The advent of low- and medium-Earth orbit constellations could create a need for a faster way to test a satellite payload, without the necessity to integrate it with a dedicated service module. That is what Avio and Thales Alenia Space are betting on, supported by the European Space Agency (ESA), with their Space Rider unmanned reusable vehicle. A relatively small spacecraft that makes the most of lifting-body aerodynamics, the Space Rider is also part of ESA’s low-intensity but ...

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