Sponsored By Viasat
06 Nov 19. Viasat’s Multi-Mission Terminal Begins UK Skynet Satellite Communications Assurance and Certification Process. Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, announced today its Multi-Mission Terminal (MMT), the AN/TSC-241, has started the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) Skynet satellite communications (SATCOM) architecture assurance and certification process, which will authorize the terminal’s operation on the Skynet X-band system as well as other government and commercial networks. Viasat expects to complete the certification process during December 2019.
Viasat’s MMT, being a tri-band, multi-network software-defined solution, delivers high-quality IP-based voice, video and data networking across multiple networks in both highly contested and benign environments around the world. Using a portable terminal design, the MMT is an ideal networking solution for forward operating bases, as it enables users to securely access networks and establish command post communications quickly and easily. During the 2018 multinational Saber Strike exercise, which trained U.S., NATO and coalition forces on security and threat preparedness, field personnel were able to use the MMT’s integrated smartphone app to easily establish communications with minimal training. Other field-proven performance advantages of the MMT included:
- Enhanced connectivity with a small footprint: Viasat’s MMT provided forces with enhanced satellite connectivity with a very small logistical footprint. This enabled robust data to be sent to Beyond Line of Sight units, significantly enhancing situational awareness across the battlespace.
- Resilient, high-quality performance on multiple networks: The MMT, which incorporates Viasat’s CBM-400 software-defined modem capable of TDMA/FDMA, over X-, mil-Ka-, Ku- and commercial Ka-band networks, produced robust throughput on high-capacity Ka-band networks. In addition, Viasat’s MMT, through a simple waveform switch to Viasat’s ArcLight waveform, also demonstrated proven satellite connectivity in the Ku-band with enhanced upload and download performance when compared to other legacy systems.
- Added flexibility: One of Viasat’s MMTs operated entirely on standard military-use batteries during the Saber Strike exercise, demonstrating its logistical flexibility in an austere environment.
- Ease of use: Viasat’s MMT was set up three separate times over the course of the 22-hour maneuver, demonstrating its portability and ease of use for U.S. and international coalition forces. When compared to other systems, the Saber Strike report noted improved ease of set-up/tear-down of the MMT, which can be done in 15 minutes or less.
“By certifying Viasat’s MMT on the Skynet architecture, the UK MoD will be able to maintain the operational and information advantage needed in today’s escalating threat environment,” said Ken Peterman, president, Government Systems, Viasat. “The MMT will provide the UK MoD with easy access to secure, resilient, high-speed, multi-orbit, multi-frequency band and multi-network SATCOM architectures, which will deliver the advanced connectivity needed to integrate into the battle-network of the future.”
The MMT is designed to switch between both government and private sector assured, resilient, integrated networks (ARIN). In addition, the MMT’s CBM-400 software-defined modem will allow customers to switch between multiple waveforms as well as multiple networks and upgrade to Viasat’s next-generation Ka-band network. The CBM-400 is also the first software-defined, multi-waveform, certified modem available to U.S. and coalition military organizations.
“This software-defined, tri-band, multi-network terminal further exemplifies Viasat’s ability to rapidly deliver cutting-edge technologies suited for MoD and coalition forces’ unique mission requirements,” said Steve Beeching, managing director, Government Systems, Viasat UK. “The MMT builds on our ability to deliver ARIN and the information connectivity needed to power the battle-network of the future. We want the ability for our customer to better connect their forces across today’s rapidly evolving battlespace with the aim to help weaponize information.”
27 Feb 20. U.S. Will Not Let China, Russia Deny Its Space. Space systems underpin virtually every weapon system in the Defense Department’s arsenal, a senior DOD official told Congress.
But many systems were designed for an era when there were few threats in space, Dr. James H. Anderson, performing the duties of deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, said today at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces subcommittee. This is not the case today, he added, as China and Russia both seek to be able to deny the United States and its allies the advantages of space.
China and Russia are developing sophisticated on-orbit capabilities and an array of counter-space weapons capable of targeting nearly every class of U.S. space asset, Anderson told the House panel. They are expanding their space capabilities, he said, and have created military space forces that they are training and equipping to prevail in future crises and conflicts.
The United States is responding by “transforming its space enterprise, fielding resilient architectures, developing space warfighting expertise and working closely with allies in combined operations,” he said.
The fiscal year 2021 defense budget request provides $18bn for space programs, including $111m to support stand-up of the U.S. Space Force, Anderson said. It also provides funding for the new space combatant command — U.S. Space Command — and the Space Development Agency, which will accelerate the development and fielding of military space capabilities necessary to ensure U.S. and allied technological and military advantages.
In his written testimony, Anderson said the United States is actively pursuing opportunities with allies and partners to build combined space operations and interoperable, or even integrated, architecture. The flagship of this integration is the Combined Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, with embedded British, Canadian and Australian exchange personnel working side by side with U.S. personnel.
“We have recently added Germany and France to the Combined Space Operations initiative,” he noted.
Space Force Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, chief of space operations, also testified.
“We can no longer assume that our space superiority is a given,” he said. “If deterrence fails, we must be ready to fight for space superiority.”
U.S. Space Command, along with the Space Force will deter aggression from conflict and do so from a position of strength, the general said. “Accordingly,” he added, “we will remain ready to defend U.S. and allied freedom of action in space. We will deliver space combat power for the joint and coalition force and we’re going to develop joint warfighters to serve in, to and from the space domain.” (Source: US DoD)
26 Feb 20. New GPS Sats Can Maneuver & Resist Jamming. “NTS-3 is all about getting the data to the warfighter fast,” says Bill Gattle, president of L3Harris Space Systems. Not only will the Space Force’s new positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) constellation, called NTS-3, provide jam-resistant capabilities to troops on the battlefield, the satellites will be able to rapidly redeploy to provide coverage where it’s most needed, says Bill Gattle, president of L3Harris Space Systems. “NTS-3 is all about getting the data to the warfighter fast,” he told me in a phone interview today.
NTS-3, being built by L3Harris under an $84m contract, is one of the leap-ahead technology programs called Vanguards managed by Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). It is designed “to fill the gap” in current Global Positioning System satellites (GPS III) capability by rapidly bringing online the long-delayed, anti-jam M-Code for military users, he explained. It should launch in 2023.
Currently, full M-Code accessibility won’t be available until the follow-on GPS IIIF satellites, being built by prime contractor Lockheed Martin with L3Harris’s navigation payload, are launched around 2025.
“M-Code was first talked about in the mid-90s. It actually started development in the mid-90s,” Gattle said. “You’re talking 25 years, and we still don’t have it.”
The Space Force has asked Congress in its 2021 unfunded priorities list for an extra $30m to accelerate payload development; the budget request only includes $4.4m.
The new constellation will comprise a minimum of four — perhaps up to eight — satellites in Geosynchronous Orbit (GEO, some 36,000 kilometers in altitude) rather than in the Medium Earth Orbit (around 20,000 kilometers) where other GPS satellites orbit, Gattle said. Using GEO allows regional coverage with fewer satellites; the current GPS systems needs a minimum of 24 satellites to provide a global signal.
Moreover, the flying saucer-shaped satellites are small, and thus can be launched rapidly and cheaply, he said. The design is based on the so-called Espa rings used by SpaceX on its Falcon 9 to launch multiple satellites at once.
