France: Airbus has signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for an in-orbit demonstrator within the frame of ESA’s Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) Pioneer program.
The in-orbit project — known as IODA (In-Orbit Demonstrator by Airbus) — will be crucial in the development of key elements including infrastructure (spacecraft, payload and ground segment), launching the first satellite and validating the entire system in a multi-mission scenario. The main objective for the IODA is to provide a one-stop-shop service for In-Orbit validation and/or Proof of Concept (whether technology or service based), in a real operational environment that will greatly enhance the prospects of market take-up.
Arnaud de Rosnay, Head of Telecom Satellites in Airbus said: “This partnership with ESA should greatly facilitate future in-orbit validation of new concepts, systems, and technology relying on the proven technology that will be OneWeb. Not only will it be available to all European spacecraft manufacturers it will also be a resource for new space downstream entrepreneurs to prove and de-risk their new technologies and mission concepts in orbit. Our aim is to greatly enhance mission validation for existing and new entrants in the space sector offering advice and expertise covering everything from payload architecture, to innovative and automated integration processes as well as ground segment support, operations, and end-to-end system support.“
Magali Vaissiere, ESA’s Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, said: “Pioneer supports the emergence of commercial European entities with the ability to offer fast and affordable access to space to public and private customers in the field of satellite telecommunications. This programme creates new opportunities for both established and new players in the fast-changing and competitive satcom market. The Airbus IODA project confirms the strong support of our Member States and industry to this initiative.”