Sponsored By Viasat
03 Aug 20. Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, announced today the availability of its Viasat Dynamic Video Encoding (DVE) capability, a new satellite communications technology enhancement that optimizes sensor data for military aircraft on Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions. The new DVE capability allows aircraft to optimize their available bandwidth and video transmissions for high-speed, high-quality video feeds from the aircraft.
In today’s ISR missions, military aircraft often travel long legs from base to objective, where satellite return link data rates can change depending upon the location of the aircraft within the satellite footprint. As the aircraft traverse within a single beam and/or across higher data rate spot beam satellites, they are often unable to adjust sensor data rates to efficiently use the full satellite performance available. Recognizing this limitation, Viasat developed its DVE capability to optimize ISR data feeds based on satellite capability, as well as allowing this configuration-on-the-fly to occur across security boundaries.
Viasat’s DVE application will provide:
- Video quality adaptation: encoder data rates dynamically change to fall within the maximum available return link data rates, enabling optimum use of available bandwidth—beam-edge-to-edge.
- Bandwidth optimization: enables a communication channel between the Viasat modem and encoder, ensuring baseband applications get the full effect of the bandwidth required for ISR missions.
- Configuration across security boundaries: the application takes advantage of a third-party Cross Domain Solution (CDS) that enables configuration to update across security boundaries. Additionally, Viasat’s DVE functionality can still be used to maximize the data rates, without a crypto requirement.
- Congestion management: enables communication between the Viasat modem and Quality of Service (QoS)-enabled router, informing the router when bandwidth changes, which is needed to help manage congested links for critical services during beam-to-beam transitions.
“The Viasat DVE capability is game-changing—it increases the utility of Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) sensor data for ISR missions when aircraft travel across different satellites, different beams of the same satellite or through varying signal strengths in the same beam, enabling a more efficient use of the satellite bandwidth,” said Ken Peterman, president, Government Systems, Viasat. “With Viasat DVE, we can enable military aircraft to maximize in-flight video quality and speeds as well as enable continuous video streaming, greater command and control (C2) and enhanced situational awareness to increase mission capability and success to the warfighter.”
07 Aug 20. Southern Launch signs brokerage agreement with HOSTmi. Australian-based Southern Launch has partnered with German-based online B2B platform HOSTmi to facilitate the matching of payloads with available launch capacity.
This agreement enables the hosting of payloads across a diverse range of space platforms globally, including orbital, sub-orbital and deep space campaigns. Southern Launch, as a provider of launch services in South Australia, has recognised the benefit that the HOSTmi platform can provide to its customers, and so has executed a brokerage agreement with HOSTmi.
The premise of the HOSTmi platform is that every rocket launched has a certain capacity of payload it can carry to a specific orbit. Generally, the mass of the primary payload will be less than the mass that the rocket can lift, so there is spare capacity available.
Rocket manufacturers and operators try to sell this extra capacity to smaller payloads, which are then added to the primary payload and launched at the same time.
Although there are a few disadvantages, given the secondary payload must follow the schedule of the main customer or accept certain orbital restrictions, it can be a very attractive solution for budgetary reasons.
As a young dynamic start-up, HOSTmi, analysed this market and built a platform that acts as a dedicated space marketplace for such secondary payloads – with the company website enabling a potential customer to enter the characteristics of their payload and the launch date and orbit. The fully-automated algorithm then proposes launchers that can accept this secondary payload at the right moment in time.
Lloyd Damp, founder and CEO of Southern Launch, said, “As a launch operator, we’ve recognised that this service has huge potential for our customers and the growing space ecosystem. Having access to the HOSTmi platform will help Southern Launch operate more frequently, with more payloads increasing the return on investment and further boosting Southern Launch and Australia as a focal point for access to space.”
As both a launch service provider (LSP) and launch facility operator, Southern Launch will use the HOSTmi service to offer an intuitive and responsive service to worldwide satellite customers to source both dedicated launches and rideshare opportunities on vehicles operating at Southern Launch sites.
Managing director of HOSTmi Pouya Haschemi described the co-operation, saying, “Southern Launch offers a novel and unique solution in an emerging and promising market, namely the launch market. We notice that an increasing number of launch providers from different regions of the world are entering the market.
