing technologies, fibre ceramics

STUTTGART, Germany (DLR PR) — Whether alone or in a constellation, small satellites weighing from just a few kilograms (nanosatellites) up to several hundred kilograms (micro- and minisatellites) are becoming increasingly technologically sophisticated and have the potential to fundamentally change the space industry. In the coming years, hundreds of such small satellites will be carried into Earth orbit.

As part of the EU project SMILE (Small Innovative Launcher for Europe), researchers from the Institute of Structures and Design at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have developed a reusable rocket engine especially for launching such satellites, and have performed an initial series of successful trials on a test rig.
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UK Government Invests £92 Million to Study Independent Satellite Navigation System

LONDON (UK Government PR) — UK industry will benefit from a £92 million [$119.8 million] injection to design a national alternative to the EU’s Galileo satellite system, ensuring UK security post Brexit.

  • Government to invest £92 million [$119.8 million] of Brexit readiness money on plans for independent satellite system
  • 18-month study will look at the design and development of UK programme
  • This will inform the decision to create the system as an alternative to Galileo
  • The UK Space Agency will lead the work with full support from the Ministry of Defence

The money has been allocated from the £3 billion [$3.9 billion] Brexit readiness fund announced at last year’s Budget and will be rolled out over the coming months.
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UK Space Agency Leads Work on Options for Independent Satellite System

SWINDON, UK (UKSA PR) — The UK Government has confirmed today it is developing options for a British Global Navigation Satellite System.

Led by the UK Space Agency, a task force of Government specialists and industry will work quickly to develop options that will provide both civilian and encrypted signals and be compatible with the GPS system.

The UK is already a world-leader in developing satellite technology, building 40 per cent of the world’s small satellites and one in four commercial telecommunications satellites.

UK companies have made a critical contribution to the EU Galileo programme, building the payloads for the satellites and developing security systems. The task force will draw on this experience and expertise as it develops plans for an innovative system that could deliver on the UK’s security needs and provide commercial services.

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Q&A on European Union’s New Space Policy

European_Commission_LogoBRUSSELS, 26 October 2016 (EU PR) — EU space programmes already deliver services that benefit millions of people. The European space industry is strong and competitive, creating jobs and business opportunities for entrepreneurs. Today’s proposal for a new space policy will foster new services and promote Europe’s leadership in space.

1. Why a space strategy now?

The EU is developing three high quality space projects: Copernicus, a leading provider of Earth observation data across the globe; Galileo, Europe’s own global navigation satellite system (GNSS); and the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), which provides precision navigation services to aviation, maritime and land-based users over most of Europe. A total of EUR 12 billion from the EU budget will be invested in these projects and in research over 2014-2020. Now that the infrastructure of EU space programmes is well advanced, the focus needs to shift to ensuring a strong market uptake of space data and services by the public and private sector. By generating more services which respond to people’s needs and new economic opportunities, every euro spent on EU space policy is a euro well spent. This is also in line with the Commission’s Budget for Results initiative.

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ESA, EU Sign Joint Statement of Shared Visions and Goals

ESA logoBRUSSELS, 26 October 2016 (ESA PR) — A ‘Joint Statement on Shared Vision and Goals for the Future of European Space’ was signed by ESA Director General Jan Woerner and European Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska in Brussels today.

In the past two Space Councils, in an informal setting under the EU Council Presidency of Luxembourg and the Netherlands, the Member States of ESA and the EU have requested ESA and the EC together to come up with a set of joint visions and goals for the future of European space.

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New EU Space Policy Focused on Improving Lives, Boosting Competitiveness

European_Commission_LogoBRUSSELS (EU PR) — EU space programmes already deliver services that benefit millions of people. The European space industry is strong and competitive, creating jobs and business opportunities for entrepreneurs. Today’s proposal for a new space policy will foster new services and promote Europe’s leadership in space.

Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said: “The European Union is a key player in space policy. We want to build on that and use this leadership role strategically to create jobs and growth and deliver on our common policy priorities: security,climate change, transport, data economy, management of natural disasters. This requires cooperation with our partners and stakeholders in Europe and internationally. The Joint EU – ESA Declaration on our “Shared Vision and Goals for the Future of Europe in Space” to be signed this afternoon is another important step in that direction.”

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Moraliss-Nerva Nano-satellite Launcher Development Project Commences

polytechnic_bucharestBUCHAREST (UPB PR) — Through the National Agency for Scientific Research (NASR), the Romanian government has commenced sponsorship of NERVA, a Romanian orbital nanosatellite launcher currently in development by a team of professors and students from University “Politehnica” of Bucharest and ADDA – The Association Dedicated to Development in Astronautics, through a new 3-year grant funded by the European Union.

Project co-founded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF 2014-2020) through the Competitiveness Operational Program.

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European Commission Releases Space Strategy Roadmap

eu_flagEUROPEAN COMMISSION ROADMAP

Title of the Initiative: A Space Strategy for Europe
Lead DG – Responsible Unit – AP Number: DG GROW – DIRECTORATES I & J – 2016/GROW/007
Date of Roadmap: 12/2015
Likely Type of Initiative: Communication from the Commission
Indicative Planning: tbd
Additional Information: http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/space/index_en.htm

This indicative roadmap is provided for information purposes only and can be subject to change. It does not prejudge the final decision of the Commission on whether this initiative will be pursued or on its final content and structure.
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Russians Doubt Reusable Boosters, Look to Phase Out Rockot Launches

Falcon 9 launch and landing. (Credit: SpaceX)
Falcon 9 launch and landing. (Credit: SpaceX)

Russia doesn’t seem overly impressed by the recent progress by SpaceX and Blue Origin in developing reusable launch vehicles. At according to TsNIIMash, which is the company’s main research institute.

“The economic feasibility of reusable launch systems is not obvious. First and foremost it will depend on how often launches will be made. At the moment it is hard to forecast which way the market of launch services will go when reusable space rockets become available. The designers are still to demonstrate the real costs of production and of making reusable stages for re-launching,” a TsNIIMash spokesman said.

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ESA Budget Gets 18 Percent Boost

ESA_budget_2016_node_full_imageBuoyed by major satellite and launch vehicle programs, the European Space Agency (ESA) has received an 18.44 percent increase in its budget for 2016.

The space agency’s budget rose from 4.43 billion euros in 2015 to 5.25 billion euros ($4.8 billion to $5.69 billion),  an increase of 817 million euros ($884.8 million).

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