First Spacebus Neo Satellite Launched

Spacebus Neo Konnect in the thermal vacuum test chamber. (Credit: Thales Alenia Space)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — Ariane 5’s first launch of 2020 has delivered two telecom satellites, Konnect and GSAT-30, into their planned transfer orbits. Arianespace announced liftoff at 21:05 GMT (22:05 CET, 18:05 local time) this evening from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Konnect, with a launch mass of 3619 kg, was the first to be released after about 27 minutes.

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First Spacebus Neo Satellite Set for Launch

The Konnect satellite is placed within the fairing for launch aboard Ariane 5. (Credit: ESA)

KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA PR) — The first satellite developed under an initiative to help European industry deliver competitive satellites for the commercial telecommunications market has entered its final phase before launch.

Konnect will provide broadband services for Europe and Africa, and was built by Thales Alenia Space for Eutelsat, its commercial operator, under an ESA Partnership Project.

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Thales Alenia Space to Build Amazonas Nexus From Hispasat

Amazonas Nexus satellite. (Credit: Thales Alenia) Space/Briot
  • The Spanish operator kicks off its new mission Amazonas Nexus, devoted to the mobility and connectivity markets, marking the start of a new generation of satellites with an innovative architecture and higher capacity.
  • The new satellite, embarks a new generation Digital Transparent Processor (DTP), a technological breakthrough that substantially increases the flexibility of the satellite, allowing its adaptation to eventual changes in the customer’s demand.
  • Amazonas Nexus, which will have an important participation of the Spanish aerospace industry, is scheduled for launch at the end of 2022 and has an expected lifetime of 15 years.

Madrid, January 10, 2020  – HISPASAT, the Spanish satellite telecommunications operator, has awarded to Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), the construction of the Amazonas Nexus satellite, which will replace and expand the  capacities of Amazonas 2 satellite, in orbit at 61º West. The contract has been signed today in Madrid, with Thales Alenia Space winning the award against an international field of competitors.

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ESA Reports Promising Progress for ExoMars Parachutes

A series of clips from different angles and at different speeds showing parachute extraction tests using a NASA/JPL test rig powered by compressed air.  The lid of the parachute assembly is pulled along a suspended cable at high speed while the end of the assembly is fixed to a wall. When the release mechanism is activated, the parachute bag is pulled away from the parachute at the target speed, mimicking the extraction as it will be on Mars. At the highest speeds, the tests enable the extraction to take place at more than 200 km/h.

PARIS (ESA PR) — A series of ground-based tests designed to check the extraction of the ExoMars 2020 mission’s parachutes from their bags have started successfully with promising results to keep the mission on track for next year’s launch.

Landing on Mars is a high-risk endeavour with no room for error. In just six minutes, a descent module with its precious cargo cocooned inside has to slow from around 21 000 km/h at the top of the planet’s atmosphere, to a soft landing at the surface controlled by the lander’s propulsion system.

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Soyuz Booster to Launch COSMO-Skymed, Cheops, ANGELS, Eyesat and OPS-SAT

Replica of OPS-SAT (Credit: ESA–Stijn Laagland)

PARIS (CNES PR) — On Tuesday 17 December, Soyuz will lift off for the 23rd time from the Guiana Space Centre (CSG), Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana, carrying COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation for the Italian space agency ASI and the Italian Ministry of Defence, CHEOPS for the European Space Agency (ESA), ANGELS and EyeSat for CNES, and OPS-SAT for operator Tyvak on behalf of ESA.

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Thales Alenia Space to Build Nilesat-301 Satellite

Nilesat-301 (Credit: Thales Alenia Space/Briot)

Cannes, December 4, 2019 (Thales Alenia Space PR) – Thales Alenia Space, a Joint Venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), announced today that it has signed a contract with the Egyptian operator Nilesat to build the Nilesat-301 geostationary communications satellite, winning the contract against an international field of competitors.

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Thales Alenia Space Wins ESA EGNOS Contract

Cannes, December 5, 2019 (Thales Alenia Space PR) – Thales Alenia Space, the joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), announced today that it has signed a new contract with the European Space Agency (ESA), on behalf of the European Commission, to upgrade Europe’s EGNOS satellite navigation system. Via this contract Thales Alenia Space will develop a new version of EGNOS (version V242B), incorporating new advanced functionalities.

