ESA Selects Five Micro Launcher Feasibility Studies

PARIS (ESA PR) — Small satellites usually ride piggyback on larger missions but finding a suitable match is difficult because the launch date and orbit are set by the primary payload.

A microlauncher can place a small satellite typically used for Earth observation, technology demonstration, education and telecoms into low orbits, starting from the ground or from an aerial platform.

ESA has chosen five feasibility studies from industry proposing an economically viable, commercially self-sustaining microlauncher, without public funding.


NASA Seeks Industry Partnerships on In-situ Resource

NASA is seeking “proposals for trade studies and design, fabrication, and testing of critical components and subsystems for acquisition and processing of extraterrestrial resources into water, oxygen, and fuel.”

The broad agency announcement (BAA) came in an appendix to the space agency’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships 2 (NextSTEP-2) program, which has been working with commercial companies on facilitating space exploration and development beyond Earth orbit.


Japan Plans Sample Return from Martian Moons

MMX on-orbit configuration (Credit: JAXA)

Japan is planning a complex mission that will study the moons of Mars and return soil samples to Earth.

Set for launch in September 2024, the Martian Moons Exploration (MMX) mission would spend three years exploring Phobos and Deimos before departing in August 2028 for a return to Earth 11 months later.


UrtheCast Acquires Deimos Satellites

urthecast-logoVANCOUVER (UrtheCast PR) — UrtheCast is pleased to announce that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Elecnor, S.A. to acquire the Earth Observation business, Deimos. UrtheCast will soon acquire Deimos ownership, operation of the Deimos-1 and Deimos-2 satellites, and the Deimos global archive of Earth imagery.

“This is an incredible acquisition that epitomizes technological and operational synergy,” explained Scott Larson, UrtheCast Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer. “UrtheCast is rapidly accelerating its mission to democratize Earth Observation imagery, and bring a unique dataset and distribution model to customers and users that up until now, haven’t had this type of access.”


SUNY Stony Brook Joins NASA’s SSERVI Team

NASA_SSERVI-LOGOSTONY BROOK, NY (SUNY Stony Brook PR) – Stony Brook is headed to outer space—virtually. The University has been selected as the lead institution for one of NASA’s nine new Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) teams that will bring researchers together in a virtual setting to focus on space science and human space exploration.

The Stony Brook project, “Remote, In Situ and Synchrotron Studies for Science and Exploration” (RIS4E), led by Timothy Glotch, associate professor in the Department of Geosciences at Stony Brook, is composed of 13 institutions in the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and will tackle scientific questions about the Moon, near-earth asteroids, and the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos.


SwRI Team Part of NASA’s New Solar System Exploration Virtual Institute

NASA_SSERVI-LOGOBOULDER, Colo. (SwRI PR) — NASA has selected a team led by Southwest Research Institute to be a founding member of the agency’s new Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI).

The recently formed team, known as the Institute for the Science of Exploration Targets, or ISET, will help build fundamental knowledge of the worlds directly accessible by astronauts in the future — such as the Moon, near-Earth asteroids and the satellites of Mars — by researching their origin, evolution and physical properties, as well as what their relatively pristine records tell us about the history of the Solar System.