Airbus has been selected by the European Space Agency to build the European component of the SMILE satellite (Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer). SMILE will be the first joint satellite mission between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), following on from the success of the Double Star / Tan Ce mission which flew between 2003 and 2008.
The objective of SMILE is to study and understand space weather. Specifically, it will look at the physics behind continuous interaction between particles in the solar wind and Earth’s magnetosphere, the magnetic shield that protects the existence of life in our planet. The mission is now entering a four-year period of manufacturing, testing, and integration of the payload module and the platform. In launch configuration these two components will form a 3.15-m-high stack.
The spacecraft will have a mass of 2,200 kg and will travel in a highly elliptical orbit around the Earth. Its perigee will be at a distance of 5,000 km (from where it will download data to the Troll ground station in Antarctica and the CAS ground station in Sanya, China), while the apogee will be as far as 121,000 km (this is almost one third the distance to the Moon). At this vantage point the satellite will have a prolonged view of the Earth’s northern polar regions, to enable the boundary of the Earth’s magnetic field and the Northern Lights, or aurora borealis, to be imaged.
The payload module will be built at the Airbus site in Madrid, where the instruments will be integrated. The platform will be built in Shanghai. airbus.com
Airbus Defence and Space has completed the first step in the construction of the inner structure of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) JUICE satellite. This is the beginning of its Earthly journey through different Airbus sites in Europe (Lampoldshausen, Friedrichshafen and Toulouse) towards final integration.
Airbus is building the JUICE (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer) spacecraft for ESA, which will investigate the potential for Jupiter’s icy moons Europa, Callisto and Ganymede to harbour habitable environments such as subsurface oceans. JUICE will also carry out observations of Jupiter, its atmosphere, magnetosphere, other satellites and rings. As prime contractor, Airbus is leading a consortium of more than 60 companies across Europe on the project.
nFrames is a provider of photogrammetric software that uses intelligent algorithms that can automate the processing of constantly increasing data volumes at an ever-growing acquisition frequency. The software is used worldwide by private and public mapping organizations for the automated production of point clouds, digital surface models, true orthophotos and meshes from imagery for cities and entire countries by extracting precise 3D information for every pixel. While the automatically produced true orthophotos are driving automation for applications in the 2D GIS domain, meshes are now driving GIS applications in the 3D beyond city modelling, visualization and web-streaming as they elegantly combine geometry as a closed surface in combination with high-resolution imagery.
China is planning to launch a constellation of 192 remote sensing satellites by 2021. Artificial intelligence technology will process the images captured by the satellites, which will have sensors with multiple resolutions. This will allow poor quality images to be filtered out so that only useful data is beamed back to earth. Scientists working on the project are also attempting to enable the constellation to be self-piloting. www.ecns.cn
Synspective is a Japanese startup which provides satellite data solutions using smallsized SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) satellites. The company accumulated $100 million USD in funding since its foundation in February 2018. Raising that amount in less than 17 months makes Synspective the world’s fastest and Japan’s second-highest funded space startup. The investment will help strengthen the company’s SAR satellite development, manufacturing systems, and solutions development. Synspective provides one-stop solutions by satellite gathered geospatial data.
SAR satellites actively observe and acquire earth surface information by transmitting and receiving reflected microwaves. Compared to optical satellites, which depend on sunlight reflection, SAR can capture images of the ground surface in all-weather conditions and any time of the day or night. www.finsmes.com
Satellite operators Maxar Technologies, Planet Labs, HawkEye 360, BlackSky Global and Spire Global have urged the U.S. Department of Commerce to revise its proposed commercial remote sensing regulations, which as drafted would put U.S. firms at a significant disadvantage in the global marketplace.
While U.S. satellite operators appreciate the Department’s recognition of the risk to American leadership in space that comes from overly burdensome regulation, the proposed regulations would undermine U.S. competitiveness, impair U.S. innovation and deter investment in the U.S. commercial space industry. Commenters urged the Commerce Department to significantly revise the proposed regulations to take a more narrowly tailored approach to ensure the pressing need for continued U.S. leadership in commercial space is more appropriately balanced with other regulatory interests. www.satellitetoday.com
LeoLabs and New Zealand Space Agency unveil regulatory platform for low Earth orbit
LeoLabs, has announced the world’s first dedicated regulatory platform for LEO: the Space Regulatory and Sustainability Platform, developed as a joint initiative between LeoLabs and the New Zealand Space Agency (NZSA). The NZSA is a leader in best practices and industry standards for promoting, regulating, and guiding the global new space community. The regulatory platform offers a groundbreaking set of capabilities to empower the New Zealand government to meet its stated mission of encouraging a sustainable space environment for future generations.
The Space Regulatory and Sustainability Platform provides cloud-based services based on LeoLabs’ network of global sensors. Observations from this network are then processed via the LeoLabs mapping and SaaS platform which analyzes and delivers operational and compliance information to the New Zealand regulatory and space agency. The platform monitors satellites launched from New Zealand. https://leolabs.space/
Glavkosmos signs contract with ISRO for training Indian astronauts
First Deputy Director General of Glavkosmos (part ofRoscosmos State Corporation) Natalia Lokteva and Director of Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) of Indian Space Research Organization(ISRO) Dr. S.Unnikrishnan Nair signed a contract for selection support, medical examination and space training of Indian astronauts.
Glavkosmos will render to HSFC services on consulting support of the selection of candidates for the Indian astronauts, providing a medical examination of the candidates for access to space flight related training programs and providing space flight related training for the Indian astronauts selected on the basis of the medical examination. www.firstpost.com
Chandrayaan-2 successfully Launched
India has its second moon mission Chandrayaan-2 from its most powerful rocket with a plan to land the rover on September 7 in the unexplored lunar south pole, exactly a week after the liftoff was aborted due to a technical snag.
Carrying a “billion dreams” in a giant leap for the country’s ambitious lowcost space programme, the most complex and prestigious mission ever undertaken by the Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO), if successful, will also make India the fourth country after Russia, the US and China to pull off a soft landing on the moon.
The Rs 978-crore unmanned mission also brought woman power to the fore as it was helmed by two woman scientists of the ISRO–Ritu Karidhal and M Vanitha, the Mission and Project directors respectively.
The ISRO is aiming for a soft landing of the lander in the South Pole region of the moon where no country has gone so far. www.news18.com