Pre-shipment Review Held on LARES2 Platform for First Vega C Launch

LARES2 satellite undergoing pre-shipment inspection. (Credit: ASI)

The satellite, installed on the LARES System platform, is preparing to leave Italy to reach the European base in French Guiana where, on board the inaugural flight of the ESA Vega C launcher, it will be put into orbit.

MILAN, Italy (Italian Space Agency PR) — On 23 and 24 March 2022, the Pre-Shipment Review was held at the OHB Italia headquarters in Milan , during which the Italian Space Agency checked the status of the LARES2 System and authorized its shipment to the site launch, the European spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana.

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SpaceX to Launch Rival OneWeb’s Broadband Satellites

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral. (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

OneWeb announced this morning that it will resume launches of its broadband satellite constellation with SpaceX, which is deploying its rival Starlink broadband satellite network. The agreement comes after OneWeb terminated a contract to continue launching on Soyuz boosters in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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ESA Suspends Cooperation with Russia on ExoMars Mission, Launch Delayed at Least 2 Years

An artist’s impression of the ExoMars Rosalind Franklin rover on the surface of Mars. (Credit: ESA/ATG medialab)

PARIS (ESA PR) — As an intergovernmental organisation mandated to develop and implement space programmes in full respect with European values, we deeply deplore the human casualties and tragic consequences of the aggression towards Ukraine. While recognising the impact on scientific exploration of space, ESA is fully aligned with the sanctions imposed on Russia by its Member States.

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Suspension of Soyuz Launches Operated by Arianespace & Starsem

Soyuz rocket launches 36 OneWeb satellites from Baikonur Cosmodrome on Dec. 27, 2021. (Credit: Arianespace)

Arianespace Press Release

Arianespace is strictly abiding by the sanctions decided by the international community (European Union, United States of America and United Kingdom) following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

As part of the mandate given by the ESA Member States to Arianespace, the operation of the Soyuz launcher from Europe’s Spaceport (CSG, French Guiana) and from Baikonur (Kazakhstan) through Starsem are governed by France/Russia inter-governmental agreement and ESA – Roscosmos space agencies agreement. This operation began after the end of the Soviet Union and has been very successful up to now. However, it is now challenged by Roscosmos’ unilateral decision to withdraw from CSG and suspend all Soyuz launches from Europe’s Spaceport. Readied Soyuz launchers and Galileo satellites are in stable configuration and in security.

Regarding ST38 for OneWeb from Baikonur, it has been postponed indefinitely following the conditions posed by Roscosmos to proceed. Arianespace will work with its partners to ensure the well-being of the goods and means currently in Baikonur.

Arianespace is in close contact with its customers and French and European authorities to best assess all the consequences of this situation and develop alternative solutions.

In the meantime, preparation of upcoming Ariane 5 and Vega C campaigns of 2022 are progressing according to plan and schedule.

Taking over from Ariane 5 and Vega, Ariane 6 and Vega C will provide Europe with a sustainable and autonomous access to space. Arianespace is confident in the success of these two launchers, to which it has been strongly committed since ESA’s 2014 Ministerial Conference in Luxembourg, on European institutional and global commercial markets.

Russia Holds OneWeb Satellites Hostage; No Launch Unless Company & British Government Meet Demands

Vladimir Putin receives a briefing from Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: Office of the Russian President)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

In what is likely the first hostage drama involving communication satellites, the head of the Russian space program has demanded that the British government divest its shares in OneWeb and that the broadband satellite operator not provide services to foreign militaries in order to launch a new batch of spacecraft. The move comes amid growing tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sanctions imposed on the country by western nations.

Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin tweeted that unless these demands are met, Russia will refuse to launch 36 OneWeb satellites that sit atop a Soyuz-2.1b rocket currently on the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The launch is scheduled for Saturday morning Moscow time.

