COSMIC-2 Achieves Full Operational Capability

Diagram shows how COSMIC-2 satellites detect how GPS satellite signals are distorted, or bent, as they travel through the Earth’s atmosphere. (Credit: NOAA)

SILVER SPRING, Md. (NOAA PR) — The Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (COSMIC-2) is a network  of six small satellites, each about the size of a standard kitchen oven, designed to improve weather prediction and model accuracy as well as space weather monitoring capabilities.

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ASI and Qascom to Bring Italy and Galileo Navigation System to the Moon

Photo of Mare Crisium taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. (Credit: NASA)

ROME (ASI PR) — Finding the best route for lunar orbit and easy parking on the Moon is the goal of NEIL (Navigation Early Investigation on Lunar surface) GNSS receiver with Software Defined Radio (SDR) technology. The creation of NEIL, named in honor of Neil Armstrong, the first man to touch the lunar soil, is at the center of an agreement between the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and NASA linked to the CLPS 19-D mission (NASA missions with contributions commercial and private of an experimental nature) with which the American space agency has planned to land with a lander in the Mare Crisium basin in 2023. [Editor’s Note: This is Firefly Aerospace’s Blue Ghost lander mission.]

NEIL, subject of the contract signed between ASI and the company Qascom SRL, is the on-board payload that will be an integral part of the experiment called Lunar GNSS Receiver Experiment  (LuGRE), defined in the ASI/NASA agreement, which aims to develop an activity in a lunar and cislunar environment.

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ESA, European Union Sign New Partnership Agreement on Joint Space Programs

PARIS (ESA PR) — After months of constructive negotiations, ESA and EU signed today a new Financial Framework Partnership Agreement (FFPA) in a ceremony to celebrate the launch of the new EU space programme.   

This will mark a fresh start for space activities in Europe and represents an important step forward in the relationship between ESA and EU. It is also one of the top priorities of Agenda 2025, the roadmap of ESA’s Director General Josef Aschbacher.

“This is a major achievement for ESA, recognised for its scientific excellence and technical expertise in designing space systems and ground facilities for the benefit of European citizens,” said ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher.

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Launch 2020: A Busy Year Filled with Firsts in the Face of COVID-19 Pandemic

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard, Saturday, May 30, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls & Joel Kowsky)

SpaceX dominated, China surged and Russia had another clean sheet as American astronauts flew from U.S. soil again in a year of firsts.

First in a series

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a very busy launch year with a number of firsts in both human and robotic exploration. A total of 114 orbital launches were attempted, with 104 successes and 10 failures. It was the same number of launches that were conducted in 2018, with that year seeing 111 successes, two failures and one partial failure.

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ESA Signs Contract for New Generation of Galileo Navigation Satellites

ESA has signed two contracts for an overall amount of €1.47 billion [$1.79 billion], to design and build the first batch of the second generation of Europe’s Galileo navigation satellites. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Acting on behalf of the European Commission, ESA has signed two contracts for an overall amount of €1.47 billion, to design and build the first batch of the second generation of Europe’s Galileo navigation satellites.

Following an intense process of open competition, these contracts have been awarded to Thales Alenia Space (Italy) and Airbus Defence & Space (Germany) to create two independent families of satellites amounting to 12 Galileo Second Generation satellites in total.

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Audit Concludes Use of European Union Space Services Needs an Extra Boost

Galileo constellation (Credit: Thales Alenia Space)

LUXEMBOURG (European Court of Auditors PR) — The European Union has not done enough to harness the full potential of its space programmes, according to a special report published today by the European Court of Auditors (ECA). While the satellite-based programmes Galileo and Copernicus in particular provide valuable services and data, more efforts are needed to capitalise on the significant investment made (around €18 billion so far) and to optimise the benefits they bring to citizens and the economy. The auditors call for a comprehensive strategy, more targeted actions and better use of the regulatory framework for efficiently supporting the uptake of services.

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Thales Alenia Space Wins New Contract for Second Gen Galileo Satellites

(Credit: Thales Alenia Space)

Boosting the positioning performance and real-time operability of the system

CANNES, April 15, 2021 (Thales Alenia Space PR) – Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), as prime contractor for Galileo First Generation’s Ground Mission Segment, has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA), on behalf of the European Commission in the Horizon 2020 Satellite Navigation Program (HSNAV), to develop the Advanced Orbit Determination and Time Synchronisation (ODTS) Algorithms Test Platform (A-OATP). This new contract will support the implementation and experimentation of the navigation algorithms that will be used for Galileo Second Generation.

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