Ariane 6 Parts Come Together, Europe’s Spaceport Prepares

Ariane 6 mobile gantry over the launch pad. (Credit: ESA)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — The first test models of Ariane 6 are being manufactured while Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, is preparing to test the launch vehicle and all systems involved with launch.

Details on the progress of activities for Ariane 6 were recently shared at the 70th International Astronautical Congress held in Washington, USA – downloadable here (.pdf).

(more…)

China’s Chang’e 6 to Deploy French DORN Instrument on Moon to Study Lunar Exosphere

BEIJING (CNES PR) — Wednesday 6 November, on the occasion of President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to the People’s Republic of China, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall and Zhang Kejian, Administrator of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), signed in the presence of Presidents Macron and Xi Jinping a joint statement covering two fields of investigation.

First, in 2023 China’s Chang’e 6 lunar mission will fly the French DORN instrument proposed by the IRAP astrophysics and planetology research institute. DORN’s science goals are to study the transport of volatiles through the lunar regolith and in the lunar exosphere and lunar dust.

(more…)

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross Signs Declaration of Intent with CNES

WASHINGTON (CNES PR) — On the sidelines of the International Astronautical Congress, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross signed a Declaration of Intent with Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) President Jean-Yves Le Gall. The Declaration charts a path forward for expanded cooperation between the Department and the French space agency on space situational awareness (SSA) and other important efforts driving the commercial development of space.

(more…)

Mars InSight’s Mole Has Partially Backed Out of Its Hole

InSight Mars mole partially backed out from its hole. (Credit NASA)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — After making progress over the past several weeks digging into the surface of Mars, InSight’s mole has backed about halfway out of its hole this past weekend. Preliminary assessments point to unusual soil conditions on the Red Planet. The international mission team is developing the next steps to get it buried again.

A scoop on the end of the arm has been used in recent weeks to “pin” the mole against the wall of its hole, providing friction it needs to dig. The next step is determining how safe it is to move InSight’s robotic arm away from the mole to better assess the situation. The team continues to look at the data and will formulate a plan in the next few days.

Meantime, the lander’s seismometer — the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or, SEIS — continues to collect data on marsquakes in order to provide a better understanding of the Mars interior and why Earth and the Red Planet are so different today after sharing similarities billions of years ago. The French space agency, Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) and its partners provided the SEIS instrument to NASA.

NASA’s InSight ‘Hears’ Peculiar Sounds on Mars

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Put an ear to the ground on Mars and you’ll be rewarded with a symphony of sounds. Granted, you’ll need superhuman hearing, but NASA’s InSight lander comes equipped with a very special “ear.”

The spacecraft’s exquisitely sensitive seismometer, called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), can pick up vibrations as subtle as a breeze. The instrument was provided by the French space agency, Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES), and its partners.

(more…)

ONERA Joins ArianeWorks Accelerator

PARIS (CNES PR) — ArianeWorks, the acceleration and innovation platform created at the beginning of 2019 by the French space agency CNES and ArianeGroup, founder members and coordinators, continues to expand with the arrival of a new partner, ONERA, a leading player in aerospace research and a key partner in the development of the Ariane family of launchers.

This partnership agreement will enable ArianeWorks’ projects to benefit from the expertise and knowledge of the French aerospace research center, notably in the fields of structural health monitoring (SHM) and aerothermodynamics.

(more…)

Galileo Passes 1 Billion Users Mark

PRAGUE (CNES PR) — On Tuesday, 10 September, Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of CNES and Chair of the Administrative Board of the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA), celebrated the agency’s 15th anniversary in Prague with Europe’s space leaders in attendance.

The gathering took the opportunity to hail the growing uptake of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) revolutionizing European air navigation and the planet-wide success of Galileo, which has now reached the milestone of one billion users. EGNOS and Galileo have thus become the standard-bearers for Europe’s space programme and the effective solutions that space is providing for society.

