Video: LuxSpace CEO Discusses ESAIL Microsat Mission

Video Caption: LuxSpace CEO, Jochen Harms, on putting the ESAIL microsatellite into orbit. ESAIL is part of ESA’s Partnership Projects and has been developed to enhance the next generation of space‐based services for the maritime sector. The spacecraft will track ship movements over the entire globe as it orbits the planet.

NASA to Provide Update on James Webb Space Telescope

Following the complete assembly of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, testing teams performed a comprehensive systems evaluation which allowed them to confidently assess Webb’s software and electronic performance as a single fully connected vehicle. (Credits: NASA/Chris Gunn)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA will host a media teleconference at 4:30 p.m. EDT Thursday, July 16, to provide an update on the status of the agency’s James Webb Space Telescope, the world’s next premier infrared space observatory and the largest, most complex space telescope for astronomy ever built. 

The media teleconference audio will stream live at:

https://www.nasa.gov/live

Participants in the teleconference include: 

  • Stephen Jurczyk, NASA associate administrator 
  • Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA Science Mission Directorate associate administrator 
  • Gregory Robinson, NASA Webb program director 
  • Eric Smith, NASA Webb program scientist 

Once deployed, Webb will help solve mysteries in our solar system and look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, as well as probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency. 

For more information on Webb, go to: 

https://www.nasa.gov/webb

ESA Puts Out Call for Lunar Communications, Navigation Network

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA has long-established plans to create a commercial lunar satellite network and now seeks expressions of interest from companies prepared to build and operate it.

Efforts to explore the Moon have substantially grown recently, partly because it is a convenient place to develop the technologies and capabilities needed for people to explore deep space.

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NASA’s Parker Solar Probe Spies Newly-Discovered Comet NEOWISE

An unprocessed image from the WISPR instrument on board NASA’s Parker Solar Probe shows comet NEOWISE on July 5, 2020, shortly after its closest approach to the Sun. The Sun is out of frame to the left. The faint grid pattern near the center of the image is an artifact of the way the image is created. The small black structure near the lower left of the image is caused by a grain of dust resting on the imager’s lens. (Credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Naval Research Lab/Parker Solar Probe/Brendan Gallagher)

by Sarah Frazier
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

GREENBELT, Md. — NASA’s Parker Solar Probe was at the right place at the right time to capture a unique view of comet NEOWISE on July 5, 2020. Parker Solar Probe’s position in space gave the spacecraft an unmatched view of the comet’s twin tails when it was particularly active just after its closest approach to the Sun, called perihelion.

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New European Experiment Rack Installed on Space Station

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley (imaged above) maneuver the fridge-sized European Drawer Rack Mark 2 (EDR2) to its new position. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — After a successful launch aboard the Japanese HTV9 cargo vehicle, a new experiment facility was recently installed in the European laboratory Columbus as part of a comprehensive upgrade of Europe’s International Space Station module.

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Smart Design of Flat ‘Reflectarray’ Satellite Antennas

Flat-panel reflectarray antenna (Credit: TICRA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The traditional curved antenna reflector is instantly recognisable on a satellite, but also represents one of the bulkiest elements aboard. As an alternative, new ESA-backed software allows antenna designers to achieve comparable radio frequency performance from flatter, smarter ‘reflectarrays’, which can be manufactured cheaply, just like printed circuits. Two forthcoming ESA missions will demonstrate reflectarray antennas, one in Earth orbit and the other into deep space.

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ESA Awards OHB Contracts for Copernicus Missions

Sentinel-6/Jason-CS will map up to 95% of Earth’s ice-free ocean every 10 days in order to monitor sea level variability. (Credit: ESA/ATG medialab)

BREMEN, Germany (OHB System PR) — OHB System AG, a subsidiary of Bremen-based space and technology group OHB SE (Prime Standard, ISIN DE0005936124), has been selected by the European Space Agency ESA as the prime contractor for the CO2M mission (CO2 Monitoring Mission in the Copernicus program).

This mission includes the Copernicus satellites, which will measure global anthropogenic CO2 emissions and thus play a key role in studying the causes of climate change and monitoring it.

OHB System and OHB Italia will also be responsible for the payload on two further missions (CHIME: Copernicus Hyperspectral Imaging Mission for the Environment and CIMR: Copernicus Imaging Microwave Radiometer) as subcontractors of Thales Alenia Space.

The order volume resulting from today’s bid decisions is expected to be more than EUR 800 million [$900 million]. Final contract negotiations will start shortly and contract signings are expected in the coming weeks.

Copernicus is a satellite Earth observation program of the European Commission and the European Space Agency ESA. It provides Earth observation data for environmental protection, climate monitoring, natural disaster assessment and other social tasks.

In addition, ESA’s Industrial Policy Committee (IPC) has approved OHB System’s proposal for the HERA asteroid defense mission for final negotiations. Implementation of the HERA mission has already commenced. The contract is expected to be worth around EUR 130 million [$146 million].

