China’s Chang’e 6 to Deploy French DORN Instrument on Moon to Study Lunar Exosphere

BEIJING (CNES PR) — Wednesday 6 November, on the occasion of President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to the People’s Republic of China, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall and Zhang Kejian, Administrator of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), signed in the presence of Presidents Macron and Xi Jinping a joint statement covering two fields of investigation.

First, in 2023 China’s Chang’e 6 lunar mission will fly the French DORN instrument proposed by the IRAP astrophysics and planetology research institute. DORN’s science goals are to study the transport of volatiles through the lunar regolith and in the lunar exosphere and lunar dust.

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NRO Awards Planet Contract as Part of Transition of Commercial Imagery Acquisition

CHANTILLY, Va.. October 15, 2019 (NRO PR) – The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) today announced the transition of the Planet commercial imagery subscription service from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to the NRO.

As part of the transition, the NRO awarded Planet an unclassified, multi-year subscription service contract for daily, large-area, 3-5 meter resolution commercial imagery collection.

Recognizing the importance of mission continuity, the scope of the new NRO contract is comparable to NGA’s previous contracts with Planet and includes access to new daily unclassified imagery over multiple areas of interest to military planners, warfighters, and the national security community.

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World Space Alliance Continues to Strengthen

TOULOUSE, France (ESA PR) — The ESA–SAP World Space Alliance continues to grow as Airbus Defence and Space, the Environmental Systems Research Institute and GeoVille join the partnership.

Earlier this year, SAP – a German-based multinational software corporation – and ESA created the World Space Alliance (WSA). This was another milestone in the ESA—SAP partnership that was initiated in 2016.

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SSTL & Leonardo Collaborate to Develop Low Cost Infrared Detectors for Earth Observation Constellations

Credit: Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd

GUILDFORD, UK (SSTL PR) — Leonardo and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd have been awarded funding from the UK’s Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation (CEOI) to develop a new detector assembly for a low cost, world-leading Mid-Wave Infra-Red (MWIR) imager.  The MWIR imager will be designed to achieve 3.5m GSD and to fit into a small and low cost agile platform with a launch mass of approximately 130 kg to address the future demands of the evolving Earth Observation constellations market. 

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KSAT, ICEYE Extend Partnership with More Radar Satellite Imagery, Faster Data Analysis

Tromsø, Norway and Helsinki, September 25, 2019 (ICEYE/KSAT PR) – ICEYE, the global leader in small satellite synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) technology, and Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT), today announced they have signed an extended cooperation agreement on providing Near Real-Time (NRT) SAR data services for government and commercial customers.  The newly signed contract covers further data purchases and extended operations of ICEYE’s Near Real-Time SAR processor within the KSAT Ground Network, resulting in an extremely fast delivery chain for data and value-added products for customers.

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First Earth Observation Satellite with Artificial Intelligence Ready to Launch

ɸ-Sat AI (Credit: CERN/M. Brice)

CATALONIA, Spain (ESA PR) — A few months from now will see the launch of the first European satellite to demonstrate how onboard artificial intelligence can improve the efficiency of sending Earth observation data back to Earth. Dubbed ɸ-Sat, or PhiSat, this revolutionary artificial intelligence technology will fly on one of the two CubeSats that make up the FSSCat mission – a Copernicus Masters winning idea.

As the overall 2017 Copernicus Masters winner, FSSCat, was proposed by Spain’s Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and developed by a consortium of European companies and institutes.

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Long March 4B Successfully Launches 3 Satellites

Long March 4B booster lifts off from Taiyuan with three satellites aboard on Sept. 12, 2019. (Credit: CGWIC)

BEIJING (CGWIC PR) — At 11:26, September 12th, 2019 BJT, the 5-meter Optical Satellite was successfully launched by Long March 4B (LM-4B) launch vehicle from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center (TSLC), with two small satellites aboard, ICE-PATHFINDER (also known as BNU-1) of Beijing Normal University and Taurus-1 of Shanghai ASES Spaceflight Technology Co. Ltd.

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Russian Regulative Documents on Earth’s Remote Sensing Database Signed

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The Government of the Russian Federation approved the regulation to create and maintain the Earth’s remote sensing federal database. The regulation defines the contents and ways of data transmission, as well as the time period of sending the data to the database.

The passing of these Decrees of the Government of the Russian Federation creates all the necessary conditions to maintain the federal Earth’s remote sensing database and data provision to the clients.

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NGA Awards $44 Million Contract to Maxar

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (Maxar PR)– Maxar Technologies (NYSE:MAXR) (TSX:MAXR), a trusted partner and innovator in Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure, today announced that it has been awarded a new, four-year contract with the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) for the Global Enhanced GEOINT Delivery (Global EGD) program. The contract, which begins September 1, 2019, is valued at $44 million for the base year and includes three option years at the same value that would extend the contract through August 2023.

The new contract will allow Maxar to continue providing more than a quarter million U.S. Government users with online and offline, on-demand access to the world’s highest resolution commercial imagery.

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ESA Evaluating Remote Sensing Data from ICEYE, Planet and Spire

X2 satellite (Credit: ICEYE)

PARIS (ESA PR) — In the framework of the Earthnet programme, ESA and its Member States continue to stimulate global cooperation between space actors around activities aiming to acquire and share resources and knowledge on our planet for the benefit of all citizens.

Recently, it was decided to continue the data assessment of three constellations:

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Airbus to Develop CO3D Earth Observation Program for CNES

CO3D satellite (Credit: Airbus)
  • The next generation in optical satellite constellations
  • Production of 3D high-resolution data for global digital elevation model
  • Strategic move to support export contracts for French industry

PARIS (Airbus PR) – The French Space Agency (CNES) has awarded the CO3D (Constellation Optique 3D) contract to Airbus. Under this agreement, Airbus will deliver a global high-resolution Digital Surface Model (DSM).

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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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Rocket Lab Successfully Launches Rideshare Mission for Spaceflight

Rocket Lab’s launch site on New Zealand Mahia Peninsula as seen from the Electron booster. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Rocket Lab’s Electron booster successfully launched the “Make it Rain” rideshare mission for Seattle-based Spaceflight from New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula on Saturday.

The mission lofted seven satellites, including: BlackSky’s Global-3 imaging microsat; two U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) Prometheus reconnaissance CubeSats; two Swarm SpaceBEE satellites; Melbourne Space Program’s ACRUX-1 CubeSat; and one spacecraft from an undisclosed customer. The payloads weighed 80 kg (176.4 lb).

The BlackSky Global-3 imaging satellite was developed, designed and manufactured by BlackSky of the United States. The company is a provider of geospatial intelligence, satellite imaging and global monitoring services.

It was the sixth successful Electron launch in a row out of seven attempts and the third flight of 2019.  Rocket Lab has now orbited 35 satellites on its six successful missions.

The mission’s name was drawn from the high volume of rainfall in Seattle where Spaceflight is headquartered and at the Mahia Peninsula where Electron from which Electron is launched.











Advisory Committee Recommends Keeping Landsat Data Free

Landsat 8 (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Citing a combination of negligible revenues and negative economic impacts on the economy, an Interior Department advisory committee has recommended that the government not implement fees for the use of data from the Landsat 8 and 9 satellites.

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