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Going GaN: Novel Chips Powering Space Missions

Some of ESA’s most ambitious future missions for telecommunications and Earth observation have only become possible because of a switch to a novel high-power and high-temperature capable semiconductor – sometimes termed the most promising material since silicon. ESA laboratory testing has confirmed the performance of key European-made Gallium Nitride components.

Plato’s Cave: Vacuum Test for Exoplanet Detection

A test version of the payload module of ESA's exoplanet-detecting Plato spacecraft underwent a prolonged vacuum soak within Europe’s largest thermal vacuum chamber, to evaluate its endurance of space conditions.

Vacuum Soak for Satellite Brain

A spacecraft computer is not much use if it cannot keep on running in space conditions – so this qualification model of QinetiQ Space’s new onboard computer design has just spent two weeks in a thermal vacuum chamber in ESA’s Mechanical Systems Laboratory at ESTEC in the Netherlands, exposed to the equivalent hard vacuum and temperature extremes of Earth orbit and deep space.


Teach an Earth-observing Satellite to Know What it Sees

For decades now Earth observation satellites have been monitoring our ever-changing home planet; the next step is to enable them to recognise what they see. The latest public challenge for the machine learning community from ESA’s Advanced Concepts Team is to train satellite software to identify features within the images it acquires – with the winning team getting the unique opportunity to load their solution to ESA's OPS-SAT nanosatellite and test it in orbit.

Smarter Satellites: ESA Discovery Accelerates AI in Space

Could we capitalise on the Earth-based digital revolution to make our satellites smarter?

ESA Discovery is funding 12 projects that will explore the potential of applying the latest developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced computing paradigms to make satellites more reactive, agile and autonomous. This could generate new practical applications that support life on Earth and our exploration of other planets.


Hera plus one: enter the CubeSat


One step closer to a CubeSat swarm mission


Where space weather starts


Young Professionals’ YPSat headed to Ariane 6