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ESA and Airbus to cooperate on Bartolomeo platform

Posted 25 October 2019 · Add Comment

The European Space Agency (ESA) and Airbus Defence and Space signed a Statement of Intent yesterday on their common interest to use the Bartolomeo external platform for a limited number of scientific missions on the International Space Station (ISS).



Above: The Bartolomeo platform.
Copyright Airbus


ESA appreciates Airbus' efforts to initiate commercial utilization of the Bartolomeo platform and recognizes the investment that has been made in developing the Bartolomeo system and its Bartolomeo All-in-One Space Mission Service on the basis of the Partnership Agreement signed with ESA in February 2018. Airbus appreciates the support and guidance provided by ESA in the process and is excited about the increasing interest of European customers.

ESA recognises that Bartolomeo is an attractive and competitive space platform solution and has substantial interest from its Member States as well as ESA scientific communities. Apart from the accommodation of the Multi-Needle Langmuir Probe (m-NLP) payload, ESA is looking to realise further missions starting with its:
- Exobiology Platform requiring a Single Slot with Zenith orientation and a return of the biologic samples through a payload airlock, and
- the SESAME material exposure payload from the French Space Agency CNES with several campaigns and sample returns.

In order to simplify the contracting process for all scientific ESA missions on Bartolomeo, ESA and Airbus are currently preparing a framework agreement which both partners agree to sign in November 2019.

UNOOSA and Airbus issue AO for utilising Airbus Bartolomeo platform
At the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Washington DC, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and Airbus issued an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) for utilising the Airbus Bartolomeo external platform on the International Space Station (ISS) for missions in the space environment.

The Bartolomeo mission is one of several research and orbital opportunities offered through UNOOSA’s 'Access to Space for All' initiative, which aims to enable all countries, especially emerging space nations, to access and leverage the benefits of space.

In line with the mission and objectives of the 'Access to Space for All' initiative and Airbus’ demonstrated commitment to promoting space science and technology in developing countries, this cooperation contributes to broadening access to space activities and applications and to building capacity in space science and technology. This partnership will contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially Goal 4 'Quality Education' and Goal 9 'Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure'. It will also promote international cooperation across nations in the peaceful uses of outer space. In addition to Bartolomeo, UNOOSA and Airbus are also cooperating in the field of Earth observation.

UNOOSA Director, Simonetta Di Pippo, commented: “Through the Access to Space for All initiative, UNOOSA helps all Member States, in particular developing countries, break new ground in space science and technology. This opportunity will give participants the chance to develop their space capabilities through a unique platform and to explore how space can help them achieve the SDGs in practice. We are proud to partner with Airbus, a leader in the aerospace sector, to provide this incredible chance to UN Member States.”

“We are delighted to continue our cooperation with UNOOSA, following the positive reaction to last year’s call for expression of interest which brought in 65 responses. Now we are inviting actual applications from Member States to present their experiment and associated objectives, including how they will help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In the next phase, UNOOSA will lead the selection of the benefiting partner, with Airbus acting as technical advisor,” said Airbus’ Johannes von Thadden, Head of Sales, Space Systems, during the signing ceremony at the IAC. “Operating a space mission on the Bartolomeo platform is a highly cost and time-efficient way of bringing a payload into space. With our initiative, countries and institutions that cannot afford space research today will now get access to it.”

Applications for the Bartolomeo mission are now open. Interested parties fulfilling the eligibility criteria are welcome to apply.

The Announcement of Opportunity can be found on UNOOSA’s website: www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/psa/hsti/orbitalmission/bartolomeo/index.html

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