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ILA2016: Airbus D&S and ESA launch Bartolomeo

Posted 10 June 2016 · Add Comment

Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus D&S) and the European Space Agency (ESA), agreed to start a joint pilot project phase to prepare the operation and utilisation of a new external payload platform on the European International Space Station (ISS) laboratory Columbus, signing a corresponding Memorandum of Understanding on 2 June 2, 2016 at last week's ILA Airshow in Berlin.



Above: The International Space Station (ISS).
Copyright NASA 2008


The Bartolomeo platform is envisioned to be embedded into an end-to-end service designed to provide fast, cost-efficient and reliable access to the ISS for private and institutional users on commercial terms. The Bartolomeo all-in-one payload mission service is aimed at customers from areas including Earth observation, technology demonstrators, astro- and heliophysics, material science and new space flight applications.

“With Bartolomeo, we will provide a sustained commercial external payload hosting service on the ISS", said François Auque, Head of Space Systems. “With this infrastructure, we intend to enlarge the user community, and offer them a broader range of solutions that meet their needs and that can be deployed rapidly."

“Commercial partnership will play a growing role in the exciting ESA vision for space exploration”, said David Parker, ESA Director for Human and Robotic Exploration. “ESA intends to stimulate private sector engagement in space exploration and foster innovative and inspiring approaches for future ESA missions. Enhancing private sector capabilities and demand for ISS utilisation will open perspectives for commercial approaches for exploitation ISS and post-ISS infrastructures.”

This new space facility, named "Bartolomeo" after the younger brother of Christopher Columbus, will be attached to the outside of the European "Columbus" laboratory module in 2018, providing access to power and data resources for customer payloads.

With almost 20 years of experience in the field of unpressurized cargo transportation and operation, this initiative strengthens Airbus Defence and Space's position as a provider of human spaceflight-related system solutions and end-to-end payload operation services.

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