Airbus news in brief

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MRO DubaiEarthCARE climate monitoring satellite leaves Europe: The Airbus-built EarthCARE (Earth Clouds, Aerosols and Radiation Explorer) spacecraft has left Munich, Germany, and is now on its way aboard an aircraft to its launch site in Vandenberg, California. EarthCARE is planned to be launched in May on a Falcon 9 rocket. EarthCARE is the most complex Earth Explorer mission in the European Space Agency’s (ESA) FutureEO programme. This new satellite mission will quantify and reduce the uncertainty about the role that clouds and aerosols (tiny atmospheric particles) play in heating and cooling Earth’s atmosphere, contributing to our better understanding of climate change. The spacecraft was developed, built and tested with the involvement of experts from 15 European countries as well as Japan and Canada. A joint undertaking between ESA and the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA), EarthCARE will examine the role clouds and aerosols play in reflecting solar radiation back into space and also in trapping infrared radiation emitted from the Earth’s surface.

Airbus-built EUTELSAT 36D satellite shipped inside BelugaST: The Airbus-built EUTELSAT 36D geostationary telecommunications satellite has been shipped from Toulouse, France to Sanford, Florida, USA, on board an Airbus BelugaST (A300-600ST). Its next step is the Kennedy Space Center, in Florida, where it will be launched into orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 later this month. With the advent of the new BelugaXL, based on the larger A330-200 platform, the A300-600 based BelugaST fleet is now fully available for outsized freight transport services globally. EUTELSAT 36D is based on the latest generation Eurostar Neo geostationary telecommunications satellite and will provide TV broadcasting (DTH) and government services over Africa, Europe and eastern countries and has a planned lifetime of more than 15 years. With 70 physical Ku-band transponders, the all-electric EUTELSAT 36D will assure all the main legacy missions of EUTELSAT 36B, with enhancements to coverage and performance. It is the fourth Eurostar Neo in orbit. Eurostar Neo satellites combine increased payload capacity and more efficient power and thermal control systems with reduced production time and optimised costs as part of a fully digitalised production process. EUTELSAT 36D combines 18 kW of electric power with a reduced launch mass of approximately five metric tonnes, enabled by Airbus’ EOR (Electric Orbit Raising) capability, reinforcing Airbus’ position as the world leader in electric propulsion.

Airbus establishes an OpenCargoLab: Airbus has launched the OpenCargoLab, a collaborative initiative with leading partners from the airline, logistics and handling sectors, focusing on the entire airfreight ecosystem. The collaboration involves a team of experts from CHAMP Cargosystems, Fraport, KLM Cargo, Kuehne+Nagel and Swissport. Together, the partners will work to drive digital, resource-saving concepts, contributing to more resilient and efficient airfreight processes. The OpenCargoLab supports Airbus’ forecast, which expects the global freight market to grow by 50% by 2042. Specifically for Asia-Pacific, the region’s continued rapid economic growth means this market remains highly promising for modern airfreight business with digital-savvy hubs. Airbus anticipates demand for around 400 widebody freighters, including new builds and conversions, in Asia-Pacific over the next 20 years. This represents more than 25% of global demand for 1,490 cargo aircraft in the above 40 tonne segment. As part of the OpenCargoLab initiative, Airbus will also evaluate digital solutions such as augmented reality and robotics in order to optimise data connectivity in general and, for example, the transport of dangerous goods in particular. In addition, the OpenCargoLab will contribute to the A350F’s further design and application development. Just two-and-a-half years after launch, the order book for this all-new, next-generation freighter stands at 50 firm orders from nine customers as Airbus steadily expands its market share in this highly competitive segment.

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