Airbus Safran Launchers is renaming itself to ArianeGroup.

The joint venture of Airbus and Safran was created in 2015 as part of a reorganization of the European launch vehicle industry that also included plans to develop the next-generation Ariane 6 launch vehicle.

The name change, which was announced Wednesday but takes effect July 1, is intended to provide greater brand coherence with its subsidiary Arianespace. [Airbus Safran Launchers]

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The chairman of the Senate space subcommittee said Tuesday he will hold a hearing next week on potential changes to the Outer Space Treaty. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said his committee will invite legal experts and businesspeople to a May 23 hearing to see how the 50-year-old treaty should be updated to better enable commercial space activities. While Cruz said he felt the treaty, developed during the Cold War, might not reflect the current environment, he declined to identify any specific amendments to the treaty he would like to pursue. [SpaceNews]

A DARPA official said his agency is partnering with industry on developing satellite servicing technology because the near-term applications of it are more likely to be commercial. Bradford Tousley, director of the tactical technology office at DARPA, said at a recent Washington Space Business Roundtable panel that while satellite servicing technology has national security uses, “it appeared that the most near-term application of this is going to be in the commercial sector.” DARPA is working with Space Systems Loral on the agency’s Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites program, which will demonstrate satellite-servicing technologies that the company will later be able to use commercially. [SpaceNews]

The second Long March 5 rocket is being assembled for a launch next month. The rocket, China’s largest launch vehicle, is scheduled to launch the Shijian-18 in June from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Centre. The satellite, weighing an estimated seven metric tons, will be the one of the heaviest satellites launched to date to geostationary orbit and will demonstrate a new satellite bus and high-throughput communications technologies. [gbtimes]

A Finnish company is giving people the opportunity to conduct experiments on the International Space Station. Space Nation said it will install a box on the station in 2018 that the company says is “democratizing access” for individual experimenters, but disclosed few specific details about how experiments will be selected and carried out there. The company is also planning to release a smartphone app where people perform a variety of challenges that could make them eligible for a future suborbital spaceflight. [SpaceNews]

HP says a new computer technology could support future human missions to Mars. Hewlett Packard Enterprise said its “memory-driven computing” technology can ensure continued advances in computing capability even if Moore’s Law of increasing processing power breaks down. Such a computing system, the company argues, could be ideal for human missions to Mars, serving as a substitute for Mission Control far from Earth. [GeekWire]

Land taken more than three decades ago for a failed Australian spaceport project has been returned to its original owners. The government of Queensland took control of nearly 400,000 acres of land in Cape York in 1986 for a proposed commercial spaceport to launch Russian rockets. The spaceport plan, backed for a time by the Australian government, fizzled out, but it was only this week that the government formally returned the land to aboriginal groups. [Cairns Post]

A member of the first group of Soviet cosmonauts has passed away. Viktor Gorbatko joined the first cosmonaut training group in 1960, but did not fly until the Soyuz 7 mission in 1969. He flew on two later missions to Salyut space stations in 1977 and 1980. He was 82. [TASS]

Metallica is the latest music act that wants to be the first to perform a great gig in the sky. Lars Ulrich said in a recent interview that the rock band has put out “a few feelers” about playing in space, but offered no details about when, or how, such a performance would take place. Metallica is hardly the first act, though, to express an interest in performing in space in recent years, none of whom have managed to do so yet. [The Guardian]

Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors in geophysics and planetary science...