UK Takes Lead in Exoplanet Mission with £30 Million Investment

Artist impression of ESA’s Ariel exoplanet satellite. (Credit: Airbus)

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The UK Government will invest £30 million to secure the UK’s leading role in developing a space telescope to explore exoplanets.

Due to launch in 2029, Ariel’s mission is to understand the links between a planet’s chemistry, its evolution and its host star, by characterising the atmospheres of 1,000 known planets outside our solar system.

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UK Leads New European Exoplanet Mission

Artist impression of an exoplanet system. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The UK has secured a leading role in the development of a space telescope that will probe the atmospheres of distant worlds.

The mission – called Ariel – will study the gases that enshroud some 1000 extrasolar planets to address fundamental questions about how they formed and evolved.  

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Comet Chaser Mission Moves From Blueprint to Reality

Artist’s impression of Comet Interceptor mission. (Credit: Geraint Jones, UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory)

MADRID, Spain (ESA PR) — A new European Space Agency science mission, proposed by the UK, to 3D-map a comet for the first time has reached a major milestone.

The Comet Interceptor mission was formally adopted by the European Space Agency (ESA) at a meeting in Madrid today (Wednesday, 8 June 2022), moving from the design phase to implementation, with the next step to select a contractor to build the spacecraft and a robotic probe.

Due for launch in 2029, it will see one main spacecraft and two robotic probes – the other built by the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) – travel to an as-yet unidentified comet and map it in three dimensions.

Caroline Harper, Head of Space Science at the UK Space Agency, said:

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UK Space Agency Provides New Funding to Support Sustainable Future of Space

Distribution of space debris. (Credit: ESA)
  • Space debris is a major threat to the satellite services we rely on
  • 13 projects involve industry and academia across the UK

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The UK Space Agency is providing £1.7 million [US $2.3 million] for new projects to support sustainable space operations, Science Minister George Freeman announced today.

The 13 new projects will help track and remove dangerous debris in space. They include an AI-based tool which can take autonomous action to avoid a collision and another which will see multiple small spacecraft fired at debris before taking it into the atmosphere to dispose of it.

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D-Orbit Demonstrates Innovative Nebula In-Orbit Cloud Computing and Storage Platform

The hardware-software environment, developed by D-Orbit in collaboration with Unibap, will enable satellite operators to run artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms (AI/ML) apps and provide low-latency information products

HARWELL, UK (D-Orbit PR) — Space transportation and logistics company D-Orbit has successfully completed the orbital testing of Nebula, a cloud platform designed to provide distributed high-performance data analytics computing and storage capabilities in space. Nebula is a hardware-software environment that enables end-users to uplink and run software and artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) apps in a way similar to conventional, terrestrial cloud environments.

This first iteration of the system has been built in collaboration with Swedish based AI company Unibap on top of their radiation-tolerant iX5-100 SpaceCloud platform, which features a combination of central processing unit (CPU), graphical process unit (GPU), and vision processing unit (VPU) chips, solid-state storage, and an optimized Linux-based operating system running SpaceCloud framework API.

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D-Orbit’s ION Satellite Carrier Rides to Space atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket

Falcon 9 launches the Transporter-2 mission. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

FINO MORNASCO, Italy, June 30th, 2021 (D-Orbit PR) — D-Orbit, a leader in the space logistics and orbital transportation industry, announced today the successful launch of another ION Satellite Carrier (ION), its proprietary orbital transportation vehicle. ION lifted off on June 30th, 2021, at 9:31 pm CEST, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS), Florida. On the same day, 60 minutes after liftoff, the vehicle was successfully deployed into a 500 km Sun synchronous orbit (SSO).

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Leading UK Space Organisations Collaborate to Develop Self-aligning Deployable Space Telescope

Credit: Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd

GUILDFORD, UK (SSTL PR) — Three leading UK Space organisations, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), the University of Oxford and the Surrey Space Centre (SSC), have been awarded National Space Technology Programme (NSTP) funding to develop a novel self-aligning deployable space telescope, designed for sub 1 metre ground sample imaging requirements in a small launch volume spacecraft.

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