The European Space Agency will ask its 22 member states to fund an additional two to eight Prometheus reusable engines so that the agency can further its development.
Facebook has partnered with Hughes Network Systems to launch a satellite-enabled Wi-Fi hotspot service in Colombia.
The European Space Agency gave contracts to ArianeGroup and MT Aerospace on May 14 to develop a prototype upper stage that could lead to an advanced carbon-composite upgrade for the Ariane 6 rocket.
Giulio Ranzo, CEO of Avio, the Colleferro, Italy, company that builds the Vega and future Vega C rocket, said the ESA council session included missions for both Avio-built rockets during the transition years to Vega C.
To make Europe’s next-generation rocket more competitive, ArianeGroup aims to build the Ariane 6 at least 40 percent cheaper than the Ariane 5. ArianeGroup is applying the same cost targets to reflector antennas that go on geostationary satellites.
The European Space Agency’s 22 member states agreed April 17 to a workaround to get Ariane 6 production in full swing despite a dearth of public sector launch contracts.
Antenna builder ThinKom and fleet operator Inmarsat recently announced the completion of a series of tests using ThinKom antennas and Inmarsat’s high-throughput Global Xpress satellites.
ESA has awarded a contract to a group that includes Europe’s largest launch services provider and a former Google Lunar X Prize competitor to study a concept for a mission to mine lunar regolith.
With the maiden flight of the Ariane 6 now 18 months away (in July 2020), Arianespace CEO Stéphane Israël said the company had anticipated signing a manufacturing contract with ArianeGroup in the second part of last year to begin production beyond the first rocket.
"The end of the development of Ariane 6 and the need to increase competitiveness in the European rocket launch business compel ArianeGroup to reduce its capacity by the equivalent of 2,300 full-time jobs by 2022," the company said in a statement.
European rocket builder ArianeGroup, the company leading development and production of the Ariane 5 and upcoming Ariane 6 rockets, on Sept. 4 awarded a contract to a Swedish supplier for a reusable engine program.
European launch provider Arianespace expects to conduct just 23 more Ariane 5 launches before the next-generation Ariane 6 becomes its primary rocket.
An internal research and development program using widely available telescopes has evolved into a space situational awareness business for ArianeGroup.