“They have clever people, latest technologies, innovative approaches, and a vast market. The only aspect that is lacking for most of them are optimal geographical conditions to turn the aforementioned attributes into a high-quality service. Southern Launch has identified a key market demand, which they aim to meet with a great end-to-end solution underpinned by the best geographic and environmental conditions.” (Source: Space Connect)
05 Aug 20. Northrop Grumman and USSF conclude EPS-R CAPS design review. Northrop Grumman and the US Space Force (USSF) concluded a delta Critical Design Review (dCDR) for the Enhanced Polar System Recapitalization (EPS-R) Control and Planning Segment (CAPS) programme.
The completion of dCDR will be followed by the development, integration and test phase of the programme. Military satellite communications in North Polar Region of the Earth will be facilitated by EPS-R CAPS. EPS-R CAPS will help in providing secure, jam-resistant, strategic and tactical communications.
With a single software baseline, CAPS serves as a ground system that provides command and control and mission planning for all four of the EPS/EPS-R payloads.
Northrop Grumman strategic force programmes vice-president Rob Fleming said: “The successful completion of this milestone demonstrates our team’s commitment to agile processes.
“Extensive collaboration between the Northrop Grumman and customer teams was a large part of the design review success.
“The final design review content was shaped in cross-functional working group meetings in the preceding weeks leading up to and resulting in a high-quality dCDR event that met 100% of the exit criteria within 13 months of the contract’s authority to proceed.”
In addition to the ground segment, EPS-R comprises two extended Data Rate (XDR) payloads developed by Northrop Grumman.
These payloads will provide coverage in the region until the Protected Tactical SATCOM and Evolved Strategic SATCOM polar variants become operational in the 2030s.
Last month, the US Air Force (USAF) formally accepted Northrop Grumman’s Enhanced Polar System (EPS) CAPS programme.
The acceptance marks Northrop’s conclusion of a five-year project to design, develop, test and supply the EPS CAPS for the Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate (MILSATCOM). (Source: naval-technology.com)
05 Aug 20. How the US Army plans to use space and artificial intelligence to hit deep targets quickly. That’s the problem Willie Nelson is trying to solve as director of the Army’s Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing (APNT) Cross-Functional Team. In that role, Nelson is integrating the Army’s efforts to locate beyond-line-of-sight threats and delivering accurate targeting data to weapons systems in a timely manner. In order to do that, his team is leveraging space-based sensors, artificial intelligence and a new scalable ground system that can connect to all of the Army’s weapon systems.
Of course, the first part of the problem is finding the threats.
For Nelson, the clear answer is satellites. While aerial platforms can provide that sensing capability, that’s only realistic in a scenario with air superiority. That’s not always the case.
“In essence, the deeper and deeper you go, you can’t assume air superiority … so really, quite frankly, the only avenue we have is to sense from space,” said Nelson.
The growing exploitation of low Earth orbit for imagery and sensing has opened new doors for the Army, said Nelson. It’s now possible to put deep sensing sensors on orbit that can collect that data without even alerting the adversary.
“Quite frankly, that is a gamechanger,” said Nelson.
While the primary tool is electro-optical imagery – the traditional satellite images soldiers are used to – Nelson said the Army is interested in using other phenomenologies, including synthetic aperture radar and radio frequency sensing. Ultimately, those sensing capabilities need to be persistent and directly integrated in theater all the way down to the guns, he added.
With those sensors on orbit, the next step is to get the data to the ground. Traditionally, that process can take hours or even days, as the satellites have to wait until they pass over an appropriate ground station to downlink. That timeline was never going to work for the Army.
Speed is critical and service wants to be able to stop “shoot and scoot” attacks, Nelson referring to enemies who move to an area, set themselves up quickly, launch an attack and move on. Waiting hours for sensor information just wasn’t going to cut it. By the time targeting data was available, the threat could have attacked and moved on to a new location.
Waiting for data to be downlinked in the continental United States and then transported back to the theater was never a realistic option, explained Nelson. That’s where the Army’s TITAN solution fits in. TITAN is a new scalable, transportable ground system in development that will be able to downlink data from those satellites in theater, and in turn task them to collect more imagery.
