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Spacecraft, Launch Vehicles & Satellites
 
INCREASED COMPETITION DRIVES EUROPE'S DEVELOPMENT OF ARIANE 6
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Click image for a larger picture

Artist's rendition of Ariane 6

Source: ESA–David Ducros, 2017


Artist's rendition of Ariane 6

Source: ESA–David Ducros, 2017


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NEWTOWN, Conn. - Increasing competition in the launch industry, particularly from U.S.-based SpaceX, is creating a need for change in the Ariane lineup. While the Ariane 5 currently in service has a longer record of success than new entrants like SpaceX, the launch vehicle is much more expensive.

To improve their competitive standing, European nations have approved a number of changes to the launch industry. A new launch vehicle, called the Ariane 6, is being developed to replace the Ariane 5. It will be sold in two variants, with common components, that will be able to carry a range of payloads into orbit. It will also share components with Europe's smaller Vega launch vehicle, further increasing economies of scale.

The European space industry will also be consolidated. Airbus and Saran formed a joint venture to manage production of the Ariane 6. The joint venture will also own a majority stake in Arianespace, which markets the launch vehicle to commercial customers.

These changes promise to significantly cut the price of the Ariane 6 compared to the Ariane 5, making it more competitive on the commercial market. However, SpaceX continues to make advances in its product line in an attempt to further lower costs. For example, the company recently began using reused first stages, promising to lower costs compared to manufacturing a new one for every launch.

Still, ArianeGroup believes that it can substantially lower costs by consolidating manufacturing, increasing economies of scale, and utilizing the latest technology. Furthermore, ESA and ArianeGroup intend to begin investing in developing a new, smaller, rocket motor called Prometheus to replace the Vulcain 2.1 and Vinci engines planned to equip early versions of the Ariane 6. Using multiple smaller engines rather than a single larger engine will increase production volume, enabling economies of scale. ESA has also awarded ArianeGroup a contract to investigate how to make the Prometheus reusable.

ESA and ArianeGroup expect the first launch to occur in 2020. However, Forecast International believes 2021 is more likely, given the budget situation in Europe and the difficulty of developing a new launch vehicle. Operational flights of the Ariane 6 will begin a couple years later, and by the mid- to late 2020s, will have completely taken over commercial and government launches from the Ariane 5.

Source:  Forecast International
Associated URL: www.forecastinternational.com
Source Date: October 17, 2017
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 10/17/2017

 
 
IRELAND SIGNS COPERNICUS SENTINEL AGREEMENT
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
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Sentinel satellites

Source: ESA


Sentinel satellites

Source: ESA


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NOORDWIJK, Netherlands- ESA and Enterprise Ireland have signed an agreement that gives Ireland access to data from the Copernicus Sentinel satellites and helps Ireland to exploit these data to benefit their country. The agreement was signed on October 13 at ESA in the Netherlands just before the Copernicus Sentinel-5P launch event.

Copernicus , formerly known as Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES), is an effort led by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Union (EU) to improve Earth observation. The space component of Copernicus will consist of a series of Sentinel Earth observation satellites.

While data from the Sentinel satellites and missions contributing to the Copernicus program are freely accessible for the Copernicus services, as well as to scientific and other users, the Collaborative Ground Segment Arrangement will facilitate Sentinel data exploitation in Ireland.

The agreement was signed by Josef Aschbacher, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programs, and Conor Sheehan from Enterprise Ireland and Irish Delegate to ESA, in the presence of John Halligan Ireland’s Minister of State for Training and Skills.

It had already been signed in Ireland by Gearoid Mooney, Enterprise Ireland’s Head of Research and Innovation.

The agreement not only guarantees that Ireland has access to data, but also ensures that ESA provides technical advice on setting up data acquisition and dissemination, and makes data processing and archiving software available to national initiatives.

With financing issues finally behind it, the Copernicus program has entered its operational phase. Satellites have begun to launch, and contracts continue to be signed to cover future spacecraft. In 2013, the EU committed to funding the program, and will continue to do so to maintain on-orbit coverage.

Source:  ESA
Associated URL: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/Copernicus/Ireland_signs_u
Source Date: October 17, 2017
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 10/17/2017

 
 
THALES ALENIA SPACE WINS EQUIPMENT CONTRACT FOR BIOMASS SATELLITE
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Click image for a larger picture

Artist's rendition of Biomass

Source: Airbus Defence and Space


Artist's rendition of Biomass

Source: Airbus Defence and Space


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CANNES LA BOCCA, France - Thales Alenia Space has signed a contract with Airbus Defence and Space GmbH to develop the feed array system for the antenna on the European Space Agency’s Biomass spacecraft. One of ESA’s Earth Explorer missions, Biomass will help scientists understand the quantity of carbon stored in the world’s forests within the global carbon cycle.

Due for launch in 2021, Biomass is primarily designed to determine the distribution of biomass in the world’s forests and measure annual changes. It will generate maps of forest biomass and forest height at a resolution of 200 meters and measure deforestation at a resolution of 50 meters.

Biomass marks the first spaceborne exploration of the Earth’s surface using a P-band radar. In addition to the primary mission goals, the data generated will be used to monitor the ionosphere, glacier and ice sheets, while also mapping subsurface geology in deserts and the topography under dense vegetation.

Airbus Defence and Space UK is the prime contractor for the Biomass satellite. Airbus Defence and Space GmbH is in charge of the main instrument, a fully polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (SAR) operating in P-band (435 MHz).

Thales Alenia Space will provide the SAR Antenna Feed Array which radiates onto a 12m deployable reflector to generate the SAR beam.

Deliveries of satellites under the Living Planet Program are expected to remain steady, despite previous delays with the ADM-Aeolus and EarthCARE. ESA is taking steps to avoid delays with future missions. For example, instruments for the FLEX will be developed before the satellite platform so that potential problems can be addressed earlier. Satellites will be a mix of the more expensive Earth Explorer Core spacecraft and mid-cost Earth Explorer Opportunity spacecraft.

Source:  Thales Alenia Space
Associated URL: https://www.thalesgroup.com/en/worldwide/space/press-release/thales-alenia-space-wins-equipment-contract-esas-biomass-mission#
Source Date: October 17, 2017
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 10/17/2017

 

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