SpaceTalks 4.0 - 2024

Government

Space Nuggets – 05/2024 – Frosty relations between France and Germany

The first Franco-German Space meeting took place at the French Embassy in Berlin on 2 February 2024 to discuss the launcher situation in Europe. The meeting was hosted by the French Ambassador to Germany. Our Publisher, Torsten Kriening, could attend the meeting and share his thoughts and his expected analysis here and walk you through the highlights.

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SmartSat and NZSA Collaborate on Joint R&D Initiatives

SmartSat

SmartSat Cooperative Research Center (SmartSat), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the New Zealand Space Agency (NZSA) to accelerate the growth of Australian and New Zealand space industries. Professor Andy Koronios, SmartSat CRC Chief Executive Officer and Robyn Henderson, Acting Head of the New Zealand Space Agency, signed the agreement at the NZSA headquarters in Wellington.

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EarthCARE is Packed and Ready to Ship Off to Launch Site

The European Space Agency's (ESA) EarthCARE satellite has undergone its final testing and analysis as its engineers have packed it up for its journey to the launch site in the US. With liftoff slated for May on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California has been going through the last round of tests and meticulous checks in Germany.

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UNOOSA and Exolaunch Sign Agreement to Launch CubeSats

Exolaunch

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and Exolaunch GmbH (Exolaunch) have signed an agreement to provide free launch opportunities for Cube Satellites (CubeSats) to offer more countries access to space. The collaboration is part of UNOOSA's Access to Space for All initiative, which aims to foster capacity-building in space science and technology by providing hands-on and educational opportunities. Access to Space for All allows participants to gain invaluable knowledge and experience while supporting space activities in developing countries.

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SSC Selects Northrop Grumman’s Refueling Solution Interface

Space Systems Command (SSC) has selected Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Passive Refueling Module (PRM) as its first preferred refueling solution interface standard for use across SSC satellites. Northrop Grumman is collaborating with SSC, Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and other customers to develop in-space refueling technologies for the US's space-based assets. These advancements address a critical national security capability: sustained maneuverability for dynamic space operations.

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SLIM Powers Back on and Begins Lunar Operations

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has announced that it has re-established contact with its Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) spacecraft lander after it powered back on. The lander could not generate power upon landing on the lunar surface, quickly exhausting its battery power. JAXA had noted that its chances of recovering SLIM would increase as the sunlight illumination condition improves with time. This has consequently cemented Japan's position as the fifth country to soft-land on the moon, joining the USA, China, the former Soviet Union, and India.

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NASA’s Ingenuity has Come to the End of its Mars Mission

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has come to the end of its mission on Mars after surpassing expectations and making dozens more flights than NASA had planned. While the helicopter remains upright and in communication with ground controllers, imagery of its Jan. 18 flight sent to Earth this week indicates one or more of its rotor blades sustained damage during landing, and it is no longer capable of flight.

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Iran Launches Satellites Amid Ballistic Program Concerns

Iran launched three satellites, Kayhan-2, Hatef-1, and Mahda into space on Sunday to a minimum orbit of 450km (280 miles). Kayhan-2 and Hatef-1 are nanosatellites that Iran will use to evaluate narrowband communication and geopositioning technology. However, the much bigger Mahda satellites will help the nation test the accuracy of its Simorgh rocket in delivering multiple cargoes to space. 

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JAXA Confirms Successful Precision Landing for SLIM

JAXA

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has confirmed the successful precision soft-landing of its Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) spacecraft on the moon. JAXA employed the mission to demonstrate its new precision technology by landing in an unprecedented 100-metre landing area. However, because SLIM's solar cells failed to generate power for the spacecraft, it had to shut down its operations.

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OIKON and partners launch National Map of Marine Habitats in Croatia

OIKON Ltd, the Croatian Institute of Applied Ecology, together with other partners has launched the National Map of Marine Habitats of the Republic of Croatia. The new, unique map of marine habitats for 51% of Croatia’s marine area provides a detailed insight into the distribution of species and habitats and is a key tool for the conservation and sustainable use of the Adriatic Sea.

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