Space News in Brief 28 October 2021

Airbus Space, UNOOSA, Air Liquide, ispace Europe, EURO2MOON, NanoAvionics, Contec, Kleos Space

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(IMAGE: Shutterstock)

UNOOSA and Airbus pick African team for ISS climate monitoring payload: The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and Airbus Defence and Space have selected the winner of their joint opportunity for a free one-year mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The climate mission supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals will fly on Bartolomeo, the Airbus external payload hosting platform. The winning ‘ClimCam’ team consists of specialists from different fields and symbolizes the power of international cooperation, bringing together researchers from three institutions: the Egyptian Space Agency, the Kenyan Space Agency, and the Uganda National Space Programme within the Ugandan Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. Jointly, the team will develop a remote sensing camera system to monitor weather, floods, and impacts of climate change in East Africa. The three institutions have agreed to an open data policy, sharing information and images acquired from the project to guide climate change mitigation efforts across the entire region. In addition to its direct goals, the project will also demonstrate space technology developments made in Africa, inspiring African engineers and scientists.

Airbus, Air Liquide and ispace Europe launch EURO2MOON: Airbus Defence and Space, Air Liquide and ispace Europe have announced the joint creation of EURO2MOON. This non-profit organisation will be dedicated to promoting a better use of lunar natural resources, while accelerating the cis-lunar economy and federating industrial efforts across Europe. Bringing in complementary expertise from public and private partners, EURO2MOON will focus on topics related to the exploration of the lunar surface and the utilization of its resources in a commercial and sustainable way. Topics to be addressed will also include long duration transport, life support, energy needs for scientific and commercial applications. EURO2MOON aims to position the European industry as a leader of the rising cis-lunar economy, creating a strong industrial ecosystem based on an ambitious “In Situ Resources Utilisation” (ISRU) vision. The objective is to create a platform of exchange in order to build a common industrial vision and promote it among the European industrial and institutional ecosystems, including recommendations on global roadmaps, demonstration concepts and commercial programs. The association is based in Luxembourg and is open to industrial partners as well as research organisations interested in the development of technologies or services that can benefit lunar resources management. Any company which has their headquarters or key activities in the European Union or a member state of the European Space Agency is eligible to join. The European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC) has become the first non-founding member of the EURO2MOON organization, and Jean Jacques Dordain, former ESA Director General (2003-2015), has become the first honorary member.

NanoAvionics signs Earth Observation mission contract with South Korea’s Contec: Smallsat mission integrator NanoAvionics has signed a contract with Contec that includes supplying a 16U nanosatellite as well as mission integration and launch services to the Korean company. The launch of the Earth observation (EO) nanosatellite is planned for the first half of 2023. The contract also marks the beginning of a two-way collaboration between NanoAvionics and Contec, a provider of ground station services, which NanoAvionics intends to use for its future mission operations in order to extend its global transmission cadence. The payload of NanoAvionics’ modular 16U satellite bus will consist of an integrated imager with 1,5 m resolution, supplied by NanoAvionics partner, and Contec’s laser communication terminal (LCT). For the efficient delivery of satellite data, Contec will use its existing ground station in Jeju (South Korea) and further 12 stations, to be built by 2022, in Alaska, Sweden, Ireland, and other countries across the globe. Contec will also analyse the raw image data, pre-process it and provide insights for applications across various segments, including urban change detection, maritime and junk monitoring and crop yield prediction. The company, established in January 2015, as a spin-off from KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute), is already in discussions with local governmental bodies in South Korea which intend to use the satellite imagery obtained from the mission.

Kleos Space recaps Q3 FY21 activities: Kleos Space said it has had a productive quarter, signing new build and launch contracts for its fourth satellite cluster, progressing the development of its third cluster and securing A$12.6 million from institutional and other investors. Highlights for the quarter include: Fully funded to forecasted EBITDA positive target in mid-2022, post securing A$12.6 million of institutional investment at 85c per share; Kleos’ data processing system delivering exceptionally accurate geolocation capability, locating low power transmitter to within 300 metres; Converting the global pipeline which has grown by 30 percent to over 220 qualified deals including: 52 Guardian LOCATE data evaluation contracts, representing US$4.7 million ARR opportunity at lowest subscription level post trail periods; Five contract proposals in negotiation, representing US$2.9 million ARR; Second satellite cluster, Vigilance Mission (KSF1), progressing through in-orbit commissioning; Third satellite cluster, Patrol Mission (KSF2), on track to launch in January 2022 on SpaceX Falcon 9; Build and launch contracts signed for fourth cluster, Observer Mission (KSF3), targeting mid-2022 launch; Adding up to a further 119 million km² per day collect capability over key areas across multiple payloads.

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