The Directors-General of EUMETSAT and ESA sign statement on joint contributions to the Space Strategy for Europe

Wednesday, 08 November 2017

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The statement is in line with the Challenge 2025 strategy adopted by the EUMETSAT Council in June 2016 and its support to the Space Strategy for Europe published by the Commission in October 2016.

It re-affirms the common goal to keep Europe as a world leader in satellite meteorology with the deployment of the jointly developed next generation EUMETSAT satellite systems, Meteosat Third Generation and EUMETSAT Polar System of Second Generation, to be deployed from 2021 onwards. 

Jan Wörner said: “We have been cooperating with EUMETSAT since the 1980s to ensure an excellent source of satellite data for meteorology. We built the first and second generation series of the geostationary Meteosat missions and the series of polar-orbiting Metop missions, which EUMETSAT operates.

“Our long standing cooperation offers Europe meteorological satellite systems that have the highest impact on weather forecasts”

“As our cooperative venture continues, we are now focusing on the two follow-on series, Meteosat Third Generation and Metop Second Generation, which both offer enhancements and ensure the continuity of essential information for global weather forecasting and climate monitoring for decades to come.”

It also re-affirms the joint commitment to the partnership with the European Commission for the deployment and exploitation of the elements of the Copernicus space component that are dedicated to monitoring the ocean, atmospheric composition and climate, with the best possible synergy with EUMETSAT’s own missions.

Alain Ratier said: “Our long standing cooperation offers Europe meteorological satellite systems that have the highest impact on weather forecasts and thus create socio-economic benefits of more than 5 billion euros per year in the European Union. This was the foundation for extending our partnership to atmospheric composition and ocean monitoring for Copernicus, together with the European Commission.” 

The overarching goal of the cooperation is to serve citizens and the economy in Member States of EUMETSAT, ESA and the European Union.

Vega launches Earth observation satellite for Morocco

Vega launches Earth observation satellite for Morocco

Vega lifts off

8 November 2017

Arianespace has launched a Vega rocket to deliver an Earth observation satellite into orbit for the Kingdom of Morocco.

Liftoff of Vega’s 11th mission from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana came at 01:42 GMT on 8 November (02:42 CET; 22:42 local time on 7 November).

With a mass at liftoff of 1110 kg, Mohammed VI-A was manoeuvred into its target Sun-synchronous orbit about 55 minutes into the mission after a series of burns of Vega’s upper stage.

Complying with debris regulations to help keep space clean, Vega’s upper stage fired a final time to burn up high in the atmosphere over the ocean.

Vega is a 30 m-high, four-stage vehicle designed to accommodate small scientific and Earth observation payloads of 300–2500 kg, depending on the orbit.

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Cobham Again Awarded 'A-' grade in CDP Climate Change Score

Cobham achieves another A- in the CDP’s globally recognised environmental performance assessment. This leadership score positions the company among the best in the Aerospace and Defence category.

For the second year in a row, Cobham has been awarded an A- grade for the attention it has shown to mitigating climate risk and managing carbon emissions at its sites across the globe. The CDP score (found here), which is a world-recognised assessment, acknowledges Cobham’s continuous work to manage its carbon footprint and recognises its commitment to integrate sustainability into business practices.

Since 2010, Cobham has fully responded to the CDP and has progressively improved its score as the company’s sustainability approach and strategy has matured. This year’s outstanding score acknowledges Cobham’s continuous work to manage its carbon footprint and commitment to integrate sustainability into business practices.

Eleanor Smith, Cobham’s vice president for Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability said: “We are proud of maintaining our leadership score for a second year. This demonstrates commitment to our company values and to protecting the environment and communities where we operate. It is a testament to the hard work of our employees, and their understanding of the risks and opportunities facing our global business. It gives our investors and customers confidence that we are effectively managing our environmental footprint. I am proud of all our teams involved.”