“It would not be hard to launch four to eight on a [single] rocket,” Gattle said. “It saves money and time.”
While the highly maneuverable birds can shift their coverage from one regional hot spot to another, they need to start somewhere. At the moment, Gattle said, AFRL hasn’t chosen which region the satellites will be initially deployed over — although he noted it is likely to be either the Indo-Pacific or Centcom’s areas.
In addition to being maneuverable, the navigational payload is fully digital — unlike current GPS satellites — so software can be upgraded as new capabilities are developed. This, Gattle said, will allow the satellites to keep pace with the threat.
Digitizing the Mission Data Unit (MDU) at the heart of the NTS-3 navigation payload provides the ability to change the satellite’s frequency to avoid jamming, he explained, and to increase power to blast the navigation signal through the white noise a jamming system creates.
“NTS-3 will experiment with a new digital signal generator that can be reprogrammed on-orbit, enabling it to broadcast new signals, improve performance by avoiding and defeating interference, and adding signatures for detecting spoofing attacks,” according to an AFRL fact sheet.
NTS-3 is the first “major DoD SatNav developmental program for experimentation since” 1977. NTS-1 was developed by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and launched in 1974 with two experimental technologies that helped improve the precision of GPS. NTS-2 launched in 1977.
Braxton Technologies, of Colorado Springs, was picked in June 2017 to build ground stations for NTS-3 to allow testing of the satellite and the ground stations at the same time.
Interestingly, L3Harris has built the navigation system for every GPS satellite launched, and will do so for all 32 of the new versions currently planned. It also is moving toward digitizing the GPS navigation systems
The current GPS III satellites have an MDU that is 70 percent digital, according to the company’s website. There will be 10 GPS III satellites built; L3Harris has delivered the navigation payloads to Lockheed Martin for eight.
Two GPS III satellites are already on orbit, Gattle said, and a third is slated for launch in April.
Another two are slated for launch between April and early 2021. In addition, the Space Force’s unfunded priorities list for 2021 has asked Congress for another $255m to speed the launch of the sixth and seventh GPS birds.
L3Harris also announced on Feb. 11 that it has passed Critical Design Review for a fully digital MDU for integration with the follow-on GPS IIIF satellites. L3Harris is under a $243m contract with Lockheed Martin to provide the navigation systems for the first two of 22 planned GPS IIIF satellites. The Space Force’s 2021 budget request also asked for $628m to begin procurement of two GPS IIIF satellites. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Breaking Defense)
27 Feb 20. Iridium Certus® 700 Upgrade Brings the Fastest L-band Speeds to the Industry. Existing Iridium Certus™ terminals are being upgraded to industry-leading speeds through a simple firmware update. Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM) announced today that the Iridium Certus 700 service is commercially available and is providing the fastest L-band speeds in the industry. When first launched in early 2019, Iridium Certus provided L-band upload and download speeds of up to 352 kbps. With the upgrade to Iridium Certus 700, provided at no additional cost to Iridium Certus 350 subscribers, top download speeds have now doubled to up to 704 kbps. That is more than 270 kbps faster than the top download speed of the closest competitive L-band solution, for the same price per kilobit as Iridium Certus 350.
Unique in the satellite industry, Iridium Certus is the only broadband service that provides truly global, weather-resilient coverage for on-the-move internet and high-quality voice access. Delivered through small form factor, cost-effective antennas and terminals currently available from Cobham and Thales, Iridium Certus has seen growing adoption by the maritime and land-mobile/connected vehicle markets.
Truly global maritime communications have never been faster, thanks to the Iridium Certus 700 service. Delivered through the Cobham SAILOR 4300 and VesseLINK by Thales satellite terminals, Iridium Certus serves as either a primary ship communications solutions or as a VSAT companion service. Regardless of a vessel’s location at sea, Iridium Certus 700 delivers high-speed L-band connectivity, enhancing ship business applications, IoT services and connected ship communications. Crew members on board vessels equipped with Iridium Certus terminals can also enjoy faster web surfing and reliable use of smartphone applications such as WhatsApp or WeChat, even in poor weather.
For the vehicular and land-mobile market, MissionLINK by Thales has been providing railways, first responders, governments and NGOs with comms-on-the-move connectivity regardless of their geography. While enabling capabilities like positive train control and mobile-office functionality, including internet, email and voice calls, the MissionLINK terminal can also switch from satellite to cellular connectivity as needed to help manage costs. In addition, the faster speeds available can enhance applications such as telemedicine for remote aid workers, command and control or situational awareness updates for militaries, and remote database access or video monitoring for first responders and police. Governments and enterprises can also take advantage of the enhanced speeds for business and operational continuity efforts, ensuring they maintain communications when terrestrial connectivity is unavailable.
“There is nothing on the market today that matches the quality, reliability, speed and global coverage Iridium Certus delivers, and the Iridium Certus 700 upgrade clearly demonstrates this,” said Bryan Hartin, executive vice president, Iridium. “Iridium Certus is now the standard when it comes to providing primary maritime or VSAT companion service, and a reliable weather-resilient broadband solution for mobile applications supporting railways, first responders, and any industry regularly working beyond the reach of terrestrial coverage.”
With Iridium Certus 700, no new hardware is required for existing users, and the upgrade process is simple. Current subscribers can take advantage of a simple firmware update rolled out through their service provider, while all new terminals will already have Iridium Certus 700 activated.
“Iridium Certus continues to gain momentum, and we continue to deliver on our promises by providing the fastest L-band speeds in the industry,” said Matt Desch, CEO, Iridium. “As we see this increasing adoption, we also look ahead to our coming Iridium Certus midband class of devices currently in development, which opens the door to enhanced capabilities for autonomous systems, remote sensors and a new generation of satellite-powered personal communicators.”
Iridium Certus is the company’s new technology platform that offers the flexibility to scale device speeds, sizes and power requirements both up and down based on the needs of the end-user. Made possible by the upgraded Iridium satellite constellation, the Iridium Certus service goes beyond serving solely as a connectivity solution. It provides a platform for the company’s partners to develop specialized broadband, midband and narrowband applications made possible by Iridium’s crosslinked L-band network. (Source: PR Newswire)
27 Feb 20. OmegA on track to support certification launch in 2021. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) successfully conducted a full-scale static fire test of the second stage of its OmegA rocket today in Promontory, Utah. Developed to support the U.S. Space Force’s National Security Space Launch program, the OmegA Launch System remains on track for its first certification flight in spring 2021.
During today’s test, the second stage motor fired for full-duration, approximately 140 seconds, burning nearly 340,000 pounds of solid propellant to produce upwards of 785,000 pounds of thrust. The test verified the motor’s ballistics and thermal performance as well as steering control and performance in a cold-conditioned environment. The test team collected more than 500 channels of data to aid in verifying the motor.
“Northrop Grumman designed OmegA to use the most reliable propulsion available to ensure exceptional mission assurance for our customers,” said Charlie Precourt, vice president, propulsion systems, Northrop Grumman. “Today’s firing is a significant accomplishment that demonstrates a domestic solution for the RD-180 rocket engine replacement.”
In October 2018, the U.S. Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a $792m Launch Services Agreement to complete detailed design and verification of the OmegA space launch vehicle and launch sites. Today’s cold test, in conjunction with the successful hot static fire in May 2019, subjected OmegA’s motors to the most extreme propellant temperatures the rocket will experience during storage, transport, stacking and launch.
