The Airbus-built Bartolomeo platform has been successfully launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on March 6 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, US.
Bartolomeo is now on its journey to the International Space Station and will be installed outside of the Columbus Laboratory, the European module of the ISS built by Airbus.
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.”
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.
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 commercialization. The platform’s unique vantage point 400 kilometers 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 3 months. The payload accommodation allows slots for a wide range of payload mass going from 5 to 450 kg. They will be provided with an 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 standardized. This reduces lead times and saves costs significantly compared to traditional mission costs.