Cobham manufactures numerous products that help avoid emissions such as electrical slip rings for wind turbines, conformal and multifunctional aircraft antenna systems that reduce aircraft drag, and autonomous air to air refuelling systems that provide a more efficient service than aircraft returning to base. Other facility and service based energy efficiency programmes have included reduced engine taxi on our aircraft, waste recovery and segregation, LED lighting installations, and introduction of ‘telepresence’ systems across our global business.

About Cobham plc

The most important thing we build is trust.

Cobham is a leading global technology and services innovator, respected for providing solutions to the most challenging problems, from deep space to the depths of the ocean.

About CDP

The independent non profit organisation CDP (formally Carbon Disclosure Project) collects carbon emissions and climate mitigation data annually from the private sector on behalf of investors representing over $100 trillion of assets, policy makers and customer to enhance decision making, manage risk and capitalise on opportunities


Boeing Missile Defense Team Loads Milestone Missile into Silo

FORT GREELY, ALASKA, Nov. 7, 2017 (updated Nov. 16 with photo and information on media collateral) – Boeing [NYSE: BA] and the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) team recently bolstered America’s defense against long-range ballistic missiles, ahead of schedule, with the installation of the 44th interceptor.

Placing the interceptor in its silo meets a U.S. Department of Defense requirement of increasing the inventory to 44 by the end of this year.  

This interceptor includes features demonstrated in the successful intercontinental ballistic missile intercept test conducted in May.

“The ballistic missile threat that our partners in the Missile Defense Agency are defending this country from requires always-ready capabilities,” said Norm Tew, Boeing vice president and GMD program director. “As the system architect for nearly two decades, Boeing continues to deliver through our expertise in developing, testing and fielding progressively advanced solutions for this vital mission.” 

The interceptor is designed to launch and destroy ballistic missile threats after receiving detection and tracking information from land-, sea- and space-based sensors. Boeing has been the system’s prime contractor since 2001. The GMD system includes command-and-control facilities, communications terminals and a 20,000-mile fiber-optic communications network that interfaces with ballistic missile defense radars and other sensors.

Additional photos and b-roll video are available to news media through the contacts below.

For more information on Defense, Space & Security, visit Follow us on Twitter: @BoeingDefense.

                                                                                              # # #



Terence Williams

Space and Missile Systems

Office: +1 256-937-5815

Mobile: +1 314-258-3568


Jerry Drelling

BDS External Communications

Office: +1 703-872-4255

Mobile: +1 714-318-7594

Uncovering hidden intelligence with multispectral imagery

Powerful cameras onboard DigitalGlobe satellites are capable of detecting a much wider spectrum of light than our human eyes can see. The images they produce make it possible for analysts to see a hidden world in which answers to key intelligence questions (KIQ’s) become more readily apparent.

DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-2 and WorldView-3 satellites are equipped with cameras that collect panchromatic (black and white) imagery as well as 8-band multispectral imagery. The 8 multispectral bands are in the visible and near-infrared (VNIR) spectrum. Individually and collectively the VNIR bands have the power to provide insights into natural and man-made activity on the ground so analysts can help leaders make better decisions in response to situations such as military actions and natural disasters.

WorldView-2 and WorldView-3 collect high-resolution 8-band VNIR multispectral imagery where each band reveals insights about activity on the ground.

WorldView-3 carries an additional instrument that detects light in the short wave infrared (SWIR) spectrum. SWIR imagery enables analysts to unlock further insights, such as the location of a fire through smoke; separation between vegetation and man-made materials; identification of iron/steel, plastics/polymers and paints; and the detection of minerals associated with mining activities. By pinpointing the location of a fire, leaders can direct response teams to the precise location where retardants should be deployed. And by using SWIR imagery to detect plastic materials, analysts can detect camouflage netting within tree canopy to identify locations of potentially nefarious activity.

