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30 Jan 20. Renesas Electronics Launches Industry’s First Radiation Hardened Single-Chip Synchronous Buck and Low Dropout Regulator for Satellite Power Applications. Monolithically Integrated ISL70005SEH Space-Grade Power Solution Reduces BOM Count and Size, Weight and Power for FPGAs and DDR Memory.
Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE:6723), a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, today announced the industry’s first single-chip synchronous buck and low dropout (LDO) regulator targeting low-power FPGAs, DDR memory and other digital loads for spaceflight payload applications. The ISL70005SEH is the only point-of-load (POL) power solution that reduces size, weight, and power (SWaP) by integrating a synch buck and LDO in one monolithic IC. The device enables satellite manufacturers to reduce bill of materials (BOM) and power supply footprint for their medium Earth orbit (MEO) and geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) long duration mission profiles.
The ISL70005SEH rad-hard dual output POL regulator combines 95 percent high efficiency with the synch buck regulator and a low 75mV dropout on the LDO regulator. The device enables easier thermal management for systems with 3.3V or 5V power buses and can support 3A continuous output load current for the buck regulator and ±1A for the LDO. The buck regulator uses a voltage mode control architecture and switches at a resistor adjustable frequency of 100kHz to 1MHz, enabling a smaller filter size.
“The ISL70005SEH gives satellite manufacturers the superior radiation performance, and SWaP and BOM savings they want,” said Philip Chesley, Vice President, Industrial and Communications Business Division at Renesas. “Our dual output POL regulator also provides the configurability to address multiple applications in commercial telecommunication satellites, military satcom satellites, and science and exploration missions.”
The space-grade ISL70005SEH simplifies design configuration allowing designers to use it as a dual output regulator, DDR memory power solution or high efficiency low noise regulator for RF applications. The flexible LDO can source and sink current and accept input voltages as low as 775mV to reduce unnecessary power dissipation. The externally adjustable loop compensation on the buck allows users to achieve an optimal balance of stability and output dynamic performance. The device is wafer acceptance tested to 100krad(Si) over high dose rate (HDR) and tested for ELDRS up to 75krad(Si) over low dose rate (LDR). Single event effects (SEE) testing shows no single event latch-up (SEL) and single event burnout (SEB) at a linear energy transfer (LET) up to 86MeV*cm2/mg. Single event transients (SETs) have been characterized at a LET range of 8.5 to 86MeV*cm2/mg.
Key Features of ISL70005SEH Dual Output POL Regulator
- Synchronous buck Vin range of 3V to 5.5V
- LDO Vin range of 600mV + VDO to Vcc-1.5V
- 1% reference voltage accuracy
- Separate VIN, enable, soft-start and power good indicator
- LDO stable with 150µF; 3x less output capacitance than competitive solutions
- Full military temperature range of -55°C to +150°C
The ISL70005SEH is a single-chip power solution for both FPGA core and I/O rails and can be combined with Renesas analog signal chain ICs to create a satellite telemetry solution: ISL70444SEH 40V quad operational amplifier, ISL71840SEH 30V 16-channel multiplexer, ISL70591SEH 100µA precision current source and ISL71090SEH12 1.25V precision voltage reference.
The ISL70005SEH also combines with other Renesas power management ICs to form a complete power solution including redundancy, protection and sequencing for high processing FPGAs: ISL70061SEH 10A PMOS load switch, ISL70321SEH quad power supply sequencer, ISL75051ASEH 3A LDO, and ISL70003ASEH 9A buck regulator.
The ISL70005SEH radiation-hardened dual output POL regulator is available now in a 28-lead ceramic dual flatpack package or in die form. An evaluation board is available to evaluate device features and performance. For more information, please visit: www.renesas.com/products/ISL70005SEH.
