NOORDWIJK, Netherlands (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and ESA (European Space Agency) Director General Josef Aschbacher signed two agreements Wednesday at the ESA Council meeting in Noordwijk, Netherlands, further advancing the space agencies’ cooperation on Earth science and Artemis missions.
Noordwijk, The Netherlands (ESA PR) — The next steps in exploring and using space for the benefit of European citizens were this week on the agenda at ESA’s Council meeting in ESA/ESTEC, the Netherlands on 14 and 15 June. The possibility of the first-ever European astronaut to set foot on the Moon, a telecommunication satellite for lunar exploration and a mission to return precious rock samples from Mars were all discussed.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson joined the meeting with ESA Member States in a decisive gesture to advocate for Europe’s strong role in multiple projects which reinforce the enduring partnership between the two leading space agencies.
“From understanding our changing planet to exploring Mars, I hugely value the cooperation we have with NASA” says ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher. “By contributing key European hardware and services to exciting programmes such as Artemis and Mars Sample Return, we are building Europe’s autonomy while also being a reliable partner.”
Dstl’s miniaturised space weather instrumentation suite will be aboard Virgin Orbit which is aiming to launch from Spaceport Cornwall later in 2022.
LONDON (Dstl PR) — The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s (Dstl) miniaturised space weather instrumentation suite will be one of the payloads aboard Virgin Orbit which is targeting the first UK satellite launch this summer from Spaceport Cornwall in Newquay. Virgin Orbit’s Launcher One rocket takes off horizontally, carried aloft by a modified Boeing 747 jet, named Cosmic Girl.
The Coordinated Ionospheric Reconstruction Cubesat Experiment (CIRCE) satellite mission comprises two 6U cube-satellites that will be launched into a near-polar low Earth orbit in a string-of-pearls configuration (targeting 555 kilometres altitude). Each 6U satellite bus measures 10cm by 20cm by 30cm (the size of a cereal box), and will fly almost identical instrument capability on both satellites. Dstl is partnering with the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) on the joint mission.
PARIS (ESA PR) — The test version of a unique satellite navigation receiver has been delivered for integration testing on the Lunar Pathfinder spacecraft. The NaviMoon satnav receiver is designed to perform the farthest ever positioning fix from Earth, employing signals that will be millions of times fainter than those used by our smartphones or cars.
“This engineering model of our NaviMoon receiver is the very first piece of hardware to be produced in the context of ESA’s Moonlight initiative, to develop dedicated telecommunications and navigation services for the Moon,” explains Javier Ventura-Traveset, Head of ESA’s Navigation Science Office and managing all ESA lunar navigation activities.
PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA is going to the Moon – in collaboration with its international partners – and seeks to build a lasting lunar link to enable sustainable space exploration.
The agency has now evaluated initial ideas to create a network of lunar telecommunications and navigation satellites.
Creating a commercial telecommunications and navigation service for the Moon will allow many of the dozens of planned lunar missions to share the same infrastructure to communicate with Earth, as well as to find their way on the lunar surface.
The service is needed because the planned missions are becoming regular trips to Earth’s natural satellite rather than one-off expeditions.
The LEOPARD (Low Earth Orbit Pursuit for Active Debris Removal) study will define concepts for de-orbiting 2 uncooperative UK space assets from low earth orbit
GUILDFORD, UK (Surrey Satellite PR) — Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has been selected to lead a UK Space Agency study to define the mission requirements for a complex mission to de-orbit two non-operational space debris targets. SSTL is a world-leader in the manufacture and in-orbit operation of small satellites, and has valuable experience in two previous Active Debris Removal (ADR) demonstration missions; RemoveDEBRIS, which concluded a series of debris retrieval demonstrations in January 2019, and Astroscale’s 2021 ELSA-d mission for which SSTL supplied the Client “target” satellite.
LONDON, September 15, 2021 (SSTL PR) — The European Space Agency (ESA) has signed a contract with Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) for communications services from Lunar Pathfinder, due to launch in 2024. The Commercial Lunar Mission Support Services contract was signed between ESA’s Director of Human and Robotic Exploration, Dave Parker, and SSTL’s Managing Director, Phil Brownnett, on 15 September 2021 at The Royal Society in London. Amanda Solloway, UK Government Science Minister, Josef Aschbacher, ESA’s Director General, Paul Bate, Director of the UK Space Agency, and SSTL’s Executive Chairman, Sir Martin Sweeting were also in attendance.
SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — UK companies are developing new communication and navigation services needed for future missions to the Moon, thanks to funding from the UK Space Agency
In what will be the world’s first commercial servicing of its kind, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), Inmarsat and MDA UK are among those who won contracts with the European Space Agency (ESA), worth just over £2 million in total, to shape the infrastructure for future lunar exploration.
GUILDFORD, UK (Surrey Satellite PR) — Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to lead a Phase A/B1 Study under ESA’s Moonlight initiative that will shape the service provision and infrastructure to provide sustainable commercial Lunar data-relay services for communication and navigation around the Moon.
The Moonlight Phase A/B1 Study will define the service infrastructure and clearly lay out the development path for a constellation of Lunar communication and navigation satellites. The Study will characterise the complete end to end system, including the Lunar Space Segment, the Moon Surface Segment, the Lunar User Segment and the Earth Ground Segment.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (Momentus PR) — Momentus Inc. (“Momentus” or the “Company”), a commercial space company offering in-space infrastructure services, and Qosmosys, a new space venture founded in Singapore last year, announced today a service agreement to deliver two cubesats to low lunar orbit as early as 2024 via Momentus’ inaugural lunar mission.
The new contract builds and expands on the agreement announced in January 2021 for delivery of up to four cubesats in low Earth orbit by Momentus’ Vigoride service vehicle, starting in 2022. Qosmosys will expand its novel business ideas to the Moon using a specific bus named Zeus-MS, a version of its Zeus platform it has been developing in cooperation with NuSpace from Singapore, and made specific for lunar missions. Zeus-MS is the precursor to a series of multi-mission platforms that will allow organizations and businesses to host their payloads, and will offer individuals a bespoke, unprecedented line of services to the Moon on regularly scheduled flights.
GUILDFORD, UK (SSTL PR) — Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has successfully demonstrated GNSS-Reflectometry (GNSS-R) from its 18kg DoT-1 satellite. SSTL has pioneered the new field of GNSS-R with successful payloads on board TechDemoSat-1 and the CYGNSS constellation, and is continuing to develop the technology and data analysis in pursuit of this new science.
The latest GNSS-R payload on-board the DoT-1 satellite is incorporated within the new small form factor Core Avionics module integral to all SSTL’s future satellite platforms. This innovation paves the way for any SSTL satellite that can accommodate a nadir pointing antenna to become part of a GNSS-R small-sat constellation.
GUILDFORD, UK (Surrey Satellite PR) — Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has shipped a 16kg Target satellite for Astroscale’s End-of-Life Services by Astroscale demonstration (ELSA-d) mission to Tokyo, where it will be bolted to the Chaser satellite for environmental testing ahead of launch in 2020.
Two British companies are involved in discussions about developing a low-cost rocket capable of putting small satellites in orbit. The idea is being promoted by SSTL, a firm in Guildford, Surrey, best known for its Earth observation spacecraft, in conjunction with Virgin Galactic.