The Airbus-built Bartolomeo platform has been successfully launched on 6 March from Cape Canaveral – Bartolomeo is now on its journey to the International Space Station (ISS) and will be installed outside of the Columbus Laboratory, the European module of the ISS built by Airbus.
Bartolomeo – named after Christopher Columbus' younger brother – is funded by Airbus and will be operated with the support of the European Space Agency (ESA). The platform can host up to 12 different payload slots, providing them with a power supply and data transmission back to Earth.
Andreas Hammer, Airbus head of space exploration, said, "This unique platform will offer new and affordable Earth observation applications and give companies and research institutions the unique opportunity to explore their project quickly and easily in space."
Not only does this provide opportunities for Earth observation, but also environmental and climate research, robotics, material sciences, astrophysics or to test new technologies in space, paving the way for their commercialisation.
The platform’s unique vantage point 400 kilometres above the Earth offers unobstructed views of our planet, enabling the hosting of external payload in low-Earth orbit.
Launch opportunities are available on every servicing mission to the ISS, which is around every three months. The payload accommodation allows slots for a wide range of payload mass, going from five to 450 kilograms. They will be provided with optical data downlink capacity of one to two terabytes per day.
In just 12 months, any payload can be prepared and ready to operate. Payload sizes, interfaces, preparation before launch and integration process are largely standardised. This reduces lead times and saves costs significantly compared with traditional mission costs.
Bartolomeo is an all-in-one mission service that pioneers sustainable space for a safe and united world.
Together with UNOOSA (United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs), Airbus is currently inviting tenders for further research opportunities on the platform, in particular to enable research institutions from developing countries to participate in scientific space research.
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