Northrop Grumman has leveraged its flight proven technologies and extensive experience launching critical payloads in the development of the OmegA launch system. The rocket was designed to accommodate national security payloads while also serving the civil and commercial markets.
In preparation for OmegA’s inaugural flight, Northrop Grumman now occupies High Bay 2 as the first commercial tenant in NASA’s historic Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center. Construction crews are currently modifying Mobile Launch Platform-3 to serve as OmegA’s assembly and launch platform at Pad 39B.
Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.
26 Feb 20. Is this the beginning of on orbit satellite servicing? A Northrop Grumman space vehicle successfully docked with a commercial satellite communications satellite Feb. 25, marking the first time two commercial satellites have docked on orbit, the company announced Feb. 26. SpaceLogistics LLC, a Northrop Grumman subsidiary, plans to use its Mission Extension Vehicle-1 to provide life extension services to Intelsat 901, a communications satellite. The docking is the first iteration of the company’s new satellite life-extension service.
The Pentagon is interested in exploring the company’s new services. The Space and Missile Systems Center awarded SpaceLogistics a contract through the Space Enterprise Consortium in July to study the possibility of servicing four national security satellites on orbit.
“Our Mission Extension Vehicle provides an innovative, satellite life extension service,” said Tom Wilson, president, SpaceLogistics LLC. “Together, Northrop Grumman, SpaceLogistics LLC and Intelsat have taken the first step in pioneering in-space logistics services for both commercial and government customers.”
A satellite’s lifespan is limited by the amount of fuel is has. Without fuel, the satellite loses the ability to maneuver, either to stay in its correct orbit or to move to a new one. Even if the on board components remain functional, without fuel the satellite is destined for the graveyard. SpaceLogistics wants to solve this problem by essentially delivering more fuel to the satellite on orbit. Once launched, their mission extension vehicle can sidle up to a low on fuel satellite, dock with it, and then use its own fuel and propulsion systems to transport the client satellite.
Following its launch on Oct. 9, MEV-1 raised its orbit to about 180 miles above geosynchronous orbit. In December, Intelsat temporarily removed its satellite from service and raised its orbit to match MEV-1. The docking itself took place at 2:15 a.m. ET Feb. 25.
Now, the docked spacecraft will perform on orbit checkouts before MEV-1 relocated Intelsat 901 to its orbit, where it will resume service in March. MEV-1 will provide life extension services to Intelsat 901 for five years before transporting the communications to its final decommissioning orbit. MEV-1, however, will then move on to another satellite to provide similar services. The company claims their spacecraft can perform multiple docking and undocking maneuvers over its 15 year life span.
“Intelsat has been at the forefront of innovation and game-changing new space technology for decades. Pushing the boundaries of what’s possible is in our DNA here – that’s why we didn’t hesitate to sign up to be MEV-1’s first customer,” said Mike DeMarco, executive vice president and chief services officer at Intelsat. “We’re proud to make history with SpaceLogistics LLC and Northrop Grumman on this groundbreaking space milestone.”
SpaceLogistics has plans to expand its on orbit servicing offerings in the coming years. The company says it expects to establish a fleet of satellite servicing vehicles with even more advanced capabilities than MEV-1. Services will include inclination changes, spacecraft inspections, on orbit repairs and assembly. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
27 Feb 20. Leonardo Australia collaborates with SmartSat CRC to boost Aussie space sector. Leonardo Australia and the Adelaide-based SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre have announced that Leonardo Australia has joined the SmartSat CRC as a supporting participant.
Joining SmartSat CRC, the participants agree to team-up according to each member’s expertise and interest in a variety of projects. Leonardo Australia’s involvement in SmartSat CRC means added investment by the industry and added transfer of proven technologies to Australia to jointly raise the global space technology to unparalleled levels.
Michael Lenton, chairman of Leonardo Australia, welcomed the announcement, stating, “As an Australian, I am totally committed to growing our company into a valuable local industrial asset contributing in knowledge and employment. The SmartSat CRC is a powerful vehicle for helping position Australian industry and the Australian Space Agency in the centre of the global space scenario. Leonardo is proud to be part of it.”
The announcement came during the 9th Australian Space Forum in Adelaide, with the attendance of the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the ambassador of Italy Francesca Tardioli and the president of the Italian Space Agency Giorgio Saccoccia.
SmartSat CRC general manager Andy Koronios welcomed Leonardo’s partnership, stating that the pooling of global space technologies, knowledge and investment will produce results far quicker and leap frog understanding and applications in infinite areas.
Leonardo Australia is establishing an industrial presence in Adelaide and, as a first step, it will be supporting Leonardo’s geospatial imagery company e-GEOS (a joint venture between Telespazio and the Italian Space Agency) in its contribution of funds and know-how to the SmartSat CRC.
Bruno Versini, e-GEOS chief operating officer, said, “e-GEOS will bring its ‘out of the box’ thinking in satellite radar and hyperspectral imagery to the infinite fields of application in Australian society – maritime surveillance, mining, better agriculture even environmental monitoring as a critical element of bushfire prevention and damage assessment.”
SmartSat CRC is a consortium of universities and other research organisations, partnered with industry, that has been funded by the Australian government to develop know-how and technologies in advanced satellite telecommunications and IoT connectivity, intelligent satellite systems and Earth observation next-generation data services aiming to develop intellectual property and a specialist industry expertise that will spawn new businesses, create export economic value and generate new high-tech jobs for all Australians. (Source: Space Connect)
26 Feb 20. Musk’s SpaceX rocket production facility approved by Port of Los Angeles. SpaceX, the private rocket company of high tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, won final approval on Tuesday to build a research and manufacturing plant for its deep-space Starship project on a tract of vacant land at the Port of Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles City Council granted a permit for the facility by a unanimous 12-0 vote, paving the way for Musk, also the founder of Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) electric car company, to proceed with an accelerated development of a new spacecraft and rocket system designed to carry humans to the moon and Mars.
The L.A. Board of Harbor Commissioners gave its go-ahead to the 10-year permit last week.
“It’s crazy that here we are in 2020 preparing ourselves to send people to Mars, and it’s going to happen in our backyard,” Councilman Joe Buscaino, whose district includes the port, said before Tuesday’s vote. “We are becoming a spaceport.”
Operations at the facility will actually be confined to research, design and fabrication of aerospace components. Space vehicles built there are not permitted for launch but will be transported out of the port complex by barge or ship.
The council action clears the way for SpaceX to begin leasing 12.5 acres (5 hectares) of property on Terminal Island for its Starship plant at a starting rent of $1.7m a year, with an option to expand its site to 19 acres.
The company, formally known as Space Exploration Technologies, has an option to terminate the permit within 180 days.
SpaceX secured a similar permit two years ago, but canceled it and moved its initial phase of the Starship project to Texas, where the company has developed and tested an early prototype dubbed Starhopper.
The Los Angeles Port site will bring further Starship development closer to SpaceX’s headquarters in the L.A. suburb of Hawthorne, where it has manufactured its workhorse Falcon 9 rockets and Dragon crew capsules.
The future facility, which may incorporate renovations to abandoned warehouse and workshop structures on the site, is expected to provide 130 new jobs, according to Musk.
