OneWeb Inaugurates Spacecraft Assembly Line

Airbus-built OneWeb satellite (Credit: Airbus)

TOULOUSE, France (Airbus PR)  – Today, OneWeb Satellites inaugurates its assembly line in Toulouse, the beating heart of Airbus’ manufacturing expertise, to begin end-to-end validation, testing, and integration of its first satellites set for launch in just over nine months.

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OneWeb Breaks Ground on Satellite Factory at Kennedy

One Web Satellites Ground Breaking ceremony at Exploration Park. (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — The portfolio of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center will soon include large-scale satellite manufacturing following Thursday’s groundbreaking for a 150,000-square foot spacecraft factory in the center’s Exploration Park.

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Airbus to Build Second Orion Service Module


BREMEN, Germany (ESA PR) — A European Service Module will power NASA’s Orion spacecraft beyond the Moon and back in 2018, and now work has started on a second mission, this time to carry astronauts.

Set for launch as early as 2021, this will be the first mission since 1972 to take humans out of low orbit – and European hardware will provide propulsion, electrical power, water, thermal control and atmosphere for up to four crew members.

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OneWeb Hires Airbus Veteran as CEO

OneWeb constellation. (Credit: Airbus Defence & Space)
OneWeb constellation. (Credit: Airbus Defence & Space)

LONDON, 26 July 2016 (OneWeb PR) — OneWeb which is building a new global communications system to create affordable broadband services for all, announces the appointment of Eric Beranger as Chief Executive Officer.

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Commission Approves Airbus Safran Launchers Acquisition of Arianespace

Ariane 6 variants (Credit: Airbus Defense and Space)
Ariane 6 variants (Credit: Airbus Defense and Space)

BRUSSELS (EU PR) — Following an in-depth review, the European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Arianespace by Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL), a joint venture between Airbus and Safran. This approval is subject to conditions.

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Orbital Insight Announces $20 Million Investment

Orbital_Insight_logoPALO ALTO, Calif., Jun 27, 2016 (Orbital Insight PR) – Orbital Insight, a geospatial big data company, today announced its $15 million Series B round led by GV (formerly Google Ventures), with participation from CME Ventures, and existing investors Sequoia Capital, Lux Capital, and Bloomberg Beta. Together with an investment and development agreement from In-Q-Tel (IQT), this investment adds $20 million to the company’s funding.

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ESA EDRS Launched as First Node of Space Data Highway

Relaying data via laser (Credit: ESA)
Relaying data via laser (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The European Data Relay System’s first laser terminal has reached space aboard its host satellite and is now under way to its final operating position.

EDRS-A was launched on 29 January as part of the Eutelsat-9B telecom satellite at 22:20 GMT (23:20 CET, 04:20 30 January local time) atop a Proton rocket from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

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Airbus & OneWeb Create OneWeb Satellites Company

OneWeb satellite. (Credit: Airbus Defence & Space)
OneWeb satellite. (Credit: Airbus Defence & Space)

PARIS (Airbus Defence PR) — Airbus Defence and Space, the world’s second largest space company, and OneWeb, which is building a new global satellite communications system, announced the creation of OneWeb Satellites. The new joint venture, equally owned by Airbus Defence and Space and OneWeb, will design and build the 900 satellites of the OneWeb constellation, which will offer high-speed internet with global coverage. The new company will be led by Brian Holz as CEO.

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ESA Orion Service Module Set for Testing

A test version of ESA’s service module for NASA’s Orion spacecraft. (Credit: Airbus)
A test version of ESA’s service module for NASA’s Orion spacecraft. (Credit: Airbus)

BREMEN, Germany (ESA PR) — A test version of ESA’s service module for NASA’s Orion spacecraft arrived in the US yesterday after leaving its assembly site in Italy last weekend.

The European Service Module is adapted from Europe’s largest spacecraft, the Automated Transfer Vehicle, which completed its last mission to the International Space Station in February. Just nine months later, prime contractor Airbus Defence & Space in Bremen, Germany, has delivered the first test module.

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ESA Plans Quantum Leap in Satellite Design

Quantum (Credit: Airbus)
Quantum (Credit: Airbus)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Telecom satellites are set to enter a new age, as ESA, Eutelsat and Airbus Defence & Space begin designing the most flexible payload ever.