WorldView-3 collects 30 cm resolution panchromatic imagery as well as high-resolution VNIR and SWIR bands to truly reveal what cannot be seen by the naked eye. This figure shows all 16 bands on WorldView-3, the light output of the sun (in light gray), and the atmospheric transmission “windows” in dark gray.

Visualizing Multispectral Imagery
Standard color imagery is called natural color imagery, and it is visualized by mixing the red, green and blue spectral bands—similar to how a printer makes a color copy using cyan, magenta and yellow ink. To visualize alternative, or non-visible, bands within the VNIR and SWIR range, analysts can produce false color composite images. False color images mix different bands into the red, blue and green display channels. For example, to detect mining operations using VNIR imagery, an analyst mixes the yellow, near-infrared 1 and red edge bands. This combination creates a sharp contrast between excavated earth, which appears very red, and vegetation, which shows very green.

For defense and intelligence analysts, the ability to process multispectral imagery can help answer key intelligence questions such as:

  • Is there excavated material from the construction of an underground facility?
  • Will the health of the crops in this area provide food security?
  • Are illicit crops being grown?
  • Is this location suitable for a beach landing?
  • Have reinforcing materials been applied to this facility?
  • Has equipment been camouflaged from view?
  • Is this material steel, polymer or paint?
  • Are there significant features that might otherwise be overlooked?

Accessing Multispectral Imagery through SecureWatch™
DigitalGlobe now delivers multispectral imagery through the SecureWatch subscription service. Analysts can use SecureWatch to retrieve and view panchromatic, natural color, VNIR, SWIR and false color composite images. Additionally, analysts can task collections of new multispectral images. The requested images are collected, processed and then delivered either online through the simple web interface or for offline download and processing on an imagery workstation. SecureWatch makes the power of multispectral easy and accessible so that analysts can leverage the complete power of The Digital Globe.

Visit the SecureWatch product page to learn more and request 30-day evaluation.

Fox-1D Integrated, Ready for Launch

While RadFxSat (Fox-1B) is just days from launch, preparations for the launch of the next Fox-1 satellite are already underway. On Monday, November 6th, AMSAT Vice-President Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, delivered Fox-1D to Spaceflight, Inc. in Seattle, WA where it was integrated into its Innovative Solutions in Space QuadPack for delivery to India. Fox-1D will launch on the next ISRO Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) flight, scheduled to take place by the end of December.

AMSAT Vice-President Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, after removing Fox-1D from its Pelican case Jerry prepares to insert Fox-1D into the QuadPack Jerry carefully inserts Fox-1D into the QuadPack Fox-1D in its ISIS QuadPack.

In addition to the Fox-1 U/v FM transponder, Fox-1D carries several university experiments, including a MEMS gyro from Pennsylvania State University – Erie, a camera from Virginia Tech, and the University of Iowa’s HERCI (High Energy Radiation CubeSat Instrument) radiation mapping experiment. Fox-1D also carries the AMSAT “L-Band Downshifter” giving the option of utilizing a 1.2 GHz uplink for the FM transponder.

Uplink FM (67 Hz CTCSS) Downlink FM
Fox-1D 435.350 MHz / 1267.350 MHz* 145.880 MHz
* Switchable by command station. Not operational simultaneously.

Stressed seedlings in space

Stressed seedlings in space

Seedlings were grown in three batches, 2013–17

7 November 2017

Life on Earth has a myriad of problems, but gravity isn’t one of them – staying grounded means organisms can soak up the light and heat that enables growth. 

It’s no wonder that the free-floating environment of space stresses organisms, which survive only if they can adapt. Like humans, plants have proven their robustness in space. Now, thanks to the International Space Station, we know more on how they cope with weightlessness. 

Adventures of space farming

To understand how light and gravity affect plant growth, researchers from the US and Europe have grown more than 1700 thale cress seedlings in Europe’s Columbus module.

Germinated in prepacked cassettes monitored by ground control, the seedlings were harvested after six days, frozen or preserved and returned to Earth for inspection.