As designed, the Starship itself is actually the top half of a colossal interplanetary rocket system that will stand 387 feet (118 meters) tall and be capable of ferrying dozens of humans to the moon and Mars in a single launch. Musk has said that he hopes the Starship will be ready for its first orbital test flight later this year. (Source: Reuters)
26 Feb 20. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) and the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, SpaceLogistics LLC, have successfully completed the first docking of the Mission Extension Vehicle-1 (MEV-1) to the Intelsat 901 (IS-901) spacecraft in order to provide life-extension services. This historic accomplishment marks the first time two commercial satellites have docked in orbit and the first time that mission extension services will be offered to a satellite in geosynchronous orbit.
MEV-1, launched Oct. 9, 2019, recently completed its orbit raising to an orbit approximately 180 miles above geosynchronous orbit. IS-901 is a fully operational communication satellite that is running low on fuel. Intelsat (NYSE: I) removed 901 from service in December 2019, transferring customers to other satellites in its extensive fleet, in order to raise its orbit to the same altitude as MEV-1 in preparation for docking. MEV-1 then completed the historic docking with IS-901 on February 25 at 2:15 a.m. ET. The combined spacecraft stack will now perform on-orbit checkouts before MEV-1 begins relocating the combined vehicle to return IS-901 into service in late March.
“Our Mission Extension Vehicle provides an innovative, satellite life extension service,” said Tom Wilson, president, SpaceLogistics LLC. “Together, Northrop Grumman, SpaceLogistics LLC and Intelsat have taken the first step in pioneering in-space logistics services for both commercial and government customers.”
“Intelsat has been at the forefront of innovation and game-changing space technology for decades. Pushing the boundaries of what’s possible is in our DNA here – that’s why we didn’t hesitate to sign up to be MEV-1’s first customer,” said Mike DeMarco, executive vice president and chief services officer at Intelsat. “We’re proud to make history with SpaceLogistics LLC and Northrop Grumman on this groundbreaking space milestone.”
Under the terms of the contract with Intelsat, MEV-1 will provide five years of life extension services to the IS-901 satellite before returning the spacecraft to a final decommissioning orbit. MEV-1 will then move on to provide mission extension services to a new client spacecraft.
MEV-1 was designed and built at the Northrop Grumman’s Dulles, Virginia, facility and utilizes a low-risk mechanical docking system that attaches to existing features on the client satellite. Once docked, MEV takes over the attitude and orbit maintenance of the combined vehicle stack to meet the pointing and station keeping requirements of the customer. MEV is designed for multiple docking and undockings and can deliver over 15 years of life extension services. The company is scheduled to launch its second Mission Extension Vehicle, MEV-2, later this year, which is contracted to provide service to a different Intelsat satellite.
This life extension service is just the first step in an expansive technology development plan. The company’s vision is to establish a fleet of satellite servicing vehicles that not only extend the life of satellites, but provide other services such as inclination changes and spacecraft inspections, as well as use advanced robotics technology to perform additional functions such as in-orbit repair and assembly.
As the foundational architects of satellite technology, Intelsat operates the world’s largest and most advanced satellite fleet and connectivity infrastructure. We apply our unparalleled expertise and global scale to connect people, businesses and communities, no matter how difficult the challenge. Intelsat is uniquely positioned to help our customers turn possibilities into reality – transformation happens when businesses, governments and communities use Intelsat’s next-generation global network and managed services to build their connected future.
25 Feb 20. State Dept. Seeks Space Industry Participation in a Series of Domestic and International Events – (85 Fed. Reg. 10808) – Following up on the success of the Space Enterprise Summit in June 2019, the U.S. Department of State seeks commercial space industry participation in a series of domestic and international events promoting space commerce as well as best practices for safety, sustainability, and emerging markets in outer space. These events and industry participation are in line with the President’s Space Policy Directive-2 regarding Streamlining Regulations on Commercial Use of Space and Space Policy Directive-3 concerning National Space Traffic Management Policy. Participants will be invited to one or more workshops, meetings, symposia, and other such events related to safety, sustainability, and emerging markets in outer space between February 25, 2020, and December 31, 2020. Attendance information, including addresses, will be posted on https://www.state.gov/events-office-of-space-and-advanced-technology/. Events will vary in location and may be stand-alone or on the margins of related events, and may include (but are not limited to) the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) Legal Subcommittee in Vienna in March 2019, the COPUOS plenary in Vienna in June 2019, and the 36th Space Symposium in Colorado in March/April 2019. (Source: glstrade.com)
25 Feb 20. Airbus confirms ‘core’ partnership with SmartSat CRC. Airbus has announced it is backing the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) as a core partner in a seven-year research program to develop and strengthen space technologies in Australia. Airbus said in teaming with Airbus, SmartSat CRC would capitalise on the company’s expertise and funding to strengthen sovereign space capabilities, unlocking significant opportunities to generate new space technologies.
“By supporting the Smartsat CRC as a core partner, we want to assist Australia in enhancing its space capabilities and competitiveness,” said Thomas Pfister, head of Airbus Defence and Space, Australasia.
“Our investment and first-class knowledge sharing will ensure opportunities are created for the next generation of space companies across Australia.”
The SmartSat CRC was launched last year and officially launched in Adelaide this week.
It’s the largest space industry-research collaboration in Australia’s history with the objective of developing the county’s space industry.
It’s already raised $245m from more than 100 research organisations, the Australian government and from industry funding.
This investment is targeted at advanced telecommunications, intelligent satellite systems, Earth observation and remote sensing analytics.
The aim is to enable Australia to benefit from the 9.5 per cent growth rate across the global space industry, compared with the global economy growth of 2.5 per cent.
A key aim for the Airbus partnership with the SmartSat CRC is to help develop small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in space and to contribute to achieving the Australian Space Agency’s goal of generating an extra 20,000 jobs by 2030.
This week, the SmartSat CRC announced its priority research areas, with development of accurate, reliable communications technology for disaster management following the disastrous summer of bushfires.
That will see SmartSat collaborate with NASA, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and local industry partner, Safety from Space, on a project with broad international implications.
In another project, SmartSat will work with partners and relevant agencies to establish a national network to monitor the quality and quantity of surface and ground water.
Called the AquaWatch Australia Mission, this project is to be undertaken in partnership with the CSIRO. It will feature a national mission to establish a mini constellation of dedicated AquaWatch satellites, complemented by a network of thousands of terrestrial water sensors uploading data continuously in near real-time. (Source: Space Connect)
24 Feb 20. Will SpaceX and OneWeb help the military stay connected in the Arctic? The military wants to experiment with commercial satellites from OneWeb and SpaceX’s Starlink mega-constellations to keep war fighters connected in the Arctic, but it will need extra funding to do so.
Those companies aim to provide internet access via proliferated constellations made up of thousands of small satellites in low earth orbit. The military has been keen on leveraging this growing commercial capability, and the Air Force has awarded contracts to test how the satellite broadband service can be used by war fighters.
Now the commander of the United States Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command is expressing interest in using these commercial space internet services to provide communications in the polar regions, where satellite communications have traditionally been more limited. Gen. Thomas O’Shaughnessy is seeking $130m for the effort, which he has listed as his number one unfunded priority for fiscal year 2021.
In a Feb. 11 letter to Congressional defense committees, O’Shaughnessy explained the money will be used for polar communications experiments and the fielding of prototype terminals capable of utilizing Starlink and OneWeb satellites. Additionally, the commander expressed hope that these experiments will incentivize further commercial investments in satellite communications and internet in the Arctic.
