ISS: first commercial payload for Airbus external platform

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On board the cargo spacecraft Cygnus NG 19 (shipped this morning to the International Space Station) is an instrument to be installed on Bartolomeo, the platform for commercial payloads made available by Airbus on the ISS.

An “all-in-one” mission service

Developped by Airbus Defense and Space (with an investment of approximately €40 million), the platform Bartolomeo was delivered in March 2020 on the international space stationusing the feeder Dragon CRS 20 from SpaceX.

It was fixed in January 2021 outside the European module columbus of the’ISS by American astronauts Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover, during a spacewalk lasting almost 7 hours.

The platform allows Airbus to offer an “all-in-one” mission service for different payloads, starting with 3U cubesats.

The commercial offer includes technical assistance for the preparation of the payload, its launch, its installation, its operation, the transfer of data, and possibly the return to Earth.

Measure plasma density in the ionosphere

Bartolomeo will soon receive its first payload: the multi-needle Langmuir probe m-NLP (multi-Needle Langmuir Probe), developed by the University of Oslo and the Norwegian company Eidsvoll Electronics.

It will be the first instrument in the world capable of measuring plasma density in the Earth’s ionosphere at spatial scales of less than one meter.

The m-NLP probe is part of the cargo on board Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus NG 19 cargo ship, which successfully launched to the ISS on August 2.

John Walker Avatar