Canada’s exactEarth Signs Launch Service Agreement with Arianespace.

PARIS (ESA PR) — The first commercial microsatellite developed under ESA’s SAT‐AIS programme for tracking ships, called ESAIL, has passed another milestone. On 9 May its Canadian operator exactEarth signed the launch service agreement with Arianespace.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.

Satellite coverage is essential as about 90% of global trade takes place on the oceans. It opens the door to enhanced safety, tracking ships and route provisions for industry, government and maritime authorities.

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LuxSpace Entering Next Phase with Triton-X Microsat

Betzdorf, Luxembourg, January 9, 2019 (OHB PR) — LuxSpace, a subsidiary of the space and technology group OHB SE, is taking its Triton-X microsatellite platform to the next level. Over the last 12 months it has been designing the architecture for Triton-X, a next generation multi-mission microsatellite designed to enable affordable regional and global LEO constellations. Now work on the hardware is beginning in conjunction with three partner companies.

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China Launches Lunar Sample Return Precursor Mission

4M payload (Credit: LuxSpace)
4M payload (Credit: LuxSpace)

China has launched a spacecraft to the moon designed to pave the way for a future lunar sample return mission.

The spacecraft, launched today aboard a Long March 3C rocket, will circle the moon and then re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere in a test of its navigation system and heat shield. It is a precursor for the Chang’e-5 sample return mission set to launch around 2017.

The Long March 3C upper stage, which will also loop around the moon, is carrying LuxSpace’s M4 payload. The payload includes an amateur radio beacon and a radiation sensor.

“This is the first ever privately funded mission to the moon and it happens 45 years after the first landing on the moon,” saide Jochen Harms, managing director of LuxSpace.

M4 stands for Manfred Memorial Moon Mission. The mission honors Manfred Fuchs, the founder of  LuxSpace’s parent company OHB, who died 0n April 26, 2014.