“One that data comes down, there’s a variety of tools that we’re pursuing,” said Nelson. “One of those is referred to as Prometheus.”
Prometheus is a machine learning algorithm that takes in the various data delivered by on orbit satellites —be it electro-optical, synthetic aperture radar or something else — and fuse it into meaningful, usable targeting data.
And once Prometheus creates that targeting data, it transfers it to a new program referred to as SHOT. SHOT is aware of all of the blue fires capabilities, explained Nelson. SHOT can take targeting data on multiple threats, compare it against available weapons systems, and determine which fire capability is the best for each threat.
All of that information is then seamlessly delivered to a firing system such as the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System, which responds to the threat. Nelson emphasized that there are humans in the loop in this system.
But none of these steps are easy. The APNT team is an integrator of related efforts across the Army, pulling in various advanced technologies to provide better sensing capabilities, better target identification, and to speed up that sensor to shooter timeline.
Nelson declined to share exactly how fast that timeline could operate at present.
“We’re shaving off what used to be days, which used to be morning and afternoon types of data, from hours down to minutes,” said Nelson.
In March, Nelson’s team was able to conduct a live-fire exercise in Germany to see how this sensor to shooter chain works in reality.
That demonstration was able to use a variety of government and commercial satellites, utilizing electro-optical and synthetic aperture radar imagery, as well as emitter detection capabilities, said Nelson. Those on orbit sensors were able to collect data about targets and then downlink to a TITAN surrogate ground station, where it was then disseminated to the appropriate weapon systems. Thanks in part to that TITAN technology and the availability of those on orbit sensors, the entire exercise was able to take place in theater.
“We’re doing that entire fires kill chain all within theater, and I think that’s critical. We’re able to receive that data in theater, and process that data, be able to develop targeting coordinates from that, put it directly into the firing system AFATDS, and be able to launch weapons on that target. And we’re doing that now very successfully in a very short time,” said Nelson.
“Beyond just the organics of the test—bringing the data down, running it through its algorithms, getting it into the guns and the excitement of live fires—we deployed a team of data managers across that architecture, which frankly goes across Germany, and had them at each of the nodes along the way which that data transcends the operational architecture,” he added.
Those data managers were able to record how quickly data was transferred from one node to the next, giving the Army critical data on how the current system actually works. The Army can now input that data into their models for more accurate war gaming and simulations.
“While this was a technical demonstration, at its core it really was more about how do we operationalize this capability and how do we quickly get this into the field as a capability that soldiers can use,” said Nelson. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
05 Aug 20. Blue Canyon Technologies Selected by Loft Orbital to Provide Spacecraft Bus for Honeywell and the Canadian Space Agency Program.
Unique mission will provide secure communications across the globe using Loft Orbital’s YAM-4 spacecraft being developed by Blue Canyon Technologies.
Small satellite manufacturer and mission services provider Blue Canyon Technologies (BCT) has been selected by Loft Orbital to develop and build the YAM-4 spacecraft bus for the Quantum Encryption and Science Satellite (QEYSSat) mission.
The QEYSSat mission is being led by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and Honeywell. The CSA awarded Honeywell a $30m dollar contract for the design and implementation phases of the mission. The mission will demonstrate the use of advanced encryption technology, also known as quantum key distribution (QKD), in space for secure online communications on Earth. According to CSA, this QKD technology will create encryption codes that are virtually unbreakable, allowing for more secure communications in the age of quantum computing.
“Having a secure communication infrastructure is critical in this day and age,” says George Stafford, President and CEO of Blue Canyon Technologies. “Our foundational support of the YAM-4 spacecraft will make the access to space for this type of demonstration less expensive and quicker to launch, allowing Canadian scientists to study how QKD behaves in space.”
The satellite will be designed using BCT’s newest X-SAT line of spacecraft, specifically the X-SAT Venus-Class which can carry payloads up to 90 kg. As with other BCT X-SAT buses, the X-SAT Venus-Class is a high-agility platform, enabling the onboard instrument to collect data and revisit sites frequently. The X-SAT Venus-Class’s compact profile is designed to maximize the volume, mass and power available for the CSA mission.