Worth a total of about 78 million euros, this contract includes the following:

  • expansion of the EGNOS SBAS coverage zone;
  • installation of a new generation of reference stations (RIMS);
  • improved algorithms in the computation center (CPF) to boost system performance;
  • enhanced system security.
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Ariane’s 250th Mission Launches 2 Communications Satellites

Ariane 5 booster lifts off. (Credit: Arianespace)

KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace has successfully orbited two geostationary satellites: TIBA-1, for Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defence and Space on behalf of the Government of Egypt; and GX5 for the operator Inmarsat.

The launch took place on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 at 18:23 p.m. (local time) from the Guiana Space Center (CSG), Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana (South America).

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Company Launches Red Wine to Space Station

Antares launches a Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (Space Cargo Unlimited PR) – On November 2nd, at 09:59 am ET, Space Cargo Unlimited, a one-of-a-kind European “New Space” start-up, launched red wine to the International Space Station (ISS), in partnership with Thales Alenia Space and Nanoracks, to be aged in space for twelve months before returning to Earth.

This is part of the first comprehensive, privately lead, applied- research program on the ISS that seeks to develop innovative solutions for the future of food and agriculture on Earth.

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EDEN ISS Project Presents Results of New Greenhouse Concept for Future Space Missions

The EDEN ISS greenhouse concept is designed to be launched on a Falcon 9 booster. It would have 30 square meters of cultivate space to provide food for astronauts on the moon or Mars. (Credit: LIQUIFER Systems Group)
  • 268 kilograms of food produced in an area of only 12.5 square metres over 9.5 months.
  • Power consumption less than half as much as previously assumed for greenhouses in space.
  • Concept – a deployable greenhouse suitable for launch on a Falcon 9 rocket.
  • Project in Antarctica continues.

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — Future food production in deserts and cold regions, as well as under the inhospitable conditions of future space missions to the Moon and Mars, is providing the stimulus for research in the Antarctic greenhouse project EDEN ISS, which is led by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR).

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NASA Awards Contract to Northrop Grumman for Lunar Gateway Habitat Module

Credit: NASA

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA has awarded Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems (NGIS) a contract of an undisclosed amount to modify its Cygnus space station resupply vehicle to serve as the minimal habitation module (MHM) for the Lunar Gateway.

Northrop Grumman won out over four competitors that had won contracts to develop mockup habitats under the space agency’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 (NextSTEP-2) program.

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ExoMars: Progress and Challenges

ExoMars 2020 parachute deployment sequence (Credit: ESA)

TURIN, Italy, 28 June 2019  (ESA PR) — The full parachute system that will help deliver the ExoMars rover and a surface science platform to the martian surface has completed a full-scale high-altitude deployment sequence test, although unexpected damage to the main parachutes occurred.

Meanwhile, the main elements of the descent module hardware, including the heat shield that will protect the lander as it enters the atmosphere of Mars, have been delivered to Thales Alenia Space in Turin, Italy, this week.

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Kinéis Announces IoT Strategic Partnerships, Industrial Program

RAMONVILLE SAINT AGNE, France (Kineis PR) — Kinéis, a CLS Group spinoff, a subsidiary of CNES, is proud to announce the signing of two strategic partnerships, one with Objenious, a public IoT operator part of Bouygues Telecom, and another with the Wize Alliance (SUEZ, GRDF, Sagemcom,etc.). These alliances reinforce Kinéis’ position as a strategic player in the Internet of Things.

At the same time, Kinéis, supported by CNES, is reinforcing its technological strategy as supervising manager for the industrial space project to manufacture 25 nanosatellites and place them in orbit. Kinéis relies on Thales Alenia Space to define the system architecture, build ground stations and payloads, and on Hemeria (ex-Nexeya) to build platforms and integrate satellites. Technical specifications have been finalised and satellite production will start on 21 June.

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Airbus Announces Three New Communications Contract Awards

Airbus has been awarded contracts for three new communications satellites. The company will build one of the satellites itself and the other two as part of a consortium with Thales Alenia Space.

Airbus will build the MEASAT-3d multi-mission satellite for MEASAT Global Berhad (“MEASAT”), of Malaysia, Positioned at 91.5°E collocated with MEASAT-3b, also built by Airbus, MEASAT-3d will deliver improved performances to progressively replace MEASAT-3 and MEASAT-3a, supporting Asia’s premium DTH (direct to home) video distribution.

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