(Note) Renesas branding policy will continue to apply the Intersil brand for military and aerospace products. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
30 Jan 20. Operational and retired satellites orbiting more than 36,000km above the Earth will be tracked in a collaborative international experiment by scientists from the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and amateur astronomers from Australia and the UK. Argus 2 is the latest phase of a “citizen science” exercise which assesses the viability of tracking of objects in Space using commercially available cameras and lenses. The experiment is designed to explore affordable options for Space Situational Awareness, the process of tracking objects in orbit and predicting their future paths to help mitigate the risks to UK satellites posed by collisions with debris.
During Argus 1 in 2019 Dstl collaborated with the Basingstoke Astronomical Society (BAS) in the UK to track objects orbiting in the Low Earth orbit (LEO) belt 400km above the Earth. Dstl scientists developed automated image processing tools and in-house orbit estimation software to analyse the large amount of data captured and learned valuable lessons on the surveillance of Space. As part of Argus 2, members of the Tamworth Regional Astronomy Club (TRAC) in Australia will be observing the satellites from the Southern Hemisphere; this is to ensure that results are consistent with those captured by BAS from the Northern Hemisphere and to examine the benefits and challenges of processing observations from two sites.
To track objects in the geostationary (GEO) belt, 36,000 km above the Earth, the Australians will be utilising one of the only two historic 34 inch Hewitt camera/telescopes designed by the Radar Research Establishment in Malvern, Worcestershire, and built by Grubb Parsons. The powerful, 8.5 tonne telescope with 24 inch aperture and f1 focal ratio was developed in the late 1950s to monitor the early generation of satellites.
As part of the project the astronomers will also be observing redundant satellites which have reached the end of their operational life. In accordance with international guidelines such satellites are moved 300 km beyond GEO to the Super-GEO satellite belt, a Space “graveyard”. Once there they cannot directly collide with operational satellites in GEO, however the long term motion of these satellites is unknown. Argus 2 aims to better understand the evolution of the debris population to assess the risk posed to satellites critical to the UK that help underpin so much of modern life.
Mike O’Callaghan, Dstl’s Space Programme Manager, said: “Space Situational Awareness is fundamental to protecting the operation and security of Space satellites. As Space becomes more crowded the likelihood of collisions increases. By observing current satellites we can help predict how they may behave in future and design measures to avoid collision. The data gathered with BAS was extremely useful and we look forward to adding a new dimension with the Australians.”
Trevor Gainey from BAS added: “We enjoyed participating in the original Argus 1 project and testing our observational skills. We have more members interested in this follow-on project so are hoping for clear skies.”
TRAC Publicity Officer and Tamworth Regional Council Deputy Mayor, Cr Phil Betts, said the Club was delighted to have the opportunity to assist with this international collaborative project and contribute to the important work being undertaken by Dstl and BAS to help address the risk of possible collisions between satellites.
Cr Betts said TRAC’s involvement in Argus 2, which has the support of the Australian Department of Defence, will see Club members making a valuable contribution to this important field of Space research, utilising equipment ranging from DSLR cameras and amateur telescopes to the Club’s recently restored and upgraded Hewitt Camera.
“The Argus 2 project provides TRAC members with a great opportunity to use their observational skills and equipment for this important research program and may pave the way for similar pro/am and citizen science collaborations in the future, particularly with the Astronomy and Science and Education Centre, Planetarium Theatre and Roll-off Roof Observatory project at Victoria Park in Tamworth set to commence construction this year which will become the Club’s home base,” Cr Betts said.
29 Jan 20. Keysight Delivers Advanced Performance Validation Capabilities for Expanding Satellite Communications Market. New PROPSIM channel emulator verifies radio links critical for aerospace applications.
Keysight Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: KEYS), a leading technology company that helps enterprises, service providers and governments accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world, announced a new PROPSIM channel emulation solution that enables the aerospace industry to efficiently verify radio links critical to satellite communications, earth observation, security surveillance, mapping and navigation.