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ESA Condemns Russia’s Ukraine Invasion, Says Joint ExoMars Launch “Very Unlikely” This Year

PARIS (ESA PR) — We deplore the human casualties and tragic consequences of the war in Ukraine. We are giving absolute priority to taking proper decisions, not only for the sake of our workforce involved in the programmes, but in full respect of our European values, which have always fundamentally shaped our approach to international cooperation.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation governed by its 22 Member States and we have built up a strong network of international cooperation over the past decades, which serves the European and global space community through its very successful programmes.

We are fully implementing sanctions imposed on Russia by our Member States. We are assessing the consequences on each of our ongoing programmes conducted in cooperation with the Russian state space agency Roscosmos and align our decisions to the decisions of our Member States in close coordination with industrial and international partners (in particular with NASA on the International Space Station).

Regarding the Soyuz launch campaign from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, we take note of the Roscosmos decision to withdraw its workforce from Kourou. We will consequently assess for each European institutional payload under our responsibility the appropriate launch service based notably on launch systems currently in operation and the upcoming Vega-C and Ariane 6 launchers.

Regarding the ExoMars programme continuation, the sanctions and the wider context make a launch in 2022 very unlikely. ESA’s Director General will analyse all the options and prepare a formal decision on the way forward by ESA Member States.

ESA continues to monitor the situation in close contact with its Members States.

Roscosmos Suspends Soyuz Joint Launch Operations From Kourou, Recalls Personnel From Europe’s Spaceport

Soyuz-2 rocket launches 34 OneWeb broadband satellites from the Guiana Space Center. (Credit: Copyright ESA-CNES-Arianespace/Optique Video du CSG – P Piron)

Russia is suspending cooperation with Arianespace on the launch of Soyuz rockets from Europe’s Guiana Space Center and pulling its personnel from the South American spaceport over European Union (EU) sanctions imposed on the nation for the nation’s invasion of Ukraine. Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin tweeted: (Translated from Russian)

In response to EU sanctions against our enterprises, Roscosmos is suspending cooperation with European partners in organizing space launches from the Kourou cosmodrome and withdrawing its technical personnel, including the consolidated launch crew, from French Guiana.

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Arianespace’s 13th Flight for OneWeb Successfully Deployed 34 Additional Satellites

Soyuz-2 rocket launches 34 OneWeb broadband satellites from the Guiana Space Center. (Credit: Copyright ESA-CNES-Arianespace/Optique Video du CSG – P Piron)
  • First Arianespace’s mission of 2022 and OneWeb’s thirteenth launch, Soyuz Flight VS27 successfully put 34 additional constellation satellites into a near-polar orbit.
  • In the course of 2022, Arianespace will continue to deploy OneWeb’s satellite network, which now comprises 428 satellites in low Earth orbit.

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Today’s launch, Flight VS27, was the first Arianespace’s mission of 2022 and the 340th launch overall for the Arianespace family of launchers Ariane, Soyuz and Vega. Performed on Thursday, February 10 at precisely 03:09 p.m. local time at Guiana Space Center (06:09 p.m. UTC), this mission orbited 34 OneWeb satellites bringing the size of the fleet in orbit to 428.

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Musk to Give Starship Update, Astra Space and Arianespace Launches Scheduled for Today

Super Heavy/Starship system in flight. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk will give an update on the development of Starship and Super Heavy boosters live from Starbase in Texas on Thursday at 9 p.m. EST (02:00 UTC on Friday). You can watch the webcast at www.spacex.com.

Arianespace will launch 34 OneWeb satellites aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Liftoff is scheduled for 1:09 p.m. EST (18:09 UTC). You can watch the launch here.

Astra Space will attempt to launch four CubeSats for NASA for the third time on Thursday, Feb. 10. The launch window opens at 3 p.m. EST (20:00 UTC). You can watch a webcast of the launch at astra.com/livestream.

Arianespace to Serve OneWeb’s Ambitions, will Orbit 34 Additional Satellites with Soyuz

Soyuz-2 launches 34 OneWeb satellites. (Credit: Arianespace)
  • After the successful launch of NASA’s Webb Space Telescope on December 25 with Ariane 5, Arianespace is back to the Guiana Space Center (CSG) with Soyuz for a February 10 lift-off.
  • The first Arianespace mission of the year will orbit 34 additional OneWeb satellites.
  • With this mission, Arianespace will exceed 100 satellites launched on Soyuz from the CSG, while OneWeb’s fleet will be brought to 428 satellites on Low Earth Orbit.

