Europe, Japan weigh cargo return from space station

August 31, 2010 at 9:52 am | Posted in Space Law Current Events | Leave a comment

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty

Source: SpaceFlight Now

The European and Japanese space agencies are considering upgrades to outfit their robotic space station servicing spacecraft to return cargo to Earth, potentially laying the groundwork for crewed capsules by the 2020s.

The European Space Agency awarded a contract to EADS Astrium in July 2009 for an 18-month study of an Advanced Re-entry Vehicle. Worth 21 million euros, or $27 million at contemporary exchange rates, the contract covers Astrium analysis and studies of a beefed up capsule with a heat shield that could survive a fiery return to Earth and land in the ocean.

Astrium is the lead contractor on the ATV.

Engineers are scheduled to finish the 18-month Phase A study near the end of 2010, according to Simonetta Di Pippo, the director of ESA’s human spaceflight programs…more

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