SmallGEO's first flight reaches orbit

“The launch of this first SmallGEO platform marks another major success for ESA’s programme of Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems, known as ARTES, which aims to boost the competitiveness of its Member State industry through innovation,” noted Magali Vaissiere, ESA’s Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications.

“SmallGEO is part of our continuous efforts to strengthen the position of European and Canadian industry in the commercial telecommunications market, expanding the current range of available products.

“The next satellite based on SmallGEO will be EDRS-C, as the second node to the European Data Relay System.”

Carlos Espinós Gómez, CEO of Hispasat, said: “For Hispasat, this new satellite represents an important step forward in its innovation strategy.

“Hispasat 36W-1 is not only the first mission of the new SmallGEO platform, but also incorporates an advanced regenerative payload that will provide the satellite with greater flexibility and signal quality thanks to its reconfigurable antenna and onboard processor, thus improving the telecommunications services it will provide to our clients.

“We are very satisfied with our collaboration with ESA, which has allowed us to participate in a leading technological project to which they have added significant value with their knowledge and experience in the space sector.”

Marco Fuchs, CEO of OHB System AG, commented: “The launch is a major milestone in the history of OHB. Hispasat 36W-1 proves that OHB’s concept of a modular and flexible SmallGEO platform fits into the market.

“SmallGEO is destined to build a cornerstone for Europe’s future activities in the segment of geostationary satellites in the three-tonne class.

“For OHB, Hispasat 36W-1 is the first project of a wide scope of future missions based on the SmallGEO platform, including a revolution in satellite technology: the full electric propulsion mission Electra.” 

Inspiring call

Thank you Thomas for a great inflight call!

Irish students ready to greet Thomas Pesquet

31 January 2017

On Tuesday 24 January, teachers from Romania, Ireland, and Portugal, had the opportunity to talk with ESA Astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who is currently living and working on the International Space Station (ISS). 

Hundreds of primary and secondary school teachers and students, as well as space scientists and engineers, gathered at national events in Timișoara, Limerick, and Lisbon to participate in the call with Thomas – the opportunity of a lifetime. Several teachers had the opportunity to ask questions surrounding the theme: space in our daily lives. 

Today was fantastic. I’m really looking forward to taking this back to the classroom and to talk to the students so that they can share this with their friends and family. I’m sure they will have many more questions tomorrow,” said Mary Gorky, a teacher from Ireland.

”It’s not every day that we, especially high school students, get to learn things about space in this unusual and fun way. I personally think that the information we learned today covers a little part of the theoretical background regarding the space outside our own planet that each one of us should have. The conversation we had with Thomas, but also with the people who talked to us in the local presentations before the call, as well as the questions that were asked, are the sort of things that spark one’s interes,” said Roxana Drăghia, an 11th grade Romanian student.

The students were very interested in the possibility of working in space technology in the future, and the event gave me material that can be developed further in the classroom,” said César Marques, one of the many Portuguese teachers attending the event in Lisbon.

In particular, Thomas answered the following questions:

In flight call with Thomas Pesquet, ESERO Portugal

  • When we think of space, most people think of exploration. What are some other activities related to space that society may not be aware of?
  • What kind of research are you conducting during your Proxima mission that could contribute to new technologies to be used in our daily lives?
  • How long does it take for the research, experiments, and new findings done on the ISS to be used in technologies and medicine here on Earth?
  • How does your time in space help us to improve methods of caring for sick people here on the ground?
  • How do you test for water and bacterial contamination on the ISS? Are these testing methods also used on Earth for other purposes?
  • When a natural disaster happens on Earth, can you see it from space? Is there a way that you or ESA can send a warning back to Earth?
  • What new technologies related to navigation are being used on the ISS and in space, which can benefit us here on Earth?
  • Do you think it is possible to live in a completely self-sustainable environment in space? Are there any technologies from Earth that are helping this become a reality?
  • What do you think is one of the most significant discoveries or inventions for society created from research carried out in space, and in particular, on the ISS?
  • I have heard that astronauts’ eyesight can change in space. Will the research done related to this have other applications, such as helping prevent people on Earth from losing their sight?

Watch the recording of the live-streamed inflight call here.

About the local events

Portuguese students learning about Thomas’s ISS experiments

The events in each country were coordinated by three of the European Space Education Resource Offices (ESERO): ESERO Romania, ESERO Ireland, and ESERO Portugal.

Romania: the event took place in  Universitatea de Vest, Timișoara; Ireland: the event took place in Limerick Institute of Technology, Limerick; and Portugal: the event took place in Pavilhão do Conhecimento Science Centre, Lisbon.