SINNAMARY, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Scheduled for February 10 at 03:09 p.m. local time (06:09 p.m. UTC), Arianespace’s Soyuz Flight VS27 will mark the European launch service provider’s first flight of the year. Performed from the Soyuz Launch Complex (ELS) at Sinnamary, French Guiana, Flight VS27 will put 34 of OneWeb’s satellites into a near-polar orbit at an altitude of 450 kilometers. The total duration of the mission will be 3 hours and 33 minutes and will include nine satellite separations, after which the satellites will subsequently raise themselves to their operational orbit.

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NASA to Discuss Webb’s Arrival at Final Destination, Next Steps on Monday

Artist rending showing light reflecting off of the primary and secondary mirrors of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, after it has deployed in space. (Credits: NASA/Mike McClare)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — Scientists and engineers operating NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will answer questions about the mission’s latest milestones in a NASA Science Live broadcast at 3 p.m. EST Monday, Jan. 24, followed by a media teleconference at 4 p.m.

The broadcast will air live online on the NASA Science Live website, as well as YouTubeFacebook, and Twitter. Audio of the teleconference will stream live on the agency’s website.

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NASA to Host Coverage, Briefing for Webb Telescope’s Final Unfolding

James Webb Space Telescope unfolding sequence. (Credit: NASA)

WASHIINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA will provide live coverage and host a media briefing Saturday, Jan. 8, for the conclusion of the James Webb Space Telescope’s major spacecraft deployments.

Beginning no earlier than 9 a.m. EST, NASA will air live coverage of the final hours of Webb’s major deployments. After the live broadcast concludes, at approximately 1:30 p.m., NASA will hold a media briefing. Both the broadcast and media briefing will air live on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

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Arianespace to Launch Eight New Galileo Satellites

Artist’s view of the configuration of Ariane 6 using four boosters (A64) (Credit: ESA – D. Ducros)
  • ESA and EUSPA have confirmed that Arianespace will launch eight additional Galileo satellites.
  • Arianespace will launch the first two satellites in 2022, leading to the Full Operational Capability of Galileo open service. Then, three successive launches on Ariane 62 in 2023, 2024 and 2025, will finalize the launch of the first generation of Galileo satellites and will increase the constellation resilience.
  • These will be the 13th to 16th Galileo missions by Arianespace, which has orbited all satellites in the constellation.

Évry-Courcouronnes, France, January 6, 2022 (Arianespace PR) — The European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) has chosen Arianespace to launch four new Galileo satellites for Europe’s own satellite navigation system. With this order, EUSPA takes over the role of placing launch services contracts for Galileo from ESA, which acted so far in the name and on behalf of the European Commission and will continue to be the technical authority for these launches.

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The Ariane 6 First Stages on Their Way to Kourou

Ariane 6 combined test module core stage. (Credit: ArianeGroup. Peppe Box, Julien Hazemann)
  • The Ariane 6 core stage and upper stage intended for the combined tests on the launch pad in French Guiana have left the ArianeGroup sites in Les Mureaux and Bremen and begun their journey to Europe’s Spaceport.
  • These stages will be integrated by ArianeGroup in the Launcher Assembly Building (BAL) to create the central core for the Ariane 6 combined tests model.
  • The combined tests are a crucial step in the development of Ariane 6: for the first time, the rocket and its new launch pad will be tested together and the Vulcain 2.1 motor will be hot-fired.

BREMEN, Germany (ArianeGroup PR) — The Ariane 6 core stage and upper stage are now en route to Europe’s Spaceport. After final assembly at ArianeGroup’s Les Mureaux site and completion of all its functional acceptance tests, the core stage was taken to the French port of Le Havre. The ship then sailed to Bremen, Germany, to load the upper stage – assembled and inspected on-site by ArianeGroup – before setting sail for French Guiana. The two stages are scheduled to arrive at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana in January.

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