“BCT is a best-in-class bus provider and we are confident in their ability to deliver a spacecraft that meets the unique performance requirements of this mission,” said John Eterno, VP Missions at Loft Orbital.
The benefits of QEYSSat will be substantial. Because encryption keys cannot be compromised, they are virtually impossible to crack, and integration this technology into Canadian communications networks would guarantee the privacy of public, private and commercial data. While ground-based QKD devices are available for use today, their capabilities are limited: current systems rely on cables to transmit quantum particles on land, but the signals can become unreliable over long distances. To provide the capacity across long distances, even globally, the network must be able to use satellites in lieu of cables.
Blue Canyon’s diverse spacecraft platform has the proven capability to enable a broad range of missions and technological advances for the New Space economy, further reducing the barriers of space entry.
BCT is currently building more than 60 spacecraft for government, commercial and academic missions. The company has doubled in size over the past 12 months and recently opened its new 80,000-square-foot headquarters and satellite constellation production facility in June. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
04 Aug 20. L3Harris Technologies Clears CDR for Experimental Satellite Navigation Program.
- Signals readiness to begin building first Navigation Technology Satellite-3
- Continues fast pace for rapid acquisition prototype program
- Supports 2022 launch schedule
L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX) is on track to begin building the U.S. Air Force’s first Navigation Technology Satellite-3 (NTS-3) after completing the program’s critical design review.
L3Harris will integrate the program’s experimental payload with an ESPAStar Platform, planned for launch in 2022. The system is designed to augment space-based position, navigation and timing capabilities for warfighters.
The NTS-3 payload features a modular design and can adapt to support various mission needs. The experiment will demonstrate capabilities that can be accomplished through a stand-alone satellite constellation or as a hosted payload.
“Collaboration with our customers has enabled us to move rapidly through important milestones to design this experimental satellite,” said Ed Zoiss, President, Space and Airborne Systems, L3Harris. “Our goal is to deliver new signals to support rapidly evolving warfighter missions.”
Less than a year after award, the company cleared the first development hurdle in half the time similar satellite programs take. The Space Enterprise Consortium selected L3Harris for the $84m contract in 2018 as the prime system integrator to design, develop, integrate and test NTS-3. L3Harris is combining experimental antennas, flexible and secure signals, increased automation, and use of commercial command and control assets.
Designated as one of the Air Force’s first vanguard programs, NTS-3 will examine ways to improve the resiliency of the military’s positioning, navigation and timing capabilities. It will also develop key technologies relevant to the Global Positioning System (GPS) constellation, with the opportunity for insertion of these technologies into the GPS IIIF program. The program is a collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory, Space and Missile Systems Center, U.S.Space Force, and Air Force Lifecycle Management Center.
L3Harris has more than 40 years of experience transmitting GPS navigation signals. The company’s technology has been onboard every GPS satellite ever launched. (Source: ASD Network)
05 Aug 20. Benchmark Space Systems, a leading provider of green in-space propulsion systems for small satellites, today announced an exclusive services agreement with rideshare leader Spaceflight Inc. to provide a full range of non-toxic chemical propulsion solutions designed to accelerate satellite rideshare deployments to prime orbital locations aboard its next-generation Sherpa orbital transfer vehicles (OTVs).
Announced last month, Spaceflight’s first OTV in the Sherpa-NG family, Sherpa FX, will carry 16 customer spacecraft and several hosted payloads aboard a Falcon 9 no earlier than December 2020. Benchmark’s safe chemical propulsion will be equipped on an upgraded vehicle called Sherpa-LT as early as late next year. Benchmark’s propulsion features a patented On-Demand Pressurization System (ODPS) that securely fires up the thruster once the OTV is safely in space and deployed from the launch vehicle.
The exclusive propulsion agreement enables Spaceflight’s small satellite rideshare missions to take full advantage of low-cost rideshare launches to sub-optimal locations in space, where its Sherpa-LT vehicle propelled by a Benchmark green thruster can maneuver rideshare and dedicated spacecraft to ideal orbits in a matter of hours.