Full coverage will require an additional $110m in fiscal year 2022, the document notes. OneWeb leaders have said they expect to have 24 hour coverage in the Arctic by early 2021. The request for polar communications funding was one of four unfunded priorities the commander sent to Congress. That funding is “focused on my most pressing needs of increasing our domain awareness and establishing a layered homeland defense architecture.”
The full list includes $20m for a sentry radar, $5m for Persistent Elevated Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and $31m for the COBRA Dane Service Life Extension Program.
Sentry radars are capable of mid-range detection, tracking and positive identification of low radar cross-section targets, including cruise missiles and drones, and the commander wants it to provide point defense of critical infrastructure and force deployment areas. Meanwhile, the $5m for Persistent Elevated ISR will be used to develop and prototype a radar capability for point defense locations within the continental United States.
COBRA Dane is a phased array radar based in Alaska that was initially deployed in 1977. The radar has since been updated and integrated into the Ballistic Missile Defense System, although it continues to provide intelligence and space situational awareness. Due to delays in bringing replacement radars in Hawaii and the Pacific online, COBRA Dane will need to continue operations past the end of its expected service life in 2030. The commander is seeking $31m to replace the transmitter group, travelling wave tubes and a mainframe computer. (Source: Defense News)
22 Feb 20. Space Force lays out $1bn in unfunded priorities. The Space Force is seeking $1bn from Congress for several unfunded priorities in fiscal year 2021, items that it didn’t include in its $15bn budget request but would still like Congress to pay for. While about 10 percent of the request is for classified programs, the remaining funding runs the gamut, from bolstering space situational awareness to accelerating the development of navigational satellites to establishing new commercial satellite communication capabilities in low earth orbit.
The top priority is $137m for advanced technologies, a category that is largely defined by classified spending. The Space Force is seeking $107m for three classified programs with technologies it claims will advance space capabilities for the department.
The other $30m would be used to accelerate the payload development of Navigation Technology Satellite-3, an experimental Air Force Research Laboratory satellite that will test position, navigation and timing technologies for future GPS satellites. The additional funding will put the program on track for an initial launch capability in 2022, making it more likely that new technologies could be incorporated into the next batch of GPS IIIF satellites.
Space war fighter development is the service’s No. 2 priority, with leaders asking for $14m for improving classified training technologies and another $16m to add two courses to the curriculum and to expand virtual access.
Space Force leaders also want more money for missile defense, with $149m for the Space-Based Infrared System, a satellite constellation that uses infrared sensors to detect missile launches. The additional funding would primarily provide early on orbit testing of the fifth SBIRS satellite and accelerates the launch of the sixth. Additionally, the Space Force is seeking $40m to upgrade its Early Warning Radar system and grow its Long Range Discrimination Radar portfolio.
For satellite communications, the Space Force is seeking an additional $175m. The majority of that money ― $135m ― will be used to accelerate the development of Enhanced Strategic SATCOM, a program that continues the Advanced Extremely High Frequency mission to provide protected, anti-jamming strategic satellite communications. The $135m would be on top of the $71m the Space Force has requested for that program in their fiscal year 2021 research, development, test and evaluation budget. The Space Force is also looking for $21m to enhance the Advanced Extremely High Frequency program under the Space Modernization Initiative.
Other SATCOM investments included on the unfunded priority list are $15 m for the establishment of a proliferated low earth orbit commercial SATCOM capability and $5m for further development of Protected Anti-jam Tactical SATCOM programs.
The Space Force also wants $110m to bolster its space situational awareness, seeking $72m for the rapid fielding of a follow-on to Operationally Responsive Space 5, a satellite launched in 2017 to provide optical tracking of satellites in geosynchronous orbit. The rest of the funding would go toward investments in Commercial Space Situational Awareness Data, the Geo Space Situational Awareness Program ISR Cell and Japanese space domain awareness and command and control communication.
Other unfunded priorities include $255m to speed up launch procurement for the sixth and seventh GPS III satellites, $22m for Next-Gen Transportable Electronic Warfare and Next-Gen Laser De-confliction, and $80m for infrastructure. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
20 Feb 20. Here is the Space Force’s new Enterprise SATCOM Vision. The Space Force released its new Enterprise SATCOM Vision Feb. 19, formally laying out a desire for a single satellite communication architecture that is capable of keeping warfighters connected even in contested, degraded and operationally-limited environments.
“Despite the global, instantaneous reach of our satellite communications systems, which includes both military and commercial capabilities, the current loose federation of SATCOM systems needs to improve in resiliency, robustness, flexibility, and manageability,” Maj. Gen. Bill Liquori, the Space Force’s director of strategic requirements for architectures and analysis, said in a statement.
Under this vision, military and commercial satellite providers would be integrated, allowing warfighters to seamlessly transition to whatever network or signal is available while maintaining connectivity. The Space Force refers to this approach to maintaining communications even in degraded or contested environments as “Fighting SATCOM,” and the nascent service has asked for $43m in research, development, test & evaluation funding to develop the Fighting SATCOM Enterprise in its budget request for fiscal year 2021.
Such a system does not exist today.
Under the new vision, all SATCOM requirements collection, planning, allocation, and operational management processes will be brought under a single command to exploit efficiencies and improve situational awareness. The Chief of Space Operations will provide enterprise SATCOM capabilities to the head of U.S. Space Command.
The Space Force lists five key attributes of its new Enterprise SATCOM Vision:
- Rapid, resilient, sustainable and global access to SATCOM capabilities. This includes the ability for all DoD users to quickly obtain and maintain satellite communications through all operating environments relevant to their mission.
- Terminal and modem agility. This is the ability for terminals to operate on a variety of waveforms over varying frequencies, with quick transition or, when possible, simultaneously.
- Network agility. This is the ability for users to maintain their networks when transitioning to a different beam, antenna, satellite or system.
- Cyber, link and operational security. This is the ability to provide cyber resiliency for warfighters, protecting their information and control systems in the face of a determined and sophisticated attacker.
- Data interoperability with joint command and control systems. This is the ability of warfighters and space enterprise C2 systems to effectively exchange information.
The Space Force will set up a team of experts to map this vision in the near term and ensure budget items are in line with the end goal of integrated SATCOM. The Space Force will also develop a new flexible modem interface standard that will allow for the kind of satellite roaming that is at the heart of the vision.
The vision statement also calls for the replacement of Wideband Global SATCOM, the military’s widely used purpose-built SATCOM system. The Space Force said it will look to commercial partners to take over some of the functions provided by WGS. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
23 Feb 20. Space Force Wants $5bn For Anti-Jam Satcoms. With military space leaders increasingly worried about fighting through jamming during conflict, the Air Force’s 2021 budget request includes $205.2m, an increase of $41.5m from the $163.7m allocated by Congress in 2020, for development of a new, hard-to-jam satcom system for US and even allied troops on the battlefield.
Designed as a tactical alternative to the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite network, the Protected Satellite Communications (PTS) program is budgeted at a whopping $2.4bn through 2025.
The concern over improving ensured access to satellite communications in the heat of battle is reflected by the recent signing of a new Vision for Satellite Communications (SATCOM) by Gen. Jay Raymond, double hatted as head of Space Command and the Space Force. The goal of the effort, Fighting SATCOM, is to integrate the military’s “collection of stovepiped SATCOM systems” to deal with “a 21st century contested space domain,” the document says.
