Airbus to Bring First Mars Samples to Earth: ESA Contract Award

ERO will reach Mars orbit, capture orbiting samples launched from the Red Planet and bring them back to Earth. (Credit: Airbus)
  • A new decade of European exploration – to the Moon and Mars
  • Airbus to design and build the Earth Return Orbiter (ERO) for Mars Sample Return (MSR) campaign
  • ERO will reach Mars orbit, capture orbiting samples launched from the Red Planet and bring them back to Earth

TOULOUSE, 14 October 2020 (Airbus PR) – Airbus has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) as prime contractor for the Mars Sample Return’s Earth Return Orbiter (ERO) – the first ever spacecraft to bring samples back to Earth from Mars. Mars Sample Return (MSR) is a joint ESA-NASA campaign and the next step in the exploration of Mars. ERO and the Sample Fetch Rover (SFR) are the two main European elements of MSR, both are set to be designed and built by Airbus.

A manipulating arm, referred to as the Sample Transfer Arm (STA), that will transfer the samples from the SFR to the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV), is the third European contribution to the MSR program. The value of the ERO contract is €491 million [$574.8 million].

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ESA Selects Thales Alenia Space to Build Two Modules for Lunar Gateway

(Credit: Thales Alenia Space/Briot)

Turin, October, 14 2020 – Thales Alenia Space, the joint company between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), will develop two key modules for the upcoming Lunar Orbital Platform–Gateway (LOP-G): I-HAB (International Habitat) and the ESPRIT communications and refueling module.

These two modules are the European contribution for this Gateway. The first tranche of I-HAB contract, (worth 36 million euros, the global amount being 327 million euros), has been signed with the European Space Agency (ESA), while ESPRIT development has already started under Authorization To Proceed (ATP) with a contract signature expected by the end of the year.

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Plans Underway for New European Polar Ice and Snow Topography Mission

CRISTAL satellite (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Monitoring the cryosphere is essential to fully assess, predict and adapt to climate variability and change. Given the importance of this fragile component of the Earth system, today ESA, along with Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space, have signed a contract to develop the Copernicus Polar Ice and Snow Topography Altimeter mission, known as CRISTAL.

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ESA Awards Airbus €300 Million Copernicus Satellite Contract

CRISTAL satellite (Credit: ESA)
  • CRISTAL will measure sea ice thickness and ice sheet elevations
  • Airbus in Germany will lead the industrial consortium
  • Contract is worth € 300 million

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany, 21 September 2020 – The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected Airbus to develop and build the Copernicus polar ice and snow topography mission (CRISTAL). With two satellites the CRISTAL mission will ensure the long-term continuation of radar altimetry ice elevation and change records. It is one of six new missions to expand the current capabilities of the Copernicus space component for the benefit of all European citizens. The contract is worth € 300 million [$352 million].

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Thales Alenia Space to Build SES-22 and SES-23 Satellites

CANNES (Thales Alenia Space PR) – Thales Alenia Space, a joint-venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), announced that it has signed a contract with SES to build SES-22 and SES-23, geostationary communications satellites. These two new satellites are designed to provide digital broadcasting services over North America.

Thales Alenia Space will be responsible for the design, production, testing of the satellites and support of the payload in-orbit acceptance tests. SES-22 and SES-23 are based on the proven Spacebus 4000 B2 platform and will be 3.5-ton class satellites at launch.

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Contract Signed to Build Europe’s Carbon Dioxide Monitoring Mission

PARIS (ESA PR) — With the amount of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere approaching levels that humans may have never before experienced, the need to monitor sources of emissions is more urgent than ever – hence the Copernicus Carbon Dioxide Monitoring mission being one of Europe’s new high-priority satellite missions.

Taking the mission a significant step forward, ESA and OHB System AG have, today, signed a contract to build the first two satellites that make up the mission.

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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].

ESA Selects Thales Alenia Space Proposals for Copernicus Project

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

CANNES, July 2, 2020 (Thales Alenia Space PR) — Thales Alenia Space, a Joint Venture between Thales (67 %) and Leonardo (33 %), has recently been selected  by the European Space Agency (ESA) in coordination and with the agreement of the European Commission, for major Copernicus missions.

Copernicus is the core 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.

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Thales Alenia Space to Provide 2 Key Pressurized Elements for Axiom Commercial Space Station

Axiom space station (Credit: Axiom Space)

TURIN, June 24, 2020 (Thales Alenia Space PR) – Thales Alenia Space, Joint Venture between Thales (67 %) and Leonardo (33 %) announced the signature of an ATP (Authorization To Proceed) with Axiom Space of Houston, Texas to initiate the development of two key pressurized elements dedicated to the world’s first commercial space station.

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LeoStella Delivers First BlackSky Satellites from its New Production Line

TUKWILA, Wa., June 22, 2020 – LeoStella, a specialized satellite constellation design and manufacturer, announced today the delivery of the first two satellites fully manufactured from its state-of-the-art production line. The satellites are the fifth and sixth of an ongoing Earth observation constellation program for the global monitoring company, BlackSky.

LeoStella’s intelligent manufacturing facility is the first of its kind and opened in 2019. The satellites were delivered to the launch facility on June 1, 2020 and have been prepared for an upcoming SpaceX launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

LeoStella’s ability to minimize costs and reduce development and manufacturing time helps meet the increasing demand for satellite constellations in a time sensitive ecosystem. 

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NanoAvionics Selected by Thales Alenia Space to Build First Two Satellite Buses for Omnispace Constellation

Omnispace Internet of Things constellation (Credit: Omnispace)

VILNIUS, Lithuania, 18 June 2020 (NanoAvionics PR) – Mission integrator NanoAvionics was contracted by Thales Alenia Space to build the initial two satellite buses for Omnispace’s satellite-based Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure. NanoAvionics’ two satellite buses will host the payload which is being developed by prime contractor Thales Alenia Space, in partnership with Syrlinks. 

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New European Drawer Rack Set for Space Station

Image of Europe’s space laboratory Columbus taken by ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano from outside the International Space Station. (Credit: ESA–L. Parmitano, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO)

PARIS (ESA PR) — When the Japanese HTV-9 cargo vehicle launches to the International Space Station on 20 May it will carry a part of Europe in its pressurised module. The second iteration of the European Drawer Rack (EDR-2) is destined for the European Columbus laboratory and will provide even greater opportunities for science in space.

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Thales Alenia Space Part of Dynetics’ Human Landing System Team

Artist concept of the Dynetics Human Landing System on the surface of the Moon. (Credits: Dynetics)

TURIN, Italy May 1st, 2020  (Thales Alenia Space) — Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), has been selected by Dynetics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Leidos, serving as prime contractor, to partner for the study development phase of the pressurized cabin of the NASA Human Landing System (HLS).

The international consortium led by Dynetics is one among other teams appointed by NASA to compete during the initial design and development phase of the Human Landing System until the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) milestone.

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Dynetics to Develop NASA’s Artemis Human Lunar Landing System

Artist concept of the Dynetics Human Landing System on the surface of the Moon. (Credits: Dynetics)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (Dynetics PR) — Dynetics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Leidos (NYSE: LDOS), has been awarded a contract under NASA’s Artemis program to design a Human Landing System (HLS) and compete to build a system to take the first woman and next man to the lunar surface by 2024.

Dynetics is one of three prime contractors selected.

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