Benchmark’s scalable, launch vehicle agnostic propulsion product and services set supports a broad spectrum of spacecraft, from 1U CubeSats through ESPA-class (1-500kg) satellites, large lunar landers, and orbital transfer vehicles (OTVs), offering far safer and faster rideshare options than electric propulsion systems, which can take months to complete their trips to orbit.
“By exclusively adding Benchmark’s reliable, green in-space propulsion systems to our portfolio of powered Sherpa vehicles, we can cost-effectively deliver our customers’ spacecraft to optimal orbits with greater precision, and then rapidly deorbit. That’s good for everyone – including the environment,” said Curt Blake, Spaceflight president and CEO.
“Benchmark Space Systems is thrilled to support Spaceflight’s Sherpa OTV program, bringing our patented non-toxic chemical propulsion solutions to this exciting next-gen deployer to enable a whole new level of rideshare capabilities and options for faster, safer missions to the best orbital locations around the world,” said Ryan McDevitt, Benchmark Space Systems CEO. “The Sherpa OTV and its rideshare customers can reach optimal orbits in no time with up to one-thousand times the thrust of electric propulsion, which is so slow the journey to orbit often cuts mission time and revenue in space. We are looking forward to our first milestone launch with Spaceflight’s Sherpa OTV next year.”
The integration of Benchmark’s non-toxic chemical propulsion solutions across the propulsion-equipped Sherpa OTV series will add speed and precision to Spaceflight’s market-leading rideshare services and capabilities. Spaceflight has launched more than 270 satellites across nearly 30 rideshare missions. In 2019, the company successfully executed nine missions, the most it’s ever launched in one year, sending more than 50 payloads to space.
“The Spaceflight-Benchmark collaborative agreement delivers on big demand for innovative green rideshare options that leverage low-cost launches to sub-optimal space with propulsion-equipped transporters offering quick, precise payload deliveries to premier orbit locations,” said Chris Carella, Executive Vice President of Business Development and Strategy, Benchmark Space Systems. “Both companies are agile developers and share a passion for always creating better solution designs that are launch vehicle agnostic and keenly focused on enabling new space accessibility with rapid, reliable in-space transport.”
06 Aug 20. Rocket Lab increases payload for Electron rocket to enable interplanetary missions. Rocket Lab has announced a major payload lift capacity increase for the company’s Electron launch vehicle, boosting the payload lift capacity up to 300 kilograms, enabling interplanetary missions and reusability.
The increased payload mass capacity has primarily been made possible through advances in the battery technology that powers Rutherford’s electric pumps. Since Rocket Lab’s maiden launch in 2017, the Electron launch vehicle has boasted a payload lift capacity of 150 kilograms to 500 kilometres to sun-synchronous orbits (SSO), with a maximum lift capacity of 225 kilograms total to lower orbits.
Thanks to the performance increase, Electron is now capable of lifting 200 kilograms to 500 kilometres SSO and up to 300 kilograms to lower orbits.
The performance improvements make it possible to launch more payload to low-Earth orbit (LEO), lunar, and interplanetary destinations on expendable Electron missions, while offsetting the additional mass of recovery systems added to Electron for missions slated for recovery and re-flight.
Peter Beck, Rocket Lab founder and CEO, said, “When we created Electron, we set out to develop a launch vehicle that small satellite operators would turn to when they needed a dedicated ride to a unique orbit on their schedule. We’re proud to be delivering that capability and continuing to evolve our launch and satellite services to meet the market’s ever-changing needs.”
The increased performance also means that customers selecting Rocket Lab’s Photon spacecraft as a satellite bus now have up to 180 kilograms available as pure payload instrument mass, enabling more complex missions in LEO and beyond.
With robust power systems, high-performance propulsion, secure data handling, and precise pointing and accuracy, Rocket Lab’s family of LEO and interplanetary Photon buses offer customised spacecraft solutions to accommodate a wide range of small satellite missions.
“Electron remains right-sized for the small sat market, and releasing additional performance is about providing our customers with even more flexibility on the same proven vehicle they have come to rely on,” Beck added.
Rocket Lab has now launched 130 Rutherford engines to space and carried out more than 1,000 engine test fires on the ground, equipping engineers with the wealth of data and experience needed to deliver extra performance from the engines and their batteries.