Keysight’s new channel emulation capabilities address a rapidly expanding satellite market projected to generate more than $2bn by 2030, according to a report published in July 2019 by BIS Research. The solution’s enhanced fading capabilities support advanced performance validation of communication links between radios, radios and satellites, as well as between satellites. Reliable satellite communications links are essential to the transmission of data in applications used by commercial and government organizations. Keysight’s expanded satellite communications portfolio addresses government-sponsored space programs worldwide, which is forecasted by Euroconsult to reach $84.6bn by 2025.
“Keysight’s advanced performance validation solutions enable the aerospace industry to capitalize on opportunities that will help establish commercial success and deliver new technology breakthroughs in space exploration, scientific research and satellite communications,” said Dan Dunn, vice president and general manager for Keysight’s aerospace and defense business.
Satellite communication systems also support 5G new radio (NR) non-terrestrial networks, which help extend rural coverage, support profitable 5G coverage deployments and provide cost-effective mobile wireless backhaul. A growing number of base stations will be satellite-enabled, which will lead to new business models, extend connectivity, and drive growth in both aerospace and commercial communications. Keysight’s channel emulation solutions flexibly support use cases for satellite and terrestrial technologies such as 5G, creating seamless connectivity and end-user experiences.
Keysight’s PROPSIM FS16 and PROPSIM F64 channel emulation solutions enable users to create real-world radio channel conditions including dynamic multipath propagation in a laboratory environment to deliver realistic, advanced and cost-effective performance assessment of satellite and ground networks. These solutions offer radio frequency (RF) performance, which enables users to confidently design, deploy and operate robust communication systems for any aerospace application.
Keysight’s PROPSIM FS16 supports ultra-wide bandwidths and up to 16 radio frequency (RF) channels to flexibly address a wide range of test scenarios in frequencies from 3MHz to mmWave. PROPSIM F64 supports a leading number of fading channels and wide signal bandwidths for Massive MIMO and MESH-network testing. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
28 Jan 20. USAF Plans First Steps for Space Acquisition Reform. A space architecture enterprise summit in mid-February will bring together stakeholders such as the Space Development Agency, Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, and the Space Rapid Capabilities Office to determine how each group fits into the DOD’s new military space vision, according to a top Air Force space adviser.
“The summit will bring together key organizations with architecture responsibilities to define a common lexicon, address architecture roles and responsibilities, and facilitate an integrated national security space architecture,” Shawn Barnes, deputy principal assistant to the secretary of the Air Force for space, said in a statement following a Jan. 24 meeting with reporters.
Barnes also said he expects the Pentagon in the next six months will lay out a single, department-wide plan for fielding and operating a network of space-based missile defense and warning systems.
That goal is one part of an overarching attempt to unify the Defense Department’s various space acquisition organizations and ensure all are pursuing communications, defensive, surveillance, and other technologies that work together and aren’t duplicative.
The Air Force has already started reviewing the work underway at the SDA, SMC, and Space RCO to determine what efforts should stay, what should go, and what can overlap with other programs. A new assistant secretary for space acquisition and integration, the space-focused counterpart to Air Force acquisition boss Will Roper, would oversee that division of responsibility across the three organizations.
SDA Director Derek Tournear has also said his agency’s mission is to oversee DOD-wide space architecture investments across the Pentagon, though that directive could evolve as the agency moves under the Space Force in the next few years and as space acquisition matures.
“There may be areas where we want developmental overlap, competition, or alternative approaches between and among acquisition centers—but we should do this in a purposeful manner,” Barnes, who works in the office of the assistant secretary of the Air Force for space acquisition and integration, said in the statement. “We must avoid inadvertent redundancy in our capability development and we must assure we make [the] best use of our people, our time, and the taxpayers’ dollars.”
The military hasn’t yet announced a nominee for the assistant secretary position. That official would chair a new Space Force Acquisition Council, created in the 2020 defense policy bill enacted last month. Council members also include the undersecretary of the Air Force, an assistant defense secretary for space policy, the National Reconnaissance Office director, the Space Force’s chief of space operations, and the head of US Space Command.
