Spain gets ready for space
- Spanish launch startup PLD Space completed a full-duration hot fire test of its suborbital Miura 1
launch vehicle for the first time. The successful completion of the test paves the way for a maiden flight of the vehicle before the end of 2022. Miura 1 will enable PLD Space to offer microgravity research services while also acting as a tech demonstrator for the company’s larger orbital-class Miura 5 launch vehicle.
You know Susie, the spacecraft from Arianegroup
- ArianeGroup unveiled its SUSIE (Smart Upper Stage for Innovative Exploration) spacecraft concept
on the first day of IAC 2022. The new spacecraft is intended to equip Europe with independent crew and cargo capabilities. It will initially be launched from an Ariane 64 offering space for a crew of five or up to 7,000 kg in cargo to low Earth orbit. The vehicle will stand 12 meters high with a diameter of five meters. It has a mass of 25 t putting it at the very edge of the Ariane 64 launch vehicle’s current capabilities. In addition to low Earth orbit, the addition of a Space Transfer Module would offer access to lunar orbit.
You want to do what with a magnet?
- Italian space logistics company, D-Orbit signed a hosted payload service contract with New Zealand-based Zenno Astronautics
. The contract will see a D-Orbit ION space tug carry a prototype of Zenno’s next-gen magnetic torquer (a device that is designed to de-tumble, stabilize, and control the attitude of a spacecraft by aligning it to the Earth’s magnetic field) to a 550 km Sun-synchronous orbit. The launch is slated for Q4 of 2023. The contract also includes an option for a follow-up mission.
You should get that node checked out
- The Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) has been awarded a €1.1 million contract by ESA
to support the development of the company’s optical communications project, NODES (Network of Optical stations for Data transfer to Earth from Space). The grant is part of the agency’s ScyLight programme which supports the research, development, and evolution of optical communication. The first development milestone of the SSC NODES project is the construction and commission of a ground station in Western Australia. Construction of the station is being led by French company Cailabs with trials expected to begin in early 2024.
It has to be at least 3 times bigger
- South Korean satellite service provider KT SAT Corporation has signed a contract with Thales Alenia Space for its KOREASAT 6A
communications satellite. The geostationary satellite will replace KOREASAT 6 offering both fixed and broadcasting satellite services to South Korea. The 3.5 metric ton satellite will be built on the Thales Spacebus 4000B2 platform and will be fitted with six BSS transponders and 20 FSS transponders. The satellite is expected to be delivered in late 2023 and will offer a design life of 15 years.
Who needs contractors when you can buy them
- Italian rocket builder Avio announced the acquisition of the total share capital of Italian aerospace and defence firm Temis.
The company supplies a number of components for Avio’s Vega vehicles including telemetry systems, cameras, separation command units, and heat flux sensors. The acquisition was financed partly in cash and partly by treasury shares in the portfolio, as authorized by the Avio shareholders’ meeting held in April 2022. Avio also announced H1 results of €134 million, up 5% year-on-year.
I can see my house from here
- OHB Sweden and Spanish Earth observation payload manufacturer SATLANTIS signed an agreement to build a pair of submetric Earth observation microsatellites
. The satellites will be built on OHB’s InnoSat microsatellite platform. Once launched in 2024, the satellites will be utalised for specialized applications like methane emissions detection, and applications requiring a multispectral resolution of 80 cm.
I can also see my house from here
- Finish Earth Observation data provider ICEYE and Spanish Earth observation payload manufacturer SATLANTIS announced plans to develop and manufacture a four-satellite Earth observation constellation
. The Tandem4EO constellation will consist of two radar and two VHR optical satellites, each capable of under 1-meter resolution imaging.
Is there space for a pool table?
- Small satellite builder Berlin Space Technologies announced plans to open a new factory
in the German capital. The new factory will be utilized by BST to mass manufacture 200 to 500 kg satellites. It is expected to achieve initial operational capacity by mid-2023 and ramp up to the production of 200+ satellites a year later. BST predicts the full capacity of the new factory to be several thousand satellites per year.
More, give me more!
