Dream Chaser to Use Europe’s Next-Generation Docking System

SNC Dream Chaser docks with the International Space Station. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA and a team of European industrial contractors led by QinetiQ have finalised an agreement with Sierra Nevada Corporation for the use of Europe’s International Berthing Docking Mechanism on the Dream Chaser spaceplane.

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MOU Signed to Study Campbeltown Spaceport

Credit: Discover Space UK

ARGYLL, Scotland (Discover Space UK PR) — Leading UK Space science and technology firms QinetiQ and Telespazio VEGA UK have agreed Memorandum’s of Understanding (MoU) to work with Discover Space UK on investigating the potential for a horizontal launch spaceport at the Campbeltown site on the West Coast of Scotland.

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QinetiQ Studies How to Save World From Killer Asteroids

Asteroid Impact Mission spacecraft. (Credit: ESA/The Science Office Ltd.)
Asteroid Impact Mission spacecraft. (Credit: ESA/The Science Office Ltd.)

FARNBOROUGH, England — QinetiQ is examining what it would take to save the world from an asteroid impact, under an €840,000 [$937,398) contract awarded by the European Space Agency (ESA).

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UK Space Conference Showcases Growing Space Sector

UK_space_agencyLIVERPOOL, England (UKSA PR) — From a feasibility study into the next generation of mobile satellite services, to a study examining the potential for UK communications support for the Orion mission, a host of new contracts were announced last week as leading figures from the space industry met for the 2015 UK Space Conference in Liverpool.

The conference announcements illustrated the strength and diversity of the UK space sector and the skilled services it has to offer.

ICE Telecommunications Contract

On day 2 of the Space Conference, the European Space Agency (ESA) signed a contract with Inmarsat in the UK to support the Inmarsat Communications Evolution project, ICE – a public-private partnership that gives European industry the opportunity to shape future mobile satellite services on land, at sea and in the air.

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QinetiQ Wins Contract for New Docking System on Space Station

CGI image of the IBDM design
CGI image of the IBDM design (Credit: QinetiQ)

Farnborough, 3 June 2014 (QinetiQ PR: QinetiQ Space has won a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for the development of the International Berthing Docking Mechanism (IBDM), a unique soft docking system for use by spacecraft at the International Space Station (ISS).

Under the current contract phase, which will run until 2015, QinetiQ Space will develop and build an engineering model that it is intended to be tested on the ground. The contract is expected to lead to a follow-on development phase lasting until 2017.

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SpaceX-3 Science Payloads Return to Kennedy

Donald Houzer, a QinetiQ North America mechanical technician, checks out the Advanced Plant Experiment (APEX) during prelaunch preparations in the Space Station Processing Facility. (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)
Donald Houzer, a QinetiQ North America mechanical technician, checks out the Advanced Plant Experiment (APEX) during prelaunch preparations in the Space Station Processing Facility. (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

By Anna Heiney
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida

A trio of science payloads have completed their missions on the International Space Station and returned to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where they’ll be turned over to the scientists who designed them.

The BRIC-18, Biotube-MICRo and APEX-02-2 investigations were created to answer a variety of biological questions critical to future long duration spaceflight, from the prevention and treatment of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections to several mysterious aspects of plant growth.

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QinetiQ Signs Deal With ESA for Space Recycling System

esa_logoKRUIBEKE, Belgium (QinetiQ Space PR) — QinetiQ Space has signed a 1.1 million euro contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for the development of a ground prototype water treatment unit to recycle urine and waste water for use in space.

The prototype will be used to develop a system that will be used in future space missions to treat water for re-use by astronauts to wash, or to be purified further to drinking water. The ground prototype and testing will ensure the future system works successfully in space, with a design that has to take into account the lack of gravity, the launch and the life expectancy of the components in different environments.

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Spaceport Sweden Prepares to Open Spaceflight Training Center

Carina Johnsson in the Dynamic Flight Simulator, part of Spaceport Sweden and QinetiQ spaceflight preparation program, in Linköping, Sweden. (Credit: Spaceport Sweden)
Carina Johnsson in the Dynamic Flight Simulator, part of Spaceport Sweden and QinetiQ spaceflight preparation program, in Linköping, Sweden. (Credit: Spaceport Sweden)

KIRUNA, Sweden (Spaceport Sweden PR) — The Spaceport Sweden and QinetiQ spaceflight preparation program at the Flight Physiological Centre (FPC) in Linköping is soon ready for launch. Earlier in the week we went through a dry-run together with QinetiQ trying out the unique G profiles generated by future commercial space vehicles in the Dynamic Flight Simulator (DFS).

Spaceport Sweden is establishing commercial human spaceflights and Europe’s gateway to space and together with QinetiQ we are devloping a world-class spaceflight preparation program where future space travelers will emerge prepared, confident and relaxed, ready to maximise their journey to space.

The DFS in Linköping is one of the world’s most advanced flight simulators, combining a man-rated, long-arm centrifuge and flight simulator. The DFS provides a safe and highly controllable environment in which future astronauts can experience the sustained periods of increased acceleration present during launch and re-entry and allows for the precise re-creation of the complex and unique ‘G’ profiles generated by future commercial space vehicles.

Spaceport Sweden Teams with QinetiQ for Spaceflight Training Program

spaceport_sweden_centrifuge
KIRUNA, Sweden (Spaceport Sweden PR) — Spaceport Sweden AB has signed a strategic partnering agreement with QinetiQ Ltd, to identify, explore and exploit opportunities in the fields of commercial human spaceflight (CHSF), research and exploitation. Under the agreement, Spaceport Sweden and QinetiQ will initially use the Flight Physiological Centre (FPC) in Linköping, Sweden to develop a world-class preparation program for CHSF passengers.

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Aerojet and Partners to Market Ion Propulsion Internationally

PARIS, Le Bourget and SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 21, 2011 – Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, QinetiQ, (LSE: QQ.L) and EADS Astrium Crisa, an EADS (PAR:EAD) company, announced today that the companies have entered into a joint agreement to supply the XENITH(TM) (Xenon Ion Thruster) ion propulsion system to the worldwide commercial spacecraft market. The agreement will enable customers to benefit from the combined expertise of independent market leaders in design, manufacture and supply of space propulsion systems, who are collaborating to deliver the XENITH(TM) system.

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British Firm Developing Ion Engines for Space Missions

BBC News has an interesting story about Qinetiq, a British company that is developed advanced ion engines for use in future space missions.

Ion engines have great promise for future space missions, but their development is still in its infancy. Qinetig’s T5 ion engine will fly for the first time on ESA’s Goce spacecraft, which will map variations in the Earth’s gravity field.