Rocket Lab’s Rutherford engines are the world’s first 3D printed and electric pump-fed engines to be launched to space. Rocket Lab began development on Rutherford in 2013 and the first engine was test fired the same year, marking the beginning of a new generation in rocket propulsion.
Rutherford engines are used as first and second stage engines on the Electron launch vehicle. There are nine Rutherford engines on Electron’s first stage and a single vacuum optimised version on the second stage.
The sea level versions on Electron’s first stage now produce 25,000 newtons of thrust (up from 24,500 newtons), with a specific impulse of 311 s (3.05 km/s).
The vacuum optimised version operating on Electron’s second stage now produces a max thrust of 25,800 newtons of thrust and has a specific impulse of 343 s (3.36 km/s).
Instead of being powered by traditional gas turbine pumps, Rutherford uses an entirely new propulsion cycle of brushless DC electric motors and high-performance lithium polymer batteries to drive its propellant pumps.
This cuts down on much of the complex turbomachinery typically required for gas generator cycle engines, meaning that the Rutherford is simpler to build than a traditional engine but can achieve 90 per cent efficiency.
The Rutherford engine’s production scalability is facilitated by additively manufactured, or 3D printed, primary components. With a 3D printed combustion chamber, injectors, pumps, and main propellant valves, Rutherford has the most 3D printed components of any rocket engine in the world. These primary components can be printed in 24 hours, drastically reducing production timelines. (Source: Space Connect)
05 Aug 20. Lockheed Martin and University of Southern California Build Smart CubeSats, La Jument. Experimental AI/ML mission will be the first to fly the SmartSat™ software-defined platform.
Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is building mission payloads for a Space Engineering Research Center at University of Southern California (USC) Information Sciences Institute small satellite program called La Jument, which enhance Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) space technologies.
For the program, four La Jument nanosatellites — the first launching later this year — will use Lockheed Martin’s SmartSat™ software-defined satellite architecture on both their payload and bus. SmartSat lets satellite operators quickly change missions while in orbit with the simplicity of starting, stopping or uploading new applications.
The system is powered by the NVIDIA® Jetson™ platform built on the CUDA-X™ capable software stack and supported by the NVIDIA JetPack™ software development kit (SDK), delivering powerful AI at the edge computing capabilities to unlock advanced image and digital signal processing.
SmartSat™ provides on-board cyber threat detection, while the software-defined payload houses advanced optical and infrared cameras utilized by Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Technology Center (ATC) to further mature and space qualify Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies. The La Jument payloads are the latest of more than 300 payloads Lockheed Martin has built for customers.
“La Jument and SmartSat are pushing new boundaries of what is possible in space when you adopt an open software architecture that lets you change missions on the fly,” said Adam Johnson, Director of SmartSat™ and La Jument at Lockheed Martin Space. “We are excited to release a SmartSat software development kit (SDK) to encourage developers to write their own third-party mission apps and offer an orbital test-bed.”
Powering Artificial Intelligence at the Edge
La Jument satellites will enable AI/ML algorithms in orbit because of advanced multi-core processing and on-board graphics processing units (GPU). One app being tested in orbit will be SuperRes, an algorithm developed by Lockheed Martin that can automatically enhance the quality of an image, like some smartphone camera apps. SuperRes enables exploitation and detection of imagery produced by lower-cost, lower-quality image sensors.
“We were able to design, build and integrate the first payload for La Jument in five months,” said Sonia Phares, Vice President of Engineering and Technology at Lockheed Martin Space. “Satellites like this demonstrate our approach to rapid development and innovation that lets us solve our customers’ toughest challenges faster than ever.”
Bringing Four Satellites Together
The first of the four La Jument nanosatellites is a student-designed and built 1.5U CubeSat that will be launched with a SmartSat payload to test the complete system from ground to space, including ground station communications links and commanding SmartSat infrastructure while in-orbit. The second is a 3U nanosat, the size of three small milk cartons stacked on top of each other, with optical payloads connected to SmartSat that will allow AI/ML in-orbit testing. Finally, two 6U CubeSats are being designed jointly with USC that will be launched mid-2022. The pair will launch together and incorporate future research from USC and Lockheed Martin, including new SmartSat apps, sensors and bus technologies.