The Quantum programme is a departure from the traditional, custom, one-off approach to building satellites by offering a new and generic payload design. For the first time, it will enable users to request the performance and flexibility they need in terms of coverage, bandwidth, power and frequency.

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Airbus’ Plans to Recover Booster Engines

Credit: Airbus
Module for recovering first stage engines. (Credit: Airbus)

Airbus has developed a concept under which the engines of a rocket’s first stage would separate from the booster after burn out and glide back to a runway landing for reuse.

airbus_recoverable_engine_module_descent
First stage engine recovery trajectory and landing. (Credit: Airbus)

Details are contained in a patent application titled, Simplified Reusable Module for Launcher. Media reports say the company has been working on the project, which is code named Adeline, since 2010 and has conducted demonstration flights. The system could be used on any rocket, including the Ariane 6 that is now under development.

United Launch Alliance has a similar plan under which engines would separate from the Vulcan booster and be recovered in mid-air by an aircraft. SpaceX is working on recovering the first stages of its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy boosters for reuse.

UAE Space Agency, Airbus Group Team for STEM Education Initiative

UAE_Space_Agency_LogoABU DHABI, UAE (UAE Space Agency PR) — The UAE Space Agency and Airbus Group, a world leading player in the space industry, join forces to roll-out a first series of Airbus Little Engineer Space workshops for the first time in the Middle East.

The inaugural workshop challenged some 100 students between 15 and 17 years old to carry out a simulation of a launch mission to space. The Airbus Little Engineer Space workshop focuses on introducing students to the world of space exploration and enhancing their understanding of both the benefits and applications of space technology. Over the course of four hours, students assembled and launched a rocket, set up a base and established communications.

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Arianespace Snags 4 Launch Contracts

Arianespace_logoConferences are great places to announce business deals. Satellite 2015 in Washington, D.C., was no exception for Arianspace. The European company announced the following launch deals this week:

  • a block of high resolution imaging satellites for Skybox Imaging aboard a Vega launch vehicle in 2016;
  • one Airbus EDRS-C satellite as part of the SpaceDataHighway system aboard an Ariane 5 booster in the first quarter in 2017; and,
  • two Airbus Falcon Eye satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO), using two Vega (or Soyuz) launchers in 2018 and 2019.

“We are extremely proud to play a part in deploying Skybox’s satellite imaging constellation.” said Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël. “The Vega launch system has already achieved four flawless flights for commercial and government customers. This new contract with Skybox marks our first U.S. customer of the Vega and adds to Vega’s order book of nine small satellites to be launched in the coming three years.”

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Airbus Delivers NanoRacks External Payload Platform

NanoRacks External Platform (Credit: NanoRacks)
NanoRacks External Payload Platform (Credit: NanoRacks)

HOUSTON, March 3, 2015 (NanoRacks PR) – NanoRacks is excited to announce that on February 17, 2015, the NanoRacks External Payload Platform (NREP), manufactured by Airbus DS Space Systems Inc., was delivered to Lockheed Martin Cargo Mission Contract to be prepared for launch.

The NREP will be launched on the Japanese HTV-5 International Space Station Cargo Resupply Mission.

The NREP will provide the first ever commercial platform for access to the outer space environment. The platform will be mounted on the Japanese Experiment Module External Facility and will be robotically installed and operated for CubeSat form factor payloads.

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Safran Injects $1 Billion into Rocket Partnership With Airbus

Artist's impression of Ariane 6. (Credit: ESA)
Artist’s impression of Ariane 6. (Credit: ESA)

Airbus and Safran have ramped up their launch vehicle partnership:

Airbus and Safran said their joint venture to take over design and production of Europe’s Ariane 5 and future Ariane 6 rockets is expected to be in full operations by late 2015 following a Safran payment to Airbus of 800 million euros ($1 billion) in cash.

The transfer, both companies said, will be necessary for French aerospace-engine builder Safran to maintain a 50 percent stake in the new company, which was created in January and is called Airbus Safran Launchers.

In conference calls with investors Feb. 25 and Feb. 27, the two companies said that in addition to assuming the civil-launcher and strategic missiles work of the two companies, the joint venture by late 2015 is expected to have purchased the French government’s entire 34 percent ownership stake in the Arianespace commercial launch consortium.

Ultimately the joint venture is expected to have some 4,500 employees. For now, it is only 450 people — 300 from Airbus, the rest from Safran.

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