Six New Missions for the European Copernicus Earth Observation Program

Sentinel-6/Jason-CS will map up to 95% of Earth’s ice-free ocean every 10 days in order to monitor sea level variability. (Credit: ESA/ATG medialab)
  • On 1 July 2020, the European Space Agency awarded contracts for the development and construction of six further Copernicus satellites.
  • Contracts with a value of more than 800 million euro are being awarded to space companies in Germany, a high percentage of which are SMEs.
  • The new satellites are intended to help find answers to the global challenges posed by climate change, population growth and environmental problems.

BONN, Germany (DLR PR) — Sentinel satellites are at the heart of Copernicus, Europe’s largest Earth observation programme. Sentinels are already reliably and continuously providing large amounts of data on the state of the climate, vegetation and oceans. Now, six more ‘Earth Guardians’, the High Priority Candidate Missions (HPCM), are being added.

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ESA Approves €2.55 billion in Contracts for 6 Copernicus Satellite Missions

Copernicus Sentinel-3 (Credit: ESA/ATG medialab)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Following the financial commitment from ESA Member States at last November’s Council at Ministerial Level Space19+, ESA’s industrial policy committee has approved contracts totalling €2.55 billion [$2.87 million] to forward the development of six new Copernicus satellite missions, each mission comprising two satellites, a development and a recurrent unit. 

The overall package is co-funded by the EU and ESA Member States, and relies on future funding from the EU Multiannual financial framework.

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New Funding Call for UK Earth Observation Sector

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — More than £800,000 [$983,000] is available to the UK space sector as part of European Space Agency (ESA) support for innovative commercial projects related to Earth Observation.

The programme, InCubed, aims to support industry-led initiatives that will open new market opportunities. The call will bring innovative systems and products to market faster and help Earth Observation businesses compete in the global marketplace.

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ESA Awards €1 Million to NanoAvionics to Develop New Satellite Propulsion Technologies

VILNIUS, Lithuania (NanoAvioncs PR) — The European Space Agency (ESA) has granted 1 million euros ($1.1 million) to nanosatellite mission integrator NanoAvionics to develop key components for small satellite propulsion systems.

The new propulsion technologies, with a thrust of up to 5N, aim to further reduce the cost of small satellite projects while making each satellite more reliable, propellant supply chains safer, and constellations more economical. Based on those components a new generation of propulsion systems for small satellites will be used in future ESA missions, and available to commercial satellite operators across the world.

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Working Remotely at the German Space Operations Center – New Plasma Crystal Experiments on ISS

PK-4 – a neon tube as an experimental reactor (Credit: MPE)
  • Important milestone – successful completion of the 10th measurement campaign with the PK-4 plasma crystal laboratory on the ISS.
  • For the first time, the German Space Operations Center has taken over the scientific support of the PK experiments.
  • COVID-19 protection measures – DLR scientists from Oberpfaffenhofen maintain contact with the PK-4 Control Centre in Toulouse and the ISS.
  • Unique insights using PK-4 – plasma crystals can form in microgravity. The plasma particles behave like atoms and can be observed individually with the naked eye.

OBERFAFFENHOFEN, Germany (DLR PR) — Under normal circumstances, the researchers would have gone to Toulouse, as only from there can they control the PK-4 plasma crystal laboratory, which has been on board the International Space Station (ISS) since 2015. However, the Coronavirus pandemic has made travelling from Oberpfaffenhofen to the CADMOS Control Centre in France impossible. The experiments under microgravity conditions, which had taken months of preparation, were at risk of being cancelled.

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CNES Conducts R&D Challenge for Future Launch Systems

PARIS (CNES PR) — On Wednesday, 24 June, research laboratories, start-ups, PMEs and other firms presented their work contributing to the launch systems of the future to a top-level audience. In all, €750,000 worth of CNES contracts were awarded to the laureates, which each received €50,000 or €100,000 to develop their solutions.

At its Innovation Day on 7 February in Toulouse, CNES announced a Launchers R&D Challenge under its Connect by CNES initiative, in partnership with ArianeGroup and ESA, designed to ease access to funding for launch systems.

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Job Opening: ESA Looks for a New Leader

ESA Director General Jan Woerner opens the ESA-RAL Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory on Harwell Campus, UK. (Credit: STFC-S.Kill)

Do you love space?
Are you European?
Want to run a space agency that spends billions of dollars?

The European Space Agency (ESA) has got a job for you. The ultimate job. See the press release below.

Vacancy for the post of ESA Director General

ESA Council approved yesterday the publication of the position of Director General, to succeed Johann-Dietrich Wörner, whose mandate comes to an end in mid-2021.

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Hera and its Asteroid Target

ESA’s Hera mission for planetary defence seen approaching the Dimorphos asteroid moonlet. (Credit: OHB)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA’s Hera mission for planetary defence seen approaching the Dimorphos asteroid moonlet, which is destined to become the subject of an audacious deflection experiment.

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