ESA Helps Greece to Boost its Space Investments

PARIS (ESA PR) — Ambitious plans to expand the nascent space industry in Greece – enabling the digital transformation of society while creating jobs and generating prosperity – have received a fillip from ESA.

On 26 November, the Ministry of Digital Governance in Greece announced the implementation path to materialise its Greek National Satellite Space Project, with the technical support of ESA.

The project is part of the nation’s Recovery and Resilience Facility plans, which aim to enhance Greece’s capabilities in satellite technologies and applications, and to empower the country to exchange satellite data.

(more…)

exactEarth Obtains Final Order Approving Plan of Arrangement for Acquisition by Spire Global

CAMBRIDGE, ON (exactEarth PR) — exactEarth Ltd. (TSX: XCT) (“exactEarth” or the “Company”), a leading provider of global maritime vessel data for ship tracking and maritime situational awareness solutions, is pleased to announce that it has obtained a final order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Commercial List) approving the plan of arrangement previously announced on September 14, 2021 (the “Arrangement”) pursuant to which Spire Global, Inc. (NYSE: SPIR) (“Spire”) will acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of exactEarth (the “Shares”) through its wholly-owned indirect subsidiary Spire Global Canada Acquisition Corp. for CAD$2.5009 in cash and 0.1 of a share of Class A common stock of Spire for each Share held.

(more…)

Galileo Navigation Satellites in Place for Dec. 2 Launch From French Guiana

Galileo satellites 27 – 28 being lowered onto their Fregat upper stage ahead of their launch on 2 December 2021. (Credit: ESA-CNES-Arianespace Optique Video du CSG – P Baudon)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — Europe’s next two Galileo satellites have been attached to the dispenser on which they will ride to orbit, and the launcher fairing that will protect them during the first part of the ascent to orbit has been closed around the pair.

Galileo satellites 27 – 28 are scheduled to be launched by Soyuz launcher from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on 2 December at 01:31 CET (1 December at 21:31:27 local Kourou time).

(more…)

House Passes Infrastructure Spending Bill With Extra $1 Billion for NASA

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 5376, the Build Back Better Act last week that includes billions of dollars in funds for NASA, NOAA and other scientific and technology agencies.

In addition to funding improvements to physical infrastructure, the measure puts a major emphasis on addressing climate change, a problem that the Biden Administration takes seriously. The previous president described as a Chinese plot to destroy American industry.

The bill now goes to the Senate where its fate is uncertain.

(more…)

When Debris Disaster Strikes in Earth Orbit

Credit: ESA

In brief

PARIS (ESA PR) — In 2021 so far, some 2467 new objects large enough to be tracked have been added to world catalogues of orbital objects, out of which 1493 are new satellites and the rest are debris. While new objects are added, others are dragged down to Earth by the atmosphere where they safely burn up, resulting in a net increase of at least 1387 trackable objects between 2020 and 2021.

In addition, an estimated 1500 new objects – an increase of about 5% with respect to the total population – were added just this week, meaning the risk to missions must be reassessed.

(more…)

China Launches Communications & Technology Demonstration Satellites

Kuaizhou-1A rocket lifts off on Nov. 25, 2021. (Credit: CASIC)

China placed communications and technology demonstration satellites into orbit in separate launches on Thursday and Friday. The successful missions marked the 46th and 47th launches by China in 2021, with 45 successes and two failures.

On Friday, a Long March 3B rocket launched the ChinaSat-1D communications satellite from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. The geosynchronous satellite will be used for military communications.

The spacecraft and the launch vehicle were build by the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.

On Thursday, a Kuaizhou-1A solid-fuel booster launched the Shiyan 11 satellite from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The rocket’s builder, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp., did not disclose the purpose of the technology demonstration spacecraft.

The Kuaizhou-1A small-satellite launcher has a record of 12 successes and one failure.

Prichal Module Docks with International Space Station

Progress M-UM with Prichal node module approaches the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — On Friday, November 26, 2021, at 18:19:39 Moscow time, the Progress M-UM cargo module cargo vehicle successfully docked to the Russian segment of the International Space Station. Progress delivered to the ISS the Prichal docking node, the second Russian module, which was added to the station in 2021.

(more…)

Testing Confirms Webb Telescope on Track for Targeted Dec. 22 Launch

Upon its arrival at the launch site in Kourou, French Guiana, engineers quickly set about unpacking, cleaning, and preparing the James Webb Space Telescope in its remaining days on Earth. (Credits: NASA/Chris Gunn)

KOUROU, French Guiana (NASA PR) — Engineering teams have completed additional testing confirming NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is ready for flight, and launch preparations are resuming toward Webb’s target launch date of Wednesday, Dec. 22, at 7:20 a.m. EST.

Additional testing was conducted this week to ensure the observatory’s health following an incident that occurred when the release of a clamp band caused a vibration throughout the observatory.

On Wednesday, Nov. 24, engineering teams completed these tests, and a NASA-led anomaly review board concluded no observatory components were damaged in the incident. A “consent to fuel” review was held, and NASA gave approval to begin fueling the observatory. Fueling operations will begin Thursday, Nov. 25, and will take about 10 days.

The Webb Space Telescope is an international partnership with the European and Canadian space agencies. It will explore every phase of cosmic history – from within our solar system to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe, and everything in between. Webb will reveal new and unexpected discoveries, and help humanity understand the origins of the universe and our place in it.

