2023 it’s coming to an end and the aerospace industry has continued to grow. Let’s review together some of the most achievements seen during this year.
The launch of JUICE
The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer from ESA was launched on April 14th, 2023, from Korou. Its mission is to make detailed observations of the planet and its three large ocean-bearing moons (Ganymede, Callisto and Europa), the name of the mission comes from the fact that it is believed that the moons have significant bodies of water beneath the icy surfaces, thus there’s the possibility of life. The satellite is equipped with several instruments, such as high-resolution cameras and different spectrometers to capture different properties around Jupiter and its moons (a future article stating specifically all the instruments inside the satellite will by written- stay tuned!).
Delivery of mPOWER satellites
During 2023, Boeing delivered some of the 2nd generation 03b mPOWER satellites to the Luxembourgish-French telecommunication company SES. The satellite is part of constellation of satellites located in a Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) that can deliver high-bandwidth connectivity around 96% of the earth. One of the special features of this set of satellites is their all-electric propulsion system.
InSight lander mission end
NASA’s Mars exploration mission which was launched in 2018 reached its end in May 2023. According to NASA, InSight sought to uncover how a rocky body forms and evolves to become a planet looking into the composition of Mar’s surface, mantle, and core. During operation, the mission detected the first quake outside Earth, gathered information on the main three layers of Mars, detected Meteoroid impacts causing quakes, gathered information on magnetic signals in the planet, studied dust and weather.
ZeroAvia’s certified hydrogen aircraft
ZeroAvia’s modified twin-engine aircraft, the Dornier 228 fitted with a hydrogen-cell powered engine concluded a 10-flight test campaign during 2023. The ZA600 hydrogen-electric powertrain now holds the UK Civil Aviation Authority certification and it’s aiming to have its first commercial flight in 2025. Composed of electric motors, inverters, fuel cells, compressors and heat exchangers on the nose storing hydrogen at about 350-bar.
First transatlantic flight with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)
Virgin Atlantic performed its first transatlantic flight using only Sustainable Aviation Fuel on its Boeing 787 Dreamliner with the Rolls Royce Trent engines on November 28th, 2023. The flight was not carrying any commercial passengers but only media and special guests from London Heathrow to New York JFK. According to the airliner, the use of SAF would reduce up to 70% of carbon-emissions as compared to regular jet fuel on the same route. This is another step towards a more sustainable aviation.
Presented during the Paris Airshow 2023, the EcoPulse is a hybrid-propulsion demonstrator developed in collaboration with Daher and Safran that performed its first demonstration flight on November 29th, 2023. The aircraft is based on a modified Daher TBM 900 turboprop fitted with 50 kW Safran ENGINeUS electric engines powered by batteries or an auxiliary power unit. This is another Airbus project looking for solutions for a sustainable aviation in the future.
These are just some of the remarkable developments the aerospace industry has shown during 2023, what should we expect in 2024?