Researchers are now working with realtime images of the seeds as they grew and genetic and molecular analyses of the returned seedlings. 


Seedling Growth experiment

What were they hoping to find?

On Earth, roots grow down into the soil, reaching for water and minerals. Weightless disrupts this natural route, altering cell growth unless the plant can overcome it.  

The results so far are pointing to some interesting conclusions. Obviously, seedlings in microgravity grew random roots but they still managed to grow. Plant genes known to overcome environmental stresses on Earth – heat, frost, salinity – kick into gear. Red light seems to help reregulate cell growth interrupted by weightlessness. 

The most recent lettuce harvest on the Space Station shows plants can already mature in space. So why study the seedlings?

In this case, knowledge of how plants overcome gravitational stress to mature into harvestable crops is growing power.

The new results suggest gravity may not be the biggest obstacle to growing plants in space, which is good news for future Moon and Mars colonies.  We won’t make it far into space if we can’t grow our own food along the way.

Space lettuce for dinner on the ISS

Back on Earth, global climate change is affecting agriculture, and understanding how plants respond to stress and adapt at genetic and molecular levels means we can help to increase agricultural efficiency in general.

It may be a while before space farm to space table becomes the next big thing, but the latest experiments have taken us one step closer. 

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European Astro Pi Challenge Mission Space Lab: Get ready for phase 2!

European Astro Pi Challenge Mission Space Lab: Get ready for phase 2!

What is an Astro Pi?

7 November 2017

ESA and its partners are delighted to announce the beginning of Phase 2 of the European Astro Pi Mission Space Lab Challenge. Having successfully proposed their scientific investigation, the teams which have just passed the selection phase will now have to write the code that will be sent to the International Space Station (ISS)!

The creativity and range of proposals from participating teams has been very impressive, and ESA is looking forward to the exciting science that the students will perform on the ISS with the help of the Astro Pi’s. This year ESA Astronaut Paolo Nespoli asked the students to investigate life on Earth or life in space using an array of sensors and, for the first time, visible and infrared cameras.

The selected teams are being informed separately via email, and the Astro Pi kits are now making their way to schools in a record-high 21 ESA Member and Associate States. The teams will now have the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the Astro Pi and its sensors.

Astro Pi kit

The teams selected to participate in Phase 2 of the challenge will soon receive an ESA-branded Astro Pi kit directly at their school. The kit contains the equipment necessary to test their codes, except for the monitor, USB keyboard, and mouse, which the teams will have to provide themselves. 

Inside the Astro Pi kit you will find:

  • a poster with the code rules;
  • a Raspberry Pi computer similar to those present on the ISS;
  • a Sense HAT and two cameras – one visible and one near-infrared camera;
  • all the components you need to assemble your flight case (you will need access to a 3D printer). Assembling the flight case is optional.

Getting started

Astro Pi & Paxi

To help teams begin their investigation, ESA and its partners have created a range of videos and supporting resources. To watch the videos, click here. You can explore the Astro Pi kit, learn how to assemble it and how to build a flight case if you  wish to do so.

The teams (students and teachers) can find more supporting resources (in English) here.

The selected teams will also shortly receive an invitation to follow a webinar where they will be shown how to use the Astro Pi, its sensors, and the cameras.

In the meantime, teams should read the guidelines of the mission to be sure that their code and investigation is feasible.

How to submit your entries

The teams’ entries will have to be submitted online in electronic form between 7 January and  7 February 2018.

The entries must include a full description of the mission, including a description of the mission objectives, of the procedure and methodology to be followed, and of the expected results, as well as the computer code written to execute the mission. Entries must be submitted in English (including any comments you may like to add within your Python code) and comply with competition guidelines and code rules.

Evaluation criteria

The teams’ entries will be evaluated based on their:

  • Scientific value,
  • Creativity and originality,
  • Feasibility of the mission within the ISS environment,
  • Code readability and quality,
  • Overall rigour, clarity, and comprehensiveness.