(more…)

France & Russia Agree to Expand Space Cooperation

MOSCOW (CNES) — On the occasion of the MAKS international air show in Moscow, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall met Dimitry Rogozin, Director General of the Russian federal space agency Roscosmos, Maxim Yakovenko, Head of Roshydromet, the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring, and Kirill Sypalo, Director General of TsAGI, the Zhukovsky Central AeroHydrodynamic Institute.

In 2018, CNES and Roscosmos signed a framework agreement on space science to promote new space projects and extend their cooperation to a broad range of fields including space biology, solar research with the Russian Interhelioprobe project, the use of French robotics and navigation expertise for Russia’s lunar exploration programme, planetology, universe science and climate monitoring.

(more…)

France, India to Develop Ship Tracking Satellite Constellation

PARIS (CNES PR) — On the occasion of the state visit to France of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an agreement signed by CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall and K Sivan, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), was officially announced to start development and production of a constellation of satellites on which studies have been underway since President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to India in March 2018.

This constellation carrying telecommunications (AIS*) and radar and optical remote-sensing instruments will constitute the first space-based system in the world capable of tracking ships continuously. The satellites will be operated jointly by France and India to monitor ships in the Indian Ocean. The system will cover a wide belt around the globe, benefiting a broad range of French economic interests. With a revisit capability making it possible to task acquisitions several times a day, it will also be able to detect oil slicks and trace their origin.

(more…)

Ariane 6 Mobile Gantry Rolled Out for First Time

Ariane 6 mobile gantry. (Credit: ESA)

KOUROU, French Guiana, 29 July 2019 (ESA PR) — At Europe’s Spaceport the Ariane 6 mobile gantry, a 90 metre-high metallic structure built to house Ariane 6 underwent a 97 m rollout test last week to mimic prelaunch.

(more…)

Hayabusa2’s MASCOT Lander Confirms What Scientists Have Long Suspected at Asteroid Ryugu

Close-up of the rock examined by MASCOT. The yellow arrow shows the direction of the incident light, and the dotted line separates the observed stone from the background. The red arrow shows the part of the rock where the radiometer MARA measured the surface temperature, the dotted line here shows a ledge. The scale in the center of the image shows the dimensions at this distance from the camera. The image was acquired by the DLR camera MASCAM on MASCOT. (Credit: MASCOT/DLR/JAXA)

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR) PR) — Ryugu and other asteroids of the common ‘C-class’ consist of more porous material than was previously thought. Small fragments of their material are therefore too fragile to survive entry into the atmosphere in the event of a collision with Earth.

This has revealed the long-suspected cause of the deficit of this meteorite type in finds on Earth. Researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) have come to this conclusion in a scientific paper published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

(more…)

Airbus to Develop CO3D Earth Observation Program for CNES

CO3D satellite (Credit: Airbus)
  • The next generation in optical satellite constellations
  • Production of 3D high-resolution data for global digital elevation model
  • Strategic move to support export contracts for French industry

PARIS (Airbus PR) – The French Space Agency (CNES) has awarded the CO3D (Constellation Optique 3D) contract to Airbus. Under this agreement, Airbus will deliver a global high-resolution Digital Surface Model (DSM).

(more…)

New ISS Crew Prepares to Launch on 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Moon Landing

Expedition 60 crewmembers NASA’s Andrew Morgan of NASA, Roscosmos’Alexander Skvortsov and ESA’s Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency pose on 5 July in front of a mural bearing the insignia of the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz mission. (Credit: GCTC–Andrey Shelepin)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (ESA PR) — The next astronauts to join the International Space Station are on their marks for their launch to Earth’s orbit on 20 July, a date that also commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, Roscomos’ Alexander Skvortsov and NASA’s Andrew Morgan arrived last week at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for an intense schedule of pre-launch activities.

(more…)











JAXA, CNES to Cooperate on Hayabusa2 Sample Analysis, Martian Moons Mission

Asteroid Ryugu with north polar boulder (Credit: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu and AIST)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency [JAXA] has agreed to cooperate with Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) on the study-phase activities in JAXA’s Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) mission and analysis of Hayabusa2-returned samples.

(more…)