European Space Agency

Final Presentation on ConeXpress


The Final Presentation on the ESA Telecom funded project, ConeXpress to ascertain the feasibility of the Orbit Life Extension Vehicle will be held at ESA/ESTEC on 31 March 2005.

ConeXpress converts the Ariane 5 payload adaptor into a small satellite with plasma propulsion. In Geo-Stationary Orbit (GEO) the spacecraft will be able to rendezvous and capture the client spacecraft and take over the attitude control and extending the life of the client spacecraft by up to ten years. At end of the mission, ConeXpress can transport the client satellite to a graveyard orbit and then return to rendezvous with another client if sufficient fuel remains.

Fitting into the unused space aboard Ariane 5 (image right), ConeXpress fills the capacity of the launcher after accommodation is made for primary satellite payloads. Launch then proceeds to Geo-Stationary Transfer Orbit (GTO), or dedicated orbits for science missions.

ConeXpress uses the payload adapter as its main platform structure. In this way a uniquely powerful auxiliary launch satellite is realised with ample capacity for high orbit missions.

Ariane 5

Realising the project required the assembly of a wholly European consortium. UK based Orbital Recovery Limited will act as service provider and from the Netherlands, Dutch Space will be the Prime Contractor.


The ConeXpress Orbital Life Extension Vehicle (CX-OLEV) is an integration of predominately mature and proven technologies. The platform (image left) is based on the Dutch Space ConeXpress, an ESA Telecom funded program. The modification converts it into a free-flying spacecraft after separation from Ariane. The vehicle owes its small size to electric propulsion, which will transfer the vehicle to destination orbit

Kayser-Threde from Switzerland, will manufacture the payload which is comprised of the capture tool, latching mechanisms and related sub-systems. The German Space Agency, DLR will provide the docking technology. CASA, the Swedish Space Corporation, SENER, GMV, and Snecma from Spain as well as Contraves from Switzerland and Arianespace of France will also participate in the project.

The platform is a low cost solution to orbit, whether GEO, High Earth Orbit (HEO) or deep space. Modular use of proven subsystems and equipment ensures reliability. It has flexible and expandable payload accommodation.

GEO, HEO or Deep Space

The Final Presentation of ConeXpress will take place at ESA/ESTEC on 31 March 2005, starting at 10:00 in the Newton conference centre.

The day will begin with Dutch Space and Major Subcontractors explaining the Feasibility of the Mission and Baseline Mission Overview. A presentation by Orbital Recovery Limited will come next, followed by a Question and Comment session.

Anyone wishing to attend should contact Douglas Caswell, Senior Spacecraft Systems Engineer for ESA Telecom, by clicking on the link at the right of this page.

To download a Fact Sheet of ConeXpress, just click on the link provided on the right of this page.

All images courtesy of the ConeXpress Project Team

Event Date

10 March 2005

File Attachments

Published 04 April 2005
Last updated at 04 April 2005 - 00:00