Lockheed Martin has a long history of creating small satellites, having launched more than 150. More recent nanosat projects include Pony Express 1, Linus, NASA’s Lun-IR, Janus and Grail. Additionally, Lockheed Martin will be the prime integrator for DARPA’s Blackjack small sat constellation.
05 Aug 20. DARPA CubeSat experiment may support future Space Force initiatives. A new CubeSat experiment by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), designed to explore the use of microelectronic materials in extra-terrestrial environments, could pay dividends for future capabilities fielded by the US Space Force and the Pentagon’s Space Development Agency.
DARPA’s Deformable Mirror (DeMi) CubeSat programme was launched from the International Space Station (ISS) on 13 July. The deployment of the DeMi CubeSat kicked off the initial phase of the agency’s technology demonstration of the microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) mirror, mounted inside a CubeSat-deployable miniature telescope, a DARPA fact sheet stated. The agency’s Tactical Technology Office is the directorate spearheading the DeMi CubeSat and MEMS mirror demonstration programmes.
“This [launch] is exploring how to produce very high-quality optical characteristics, optical apertures using microelectronic materials” that can withstand the rigors of operating in a space environment, DARPA Acting Director Peter Highnam told a small group of reporters on 30 July.
DARPA’s Deformable Mirror CubeSat deploying from the International Space Station on 13 July 2020 (Credit: NASA)
Specifically, the microelectronic elements integrated into the MEMS mirror will be able to responsively adjust the angle and shape of the mirror’s reflective surface, the fact sheet stated. The reactive responses in the MEMS mirror are designed to counter dramatic changes in temperature or mechanical changes aboard the telescope itself, it added. Those temperature or mechanical changes can negatively affect the imagery produced by the telescope or the equipment itself.
“This is us de-risking things,” in terms of ensuring the quality of the telescope’s imagery and the durability of the system, Highnam said regarding the need for the DeMi CubeSat programme. “These and other technologies we are doing are guaranteed to be of great use to the Space Force” in conjunction with the Pentagon’s Space Development Agency, he added. (Source: Jane’s)
05 Aug 20. Rocket Lab set to resume Electron launches following in-flight anomaly. Four weeks after experiencing an in-flight anomaly, Rocket Lab has identified the issue and received approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration to return to flight.
Rocket Lab has announced it has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to resume launches this month after identifying an anomalous electrical connection as the cause of an in-flight failure on 4 July 2020.
With corrective measures underway, the next Electron launch has been scheduled for August from Launch Complex 1.
Over the past month, Rocket Lab has collaborated on an investigation with the support of the FAA, the primary federal licensing body for commercial space launch activity.
Rocket Lab’s accident investigation board (AIB) worked through an extensive fault tree analysis to examine all potential causes for the anomaly that took place late into Rocket Lab’s 13th launch.
On 4 July 2020, the Electron launch vehicle successfully lifted-off from Launch Complex 1 and proceeded through a nominal first stage engine burn, Stage 1-2 separation, Stage 2 ignition, and fairing jettison as planned.
Peter Beck, Rocket Lab’s founder and CEO, said the issue had never been observed before across the company’s previous 12 Electron launches.
“The issue occurred under incredibly specific and unique circumstances, causing the connection to fail in a way that we wouldn’t detect with standard testing. Our team has now reliably replicated the issue in test and identified that it can be mitigated through additional testing and procedures,” Beck explained.
Several minutes into the second stage burn, the engine performed a safe shutdown resulting in a failure to reach orbit.
Due to the controlled way the engine shut down, Rocket Lab continued to receive telemetry from the vehicle, providing engineers with extensive data to conduct a robust investigation into the issue.
After reviewing more than 25,000 channels of data and carrying out extensive testing, Rocket Lab’s AIB was able to confidently narrow the issue down to a single anomalous electrical connection.
Beck added, “The Rocket Lab team is immensely grateful for the continued support of our customers and the FAA as the company worked meticulously through the flight investigation.
