Satellite News

Thales Alenia Space wins lion’s share of newly awarded Copernicus contracts

TAS France and Italy won the largest share of prime contracts the European Space Agency awarded July 1 for further development of six new Copernicus satellite missions.

The Copernicus Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide Monitoring, CO2M, mission will carry a near-infrared and shortwave-infrared spectrometer to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by human activity. OHB-System Germany contract value is €445 ME.

The Copernicus Hyperspectral Imaging Mission, CHIME, will carry a hyperspectral imager to return detailed information for sustainable agricultural and biodiversity management. Thales Alenia Space France contract value is €455 ME

The Copernicus Imaging Microwave Radiometer, CIMR, mission will carry a microwave radiometer to provide observations of sea-surface temperature, sea-ice concentration and sea-surface salinity. Thales Alenia Space Italy contract value is €495 ME

The Copernicus Polar Ice and Snow Topography Altimeter, CRISTAL, mission will carry a multi-frequency radar altimeter and microwave radiometer to measure and monitor sea-ice thickness and overlying snow depth. Airbus Defence and Space Germany contract value of €300 ME

The Copernicus Land Surface Temperature Monitoring, LSTM, mission will carry a high spatial-temporal resolution thermal infrared sensor to provide observations for sustainable agriculture and to predict drought. Airbus Defence and Space Spain contract value of €375 million.

The L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar, ROSE-L, mission will carry an L-band synthetic radar altimeter that penetrates through materials such as vegetation, to support forest management and to monitor subsidence and soil moisture. Thales Alenia Space Italy contract is €482 million

British government and Bharti Global buy OneWeb, plan $1 billion investment to revive company

The British government and Indian mobile network operator Bharti Global placed a winning bid to acquire OneWeb, a broadband megaconstellation startup that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March after running out of funding, OneWeb said July 3.

Optus orders OneSat satellite from Airbus

Airbus will build the satellite, called Optus-11, on its new OneSat platform, designed with a reconfigurable payload that can steer and reassign beams for different customers and services. Optus is Airbus’ second customer for OneSat, following Inmarsat’s three-satellite order in 2019. The manufacturer designed OneSat with help from the European, French and British space agencies, as a smaller geostationary satellite that can eventually be built in 18 months. Gaullier said Airbus hopes to reach that time frame in 2022. 

Exploration News

NASA hits Boeing with 80 recommendations before next space test
NASA adds software experts to work toward new Boeing capsule flight

Launcher News

Rocket Lab Electron launch fails

A Rocket Lab Electron rocket failed to reach orbit during a July 4 launch after a problem during the rocket’s second-stage burn.

A Vega launch postponed by high winds is now facing a long delay. 

Arianespace announced early Wednesday that it has pushed back the small launch vehicle’s upcoming mission, carrying 53 smallsats, until at least Aug. 17. The company cited “exceptionally unfavorable” upper-level winds that scrubbed several previous launch attempts in June for the delay, saying there was no sign of improved conditions in the near term.

NewSpace  News

L3Harris developing a constellation of small spy satellites for U.S. Air Force

L3Harris has launched the first satellite of a remote sensing constellation.

British astronaut Tim Peake has joined the advisory board of Skyrora,

a U.K. small launch startup developing suborbital and orbital rockets. Skyrora said Peake’s experience as an ESA astronaut, a former International Space Station crew member, and a British Army Air Corps officer will be “invaluable” to the company. Skyrora plans a first launch of its suborbital Skylark-L in 2021, followed by an inaugural orbital mission with its Skyrora XL rocket in 2023

Technology News

Solar sail spacecraft begins extended mission

A smallsat launched a year ago to demonstrate solar sail technologies continues to operate and is now beginning an extended mission. LightSail 2 was deployed by another smallsat, Prox-1, days after launch and, later in July, deployed a 32-square-meter Mylar sail. The Planetary Society, which funded the mission, declared the mission a success at the end of July 2019 because the spacecraft had changed its orbit using the sail.

The European Space Agency is preparing to test satellites that use flat, “reflectarray” antennas

instead of parabolic dishes. Curved antennas are one of the bulkiest elements of a satellite, according to ESA, making them expensive. Reflectarrays use software ESA developed with Danish company TICRA

A cubesat on Rocket Lab’s July 3 mission will carry an experimental payload from Airbus

that can detect when radars are tracking the satellite’s location. Faraday-1, a satellite from In Space Missions Ltd, will carry Airbus’ Prometheus-1 reprogrammable radio, which can survey radio spectrum usage across the world from orbit.QinetiQ wins contract with the European Space Agency
QinetiQ’s space business has secured a new contract worth 8.5m euro with the European Space Agency (ESA) for the development and production of microgravity-based heat transfer experiments, Called the Heat Transfer Host 1, or simply HOST1, the contract includes the development of the experimentation platform and four scientific experiments for studying heat transfer phenomena within different types of heat pipes

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