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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.

ESA 5G/6G Hub: space to expand connectivity

A centre for innovation that will showcase how space can enable future generations of telecommunications and connected applications is being developed.

The Hub – based at ESA’s European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications at Harwell in the UK – is a place for collaboration, where industry will take advantage of the immense potential of converged satellite and terrestrial communications networks to create innovative applications that benefit society and the environment.

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)

FATMAP – new features for leading outdoor platform

Getting out in the fresh air is more ‘in’ than ever this year, and with FATMAP’s adventure platform, activities in the Great Outdoors have never been easier to plan. With the support of ESA Space Solutions, FATMAP have now added some crucial ‘live data’ enhanced features, which take the application to new heights. 

AlbaPod: the most advanced space-proven PocketQube deployer

The ‘maker’ movement in electronics and the meteoric rise of smartphones have led to a surge in small satellites - such as nano- and picosatellites (picosats are the tiniest of smallsats). But something has to propel these pocket-size payloads into space. The AlbaPod is the first flight-proven six unit (6p) ‘PocketQube’ or picosat satellite deployer, whose successful demonstration was performed under the ARTES Competitiveness & Growth programme.