Barnes said he intends to gather the group in February “to review a charter and provide an initial look at an alternative acquisition system for space.” (Source: Defense News Early Bird/airforcemsg.com)
29 Jan 20. US company demonstrates new tech to speed up satellite de-orbiting. That involves releasing a 70-metre length of tape – termed a Terminator Tape – which increases atmospheric drag to speed the de-orbiting process. The company, Tethers Unlimited, said the first of four small satellites currently flying with their experimental de-orbit modules had begun its slow descent last northern autumn fall. It was de-orbiting at a rate 24 times faster than it was before deploying the tape, according to observations from the US Military Space Surveillance Network.
“Instead of remaining in orbit for hundreds or thousands of years, the Prox-1 satellite will fall out of orbit and burn up in the upper atmosphere in under 10 years,” said Tethers Unlimited chief executive Rob Hoyt.
In practice, any satellite in low-Earth orbit out to around 400-500 kilometres will eventually de-orbit of its own accord because of drag from the atmosphere.
The closer in, the faster that occurs. The further out, the longer that can take, with time to orbital decay measured in decades or more.
With low-Earth orbit increasingly crowded, the reconnaissance is that redundant satellites should de-orbit within 25 years, though many in the industry feel it should be sooner.
For the tether test, Prox-1, a 71-kilogram CubeSat built by the Georgia Institute of Technology with funding from the US Air Force Research Laboratory University Nanosatellite Program, was launched on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket into a low-Earth orbit at an altitude of 717 kilometres in June.
It deployed the 70-metre length of conductive tape in September.
Another satellite from the same launch also has a Terminator Tape module, which is set to deploy towards the end of this year.
Tethers Unlimited also has Terminator Tape on two Aerospace Corp CubeSats and is waiting for their mission to conclude before deploying.
“For a typical nanosat/microsat, the Nanosat Terminator Tape should meet the 25-year requirement up to about 850 kilometres,” Hoyt said.
The company believes this can work for CubeSats in orbits as high as 1,100-kilometres. The tape can be made longer and wider for larger satellites.
As well, Terminator Tapes could potentially be attached to other defunct satellites using the LEO Knight servicer the company is developing but is still three to four years from completion.
This could eventually be a viable business if the price satellite operators are willing to pay right. That would appear to be in excess of US$100,000 per satellite.
Tethers Unlimited has another Terminator Tape demonstration mission to be launched on a Rocket Lab Electron later this year, which will feature two identical satellites in identical orbits, one with the Terminator Tape so that orbital degradation can be measured precisely. (Source: Space Connect)
27 Jan 20. Want to work for Space Force? Civilian positions are now hiring. Federal employees looking to be the first civilians hired to work for the newly minted Space Force have a narrow window of opportunity.
Federal employees interested in working for the military’s newest, space-focused branch now have opportunities to do so, as the Air Force posted several civilian positions on the federal hiring website to draw talent specifically for the Space Force headquarters.
The positions all start at GS-12 and above, and are not open to the public, meaning that the Air force plans to hire current and former feds, military veterans and family members of feds or military members serving overseas. Some of the positions are reserved for current federal employees working for the Air Force.
Feds with program analyst expertise that wish to work for the Space Force are especially in luck, as 13 of the open positions call for program analysts to help set operational priorities for the new force. Human resource specialists are the next most sought after position to plan for future hiring, training and workforce management.
The Air Force is also targeting a short turnaround for these positions, as many close less than two weeks after posting. Interested feds will have to submit materials by the end of the month for a majority of the positions listed. Employees will also have to obtain and maintain secret or top secret clearance for most positions. (Source: Defense News/Federal Times)
29 Jan 20. Strategic analyst calls for ADF to establish Aussie space command. The Australian Defence Force needs a “space command” within the RAAF in which space operations, doctrine and capability development are managed by a group of space professionals, says Australian Strategic Policy Institute senior analyst Malcolm Davis.
