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European Defence Agency Teams Up With Netherlands, Austria on Military Satellite Project

satellite project of Austria

The European Defence Agency said it has partnered with the Netherlands and Austria to launch within two years a constellation of two to four satellites maneuverable within the low-Earth orbit and very low-Earth orbit space domains.

Dubbed LEO2VLEO: Military Crisis-Response Satellite Constellation, the $10.9 million project seeks to design, develop, launch and operate space capabilities to support military missions. The project aims to demonstrate the cost advantages of satellites that can operate back and forth between low-Earth and very low-Earth orbits.

The EDA’s Hub for EU Defence Innovation earlier funded a preliminary study for EO2VLEO valued at $1.3 million, according to a post in the European Union’s online procurement platform TED eTendering.

Satellites in very low-Earth orbit allow higher resolution images from optical sensors and enable improved communication while also being safer from space debris collisions. 

A VLEO spacecraft’s capability to shift to the traditional low-Earth orbit negates the need for more resistant material components to counter surface erosion from atomic oxygen encountered at very low-Earth orbit. 

LEO2VLEO satellites present the possibility of less costly launches and the potential of an extended life span, as the spacecraft can fly in very low-Earth orbit only as necessary.

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