Airbus Defence and Space and the European Space Agency (ESA) have agreed to start a joint pilot project phase to prepare the operation and utilization of a new external payload platform on the European Columbus laboratory module attached to the International Space Station (ISS). A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 2nd June at the ILA Airshow in Berlin.
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.
“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," explains François Auque, Head of Space Systems at Airbus DS.
This new space facility, named "Bartolomeo" after the younger brother of Christopher Columbus, will be attached to the outside of the Columbus module in 2018, providing access to power and data resources for customer payloads.