Are we there yet?
- Airbus was awarded a contract from ESA to further develop the implementation of LISA
(Laser Interferometer Space Antenna), which will be tasked with measuring gravitational waves. The system consists of three spacecraft that form an equilateral triangle deep in space, 2.5 million kilometres apart from each other. LISA is slated to be launched in the late 2030s.
It needs to be at least 3 times bigger - Spanish launch startup PLD Space has begun construction of a new engine testbench at Teruel Airport. The bench will be utilised to test the combustion chambers for the engines that will power the company’s Miura 5 rocket. PLD Space is currently working towards the maiden flight of Miura 1, a suborbital vehicle that will validate many of the elements that will fly aboard the company’s larger vehicle.
All aboard! - Italian rocket builder Avio has put the AVUM+ upper stage for the first Vega-C rocket aboard a truck to begin its journey to the launch site in French Guiana. The first, second, and third stages of the vehicle are already integrated. The LARES-2 primary payload and six small secondary payloads are scheduled to be shipped to Kourou in early June.
If we build it, they will come - Construction has begun at SaxaVord Spaceport with the conclusion of a groundbreaking ceremony on 19 May. The spaceport will feature three separate launchpads, the third of which will be called “Launchpad Elizabeth” in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year. Thus far, Venture Orbital, Astra, Skyrora ABLE Space Systems, HyImpulse Technologies have all agreed to launch from Saxavord.
It’s for the environment, man - SmallSpark Space Systems has been awarded funding from Research England as part of its SPRINTForSpace programme to study propellants for the UK-based launch startup’s S4-HIVE rocket engine in collaboration with Dr Fengshu Yang and the University of Leicester. The funding will be utilised to explore propellant variants with the goal of increasing engine performance and reducing the emission of harmful NOX and carbon particulates.
And that’s where the pinball machine is going - Belgian satellite imaging company Aerospacelab revealed that it is working towards commissioning a new factory at the Monnet Center in Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve Science Park. The new factory features a total area of 2400 square meters which includes a 600 square meter ISO7 cleanroom. Aerospacelab is planning to begin work in the factory this summer and will manufacture, integrate, and test 24 satellites on a yearly base at the location.
Mi centrifuge casa su centrifuge casa
- The European Space Agency and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs have announced that they will open up the Large Diameter Centrifuge facility at the European Space Research and Technology Centre in the Netherlands to UN Member States under the joint HyperGES fellowship
Your mission, should you choose to accept it - London-based Seraphim Space Camp, a VC-led accelerator for global space tech startups has announced its ninth cohort. The 11-week accelerator aims to push founders to fine-tune their investment pitch and connect with mentors. The program concludes with an investor day. The second companies selected are working on in-orbit transfer vehicles, space debris tracking, earth observation services, and space debris recycling.
It’s the final countdown - The Airbus-built MEASAT-3d communications satellite arrived in French Guiana ahead of its launch aboard an Ariane 5 in June. The launch will be the first Ariane 5 flight since it carried James Webb to space in late December. The flight will also carry the CMS-02 communications satellite for the Indian Space Research Organisation.
Show me the money! - The British Design Fund has awarded £100,000 to microgravity research service provider Gravitilab Aerospace Services. The company is developing a fleet of sounding rockets capable of carrying between 2 and 20 kg payloads to various altitudes. The company is also working on a drone-based “drop-pod microgravity testing system.”