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ESA wants space-based solar power

Europe in Space
Issue 19. Subscribers: 417
This is my first day back from a much-needed vacation, so the newsletter is a little thin today. It will be back to full strength next week. To my 13 new subscribers, welcome and enjoy your first issue.

ESA wants space-based solar power
ESA has released a new Request for Information for “Breakthrough Technologies for Space-based Solar Power.”
According to the request, the climate emergency requires urgent action, including the investigation of radical new technological solutions to provide clean energy that can be undertaken at a rapid pace.
Credit: ESA
Credit: ESA
The programme, which is initially being called SOLARIS, aims to establish the technical, political, and programmatic foundations for the development of the technology. This includes finding solutions for a number of technological challenges, including high-power RF transmission, formation-flying, on-orbit robotic assembly, in-space servicing and refueling, and the mass production of modular spacecraft.
An initial study phase will examine the technical feasibility and assess the benefits, implementation options, commercial opportunities, costs, and risks. It also seeks to survey the level of industrial interest across ESA member states. 
The closing date for submissions is 14 September. The results will form the basis of a proposal that will be presented for consideration at the ESA Ministerial Level council meeting in November.
A hop across the pond and into space - CNES has pre-selected seven European launch providers to operate from a planned commercial launch facility at its Guiana Space Centre. The seven launch providers are Avio (Italy), HyImpulse Technologies (Germany), Isar Aerospace (Germany), Maiaspace (France), PLD Space (Spain), Rocket Factory Augsburg (Germany), and Latitude (France). According to CNES CEO Philippe Baptiste, other operators may be pre-selected during a subsequent call for applications. CNES will now begin discussions with each of the seven providers to determine the technical and financial progress of their projects.
Are you ready to pull the pin? - German space tech startup DcubeD has commenced a project with ESA to develop a medium-sized actuator. The company currently offers a space-proven nano-sized pin puller that is utalised for a number of applications, including the deployment of antennas and solar arrays in addition to door openers for cubesat deployers. The new actuator will be used for bigger cubesat deployers (3U and larger), meeting a need for a smaller and less expensive option to current solutions.
The future is hybrid - German launch startup HyImpulse has signed a launch services agreement with US-based In Orbit Aerospace. The mission will be launched aboard the first SL1 flight in 2024 and will carry In Orbit’s earth return vehicle. SL1 is a three-stage launch vehicle powered by hybrid rocket motors. The vehicle is designed to be capable of carrying 500 kg payloads to a 400 km SSO.
I have layers, like an onion - Viasat UK has been selected by ESA to conduct a study of multi-layered satellite communication (Satcom). This type of Satcom is comprised of networks that span multiple orbital types, including GEO, MEO, LEO, HAPS, and others, as well as various frequency bands and network designs. The study will examine use cases, market segments, and the technical aspects of these future systems.
Phenomenal power. Itty bitty living space. - UK-based space tech company AAC Clyde Space has been awarded €492k in ESA funding to further develop its Starbuck Mini power system to address the needs of future constellations. The project is part of the agency ARTES Core Competitiveness programme and will see AAC Clyde Space equal ESA’s contribution to the project.
Internet of Things in the most remote regions - Swiss IoT nanosatellite operator Astrocast announced a partnership with Japanese IoT connectivity provider Soracom. The partnership will allow Soracom customers to access its platform via the Astrocast satellite IoT solution, enabling connectivity options where there is little to no cellular coverage.
Hail a space taxi - German microgravity research provider Yuri signed a payload integration agreement with Sierra Space. The agreement books a place for the company’s “Science Taxi” service aboard a Dream Chaser mission to the International Space Station in 2024. Science Taxi is a life science incubator fitted with temperature control, full automation, and real-time data collection capabilities. The company also announced that it had added Christopher Mason, a professor of genomics, physiology, and biophysics at Weill Cornell Medicine, and Afshin Beheshti, a bioinformatician at NASA’s Ames Research Center, to its scientific advisory board.
Now That’s High-Quality H2O - Italian space propulsion startup Miprons and Thales Alenia Space announced a joint venture to develop a water-powered satellite propulsion system. The system will be based on Miprons’ propriety technology and will be purpose-designed for Thales satellites, enabling the company to reduce the weight and volume of its thrusters.
It’s the Cable Guy! - The EU Commission’s Directorate-General for Defence Industry and Space launched a preliminary market consultation for the implementation of the future European Secure Connectivity programme. The aim of the programme is to establish a space-based secure communications network that will be utalised in the protection of critical infrastructures, surveillance, crisis management, and applications that are critical for the economy, environment, security, and defence. 
You get training. You ALL get training! - The EU Agency for the Space Programme has launched an initiative to offer free training for individuals, start-ups, entrepreneurs, and SMEs that are interested in building a space application business in Europe. The Space Academy portal currently offers seven models, including EU space data & signals, customer & sales, finance, and legal.
Well, how big is your dish? - Azerbaijan space agency Azercosmos signed a long-term commercial partnership with Leaf Space, an Italian ground segment as-a-service (GSaaS) startup. The agreement will see Leaf Space install a 3.7-metre S/X-band antenna in Azerbaijan to support satellite operators with its GSaaS solutions. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Azercosmos to support their growing presence in space while also expanding our already robust global network of ground stations,“ said Leaf Space CEO Jonata Puglia.
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Andrew Parsonson

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