Dr Davis stopped short of suggesting Australia needed its own space force, similar to that recently formed by the US.
But Australia should seize the potential offered by the US space force development to inform Australia’s defence policy future thinking on how to organise, train and sustain for space.
“Ideally, we need to reorganise Defence in a manner that recognises that space is an operational domain in its own right, just like air, sea, land and cyber. It’s not merely an enabling adjunct,” he wrote in the Canberra Times.
“Does that mean Australia needs its own space force? Certainly, the ADF needs a ‘space command’ within the RAAF in which space operations, doctrine and capability development are managed by a cadre of space professionals.
“Defence also needs an unclassified space strategy that informs those functions in an accountable way. These would be good steps to formally embrace in the next defence white paper.”
Dr Davis said there had been great interest in the creation of the United States Space Force by the Trump administration, and this raised new opportunities for Australia to push forward its own space capabilities to pursue tighter cooperation and integration with US and other Five Eyes partners in space.
He said the idea of a space force has promoted both informed policy debate and a good deal of amusement over more trivial matters, such as their uniforms and logo.
It had also produced much hand-wringing on social media over the militarisation of space.
“But the reality is that space has never been a sanctuary that sits untouched above geopolitical rivalry and has always had a military role since the 1960s,” he said.
“The US Space Force is a logical outcome of the need to ensure continued access to space. Australia recognises that space is vital to our military and, more broadly, our prosperity and the efficient functioning of our society.
“So, we need to observe US developments closely and seek to embrace opportunities for closer collaboration with the US and other partners in space.”
Dr Davis said most Australian military capabilities wouldn’t function without access to space.
GPS satellites provide essential positioning, navigation and timing functions for command and control and weapons guidance. The ADF relies heavily on satellite communications, and without access to US surveillance satellites, it couldn’t plan or carry out operational missions or deliver accurate mapping services.
“Put simply, without space capability, the ADF would be deaf, dumb and blind, unable to coordinate and control its operations, or understand the operational environment,” he said.
“The end result would be far higher potential risk of casualties and, ultimately, defeat in war. It would be a weaker, less effective military.”
Dr Davis said Australia’s space industry could directly support Defence’s space requirements, through local development of small satellites for defence purposes and to build the capability to launch those Australian satellites on Australian launch vehicles from Australian launch sites.
“Rather than depend on a small number of complex and expensive US satellites to support the ADF, the objective should be to build a degree of space sovereignty for Australia for the future,” he said.
“Locally developed satellites can augment US space capabilities to provide additional space capability to both the US military and the ADF.” (Source: Defence Connect)
28 Jan 20. Satellite Management Affecting Orbit Design. The need for more communication infrastructure leads to more and more satellites roaming around the earth in a rather uncoordinated manner. “The number of satellites is growing exponentially and, with it, the risk of collision. To this we have to add the increase in debris that orbits without control,” Ignacio Mataix, Managing Director of Transportation and Defence at Indra, said during the 12th European Space Conference in Brussels. He highlighted that “Europe must position itself at the forefront in space traffic management capabilities and achieve full operational autonomy in this domain.” To achieve this, he pointed out that Europe must rely on organizations and companies that have been working in civil air traffic for decades and have developed Europe’s world-class air management model.
Mataix identified four main areas, in which the EU must develop strong capabilities: 1) Advanced sensors with which to improve monitoring capabilities, to offer performance in terms of coverage, accuracy and the speed required. “The EU needs new sensors that can track the movements of smaller objects and, for this, adequate investment, both domestically and at the European level, is required.
2) An open architecture data repository of the Space Traffic Management System and a marketplace that facilitates other actors to access and share data. Mataix said that “the more cooperation in terms of quantity, quality and diversity of data, the better space traffic management system we will have” and indicated that “an open repository like this could quickly surpass the American US SATCAT as the preferred system for operators”.
