ESA Spurs Investment in Space Entrepreneurs

BERLIN, Germany (ESA PR) — Dozens of people who have set up start-up companies and fledgling businesses are pitching their ideas to investors today, as part of an ESA Investor Forum held in Berlin.

The forum is part of ESA’s efforts to encourage private investment in space – bringing Europe closer to the levels seen in the US – and to promote innovation by fast-moving private companies.

Many of the entrepreneurs have nurtured their businesses in ESA’s various business incubation centres in Austria, Germany and Poland. Others have received business advice and financial support from ESA.

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UK Company Orbex Reveals Micro-Launcher Rocket

Prime rocket prototype (Credit: Orbex)

KINLOSS, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The UK Space Agency has welcomed news that the British rocket company Orbex has unveiled the first full-scale prototype of its Prime orbital space rocket.

Orbex’s Prime rocket reaching technical readiness represents a significant achievement that brings together key elements of the ground infrastructure and prototype launch vehicle for the first time and is a major step forward for the company and for the UK launch industry.

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Minerva Mission Begins as Samantha Cristoforetti Arrives at Space Station

ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti shows off her yellow and white striped socks aboard the space station. The PGTIDE experiment tests a fully degradable detergent specifically for cleaning clothes (including socks) in space. (Credits: NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Crew Dragon spacecraft Freedom, carrying ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and her NASA colleagues Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines and Jessica Watkins, docked to the International Space Station at 01:37 CEST Thursday 28 April.

The docking marks the start of Samantha’s second space mission, known as Minerva.

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Crew-4 Arrives at International Space Station

Crew-4 arrives at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA astronauts Mission Commander Kjell Lindgren, Pilot Bob Hines, and Mission Specialist Jessica Watkins, and Mission Specialist Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) now are aboard the International Space Station following Crew Dragon’s hatch opening about 9:15 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, April 27.

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NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Astronauts Launch to International Space Station

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti onboard, Wednesday, April 27, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credits: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

NASA Mission Update

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts are in orbit following their launch to the International Space Station at 3:52 a.m. EDT Wednesday, April 27, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The international crew of astronauts will serve as the fourth commercial crew rotation mission aboard the space station.

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Coverage Updated for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Briefing, Events, Broadcast

NASA astronauts and Crew-4 crewmembers Jessica Watkins, Bob Hines and Kjell Lindgren stand alongside ESA astronaut and Crew-4 crewmember Samantha Cristoforetti. (Credit: SpaceX)

NASA Mission Update

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission, which will send astronauts to the International Space Station.

The launch is targeted for 3:52 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 27, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Dragon spacecraft, dubbed Freedom by the mission’s crew, is scheduled to dock to the space station at 8:15 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 27.

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Coverage Set for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Briefing, Events, Broadcast

Official portrait of Crew-4 astronauts Bob Hines, Samantha Cristoforetti, Jessica Watkins and Kjell Lindgren. (Credit: NASA-J.Valcarcel/ R.Markowitz/N.Moran)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission sending astronauts to the International Space Station.

The launch is targeted for 5:26 a.m. EDT Saturday, April 23, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Crew Dragon spacecraft, dubbed by Crew-4 as Freedom, is scheduled to dock to the space station at 6 a.m. Sunday, April 24.

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Ariane 6, Vega-C, Microlaunchers: ESA Looks to Full Range of Launch Options for European Institutional Missions

Artist’s view of Ariane 6 and Vega-C. (Credit: ESA – D. Ducros)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher today underscored the Agency’s determination to ensure that ESA’s work in space is not derailed by the tragic events in Ukraine. Mr Aschbacher stresses that work continues to assess the impact on each ongoing programme, including on missions affected by Roscosmos’ withdrawal of Soyuz launch operations from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

In addition, ESA is preparing proposals that, if endorsed by its Member States, will further support European microlauncher services to complement the Ariane and Vega programmes, which form the backbone of Europe’s space transportation capability.

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Micro-geostationary Satellite Enters Design Phase

PARIS (ESA PR) — A small but powerful European telecommunications satellite – the first of a series – is to be developed under a contract signed between ESA and SWISSto12, an innovative company based in Renens, Switzerland.

The MicroGEO Partnership Project is part of ESA’s efforts to support fast, dynamic and agile private space firms to foster innovation and promote the competitiveness of the European space industry.

The slimline satellite will be placed into geostationary orbit some 36,000 kilometres above the Earth, from where it will stream data or broadcast television. Measuring just one cubic metre, the MicroGEO satellite will be one tenth the size of conventional geostationary satellites.

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Aerospacelab Raises €40 Million Series B Financing Round

Led by Founder and CEO Benoît Deper, Aerospacelab is slated to ramp up production of multiple satellite constellations and develop multi-sensor geospatial analytic solutions.