Now being developed by the Space Force (PE 1206761SF), PTS was launched by the Air Force in 2018 as part of the larger Protected Anti-Jam Satellite Communications (PATS) family of systems, a follow-on effort to the AEHF for classified-level communications. Under the concept, AEHF would be reserved for strategic communications, such as nuclear command and control; whereas PTS is aimed directly at operators in the field. The Army in particular has long complained that current milsatcom networks simply to do not provide enough bandwidth for soldiers, to the point of considering buying its own satellites as Sydney and I reported back in August.
Built by Lockheed Martin, with a payload by Northrop Grumman, the fifth AEHF satellite in the six-satellite constellation was launched in August. After successful on-orbit testing, control of the satellite was transferred to Space Force operators at Schriever AFB on Feb. 3, Space Force said in a Feb. 12 press release.
AEHF’s strategic communications mission would eventually be picked up by a future highly-protected milsatcom system being developed under the Evolved Strategic SATCOM (ESS) program. EES is budgeted at $71.4m in 2021; with a substantial $2.5bn slated over the five-year defense plan. Prototyping of the space system is expected to begin in October 2020, the budget documents show, with Space Force looking at contracting up to three providers.
PTS, on the other hand, would serve to connect the battlefield operators to each other and back to headquarters. PTS is not a satellite per se, instead it is envisioned as a payload that uses a highly jam-resistant signal called the Protected Tactical Waveform (PTW). The payload could be fitted onto US military or commercial satellites in Geosynchronous Orbit. It might also be carried by satellites owned by international partners, the Air Force budget documents say, or launched on new commercial satellite busses.
PTS also includes a ground control element and a gateway to interface with the “global DoD Information Network.” User terminals, however, will be developed and provided by the individual services using the system, which Space Force envisions being done through “low-cost modem upgrades” to allow use of the PTW.
“PTS provides worldwide and polar, beyond-line-of-sight, Anti-Jam (AJ), low-probability-of-intercept communications in benign and highly-contested environments,” the budget justification documents explain. “PTS, with its on-board payload processing and antenna design, enables reliable tactical satellite communications within close proximities to adversarial jammers.”
Space Force is using so-called Section 804 acquisition authority to allow rapid prototyping of the PTS payloads. The first of four planned payload contracts, worth $253.6m, was issued to Northrop Grumman on Feb. 12 by the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) Development Corps.
“PTS is a SMC Pacesetter program, demonstrating new processes while delivering rapid capabilities, and supporting SMC’s commitment to radically reducing time from acquisition to warfighter utilization,” according to the SMC press release.
The budget justification documents show that Space Force expects first launch of the selected prototype(s) by the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2024. (Source: Satnews/BreakingDefense)
21 Feb 20. $8m plan to propel Queensland into space. The Palaszczuk government has released the $8m Queensland Space Industry Strategy 2020-2025, which outlines a plan to accelerate the development of the state’s space industry, establishing its position as an Australasian leader for space technologies and launches.
Minister for State Development Cameron Dick said the $8m investment will accelerate Queensland’s space industry into a new growth phase, establishing its position as an Australasian leader for space technologies and launches.
According to the strategy, by 2025, Queensland’s space industry will be recognised as a leading centre in Australasia for launch activities, ground systems, Earth observation, niche manufacturing, robotics and automation for space.
The Queensland Space Industry Strategy informs the Government’s actions to grow Queensland’s space industry:
Strengthen Queensland’s existing capabilities by supporting:
- Infrastructure capability;
- Human capability; and
- Commercial capability.
Minister Dick stated, “50 years after humankind first walked on the moon, we are setting up Queensland’s space industry for the next 50 years. Because when it comes to the space industry, we want to see Queensland boldly go where no state has gone before.”
Queensland has four key space-related strengths that are primed to be capitalised on:
- Opportunity for launch: advantageous location, an existing launch supply chain, and supporting university-led research base;
- Opportunity for ground systems: suitable weather conditions, proximity to the equator, and remote internet and data back-haul services;
- Space-enabled services: existing industries (e.g. Earth observation) strengthened by Queensland’s climate, geography and remoteness; and
- Robotics, automation and manufacturing: built through Queensland’s strong aerospace, research, mining, manufacturing and defence industries
“Our state has a respected high-tech aerospace industry, and is renowned globally for civil and military aviation, advanced manufacturing, and associated industries like mining equipment, technology and services (METS),” Minister Dick added.
Based on these strengths, the state government has developed a two-part action plan to grow Queensland’s space industry:
- Strengthening capability: supporting the development of common-user infrastructure such as an orbital launch and static rocket testing facilities, satellite ground stations and a data analytics hub, promoting skills and career pathways, and assisting businesses in accessing supply chain opportunities and federal programs; and
- Growing the industry: helping businesses working in the space industry to reach larger markets both domestically and abroad. The focus will be on connecting with industries that stand to benefit from space-enabled services like remote sensing.
Minister Dick expanded on his comments, stating, “Queensland’s space industry already supports 2,000 jobs and generates $760m in annual revenue through industry services like satellite communications, and we’re eager to build on these numbers.
“Space technology also adds value to other areas of our economy, delivering increased productivity through Earth observation data and satellite positioning systems. For example, there is huge potential for key industries in Queensland to benefit from satellite data, to improve practices like land and fresh water management, and agricultural production.”
Australia’s most advanced launch vehicle developers – Gilmour Space Technologies, Black Sky Aerospace and Hypersonix – are all based in Queensland.
These companies are developing small-to-medium launch platforms to meet the world’s growing demand for smaller satellites and rapid launch capability.
Gilmour Space Technologies founder and CEO Adam Gilmour said it is great to see Queensland commit to growing this future industry in Australia.
“The ever-increasing demand for big data is driving the world’s demand for satellite services and the need to launch, build and control satellites. With Queensland’s existing industry and geographical strengths, the opportunity is huge,” Gilmour said.
The strategy complements the Queensland Aerospace 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan, delivered by the state government in 2018, which includes plans to develop space industry capabilities.
The full Queensland Space Industry Strategy 2020-2025 is available here. http://statements.qld.gov.au/Statement/2020/2/16/8-million-plan-to-propel-queenslands-space-industry-into-orbit (Source: Space Connect)
23 Feb 20. Exotrail Secures Contract with AAC Clyde Space. Exotrail, a French company that provides solutions for the smallsat market, have announced they have signed a contract with AAC Clyde Space, a European smallsat solutions specialist. Exotrail will equip them with cutting-edge propulsion solutions for their customers, global telecommunications leader Eutelsat, ELO 3 and ELO 4 spacecraft.
Exotrail will provide propulsion systems for the two 6U cubesats that will be manufactured and delivered to orbit by AAC Clyde Space. The Eutelsat mission is a precursor to a potential constellation called ELO (Eutelsat LEO for Objects). The contract is to be delivered before the end of the year, both satellites will be launched in 2021.
Exotrail started its propulsion system development with a flight demonstrator project that was designed, built, qualified and delivered in only 10 months. The launch of the flight system demonstrator, initially scheduled to fly in November of 2019 on board a PSLV, is now planned for March of 2020 (due to a launcher delay).