3) Spatial Traffic Management services capable of predicting the movements of objects in space more precisely. To do this, Mataix said it is necessary to devote resources to research, since current models do not factor in the effect of aspects such as solar radiation or internal movements and dynamics of the object itself in orbit. In addition, according to Mataix, Europe must have its own evasion system, which would allow a satellite to automatically analyze the risk and probability of collision in order to avoid it.
4) Reinforced cybersecurity, which prevents the risk of attack on the traffic surveillance and management infrastructure (Space Situational Awareness/Space Traffic Management, SSA/STM) and satellites.
As for the roadmap to follow to achieve these objectives, Mataix said that the development of these technologies is closely linked to the operational concept that is defined, a decision that is still pending but must be taken at the political level.
In this regard, he recalled that “we are not solving today’s problems, but anticipating those of the future” and indicated that, unlike air traffic control, space traffic management will not only affect the operation, but also “the orbit design, the constellations of satellites and the space systems themselves, whether satellites or ground systems.” (Source: ESD Spotlight)
20 Jan 20. Strategic Partnership Formed Between HawkEye 360 and Airbus. HawkEye 360 Inc. has formed a strategic partnership with Airbus and, through this partnership, the companies will deliver high-impact, geospatial intelligence solutions not currently available — both companies can leverage the platforms and services of the other partner to address client mission needs.
This partnership enables HawkEye 360 and Airbus to fuse complementary data sets to maximize value to customers. Airbus will distribute HawkEye 360’s RF data and analytics across Europe to augment its maritime, defense, and intelligence products. HawkEye 360 will offer Airbus’ earth observation optical and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) products jointly with its RF solutions to serve defense and intelligence customers.
Airbus was among the investors who participated in HawkEye 360’s $70m Series B funding in August 2019. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) provided approval for Airbus to close its investment transaction Jan. 8. The Series B funding enables HawkEye 360 to build and launch the full commercial satellite constellation and develop a full line of RF analytic products.
John Serafini, CEO, HawkEye 360, said Airbus is an exceptional partner and investor as the company develops and delivers the firm’s vision for the future of space-based RF data and analytics. Together with Airbus, HawkEye 360 will be able to build sophisticated products and services that intelligently leverage a more comprehensive range of data than previously commercially available.
François Lombard, Director of the Intelligence Business for Airbus Defence and Space, noted that HawkEye 360 is a pioneer in space-based RF data and analytics and an ideal partner in the company’s mission to improve global situational awareness for our defense, security, and civil customers.
Alex Fox, EVP of Business Development, Sales and Marketing, HawkEye 360, added that the world’s first EO, SAR, and RF commercial constellation offers unique capabilities, such as a tip-and-cueing Multi-INT system for unprecedented global situational awareness. Integrating these analytics will provide customers valuable insights to execute more informed decisions. (Source: Satnews)
21 Jan 20. RUAG Space Amps Up Eutelsat’s KONNECT Satellite for a New Gen of All-Electric Satellites. The successful launch of Eutelsat’s KONNECT satellite was the result of many companies contributing their expertise. One of those companies was RUAG Space which produced mechanisms that point the satellite’s electrical propulsion, which is a key element of this new type of all-electric satellite. The KONNECT satellite will provide broadband internet services to Africa.
The all-electric Eutelsat KONNECT spacecraft is the first satellite built on the new Spacebus Neo platform from Thales Alenia Space, and these electric engines consume significantly less fuel than chemical engines. The electric propulsion is necessary to bring the satellite exactly into its position and to maintain this position over the lifetime of several years. In total RUAG Space developed and produced 12 mechanisms at its site in Vienna, Austria.
Peter Guggenbach, Executive Vice President RUAG Space. said that to have designed and produced such a complex mechanism in a very short time frame is an extraordinary technical achievement. Their mechanisms are a key element of this new type of all-electric satellite.
