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Planetary defence and secure signals satellites scoped out

Image: European Space Agency

Work begins to fine-tune design of European spacecraft for asteroid deflection and government communications

The European Space Agency and European Defence Agency have announced projects to finalise the design of two long-discussed space missions—protecting Earth from asteroids and enabling encrypted government communications, respectively.

On 15 September, ESA awarded a €129 million contract for the design, manufacturing and testing of Hera, its first planetary defence mission. The German aerospace company OHB will develop a Hera satellite, which will watch as a smaller craft crashes into an asteroid in deep space in 2022.

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