Change of Launcher Confirmed for Several ESA Missions with Important SPACEBEL Participation
Due to the interruption of Soyuz launches from Kourou and the postponement of the Ariane 6 maiden flight to the last quarter of 2023, ESA had to temporarily revise the launch planning of several missions. Among them the Euclid Space telescope, the Hera probe and the European-Japanese EarthCARE observation satellite, all originally scheduled to launch on a Soyuz rocket and to which SPACEBEL has been bringing our software engineering expertise.
Following the ESA Council meeting on October 20th 2022, Mr Josef Aschbacher, ESA Director General, announced at a press conference that Euclid and Hera are proposed to be launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9. As to EarthCARE, a Vega-C rocket is being considered. The launch schedule indicates a lift-off for Euclid at the end of 2023, for EarthCARE at the beginning of 2024, and for Hera in late 2024.
An overview of the objectives of the three spacecraft with significant SPACEBEL inputs:
- Euclid will study the expansion of the Universe and collect data on the interaction of dark matter and dark energy.
The Euclid on-board software controlling all subsystems and managing the payload data is a SPACEBEL realisation.
- Hera is due to fly to the Dimorphos asteroid recently deflected by NASA’s DART probe in order to observe the celestial body closely in the context of a future planetary defence technique.
SPACEBEL is since 2018 in charge of the software system of the spacecraft – the so-called central software. We are also also developing various simulation systems for the Hera mission (SVF, TOMS and eSVF). At ground segment level, SPACEBEL is responsible for the Cubesat Mission Operations Centre (CMOC) development.
- EarthCARE is meant to analyse clouds, aerosols, radiation and the Earth's atmosphere on a global scale to improve the accuracy of climate change predictions and weather forecasts.
SPACEBEL has contributed to the development of the EarthCARE Mass Memory and Formatting Unit, i.e. a data storage device featuring a high capacity and fast access component of the satellite’s payload.