Norwegian Gas Meter Sent to International Space Station

ANITA-2 gas meter. (Credit; Norwegian Space Agency)

ANITA-2 has been developed by SINTEF in collaboration with ESA and OHB, and supported by the Norwegian Space Center.

By Berit Ellingsen

OSLO, Norway — At the International Space Station, it is not just a matter of opening a window if astronauts suspect the leak of one of the many gases used on board.

Here the air consists of the same gases as on earth: nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other gases in small amounts. But both people, interior and equipment emit different trace gases. Several different types of spacecraft carry supplies and experiments to the space station, and they can also be a source of gases.

(more…)

European Science Launches to Space Station Aboard SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft

A SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft launches on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy for the company’s 24th commercial resupply services mission for NASA. (Credits: NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The next SpaceX resupply vehicle is packed with European science, ready for delivery to the International Space Station just in time for Christmas.

The Dragon spacecraft was launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA, at 11:06 CET (10:06 GMT) Tuesday 21 December. We take a quick peek at some of the European cargo it carries.

(more…)

Two New Satellites Mark Further Enlargement of Galileo

Soyuz rocket lifts off with the Galileo 27 and 28 satellites. (Credit: Arianespace webcast)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — Europe’s largest satellite constellation has grown even bigger, following the launch of two more Galileo navigation satellites by Soyuz launcher from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on 5 December. Galileo satellites 27-28 add to an existing 26-satellite constellation in orbit, providing the world’s most precise satnav positioning to more than 2.3 billion users around the globe.

(more…)

Plans for German Satellite Launch Operation in North Sea Move Forward

The German government and a group of companies are moving forward with plans to launch satellites from a ship in the North Sea. Market Research Telecast reports that Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier announced government backing for the “New Space Small Satellite Initiative” promoted by the Federation of German Industries (BDI):

The BDI event “From the North Sea into space: the dawn of a new era in European space travel” is intended to be the prelude to the implementation of a launch platform in the North Sea from which small satellites are to be transported into space with micro launchers. To this end, German companies from the aerospace and maritime sectors founded the German Offshore Spaceport Alliance (GOSA) at the end of 2020. At the BDI event, European rocket manufacturers and GOSA signed declarations of cooperation….

Tractebel DOC Offshore, which operates maritime projects, MediaMobil, which specializes in offshore communication, the space company OHB, BLG Logistics, the shipping company Harren & Partner and the insurance company Lampe & Schwarze are all participating in GOSA. So far, the plans provide for a special ship to be loaded with a rocket and its payload, to go out to sea and launch the rocket there.

The German government is providing half the funds for a feasibility study. Bremen and Bremerhaven as under consideration as the home port of the operation.

Telespazio at Head of ESA Consortium to Study Communication and Navigation Services for the Moon

  • The international consortium includes satellite operators, manufacturing and service companies, SMEs, universities and research centres
  • The services will rely on satellites and terrestrial stations to support space exploration and the development of the “Lunar Economy”
  • “Communications and positioning are essential for the sustainable presence of men and women on the Moon and for beneficial effects on life on Earth,” says CEO Luigi Pasquali

ROME (Telespazio PR) — Leveraging on the satellite communication and navigation services that are common on Earth, European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded a contract to a consortium led by Telespazio, a joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%), in the role of large mission integrator, to study how to design an equivalent infrastructure and service around the Moon.

(more…)

Contract Signed to Build Arctic Weather Satellite

The Arctic Weather Satellite is conceived as a constellation of small polar-orbiting satellites, each carrying a single instrument: a 19-channel cross-track microwave radiometer. (Credit: OHB Sweden)

PARIS (ESA PR) — With the need for satellite data to be received more frequently for faster weather forecasting updates in the Arctic, ESA has signed a contract with OHB Sweden to a build prototype satellite for the Arctic Weather Satellite mission.

(more…)

LIST & Gradal Announce Joint Luxembourg Lab Producing Ultra-lightweight Structures for Satellites

Ultra-lightweight technology. (Credit: Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology)

LUXEMBOURG (LIST PR) — The Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) is thrilled to announce a new partnership venture with established Luxembourg company Gradel to research and produce ultra-lightweight structures for the aeronautics and space industry. Parts will be produced for three European giants in satellite construction; Thales Alenia Space (France), Airbus Defence and Space (France), and OHB (Germany).

*LIST will be the home of a joint laboratory at the institute’s new premises in Hautcharage to research and develop the ground-breaking Gradel’s technology known as “xFK in 3D”. 

(more…)

European Space and Digital Players to Study Development of EU’s Satellite-based Connectivity System

BRUSSELS, 23 December 2020 (Airbus PR) — The European Commission has selected a consortium of European satellite manufacturers, operators and service providers, telco operators and launch service providers to study the design, development and launch of a European-owned space-based communication system.

The study will assess the feasibility of a new initiative aiming to strengthen European digital sovereignty and provide secure connectivity for citizens, commercial enterprises and public institutions as well as providing global coverage for rural and ‘not-spot’ areas. Complementing Copernicus and Galileo, this new EU flagship programme, once given the green light, would fully exploit the synergies of the technological potential akin to the Digital and Space industries. The contract value of the year-long feasibility study amounts to € 7.1 million.