In addition to the inflight call, the local events featured a range of activities, including talks from national space experts about the many benefits of space technologies, exploration, and research, encouraging teachers and students to explore how space contributes to the advancement of society through spin-offs and innovation, promoting international cooperation, and  providing inspiration.


Romanian teachers and students saluting Thomas Pesquet in his native French

The inflight call with Thomas Pesquet is part of a vast range of educational activities organised by ESA’s Education Office and jointly delivered by its ESERO project. There are currently 10 operational ESERO Offices across Europe, covering 13 ESA Member States. ESA’s ESERO project  is a collaboration between ESA, national space agencies, and science education partners.

ESEROs design, develop, and disseminate  classroom resources – all tailored to the national school curricula and language – which make use of space as a rich and  inspirational  context for teaching STEM subjects. In addition, they offer teacher training workshops and conferences for both primary and secondary school teachers, and support educational hands-on projects in their country. Through their activities, ESEROs also raise awareness about STEM-related career prospects, particularly in the space sector, and promote the importance of space in our daily lives.

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Enthusiastic teachers!

Enthusiastic teachers at the ESA Autumn Teacher Workshop

3 November 2017

Fifty European teachers took part in 4 days of inspiring workshops at ESA’s Autumn Teacher workshop 2017.

This, being the second of two similar workshops organised by the ESA Education Office, was for primary and secondary school teachers and took place in Leiden, the Netherlands, from 5 to 8 October. 

Experimenting with materials from the Spacecraft Material Kit

Learning from experiments

The workshop was meant to provide teachers with tools and practical ideas to enhance STEM (Science, technology, Engineering and Mathematics) lessons using space as the context. The activities were designed along three different space themes:

Rockets and Launchers

Experimenting with paper rockets and working with the Spacecraft Materials Kit gave teachers good knowledge and practice on what is needed to get a rocket into space as well as the properties of the materials that are required for this purpose. Teacher learned how to implement this in physics and chemistry lessons as well as having a real set of tools to begin using immediately.

Earth Observation

What is it like to look down on Earth from a satellite’s perspective using the broad range of wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum? What can we learn from these satellite images that can help us ‘feel the pulse of our planet’ so that we can understand and preserve it? Teachers learned how to run simple experiments and interpret real satellite data for use in geography and biology lessons.

Space Exploration

Humans, with the help of robots, are continuing their pioneering journey to prepare for setting humankind’s feet on other planets of the solar system. How can we do this and what can we discover? From programming an Astro-Pi computer to discovering exoplanets, teachers learned first-hand how to get their students involved in exploring these concepts in maths and physics.

Discovering the secrets of Infra-red light

The tone of each session was set by keynote presentations by ESA experts, who enthused the participants with current and future space topics related to the workshop activities. One day of the workshop was also dedicated to visiting ESTEC, ESA’s largest establishment.

Teachers went home inspired and with hands-on experiences and resources to use in their classrooms:

 “Every moment was wonderful; I’ve learnt so much. I am sure now I can motivate my students even more. I feel my heart is full of motivation to continue to teach and learn.” Justina, Portugal.

“The structure of the workshops was fantastic. They gave an insight into how I could expand on ideas and deliver a sequence of interesting, cross-curricular lessons to my students.” Liam, Ireland.

If you are a teacher and are also interested in living the same experience, stay tuned for the upcoming calls of ESA’s 2018 teacher workshops!

Coding with Astro Pi

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KVH Industries’ CEO & CFO to Speak at 19th Annual Needham Growth Conference


Middletown, RI – January 10, 2017 – KVH Industries, Inc., (Nasdaq: KVHI), chief executive officer, Martin Kits van Heyningen, and chief financial officer, Donald Reilly, will be speaking at the 19th Annual Needham Growth Conference in New York City on Wednesday, January 11, 2017.  The presentation, which is scheduled for 4:10 p.m., will be simulcast on the Internet and can be accessed via KVH Industries’ investor website,  An audio archive of the presentation will also be available for replay later in the day at the same website address.

About KVH Industries, Inc.
KVH Industries, Inc., is a leading manufacturer of solutions that provide global high-speed Internet, television, and voice services via satellite to mobile users at sea and on land and is a leading news, music, entertainment, and training content provider to many industries including maritime, retail, and leisure. KVH Industries is also a premier manufacturer of high-performance sensors and integrated inertial systems for defense and commercial guidance and stabilization applications. KVH is based in Middletown, RI, with research, development, and manufacturing operations in Middletown, RI, and Tinley Park, IL. The company’s global presence includes offices in Belgium, Brazil, Cyprus, Denmark, Hong Kong, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.