Soaring high above Earth as they speed through space, satellites are difficult targets to track. Now a new approach developed in Europe is helping ground stations to acquire signals faster and more accurately than ever before.
ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen will be venturing to the International Space Station next year. He is training as the flight engineer on the Soyuz spacecraft that will fly 400 km above Earth but his mission does not have a name – yet.
Stowed inside ESA’s next supply ship to the International Space Station will be one of the most advanced joysticks ever built, designed to test the remote control of robots on the ground from up in orbit.
When Sentinel-1 is placed in orbit around Earth in a few weeks, it has to perform a complicated dance routine to unfold its large solar wings and radar antenna. Engineers have recently been making sure the moves are well rehearsed.
Standard space dockings are difficult enough, but a future ESA mission plans to capture derelict satellites adrift in orbit. Part of an effort to control space debris, the shopping list of new technologies this ambitious mission requires is set for discussion with industry experts.
ESA is forging ahead with the Neosat next-generation satcom platform, planning the first flights within five years. The goal is for European satellite builders to capture at least half of the world’s satcom market in 2018–30 through innovation and efficiency, generating €25 billion in sales.