- Canadian Earth observation data provider NorthStar Earth & Space has signed a distribution and partnership agreement with Telespazio
. Under the new agreement, Telespazio will serve as NorthStar’s exclusive distributor and value-added solutions provider for European ministries of defence, governments, agencies, and institutions. NorthStar expects to launch its first space-based system fully dedicated to space situational awareness in 2023.
A quiet agreement amongst gentlemen
- ArianeGroup reached an agreement with OneWeb
following the suspension of Soyuz launches in March 2022. The details of the settlement are confidential. The pair have, however, revealed that future launch opportunities aboard Ariane 6 missions for OneWeb’s second generation constellation are being explored.
Look how pretty we look now
- French space logistics company Exotrail launched its new branding
. In addition to a new look and feel, the names of the company’s core products were also updated. ExoOps - Mission Design is now spacestudio, SpaceVan is spacedrop, EcoMG is now spaceware, and ExoOps - Operations is now spacetower. Additionally, the company’s tagline was updated from “agile space” to “end-to-end space mobility.”
I love the smell of corporate restructuring in the morning
- Swiss space tech company Beyond Gravity (previously RUAG Space) has announced an organization restructuring
in line with the company’s planned privatization, which it hopes to complete by 2025. The new operational business of the company is being structured into three divisions: launchers, satellites, and lithography. The decision to create the new lithography division is the result of strong growth in that element of the company’s business that produces apertures and stabilizers for the production of semiconductors. “Our lithography business has become an important pillar in recent years and is a good example of how high-tech developed in the space sector can also benefit applications on Earth,” said CEO André Wall, who took over as the top job 100 days ago.
I space, U-Space, we all space for ice cream
- French cubesat manufacturer startup U-Space has announced the closing of a €7 million seed round
. The round included investments from Karot Capital, Bpifrance (through Definvest), and BNP Paribas Développement. According to the company, the investment will be utilized for research and development, the optimization of design processes, the industrialization of production, the production of specific constellations, and hiring additional personnel.
It’s not small, it’s just cold
- Italian IoT connectivity startup Apogeo Space announced that it received a €262,000 grant
from the Italian space agency, ASI. The grant will be used to validate the company’s PiCo-IoT constellation. The first block of PiCo-IoT satellites will be launched in the first half of 2023. The full constellation will be made up of approximately 100 satellites and is expected to be operational by 2027. Apogeo Space announced a €5 million seed round led by the Primo Space fund in May 2022.
Aesthetics over functionality
- ESA has launched a spacesuit design competition
. According to the competition description, this is not a technical exercise or a call to industry for input. Rather, it’s a straightforward aesthetics design competition. “While we let our experts deal with the complication technical details, join us in envisioning how the future Europe EVA suit should look like,” explains the competition details. The designs also won’t be used for any functional prototypes or proposals. Instead, the agency intends to use the designs for ESA exhibitions and potentially for films that will educate and inspire people about space exploration. If you’re interested, the submission deadline is 31 October.
Are we there yet? (and I’m not talking about the end of this newsletter)
- The first satellite built under ESA’s Eurostar NEO programme is ready to be shipped
to its launch site. Eutelsat Hotbird 13F is one of an identical pair of satellites developed by Airbus for Eutelsat as part of an ESA Partnership Project. The pair of geostationary satellites will enhance TV broadcasts to homes across Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East, replacing three older satellites. Hotbird 13F is expected to be launched aboard a Falcon 9 in October, with its partner Hotbird 13G following aboard another Falcon 9 in November.
There’s so much room for activities
- ESA announced the opening of a new 350-square-meter environmentally-controlled cleanroom at the agency’s ESTEC Test Centre
in the Netherlands. This latest addition adds to what is the largest satellite testing facility in Europe at over 3,000 square meters. The new facility will be used to house sensitive micro-vibration measurement facilities, which are used to characterize the very low vibration generated by mechanisms mounted aboard satellites.
Dude, we got so high last week
- The UK Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (UKSEDS) National Rocketry Championship was concluded
. The teams were challenged to achieve to build and design a mid-power rocket with the primary goal of reaching the greatest apogee possible using a 29 mm Cessaroni 2-grain motor. First place was awarded to Team Gyrocket from the University of Bristol. Second and third place both went to teams from The University of Sheffield.