Space Rider: Europe’s Reusable Space Transportation System

PARIS (ESA PR) — Initially proposed in 2016, ESA’s Space Rider reentry vehicle provides a return to Earth and landing capability that compliments the existing launch options of the Ariane and Vega families.

Having recently completed system and subsystem preliminary design reviews, Space Rider is advancing quickly towards the Critical design review at the end of 2019.

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Dozens of Satellites Joining Vega’s Ride-share to Space

Vega’s versatile Small Satellites Mission Service dispenser developed within ESA’s Light satellite Launch opportunities initiative is designed to deploy multiple light satellites below 500 kg. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — More than 40 satellite missions will be launched at once by Europe’s Vega launcher this autumn, thanks to the innovative modular “Lego-style” dispenser resting on its upper stage.

Up until now the smallest classes of satellites – all the way down to tiny CubeSats, built from 10 cm modular boxes – have typically ‘piggybacked’ to orbit. They have to make use of any spare capacity as a single large satellite is launched, meaning their overall launch opportunities are limited.

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ESA Works on Improving Vega Performance & Capabilities

Europe’s Vega small launcher is set to demonstrate its extended capability to deploy multiple light satellites using its new versatile Small Satellites Mission Service (SSMS) dispenser, mid-2019. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Vega is proving its reliability. Based on this heritage, ESA and European industry are building new elements that will increase Vega’s performance, capabilities and flexibility from mid-2019.

A proof of concept flight on Vega of the Small Spacecraft Mission Service is planned for mid-2019.

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Announcement of Opportunity to Fly Payloads on ESA’s Space Rider

Space Rider mission profile (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA’s Space Rider aims to provide Europe with an affordable, independent, reusable end-to-end space transportation system integrated with Vega-C, for routine access and return from low Earth orbit.

Space Rider will debut in 2021 to provide a laboratory in space for an array of applications, orbit altitudes and inclinations. ESA has released a dedicated Announcement of Opportunity with no restriction on nationality for commercial or institutional customers.
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ESA Approves 10.3 Billion Euro Budget; ISS Extended, ExoMars Funded

ESA logoMinisters from 22 ESA member countries approved a multi-year spending plan of €10.3 billion ($11 billion) for the European space agency, a reduction from the  €11 billion ($11.74 billion) that Director General Jan Dietrich Woerner had sought.

The budget includes an extension of the International Space Station to 2020 to 2024. ESA was the last of the international partners to approve the extension after the United States, Russia, Japan and Canada.

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