The EPPM is able to accommodate and point 5 kW plasma thrusters with its associated electrical harness and propellant feed lines. It was carefully designed to minimize mass, isolate the thruster mechanical launch loads, manage orbital temperature extremes and deliver exact pointing accuracy over a 15-year service lifetime. For the Eutelsat satellite RUAG Space also delivered the central tube, the “backbone” of the satellite, and slip rings.
The new Spacebus Neo product line is developed in the frame of ESA’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) program, in cooperation with space agencies from ESA Member States, and managed jointly by ESA and the French space agency CNES. The Neosat program comprises both Spacebus Neo by Thales Alenia Space and Eurostar Neo by Airbus Defence and Space, and includes development up to in-orbit validation of the new satellite product lines for both companies, allowing European industry to deliver competitive satellites for the commercial satellite market. Additionally, the payload fairing and the onboard computer for the Ariane 5 rocket was produced by RUAG Space. (Source: Satnews)
19 Jan 20. USAF’s 2nd Space Ops Sets Satellite Vehicle Number 74 as Healthy and Active. Setting SVN-74 healthy and active means the satellite will be available for use by military and civilian GPS users around the world as part of the constellation currently maintained by the squadron. This makes the satellite the first iteration in the GPS III family to join the active constellation following its launch December 23, 2018.
Captain Ryan Thompson, 2nd SOPS assistant director of sustainment, said various training modules and upgrades were instrumental in making the satellite operational.
“In order to operate GPS III, we first had to install Architecture Evolution Plan 8.0,” he said. “This allowed our squadron to control the new satellite without a next generation operational control system. The 2nd SOPS training and evaluations flight was able to expeditiously give our operators top-up training that allowed them to become comfortable with the new satellite.”
The GPS III vehicle family provides new capabilities vital to ensuring the fidelity of the constellation and signal in the contested, degraded and operationally limited environments.
According to the Lockheed-Martin press release, GPS III satellites have three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities than their predecessors, and a design life extending 25 percent longer than the newest GPS satellites on-orbit today.
GPS III’s new civil signal will also make it the first GPS satellite to broadcast a compatible signal with other international global navigation satellite systems, like Galileo, improving connectivity for civilian users.
2nd SOPS is already preparing for the second GPS Block III vehicle in orbit, awaiting its day to become healthy and active.
“There are vehicles currently projected to be put into the constellation and then following this there will be the Block III-F follow-on vehicles,” said Capt. Kaoru Elliot, 2nd SOPS assistant director of operations. “With those vehicles in place, all of those capabilities will come into the next decade.”
A third vehicle for GPS III is scheduled for launch later this year.
“It [GPS Block III vehicle two] is being managed currently by Lockheed-Martin,” Elliott said. “They are the ones actually getting the satellites up there and once it is up in orbit, they make sure everything is good before handing it over to us.” (Source: Satnews)
20 Jan 20. Iran Says Getting Ready for Satellite Launch. Iran announced Sunday that two newly constructed satellites have passed pre-launch tests and will be transported to the nation’s space center for eventual launch. Iran’s state-run media reported the 90-kilogram (200-pound) Zafar satellites each have four high-resolution color cameras and will monitor and transmit data on natural resources as well as agricultural and environmental developments. Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi described the event in a tweet as an “important research step.”
Iran said its satellite program, like its nuclear activities, is aimed at scientific research and other civilian applications, according to the Associated Press (AP). Iran made two failed attempts to launch satellites into orbit in January and February last year. A rocket exploded inside the Imam Khomeini Space Center in August during what officials later said was a test-launch. Iranian officials did not acknowledge the mishap until satellite imagery showed the explosion, which officials blamed on a technical malfunction. Meanwhile, AP reported a separate incident, as fire killed three researchers at the space center, which is some 240 kilometers (150 miles) southeast of the capital, Tehran. (Source: Satnews)
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