Status Report

France in Space #294

By SpaceRef Editor
May 20, 2005
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EADS Astrium has been awarded a contract from the Korea Aerospace and Research Institute (KARI) to design and manufacture the first Korean multi-purpose geostationary satellite called COMS. Based on the latest version of EADS Astrium’s spacecraft platform Eurostar3000, the satellite will carry three payloads: one to provide meteorology data and especially give early warning of hazardous weather conditions in the Asia-Pacific region, one to monitor marine environments around the Korean peninsula and assist the fishing industry, and the last one to test experimental communications services in Ka-Band. EADS Astrium will provide the satellite as well as the meteorology and oceanography instruments, while KARI will develop the Ka-band communications payload. No launch date or vehicle has officially been announced yet. [EADS Astrium 05/17/2005]


The Russian Space Agency, Roskosmos, announced that it will support the launch of the European meteorological satellite MetOp-A. The spacecraft is scheduled to be launched onboard a Soyuz launcher from Baikonur in April 2006, through a contract signed between the European organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) and the European-Russian joint venture STARSEM. MetOp-A, developed by the European Space Agency (ESA), will be the first European satellite dedicated to operational meteorology in the Low Earth Polar orbit. It will be complemented in the next decade by two additional MetOp spacecrafts. All three will constitute the space segment for the EUMETSAT Polar System (EPS) which will provide global meteorological coverage in conjunction with the American POES constellation (Polar Operational Environmental Satellites). MetOp-A will especially work in peer with the satellite NOAA-N whose launch is scheduled this week. Moreover, EPS will complement the data currently provided by the existing family of European Meteosat satellites operating in geostationary orbit. The MetOp-A satellite will carry 12 instruments developed both in Europe and in the United States by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). The payload will in particular improve accuracy for measuring temperature, humidity, speed and direction of ocean winds as well as ozone distribution in the atmosphere. [ESA 05/05/2005]


EADS Space Transportation is developing a concept of a new launch capability dedicated to small payloads and derived from missile technologies. This project called Rapid Launch System could provide a 200 kilograms payload capacity to low Earth orbit within a delay of two days minimum, with a cost goal of 10-20 millions euros per launch. A program worth 170 millions euros could lead into a first demonstration flight in 2008. To achieve this goal, EADS intends to adapt the three-stage missile M-45 developed for the French Ministry of Defense. The major necessary modifications will consist in replacing the third-stage solid-fuel engine with a liquid oxygen-kerosene engine as well as in upgrading the missile avionics system. The military micro-satellites are currently use the Ariane 5 launcher, as recently did the four demonstration satellites Essaim launched in December 2004. [Air & Cosmos 05/13/2005]


ESA has agreed to extend by 17 months the Double Star mission, pushing back the end date from July 2005 to December 2006. This mission aims at complementing the European Cluster mission by studying the effects of the Sun on the Earth’s environment. The two Double Star satellites, operated by the China National Space Administration, were launched in 2003 and 2004. The cooperation agreement between ESA and CNSA concerning this mission was signed in 2001. ESA contribution to the Double Star program is worth 8 million euros and includes pre-integration of 10 European instruments identical to those currently flying on Cluster satellites. It has been agreed to spend 150 000 more euros for the mission extension. Furthermore, ESA has also recently planned to extend its Cluster mission until 2009 to study new regions of space and perform additional plasma measurements. [ESA 05/13/2005, Space News 05/16/2005]


According to European Commission officials, the two consortia bidding for the concession to deploy and operate the Galileo navigation system, are discussing to submit a joint offer. The iNavSat consortium, led by EADS, Thales and Inmarsat, confirmed that it was in contact with the Commission to combine its proposal with that of Eurely, headed by Alcatel, Finmeccanica and Hispasat. The European Commission gave itself until June to come up with a final decision. [Aviation Week & Space Technology 05/16/2005]

** 6: IN BRIEF

During an extraordinary shareholders meeting last week, the Snecma-Sagem merger into the new entity Safran was finally approved, as well as the new management team led by Jean-Paul Béchat, chairman and CEO. The vote marks the final legal step of a process initiated in October 2004, when the combination was first considered. Business operations have been running by a combined entity since March. [Aviation Week & Space Technology 05/16/2005]

The European Space Agency (ESA) has agreed to extend the bidding period for its BepiColombo mission to Mercury. This should not postpone the launch of the spacecraft, still planned in 2012, and allows for better definition of the mission costs and technological needs. [Space News 05/16/2005]

France In Space is a weekly synthesis of French space activities based on French press. Its content does not reflect an official position of the French Government or CNES. It is provided by the CNES office and the Office of Science and Technology of the French Embassy in Washington D.C Editors: Jean-Jacques Tortora, Clémence Le Fèvre

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“CNES develops and leads national space programmes. The main thrust of its action is to serve France’s ambition to sustain a strong space capability and contribute to scientific discovery at the highest levels. CNES is committed to fostering innovative space technologies that meet the current and future needs of society. Most programmes are pursued in cooperation with international partners. CNES also plays a central role in programmes initiated by ESA, the European Space Agency, to which it is a major contributor. It is thus a driving force behind ESA programmes and activities”.

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