Paolo Nespoli and ESA, the ESEROs and the Raspberry Pi Foundation wish you the best of luck for the next three months of work!


ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli launches the European Astro Pi Challenge

Any questions regarding the European Astro Pi Challenge should be sent to astropi @ For technical questions please check the FAQ section on the Astro Pi website or join the Astro Pi forums. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, please send an email to

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FCC Grants U.S. Market Access to Telesat for Its Global, Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellite Constellation – Start of Telesat LEO Service Planned for 2021

OTTAWA, CANADA, November 7, 2017 – Last week the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took bold action toward improving the availability of cost effective, fiber-like connectivity, both in the U.S. and worldwide. In a significant ruling, the FCC granted Telesat’s petition to access the U.S. market using Telesat’s soon to be deployed global LEO satellite constellation.

Telesat has obtained worldwide rights to the use of approximately 4 GHz of Ka-band spectrum for its LEO system, which is ideal for high-performing broadband satellite networks. Telesat has a long record of industry firsts that have brought major satellite innovations to market and the company’s LEO constellation will be another achievement that transforms global communications. Telesat’s LEO system will both enable and accelerate the world’s digital transformation by providing high-performing, cost-effective, fiber-like broadband anywhere in the world for business, government and individual users. The initial constellation will consist of around 120 satellites by 2021 and Telesat is evaluating options to expand its system beyond the initial deployment. Telesat is launching two Phase 1 LEO satellites later this year.

“The FCC’s grant of Telesat’s application for U.S. market access is an important milestone in our plan to deploy an advanced, high capacity, low latency LEO constellation,” said Dan Goldberg, President and CEO of Telesat. “Telesat applauds the FCC’s ruling, which will bring manifold benefits to the U.S. market including improved access to the Internet as well as the potential to enhance opportunities for U.S. workers and consumers, U.S. industry and the U.S. technology base. Next generation LEO satellite constellations have great promise for erasing the digital divide and Telesat encourages the FCC, as it reviews its spectrum allocation policies, to ensure that satellite operators have sufficient access to the spectrum necessary to deliver on that promise.”

About Telesat (

Telesat is a leading global satellite operator, providing reliable and secure satellite-delivered communications solutions worldwide to broadcast, telecom, corporate and government customers. Headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, with offices and facilities around the world, the company’s state-of-the-art fleet consists of 15 satellites, the Canadian payload on ViaSat-1, and two new satellites under construction. An additional two satellites are now being readied for launch into low earth orbit (LEO) as part of Telesat’s plans to deploy an advanced, global LEO satellite constellation offering low latency, high throughput broadband services. Telesat also manages the operations of additional satellites for third parties. Privately held, Telesat’s principal shareholders are Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board and Loral Space & Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: LORL).

Forward-Looking Statements Safe Harbor

This news release contains statements that are not based on historical fact and are ‘‘forward-looking statements’’ within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. When used in this news release, the words “will”, “soon”, “beyond”, “plan”, “potential”, “promise” or other variations of these words or other similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements and information. Actual results may differ materially from the expectations expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements as a result of known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Detailed information about some of the known risks and uncertainties is included in the “Risk Factors” section of Telesat Canada’s Annual Report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016 which can be obtained on the SEC website at Known risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to: risks associated with operating satellites and providing satellite services, including satellite construction or launch delays, launch failures, in-orbit failures or impaired satellite performance, volatility in exchange rates and risks associated with domestic and foreign government regulation. The foregoing list of important factors is not exhaustive. The information contained in this news release reflects Telesat’s beliefs, assumptions, intentions, plans and expectations as of the date of this news release. Except as required by law, Telesat disclaims any obligation or undertaking to update or revise the information herein.

For further information:                                                                         

Gerry Nagler, Telesat +1 908 470-4907 ( 

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