MONT-SAINT-GUIBERT, Belgium — Belgian satellite manufacturer Aerospacelab has accelerated its next stage of growth with a successful raise of €40 million [US $45.4 million]. The Series B round is co-led by Airbus Ventures and XAnge, a leading European investor in early-stage startups. Additional investors in the round include Octave & Miroslaw Klaba, SRIW, Noshaq, BNP Paribas Private Equity, Sambrinvest, and Belaero. Since its inception in 2018, Aerospacelab has raised a total of €60 million [US $68.17 million]. 

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Europe Moves Toward Independent Human Spaceflight Capability

Credit: ESA

European leaders kicked off the process of developing an independent human spaceflight capability at a space summit chaired by French President Emmaneul Macron on Wednesday.

Officials representing the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Union (EU) directed ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher to initiate detailed discussions on how to initiate the program.

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Decisions From Europe’s 2022 Space Summit

TOULOUSE, France, 16 February 2022 (ESA PR) — European leaders today confirmed their ambitious plans to work closely together to accelerate Europe as a world leader in space during a series of high-level meetings held in Toulouse, France.

Under the plans, ESA, the EU and their member States are uniting to ensure that Europe fully realises the enormous untapped potential for space to tackle the urgent and unprecedented societal, economic and security challenges it faces.

The French Presidency of the European Space Agency and the European Union chaired the meetings, reflecting the close and growing cooperation between the EU and ESA.

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EUSPA to Further Boost Space Investments with CASSINI Entrepreneurship Fund

PRAGUE (EUSPA PR) — The European Commission, the EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA), the European Space Agency (ESA), and the European Investment Fund (EIF) committed to multiplying the benefits of space technology to businesses. This initiative implies attracting more private investment funds, running capacity building activities, sharing expertise, organizing matchmaking, and promoting the markets. CASSINI is central to this endeavour.

DG DEFIS Director-General Timo Pesonen, EUSPA Executive Director, Rodrigo da Costa, ESA Director-General Josef Aschbacher, Chief Executive of the European Investment Fund Alain Godard gathered at the Egmont Palace in Brussels on the occasion of the 14th edition of the European Space Conference 2022. During this event, they agreed on the principles of cooperation to support SMEs in the space sector, fostering on exchange of information and engaging in joint cross-functional actions towards space entrepreneurship. 

Dedicated to promoting the commercialization of Galileo, EGNOS, and Copernicus data and services to increase the market share of the EU space actors, EUSPA has been engaging with companies of all sizes from a broad spectrum of industries, many of which had not used space services in their activities before.

Through capacity-building, and supporting their access to financial resources, mentoring and market know-how, EUSPA helps to create breakthroughs for space entrepreneurship. 

The ‘’New Space’’ paradigm is however reshaping the industry’s landscape resulting in a greater need for better access to risk capital and other forms of growth financing. Anticipating this need, EUSPA is ready to take EU space entrepreneurship to the next level by leveraging investments, its know-how and capacity building within CASSINI Space Entrepreneurship Growth Funding Initiative, together with European Investment Fund, the European Commission, and the European Space Agency.   

These organisations are committed to bringing together their expertise and experience to leverage new investment support for the European space-based economy. The common objective is to create high-skilled jobs in the EU and improve the day-to-day lives of Europeans by supporting innovative companies and accelerating the development of new applications that use European global navigation satellite systems and earth observation services.

‘’EUSPA has a long history of cooperation with the European Investment Bank group and other private and public investors. I am pleased to see that today we reinforce our collaboration to support developing innovative, creative, and successful companies using EU space technologies,’’ said EUSPA Executive Director, Rodrigo da Costa. ‘’It is another step to contribute to the growth of the EU Space industry and its market share to boost our common economy in this very competitive global environment,’’ he concluded.

For more information, visit http://www.euspa.europa.eu.

EU Space: $1 Billion CASSINI Investment Fund Launched to Spur European Competitiveness

BRUSSELS (European Commission PR) — On the 25th of January 2022 in Brussels, and in the context of the CASSINI Initiative, European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton signed a joint statement, together with Vice-President of the European Investment Bank Kris Peeters and Chief Executive of the European Investment Fund Alain Godard, officialising their joint commitment for the “Cassini Seed and Growth Funding Facility.

The objective of this €1 billion space investment fund is to attract more venture capital funds to become active investors in European small and medium size companies developing space technology and digital services using space data.

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European Space Summit Seeks to Boost Competitiveness, Protect Environment & Launch Independent Human Spaceflight Program

Credit: ESA

PARIS (ESA PR) — European leaders will reaffirm plans to launch Europe on a world-leading trajectory during a high-level space summit to be held on 16 February in Toulouse, France.

Urgent action is needed to tackle the unprecedented societal, economic and security challenges faced by Europe – from the climate crisis and its consequences to threats to crucial infrastructure in space and on Earth.

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