EU Space Budget Request Slashed

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The European Commission (EC) has slashed its space budget for 2021-27 from a proposed €16 billion ($18.8 billion) to €13.2 billion ($15.1 billion) due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic and the exit of Britain from the European Union (EU).

Under terms worked out last week by EU leaders, the space budget will devote €8 billion ($9.4 billion) on the Galileo satellite navigation system and €4.8 billion ($5.65 billion) to the Copernicus constellation of environmental satellites.

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China Completes Beidou Satellite Navigation System

Note: As of June 28, 2019. Adapted from Kazuhiro Kida and Shinichi Hashimoto, “China’s Version of GPS Now Has More Satellites than US Original,” Nikkei Asian Review, August 19, 2019.

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

China completed its Beidou satellite navigation system with a launch last week, fully standing up a rival to the American Global Positioning System (GPS), Europe’s Galileo constellation, and Russia’s GLONASS system and strengthening the nation as a space power.

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Newly Reprocessed Images of Europa Show ‘Chaos Terrain’ in Crisp Detail

In this gallery of three newly reprocessed Europa images, details are visible in the variety of features on the moon’s icy surface. This image of an area called Chaos Transition shows blocks that have moved and ridges possibly related to how the crust fractures from the force of Jupiter’s gravity. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — The surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa features a widely varied landscape, including ridges, bands, small rounded domes and disrupted spaces that geologists call “chaos terrain.” Three newly reprocessed images, taken by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft in the late 1990s, reveal details in diverse surface features on Europa.

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ESA, European Commission Pre-order Four More Ariane 6 Launches

Artist’s view of the configuration of Ariane 6 using four boosters (A64) (Credit: ESA – D. Ducros)

PARIS (Arianespace PR) — The European Space Agency (ESA) has finalized its preorder for four more launches on Ariane 6, along with an initial payment.

Using Ariane 62, the light version of the new European launcher, these missions will be carried out on behalf of the European Commission to continue the deployment and operational ramp-up of the high-performance Galileo satellite navigation system.

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CubeSat Finds its Way in Space with Galileo Receiver

This Astrocast CubeSat launched in December 2018 included a test satnav receiver. (Credit: Astrocast)

ZURICH (ESA PR) — A miniature CubeSat has become the first satellite to perform Galileo-based position fixes in orbit using a commercial satnav receiver.

CubeSats are nanosatellites based on standardised 10 cm-sized units. Originally devised for educational uses, they are nowadays being put to commercial and technology testing uses. The Swiss Astrocast company is assembling a constellation based on 3-unit CubeSats to serve the emerging ‘Internet of Things’.

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Ariane 6 Parts Come Together, Europe’s Spaceport Prepares

Ariane 6 mobile gantry over the launch pad. (Credit: ESA)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — The first test models of Ariane 6 are being manufactured while Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, is preparing to test the launch vehicle and all systems involved with launch.

Details on the progress of activities for Ariane 6 were recently shared at the 70th International Astronautical Congress held in Washington, USA – downloadable here (.pdf).

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Galileo Passes 1 Billion Users Mark

PRAGUE (CNES PR) — On Tuesday, 10 September, Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of CNES and Chair of the Administrative Board of the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA), celebrated the agency’s 15th anniversary in Prague with Europe’s space leaders in attendance.

The gathering took the opportunity to hail the growing uptake of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) revolutionizing European air navigation and the planet-wide success of Galileo, which has now reached the milestone of one billion users. EGNOS and Galileo have thus become the standard-bearers for Europe’s space programme and the effective solutions that space is providing for society.

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DLR Creates 7 New Institutes to Further Technology Development

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR) — Digitalisation, climate change and technological disruption are shaping the future. This is where interdisciplinary research at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) proves valuable.

On 27 June 2019, the DLR Senate approved the founding of seven new institutes and facilities. The background to this was a resolution passed in the German Federal Parliament on 23 November 2018. By taking this step, DLR is strengthening Germany as a location for technological research and creating highly-skilled jobs.

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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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Spire Global Taps Galileo Signals to Measure Radio Occultation for Weather Community

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 11, 2018 (Spire Global PR) — Spire Global, Inc, the world’s largest space to cloud analytics company, today announced Spire’s most recently launched satellites are the first satellites in the world to use Galileo GNSS signals to measure radio occultation (GNSS-RO) profiles in a production capacity for the weather community.

This industry first was announced today at The Morgan Stanley Space Summit in NYC, and will now be offered to the entire audience of Spire’s global user base as a new tier of data for advanced weather prediction. These satellites are also part of a larger collaborative European Space Agency (ESA )program called ARTES Pioneer ‘Space As A Service’. The new satellite deployments represent the first Spire satellites launched through the Pioneer program for ESA, which is supported by the UK Space Agency.

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Galileo Satellites Prove Einstein’s Theory of Relativity to Highest Accuracy Yet

Galileos measure Einsteinian time dilation. (Credit: ESA-P. Carril/Wikimedia Commons/G. Porter)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system – already serving users globally – has now provided a historic service to the physics community worldwide, enabling the most accurate measurement ever made of how shifts in gravity alter the passing of time, a key element of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity.

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FCC Approves Use of Europe’s Galileo Satellite Navigation System in U.S.

WASHINGTON, November 15, 2018 (FCC PR) — Today, the Federal Communications Commission granted in part the European Commission’s request for a waiver of the Commission’s rules so that non-Federal devices in the United States may access specific signals transmitted from the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) known as Galileo.

With today’s action, consumers and industry in the United States will now be permitted to access certain satellite signals from the Galileo system to augment the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS), and thus benefit from improved availability, reliability, and resiliency of these position, navigation, and timing services in the United States.

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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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China Sets New Record for Launches in Calendar Year

China set a new national record for the number of launches in a calendar year.

A Long March 3B booster lifted off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center with two Beidou navigation satellites bound for medium Earth orbit. It was the 23rd successful launch of the year with no failures.

To date, China has launched six boosters with 11 Beidou satellites aboard in 2018. The navigation satellite system, which is similar to the U.S. Global Positioning System and Europe’s Galileo constellation, will eventually have 35 satellites in orbit.

China’s launch total for 2018 is expected to be in the low to mid-30’s.











Successful Ariane 5 Launch Continues Buildout of Galileo Navigation System

Ariane 5 launches four Galileo satellites (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — With today’s Ariane 5 morning success from the Spaceport in French Guiana, Arianespace has now orbited a total of 26 satellites for Europe’s Galileo global navigation system with its launch vehicle family – further underscoring the company’s ability to meet the launch requirements of high-profile institutional customers.

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