A French reusable rocket engine program is getting a boost from the European Space Agency, which is ready to sign a contract with Airbus Safran Launchers that would lead to an engine test three years from now.
The French space agency, CNES, will supply two spacecraft cameras to a team from India competing for the Google Lunar X Prize, and has tightened its partnership with India to study reusable launch technology.
The European Commission on July 20 approved the Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL) takeover of launch-services provider Arianespace, saying companies had accepted conditions the commission imposed to minimize the chance of anti-competitive behavior.
The French space agency, CNES, on July 8 updated its policy direction including investment in a U.S.-led environment-monitoring satellite, a recommitment to the International Space Station and a nuanced view of whether reusable rockets would take the commercial market by storm and make the future Ariane 6 rocket obsolete.
France’s space minister on June 1 urged a redoubled European effort in space research, and specifically in next-generation rockets, in the face of what he said were increased investments by the United States and other major space powers.
The French space agency created an outside board of inquiry to examine the circumstances surrounding the discovery of multiple leaks in the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure instrument.
If it isn’t canceled altogether, NASA’s Mars InSight lander will now launch more than two years later than planned, thanks to a balky seismometer, the agency’s top science official told reporters Dec. 22.
The Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument, which developed a leak in its vacuum container, is expected to be ready for shipment to the United States in early January.
The International Astronautical Federation (IAF) on Oct. 16 elected Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of the French space agency, CNES, as IAF president starting in late 2016 in a procedure that generated substantial controversy despite the fact that Le Gall ran unopposed.
The company will build the next-generation radar altimeter for the billion-dollar U.S.-French Surface Water Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission to launch in 2020.
Europe’s Philae comet lander, which for unexplained reasons had been silent since June 24, reawakened July 9 for a nearly uninterrupted period of about 20 minutes, sending signals through the Rosetta orbiter, the French and German space agencies said July 10.
The Jason-3 satellite will be shipped to Vandenberg June 18, in time for a late-July/early-August launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 following a nine-day delay that turned out to have been unnecessary.
Airbus Safran Launchers has submitted its formal bid to design and build the Ariane 6 rocket, a contract to be valued at around 3.2 billion euros that the European Space Agency hopes to sign by the end of June.
The principal beneficiaries of the government program have been France’s two main satellite prime contractors, Airbus Defence and Space, and Thales Alenia Space.