(more…)

Thales Alenia Space to Build Copernicus CHIME Satellites

Copernicus Hyperspectral Imaging Mission (CHIME) satellite. (Credit: Thales Alenia Space)

CANNES, France (Thales Alenia Space PR) — Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67 %) and Leonardo (33 %), announced today that it has signed a 90 million euro [$106.5 million] first tranche contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) to design and build the 2 environmental monitoring satellites of the Copernicus Hyperspectral Imaging Mission for the Environment (CHIME), the global amount being 455 million euros [$538.5 million].

The CHIME mission is part of the expansion of the Copernicus Space Component programme of the European Space Agency, ESA, in partnership with the European Commission. The European Copernicus flagship programme provides Earth observation and in situ data and a broad range of services for environmental monitoring and protection, climate monitoring, natural disaster assessment to improve the quality of life of European citizens.

(more…)

The INNOspace Masters 2019/20 Awards Clever Ideas for Tomorrow’s Space Travel

The overall winner of the INNOspace Masters 2020. (Credit: DLR)
  • On October 14, 2020, the winners of the INNOspace Masters competition were honored in an online conference.
  • More than 300 companies, start-ups, universities and research institutions in 15 European countries answered the call.
  • The new 2020/21 competition will start under the motto “Innovations for sustainable infrastructures – in space and on earth”.

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — Under the motto “New Ideas between Space and Earth”, the space management of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) searched the fifth INNOspace Masters competition for new ideas and concepts that address current challenges in space travel and other industries and offer innovative solutions. Five competition categories – called “Challenges” – from different development and innovation phases in the value chain were available for the participants to choose from. 

The “DLR Space Management Challenge” focused on the research and development phase, while the industrial partners Airbus and OHB were looking for proposals for solutions that were already ready for the market. DB Netz AG, since this year an additional industrial partner of the competition, focused on innovations from the space industry for the monitoring, inspection and maintenance of the rail infrastructure. The “ESA BIC Start-up Challenge”, which was aimed at the start-up

(more…)

Rocket Factory Augsburg Signs Agreement with Andøya Space for Maiden Flight

RFA One launcher in flight (Credit: Rocket Factory)

AUGSBURG, Germany — Rocket Factory Augsburg AG (RFA), a participation of space technology company OHB SE, will be establishing a launch site for a micro launcher together with Norwegian company Andøya Space. The two partners have now signed a letter of intent to this effect. The site is to provide launch services for small satellites from 2022.

(more…)

ESA Awards Contract for Hera Planetary Defense Mission

ESA’s Hera mission for planetary defence seen approaching the Dimorphos asteroid moonlet. (Credit: OHB)

PARIS, 15 September 2020 (ESA PR) — Today ESA awarded a €129.4 million contract covering the detailed design, manufacturing and testing of Hera, the Agency’s first mission for planetary defence. This ambitious mission will be Europe’s contribution to an international asteroid deflection effort, set to perform sustained exploration of a double asteroid system.

(more…)

Exolaunch Signs Agreement with Rocket Factory Augsburg to Supply Commercial Launch Services

RFA One launcher in flight (Credit: Rocket Factory)

BERLIN, Germany (Exolaunch PR) – EXOLAUNCH, a Berlin-based rideshare launch and deployment solutions provider, signed a wide-ranging MOU with Germany-based launch service provider, Rocket Factory Augsburg AG (RFA), to provide end-to-end launch services for small satellites, with Exolaunch procuring launch capacities from RFA.

(more…)

ESA Awards OHB Contracts for Copernicus Missions

Sentinel-6/Jason-CS will map up to 95% of Earth’s ice-free ocean every 10 days in order to monitor sea level variability. (Credit: ESA/ATG medialab)

BREMEN, Germany (OHB System PR) — OHB System AG, a subsidiary of Bremen-based space and technology group OHB SE (Prime Standard, ISIN DE0005936124), has been selected by the European Space Agency ESA as the prime contractor for the CO2M mission (CO2 Monitoring Mission in the Copernicus program).

This mission includes the Copernicus satellites, which will measure global anthropogenic CO2 emissions and thus play a key role in studying the causes of climate change and monitoring it.

OHB System and OHB Italia will also be responsible for the payload on two further missions (CHIME: Copernicus Hyperspectral Imaging Mission for the Environment and CIMR: Copernicus Imaging Microwave Radiometer) as subcontractors of Thales Alenia Space.

The order volume resulting from today’s bid decisions is expected to be more than EUR 800 million [$900 million]. Final contract negotiations will start shortly and contract signings are expected in the coming weeks.

Copernicus is a satellite Earth observation program of the European Commission and the European Space Agency ESA. It provides Earth observation data for environmental protection, climate monitoring, natural disaster assessment and other social tasks.

In addition, ESA’s Industrial Policy Committee (IPC) has approved OHB System’s proposal for the HERA asteroid defense mission for final negotiations. Implementation of the HERA mission has already commenced. The contract is expected to be worth around EUR 130 million [$146 million].

ESA Selects Thales Alenia Space Proposals for Copernicus Project

Copernicus Sentinel-3 (Credit: ESA/ATG medialab)

CANNES, July 2, 2020 (Thales Alenia Space PR) — Thales Alenia Space, a Joint Venture between Thales (67 %) and Leonardo (33 %), has recently been selected  by the European Space Agency (ESA) in coordination and with the agreement of the European Commission, for major Copernicus missions.

Copernicus is the core satellite Earth observation program of the European Commission and the European Space Agency ESA. It provides Earth observation data for environmental protection, climate monitoring, natural disaster assessment and other social tasks.

(more…)