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ESAIL captures two million messages from ships at sea

The ESAIL microsatellite for making the seas safer has picked up more than two million messages from 70 000 ships in a single day.

The reliable high-performance satellite was developed as an ESA Partnership Project to help European and Canadian space companies succeed in the competitive global telecommunications market.

How ESA helps South Africa share water fairly

Clustered at the edge of the Crocodile River in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa, stand thousands of farms and small holdings growing fresh fruit and sugar cane. Water to irrigate the crops is taken from the river, but this slows its flow rate and leaves less for those downstream.

Wi-Fi on planes boosted by satellite constellation

Flight passengers will soon be able to connect to their families and colleagues on Earth via low-orbit telecommunications satellites. They will develop in-flight connectivity terminals that will work over OneWeb’s constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites, as well as on geostationary satellite networks. OneWeb currently has 110 satellites in orbit but foresees a constellation of about 650.

Josef Aschbacher is new ESA Director General

Josef Aschbacher became the ESA Director General on 1 March 2021.

Born in Austria, Josef Aschbacher studied at the University of Innsbruck, graduating with a Master’s and a Doctoral degree in natural sciences. He became a research scientist at the university’s Institute of Meteorology and Geophysics from 1985 to 1989.

Deal signed to boost secure satellite communications

Disruptive services and innovative features of the next generation of secure satellite communications will be analysed following the signing of a new memorandum of understanding. The agreement extends the cooperation between ESA and the European Defence Agency (EDA), an EU body that promotes and facilitates integration between member states within the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy.

GRASP: seizing the benefits of a single antenna design tool

Reflector antennas are by far the most used technology for telecom satellite and ground station antennas. TICRA, a leading provider of cutting-edge reflector antenna modelling software based in Copenhagen, has now under the ARTES programme made great strides in antenna design – with a product that dramatically simplifies the whole process. 

Iodine thruster could slow space junk accumulation

For the first time ever, a telecommunications satellite has used an iodine propellant to change its orbit around Earth.

The small but potentially disruptive innovation could help to clear the skies of space junk, by enabling tiny satellites to self-destruct cheaply and easily at the end of their missions, by steering themselves into the atmosphere where they would burn up.

Astronauts to boost European connectivity

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station are planning a spacewalk to install a high-speed satellite link that will improve their connections with Europe.

The system will enable astronauts to connect at home broadband internet speeds – delivering a whole family’s worth of video streaming for communications and a data pipeline connecting the scientific experiments aboard the Station to researchers in Europe.

Opportunity: Smart and Uncrewed Shipping

In the upcoming Announcement of Opportunity economic operators are invited to propose a Demonstration Project addressing the theme of:

Space for Smart and Uncrewed Shipping: downstream services enabled by 5G and advanced positioning, navigation and timing (PNT)