26 May 2017 – Telespazio VEGA UK has won significant new contracts to build on existing Telespazio Group Spaceport expertise of operations, systems development / integration, microgravity brokering services, and end-to-end launch service capability.
In the area of launch control, Telespazio VEGA UK has been successful in winning a contract, co-funded by the UK Space Agency and internal investment, to design a highly configurable Launch Authorisation System that could be used to control multiple launch sites across the UK.
This contract builds on the experience gained by Telespazio VEGA UK in developing the Jupiter 2 Launch System for the European Space Agency (ESA), which is used to launch Ariane, Vega and Soyuz launch vehicles in Kourou, French Guiana. Low-cost access to space within Europe is a key target for UK space growth as described in the UKSA Civil Space Strategy. This study will establish the overall feasibility of developing a versatile central Launch Authorisation System (LAS) to manage commercial, institutional and military launches in a highly configurable manner.
In the area of microgravity and space experimentation, Telespazio VEGA UK has been successful in winning a contract funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) to identify user needs and emerging platforms that can serve those needs.
Limited availability of resources onboard the International Space Station (ISS) combined with the eventual retirement of the ISS have prompted ESA to look for alternative means to perform experiments in space-environment(-like) conditions. Traditionally this has included drop towers, parabolic flights and sounding rockets.
However, in recent years we have seen the emergence of reusable launch vehicles and spaceplanes, as well as a huge increase in the number of small satellites (cubesats / nanosatellites) placed into orbit. This new generation of platforms can provide periods of microgravity far in excess of the 20 seconds available on a parabolic flight, while also allowing much lower barriers to entry in terms of timeliness and cost.
The study will perform a comprehensive analysis of the European user community and their needs, across both academia and private companies, and the platforms that are emerging and already available. It will also analyse which user needs can be served by the platforms, which platforms should be prioritized by ESA going forward, and any gaps where no platform can satisfy a particular user need. Finally, a series of scenarios will be outlined where platforms could host particular experiments within the next few years along with associated costings.
Marco Folino, CEO of Telespazio VEGA UK, said: “We are very excited about these two wins, which will broaden the existing Spaceport capabilities of Telespazio to align with the clear UK strategy of sovereign launch opportunities that are affordable, frequent and reliable. In particular the microgravity work well complements Telespazio’s own microgravity brokering service, where we have already enabled customers access to sub-orbital platforms. Our solution is to support the customer in establishing which platform better fits their needs in terms of quality, cost, frequency and reliability, while taking care of the overall end-to-end service.”