Airbus Defence and Space and Neumann Space, an Australian Space technology company, have signed the first agreement for a hosted payload aboard the new Bartolomeo platform of the International Space Station (ISS) during this week’s IAC Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Unveiled in June, the Bartolomeo platform is designed to provide an end-to-end service for fast, cost-efficient and reliable access to the ISS for private and institutional users on commercial terms. Its 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.
Named after the younger brother of Christopher Columbus, the Bartolomeo platform will be attached to the European Columbus Module and operated by Airbus DS starting in 2018. Airbus DS provides all mission-related elements and can even assist when it comes to building the actual payload.
Neumann Space will use its 50+ litres of payload space on Bartolomeo for the Facility for Australian Space Testing (FAST) programme, which offers to demonstrate technology for small and medium enterprises, schools and universities. A collection of payloads starting at 1kg mass will be sent, together with the company’s own Neumann Drive solar-electric ion drive system, to be operated in space for up to twelve months.
The payload launch is envisioned for late 2018, and Neumann Space is already working on following up the first payload with others, including the possibility of returning payload elements back to Earth at the end of the mission.