Airbus signs in orbit demonstration contract with ESA

Airbus will propose affordable flight opportunities based on the cost-effective platform derived from the OneWeb programme

Airbus Defence and Space has signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for an in-orbit demonstrator within the frame of ESA’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) Pioneer programme.

The in-orbit project (known as IODA – In Orbit Demonstrator by Airbus) will develop the key elements including infrastructure (spacecraft, payload and ground segment), launch a first satellite and validate the entire system in a multi-mission scenario. The final objective for the IODA is to offer a one-stop-shop service for In Orbit validation and/or Proof of Concept (whether technology or service based), in a real operational environment leading to a greatly improved prospect 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.”

ESA’s  Pioneer  Partner  programme  aims  to  facilitate  the  emergence  of  Space  Mission Providers (SMP) who can provide timely, cost-effective opportunities for public and private customers to access space.