OHB Luxspace Inks Contract with Exotrail for ExoMG™ Electric Propulsion System Onboard Triton-X Heavy Platform

ExoMG Cluster2 (Credit: ExoTrail)

MASSY, France (Exotrail PR) — Exotrail signed a contract with Luxembourg-based satellite manufacturer OHB Luxspace for a co-engineering phase aiming the further integration of ExoMG™ – cluster², a configuration of Exotrail’s high thrust and flexible electric propulsion product family, into the Triton-X Heavy platform.

(more…)

Rocket Lab Announces Neutron Development Update to be Provided on December 2, 2021

Neutron booster (Credit: Rocket Lab)

LONG BEACH, Calif., November 24, 2021 (Rocket Lab PR)–Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB), a leading launch and space systems company, today announced that it will provide the first major update on the development of the Neutron launch vehicle on December 2, 2021 at 8:00 am EST. The virtual event will be streamed live via Rocket Lab’s YouTube channel, which can be accessed at that time at https://youtu.be/A0thW57QeDM.

Join Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck as he reveals new details about Neutron’s unique design, materials, propulsion, and reusability architecture for the first time.

Building on Rocket Lab’s proven experience developing the Electron launch vehicle, the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually since 2019, the advanced Neutron launch vehicle is designed to transform space access by delivering reliable and cost-effective launch services for satellite mega-constellations, deep space missions and human spaceflight. Where Electron provides dedicated access to orbit for small satellites of up to 300 kg (660 lb), Rocket Lab expects Neutron will further expand space access for satellite constellations and provide a dependable, high-flight-rate dedicated launch solution for larger commercial and government payloads, and that Neutron will incorporate the best innovation of the past to deliver a rocket for the future.

Responsive Satellite Servicing and Sustainable Space Launches Get a Boost Through Astroscale, Virgin Orbit Partnership

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Astroscale PR) – Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market leader in satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits, today announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with Virgin Orbit, the responsive launch and space solutions company that has announced a planned business combination with NextGen Acquisition Corp. II (“NextGen”) (NASDAQ: NGCA).

The MOU establishes a new partnership in which the two companies will seek opportunities to cooperate on a series of space initiatives that will drive the future of space sustainability and on-orbit servicing ecosystem. Astroscale is planning dozens of missions over the next decade and is in discussions with Virgin Orbit to launch as many as 10 of those on Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne. The two companies are also working toward a future joint mission concept focused on satellite servicing.

(more…)

ESA’s Solar Orbiter to Make Agency’s Riskiest Flyby

Artist’s impression of Solar Orbiter making a flyby at Earth. (Credit: ESA/ATG medialab)

In brief

PARIS (ESA PR) — The chance that ESA’s Solar Orbiter spacecraft will encounter space debris during its upcoming Earth flyby is very, very low. However, the risk is not zero and is greater than any other flyby ESA has performed. That there is this risk at all highlights the mess we’ve made of space – and why we need to take action to clean up after ourselves.

(more…)

Thales Alenia Space Invests in Advanced Technology for Human Spaceflight

The new Friction Stir Welding facility will double the production capacity of pressurized modules

TURIN, 25 November 2021 (Thales Alenia Space PR)  –– Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales 67% and Leonardo 33%, has inaugurated a new Friction Stir Welding facility at one of its production sites in Turin, which will double production capacity of pressurized modules, for the production of the future orbiting and surface infrastructures.

The only company in Europe to use this type of processing for pressurized habitation modules, Thales Alenia Space introduced friction welding technology in 2015, with a first operating facility used for the production of Cygnus, the pressurized cargo modules for the refueling of the International Space Station, an extremely complex type of structure, which enables exploration and human space flight.

(more…)

Russia Launches EKS 5 Early Warning Satellite

PLESETSK COSMODROME, Russia, 25 November 2021 (Ministry of Defence PR) — Launched today at 4:9 a.m. (Moscow time) from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk region, the Soyuz-2.1B medium-class launch vehicle successfully put the spacecraft into orbit at the set time in the interests of the Russian Defence Ministry.

All pre-launch operations and the launch of the Soyuz-2.1B space rocket (SR) took place in normal mode. The means of the ground-based automated control complex for spacecraft of the Russian orbital group controlled the launch and flight of the SR.

The ground-based means of the space forces of the Aerospace Forces took control of the spacecraft launched in the interests of the Russian Ministry of Defence. Stable telemetry communication has been established and maintained with the device, its onboard systems are functioning normally.

After taking control of the spacecraft, the serial number Cosmos-2552 was assigned.

In total, more than 40 ground-based measuring devices and more than 70 combat crews of the 15th army of the Aerospace Forces of special purpose were involved in ensuring the launch of the spacecraft of the Russian Ministry of Defence.

Astroscale Closes Its Largest Funding Round to Date, Bringing Total Capital Raised to U.S. $300 Million

Additional U.S. $109 million in capital will accelerate on-orbit services technology development, facility expansion and global hiring.

TOKYO, Nov. 25, 2021 (Astroscale PR) – Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market leader in satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits, today announced it closed its Series F round with additional funding of U.S. $109 million from a group of new investors led by THE FUND Limited Partnership in Japan, with participation from international investors including Seraphim Space Investment Trust plc (“Seraphim Space”) in the United Kingdom and DNCA Invest Beyond Global Leaders, a sub-fund of the umbrella structured fund “DNCA Invest” incorporated under the laws of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, managed by DNCA Finance, a Limited Partnership in France. This is the largest funding round in the company’s history and brings the total amount raised to U.S. $300 million, affirming investors’ confidence in the rapidly expanding on-orbit servicing market.

(more…)