In a strong year for Partnership Projects, ESA and its partners worked on a number of collaborations that led to world-beating results, launches and innovations.
In September the Eutelsat Very High Throughput Satellite (VHTS) launch took place. It was the eighth Thales Alenia Space Spacebus Neo satellite to benefit from ESA’s Neosat programme.
Setting off from the European spaceport in French Guiana, the launch will help to improve broadband and in-flight connectivity in Europe. It is also the largest-ever communication satellite built in Europe, standing at over 8.9 metres tall.
The satellite contained a number of innovative features developed under an ESA partnership project with Thales Alenia Space including new antenna deployment and pointing mechanisms used within the antenna tracking system.
Another major success for our Partnership Projects is the launch of the first Eurostar Neo Satellite, Eutelsat Hotbird 13F, in October. This is the first satellite to be built under the Airbus Defence and Space EurostarNeo programme. Eurostar Neo, similar to Spacebus Neo, is a part of the ESA Partnership Project Neosat. In addition, the twin brother of Eutelsat HotBird 13F, named HotBird 13G, will be launched in November.
Neosat is the next generation platform initiative which has led to two successful Partnership Projects managed by ESA in cooperation with the French Space Agency, CNES. NEOSAT is part of ESA’s programme of Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) and is supported by 17 ESA Member States. It continues the pioneering work of the agency in collaborating with European partners to build greatness, resilience, and forward-thinking vision.
Fast track to success
ESA Partnership Projects delivers fast track projects. We aim to reduce the time between project approval by our member states and the delivery in-orbit. Triton-X is the perfect example of that. Triton-X is a project between LuxSpace and ESA to develop and qualify a new multi-purpose LEO satellite platform with a first demo mission taking place in 2023.
Triton-X will provide low-cost and fast-track access to space for both commercial and institutional low earth orbit applications. While led by LuxSpace, six ESA members states have subscribed to Triton-X with six industrial partners and ten suppliers.
Another example is the Pioneer Programme where ESA Partnership Projects were able to reach 8 months between contract and launch. With the Pioneer Programme ESA aims to reduce the barriers to entry facilitating the development of disruptive ideas that could transform the industry as a whole. Six companies are currently signed up to Pioneer to develop their infrastructure for in-orbit demonstrations. 18 nanosatellites have already been launched thanks to the Pioneer programme with 11 more under development.
Continuing to Innovate
Continuing the forward path of innovation, the HummingSat Geo product line development, under ARTES, with the Swiss company, SWISSto12, was initiated in 4 months from ESA Member States decision to sign contracts at the ESA Council. It is part of ESA’s efforts to help support “NewSpace” companies in Europe.
A major satellite operator recently placed an order for the first HummingSat satellite. Each HummingSat satellite is designed to launch as a rideshare mission on a rocket carrying one or more large spacecraft to geostationary transfer orbit.
There was also pioneering work in the security in space sector. A consortium of 20 companies led by SES signed a contract in September with ESA for the Eagle-1 innovative European Quantum Key Distribution mission, supported in particular by DLR, LSA and the European Commission.
The Eagle-1 satellite will demonstrate secure communications for Europe using Quantum Key Distribution (QKD). A QKD system is set to build a world-leading method of providing security, enabling Europe to lead the world in setting new standards for communications security. In parallel ARTES Partnership Projects is also supporting the development of a similar QKD service with UK-based ARQIT.
News and Events
Beam-hopping JoeySat has shipped
An advanced broadband satellite that can offer high-speed internet connectivity anywhere on Earth is ready to enter its final assembly ahead of launch.
The beam-hopping satellite – nicknamed JoeySat after a baby kangaroo – will be used to…
First small geostationary HummingSat sold
Satellite operator Intelsat has placed an order for the first small geostationary “HummingSat” developed as part of ESA’s efforts to support fast, dynamic and agile private space firms in Europe.
The first HummingSat – which will be called…
Reprogrammable OneSat on track for success
The OneSat family of geostationary software-defined telecommunications satellites has passed successfully its first qualification review. The first part of the OneSat qualification review has successfully demonstrated the maturity of the various…
First Eurostar Neo satellite launched
The first satellite to be built under ESA’s Eurostar Neo programme has launched.
The satellite – called Eutelsat Hotbird 13F – was developed and built by satellite manufacturer Airbus for satellite operator Eutelsat. It is based on the…
First Eurostar Neo satellite ready to ship
The first satellite to be built under ESA’s Eurostar Neo programme stands ready to be shipped to its launch site.
The satellite – called Eutelsat Hotbird 13F – is one of an identical pair developed by satellite manufacturer Airbus for…
Europe’s tallest ever communications satellite launched
The fourth Spacebus Neo satellite to benefit from ESA’s Neosat programme has launched into space on board the second Ariane 5 launch mission of 2022.
The 8.9 metre, three-storeys-high communications satellite – which will deliver high-…
Software-defined satellite enters commercial service
Europe’s first commercial satellite capable of being completely reprogrammed while in space is now in commercial use. Satellite operator Eutelsat has sold six of its eight beams – used for data and mobile communications – to organisations…
Small geostationary satellite named HummingSat passes milestone review
An innovative small-sized satellite product line for geostationary telecommunications has passed its ESA system requirements review and received its official name of “HummingSat”.
Innovative data satellite enters commercial service
A large data-driven telecommunications satellite that uses innovative technology to keep cool as well as other innovations – developed under an ESA Partnership Project – has started its commercial service.
First Eurostar Neo satellite passes mechanical tests
The first satellite to be built under ESA’s Eurostar Neo programme has completed mechanical tests designed to demonstrate its ability to withstand the vibration that occurs during launch.
First Eurostar Neo Completes Thermal Vacuum Test Campaign
The first Eurostar Neo spacecraft, developed by Airbus Defence and Space as part of ESA’s Neosat Partnership Project, has successfully completed its Thermal Vacuum Test Campaign.
Sustainable connectivity in space
The world’s first mission to remove several small telecommunications satellites from orbit once they reach the end of their operational service is about to start building and testing its prototype spacecraft.