The resulting heritage acquired with this project, along with the expertise and innovation put forward in Exotrail’s product development, has allowed the company to secure their first customers.
According to the company, these customer contracts demonstrate that Exotrail’s strategy is paying off and that the company has moved quickly from vision to reality, a vision to provide a propulsion system as well as a set of software, hardware and services and to change the way satellites are launched and operated on orbit. This vision is now translating into revenue and success.
AAC Clyde Space CEO Luis Gomes said the company is looking forward to working with Exotrail. Their product is a perfect fit for both the firm’s needs and the customer’s requirements. Their modular ExoMG™ product has a highly compact and flexible form factor with industry leading performance levels, in particular with respect to thrust levels.
David Henri, Co-founder and CEO of Exotrail, added that the firm is an established specialist in advanced smallsat missions and provides market-leading New Space solutions. Exotrail is delighted to be able to assist AAC Clyde Space for this mission with the ExoMG™ – smallsat. This underlines the relevance of the company’s solutions for optimizing global constellations and the firm’s expertise in this growing sector. (Source: Satnews)
20 Feb 20. China’s First Rival to SpaceX Starlink Satellites Completes Key Test. In a key milestone, China’s first commercial 5G satellite has successfully passed its first communications test, paving the way for more internet-beaming satellites that can complement 5G base stations on the ground, according to private Chinese aerospace company GalaxySpace.
The low-orbit satellite was launched on January 16, a year after China’s state-owned spacecraft developer launched its first satellite aimed at creating a broadband communications satellite system.
It comes as private American companies are racing to put thousands of internet satellites into orbit around the Earth. On Monday, SpaceX — the world’s biggest commercial satellite operator — launched 60 satellites, bringing the total Starlink constellation to 300 satellites.
Starlink aims to begin services in northern U.S. and Canada this year, with plans for global coverage by 2021. Amazon’s Project Kuiperalso seeks to launch a worldwide satellite network. (Source: Satnews)
19 Feb 20. Intelsat Urged to Reject Spectrum Auction Proposal + Replacing IS-29e. Reporting for the Advanced Television infosite, journalist Chris Forrester reveals that Intelsat, a founder member of the C-Band Alliance, has a new investor in the shape of hedge fund Appaloosa LP which leads a consortium that now owns an overall 7.4 percent stake in the satellite operator.
Appaloosa, in a note to Intelsat’s board, urged the company to reject the FCC’s proposed, overall, $9.7bn ‘incentive’ payments towards the auction of Intelsat’s spectrum and eventual adoption of 5G.
Intelsat’s share price rocketed 26 percent in trading on February 18th.
The Appaloosa letter says the FCC’s terms are “manifestly unfair to Intelsat” and that if the FCC does not come up with a better proposal, then Intelsat should declare bankruptcy and prepare for legal action.
“The FCC’s proposed Order imposes several onerous provisions that inappropriately subsidize the prospective overlay licensees, and by extension, the FCC. Among the most egregious of these terms [are]:
- The Order requires the satellite operators to front billions of dollars of expenditures in order to clear spectrum for the benefit of an FCC auction that is not expected to begin until December 8th, 2020 – and for which reimbursement seemingly will not begin to occur until May 2021 at the earliest.
- The Order’s split of Accelerated Relocation Payments to Phases I & II of 25% and 75%, respectively, unfairly “back-ends” the satellite operators’ compensation and is disproportionate to the amount of spectrum cleared in the two phases (36% and 64%). Moreover, it is likely that the most useful and valuable portions of spectrum cleared will be in Phase I.
- The FCC’s requirement that an operator post a letter of credit in order to receive a Phase I Accelerated Relocation Payment subjects them to an all-or-none requirement to clear its spectrum by September 2023 (the Phase II deadline). Thus, failure to clear even a de minimis portion of the requisite spectrum exposes the operators to massive financial loss and provides a windfall to the overlay licensees on a potential technicality.”
The letter adds that the proposal is likely to yield considerable benefits for the US government “many times greater than those afforded [to Intelsat]. We urge you to withhold acceptance pending negotiation of an agreement with the FCC on fair commercial terms. Failing that, we believe the Board has no choice but to resort to bankruptcy and litigation in order to protect Intelsat’s valuable licence rights from an illegal modification,” said Appaloosa.
Intelsat will unveil its end-of-year financials on February 20th.
Speaking of Intelsat, Chris is also reporting that Intelsat will replace its lost IS-29e craft on a one-for-one basis.
IS-29e was lost in July 2019 as a result of a catastrophic fuel leak caused by an electrostatic discharge. It had been launched in January 2016.
IS-29e served both North and South America. However, Intelsat’s replacement craft, IS-40e, will focus on North America because of higher demand and in particular from airlines and their in-flight entertainment and connectivity services.
According to trade site reports, the new Intelsat craft will be the most powerful in the operator’s fleet and is due for launch in 2022.
Meanwhile, Intelsat has leased an old Spanish satellite as a gap-filler, Hispasat-1D (now branded Hispasat-143 W-1), an 18 year old satellite, and the company has borrowed the craft to continue services for some of the Intelsat IS-29e customers. (Source: Satnews)
18 Feb 20. Arianespace’s Double Celebration. Successful Launches for Japan and Korea and a 40th Anniversary. Happy 40th anniversary and a successful heavy-lift launch for Arianespace as they send off JCSAT-17 for the Japanese operator SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation, and GEO-KOMPSAT-2B for the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI). On Tuesday, February 18 at 22:18 UTC (Universal Time Coordinates), Arianespace successfully launched two satellites using an Ariane 5 rocket from the Guiana Space Center (CSG), Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana (South America): JCSAT-17 for the Japanese operator SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation, and GEO-KOMPSAT-2B for the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).
Following the launch, Arianespace Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Israël said: “As we start to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Arianespace, this latest success clearly shows the Arianespace launcher family’s exceptional reliability, its ability to adapt to the marketplace’s evolution, and the great flexibility – since it is capable of launching all types of satellites and spacecraft to all orbits and into deep space. With this launch, Arianespace’s teams and partners have once again contributed to making life better on Earth, this time by orbiting two satellites that will contribute to the deployment of broadband in Asia and to monitoring and better understanding our environment. Ariane 5 did its job! Thanks to SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation and KARI for their trust.”
“For the second Ariane 5 launch of the year, our heavyweight vehicle has performed flawlessly once again,” said Luce Fabreguettes, Arianespace Executive Vice President Missions, Operations & Purchasing, in her post-flight comments. “Congratulations to all the operational and support teams for a job well done!”
Today’s launch follows the successful missions of Ariane 5 on January 16 from Kourou, French Guiana, and Soyuz on February 7 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. In one month, Arianespace has launched a total of 38 satellites. Three more launches are scheduled in March from the space centers in French Guiana (utilizing one Soyuz and a Vega launcher) and Kazakhstan (with Soyuz).
Arianespace, the benchmark launch provider in Japan for communications satellites
JCSAT-17 is the 20th satellite orbited by Arianespace for SKY Perfect JSAT, a leader in space-based broadcasting and communications, which includes the most recent launch of DSN-1/Superbird-8 in April 2018. The Japanese operator broadcasts pay TV packages and supplies communications services via satellite, as well as a wide range of entertainment programming via its SKY PerfecTV! platform — the largest in Japan.
The JCSAT-17 geostationary satellite will offer flexible broadband communications services to users in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region. Its payload includes S-, C- and Ku-band transponders. The S- and C-band transponders will be used by NTT DOCOMO, Inc., the largest telecommunications company in Japan. With the support of SKY Perfect JSAT, NTT DOCOMO will offer flexible mobile communications services in Japan and surrounding areas, based on an indefeasible right of use (IRU) contract.
Built by Lockheed Martin Space, JCSAT-17 is the 47th satellite from this manufacturer to be launched by Arianespace.
With this latest success Arianespace continues to strengthen its exceptional partnership with SKY Perfect JSAT, a relationship that reaches back to JCSAT-1, launched in 1989.
Arianespace has operated in Japan for over 30 years, since opening an office in Tokyo in 1986. The relationship of mutual trust established with Japanese operators and public authorities has enabled Arianespace to win 34 of the 47 launch contracts open to competition, giving it a 70 percent share of the Japanese open market for commercial geostationary satellites.
Arianespace partners with South Korea to support the country’s ambitious space program
GEO-KOMPSAT-2B is the eighth satellite launched by Arianespace for South Korea. In fact, since the launch of the first Korean satellites — KITSAT-1A in 1992 and KITSAT-2 in 1993 utilizing Ariane 4 launch vehicles — Arianespace has built a long-term partnership with public and private actors for the Korean government’s space program, as well as within the framework of a fruitful collaboration with the national operator of satellites — kt sat — for commercial telecommunications.
GEO-KOMPSAT-2B is the third KARI satellite to be launched by Arianespace, following the multi-mission COMS (Communication, Ocean, Meteorological Satellite) in 2010 and GEO-KOMPSAT-2A in 2018 — both orbited by Ariane 5. GEO-KOMPSAT-2B has two main payloads: GOCI II (Geostationary Ocean Color Image), supplied by Airbus Defence and Space; and GEMS (Geostationary Environmental Monitoring Spectrometer), supplied by Ball Aerospace & Technologies.
GEO-KOMPSAT-2 is a South Korean government program to develop and operate two geostationary satellites for civil applications: GEO-KOMPSAT-2A for meteorology and space environment monitoring missions; and GEO-KOMPSAT-2B, for environmental monitoring of both land and oceans. The GEO-KOMPSAT-2 program is a follow-up to the COMS (Communication, Ocean and Meteorological Satellite) program.
Arianespace also orbited three satellites for the telecom operator kt sat: KOREASAT-3 in 1999, KOREASAT-6 in 2010 and KOREASAT-7 in 2017.
In addition, Arianespace’s backlog of orders includes another KARI satellite, KOMPSAT-7, to be orbited by a Vega C launcher. (Source: Satnews)
18 Feb 20. ISRO to Launch an Unprecedented 10 Earth Imaging Satellites. The country will send up an unusually large number of 10 Earth observation (EO) satellites during 2020-21, according to the latest annual report of the Indian Space Research Organisation for 2019-20.
On a quick look, such a preponderance of the EO launches is unprecedented and includes new categories such as the first Geo Imaging Satellite, GISAT-1.
In comparison, only three communication satellites — which is another major category in space infrastructure — and two navigation satellites are planned for the coming financial year starting April.
The annual plan mentions 36 missions, another high for a year: these includes both satellites and their launchers.
The high number also stands out amidst the immediate two years before and after the plan. For the ongoing fiscal, ISRO had proposed launching six EO satellites, of which two are due to go. For 2021-22, the plan is to add eight EO satellites.
ISRO says 19 national EO satellites, 18 communication satellites and eight navigation satellites are in service, driving uses from broadcasting, telephony, Internet services, weather and agriculture-related forecasting, security, disaster-time rescue and relief and location-based services. Three of the communication satellites are dedicated for military communication and networking.
In the ongoing fiscal 2019-20, 17 missions have been planned to be launched and up to six of them are due to be completed by March 31, it says.
ISRO was recently given a budget of nearly Rs13,480 crore for the next fiscal. Apart from GISAT-1 that is apparently fixed over the subcontinent at an orbit 36,000 km high, the space agency plans to launch a new series of high resolution HRSATs as a threesome on a single PSLV launcher.
The upcoming EO satellites include radar imaging satellites RISAT-2BR2, RISAT- 1A and 2A; OCEANSAT-3 and RESOURCESAT-3/3S. (Source: Satnews)
26 Feb 20. Black Sky set to launch trials program with UK space company. Queensland rocket company Black Sky Aerospace will conduct Australia’s first privately operated, international rocket motor test and sounding rocket launch program in conjunction with UK company Raptor Aerospace.
That’s set to take place at Black Sky’s Beyond the Blue Aerospace sub-orbital launch facility just outside of Goondiwindi in south-eastern Queensland, starting this month.
Black Sky said Raptor needed to test and space-qualify its own launch vehicles and systems, which could not be done in the UK because of the large number of people and busy air space.
“The vast launch and recovery area provided by Beyond the Blue Aerospace, and the project requirements enabled by Black Sky Aerospace will completely resolve any logistical, population or airspace challenges that Raptor aerospace might face in Europe,” Black Sky said.
Raptor chief executive officer Ben Jarvis said, “Whilst the development of the new space ports in the UK will ultimately allow some of our commercial activity to occur on ‘home soil’, many customer payloads and test flights, where recovery of sensitive electronics after flight is critical, will need a land range to fly from.
“Black Sky Aerospace have been a great partner in our development so far in offering us access to a suitable inland site and invaluable expertise that we hope will lead to an ongoing commercial collaboration that forwards space access in both countries.”
Black Sky Aerospace founder and chief executive Blake Nikolic said Australia was playing an increasing role in the world’s space ambitions.
“We are playing a significant role in enabling access to an efficient, cost-effective service,” he said.
“This campaign with Raptor Aerospace will drive additional export opportunities of Black Sky Aerospace’s technology, whilst solidifying Australia’s position as the place to conduct research and testing, before undertaking expensive orbital launches.”
Raptor Aerospace is headquartered in Norfolk and provides training, simulation and small launch vehicles to the UK and greater European space industry.
Black Sky Aerospace, based on Jimboomba, Queensland, builds rockets using its own proprietary solid rocket motor technology.
In November 2018, the company conducted Australia’s first ever commercial launch, carrying an experimental payload to an altitude of about 20,000 feet aboard an experimental rocket.
Black Sky began development of its sub-orbital launch facility near Goondiwindi late last year, placing it ahead of other emerging launch providers. The company has also gained priority access to the new Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA) Arnhem Space Centre in the Northern Territory. The UK and Australia are strengthening space ties, with growing linkages between the Australian and UK space agencies and the launch of the new Space Bridge, designed to open trade opportunities. (Source: Space Connect)
At Viasat, we’re driven to connect every warfighter, platform, and node on the battlefield. As a global communications company, we power millions of fast, resilient connections for military forces around the world – connections that have the capacity to revolutionize the mission – in the air, on the ground, and at sea. Our customers depend on us for connectivity that brings greater operational capabilities, whether we’re securing the U.S. Government’s networks, delivering satellite and wireless communications to the remote edges of the battlefield, or providing senior leaders with the ability to perform mission-critical communications while in flight. We’re a team of fearless innovators, driven to redefine what’s possible. And we’re not done – we’re just beginning.