“It’s a testament to Electron’s track record of reliability that the FAA has approved us for return to flight already. Electron was the fourth most frequently launched rocket in the world last year and prior to the anomaly we had deployed 53 customer payloads to orbit without fail. Returning to the pad with an even more reliable vehicle for our mission partners is our top priority.
This connection was intermittently secure through flight, creating increasing resistance that caused heating and thermal expansion in the electrical component.
This caused the surrounding potting compounds to liquefy, leading to the disconnection of the electrical system and subsequent engine shutdown. The issue evaded pre-flight detection as the electrical connection remained secure during standard environmental acceptance testing including vibration, thermal vacuum, and thermal cycle tests.
Rocket Lab is now set to return to the pad in August to launch a dedicated mission from Launch Complex 1 Pad A on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula. Specific details of the launch window and customer will be provided in the coming days. (Source: Space Connect)
04 Aug 20. USAF’s experimental navigation satellite cleared for fabrication. The U.S. Air Force has completed critical design review of an experimental navigation satellite, clearing the way for fabrication to begin and keeping the launch on track for 2022.
The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Navigation Technology Satellite 3 (NTS-3) is one of the Air Force’s first Vanguard programs — platforms that can delivers remarkable new capabilities to the war fighter. NTS-3 is being developed to demonstrate new positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) technologies that will inform how future GPS satellites work. AFRL plans to operate the satellite in geosynchronous orbit for one year to experiment with new PNT signals and test new architectures. Beyond the space-based test vehicle itself, NTS-3 will also demonstrate new ground-based command and control as well as new software-defined radios.
And, once on orbit, NTS-3 could provide immediate support to the war fighter. The experimental satellite will augment the GPS constellation from geosynchronous orbit, providing a geographically focused signal.
“The NTS-3 Vanguard is an experimental, end-to-end demonstration of agile, resilient space-based positioning, navigation, and timing,” Arlen Biersgreen, the NTS-3 program manager, said in a statement. “It has the potential for game-changing advancements to the way the Air Force provides these critical capabilities to war fighters across the Department of Defense.”
L3Harris is the prime contractor on NTS-3, and was awarded an $84m contract for the experimental satellite in 2018. With the critical design review complete, the company can now move forward with fabrication, demonstration and testing. The NTS-3 contract includes a follow-on option for production of an entire constellation, if the Air Force chooses to exercise it.
“Collaboration with our customers has enabled us to move rapidly through important milestones to design this experimental satellite,” said Ed Zoiss, president of space and airborne systems at L3Harris. “Our goal is to deliver new signals to support rapidly evolving warfighter missions.”
Due to scheduling, NTS-3 technology is unlikely to be included on the any of the GPS III satellites in production, but it will likely inform aspects of the subsequent GPS IIIF satellites which are set to go on orbit in the late 2020s. L3Harris is developing the payloads for those satellites as well. (Source: Defense News)
04 Aug 20. Queensland space launch site one step closer to lift-off. The Queensland government is one step closer to cementing its position as a regional leader in space launch technologies, with targeted consultation soon to begin on the proposal for an orbital rocket launch site near Abbot Point, North Queensland.
The Abbot Point State Development Area was identified by an advisory team led by PwC Australia working with government as a potential location to develop an orbital rocket launch site in Queensland based on a range of technical, operational, environmental and infrastructure-related considerations.
Queensland minister for state development Kate Jones explained that the government was delivering on its Queensland Space Industry Strategy commitment to conduct a business case for a launch facility in Queensland.
“Our space industry already supports more than 2,000 jobs and generates $760m in annual revenue for Queensland businesses. We want to grow these numbers and ensure that local businesses get a piece of the action,” Minister Jones said.
Expanding on this, Minister Jones added, “The proposal for a launch site at Abbot Point has the ability to launch the industry forward and contribute to the goal of up to 6,000 space industry jobs by 2036. Having a launch site would give us a huge point of difference and would enable us to bring more global players here to Queensland.”
A Deloitte Access Economics report found that a launch site and space-related infrastructure would be catalytic for the space industry, providing more research, development and market opportunities for Queensland.
Air Vice-Marshal (Ret’d) Neil Hart AM, Queensland’s strategic defence adviser for aerospace, said Queensland companies and its research sector are leading the nation in space launch vehicle development.
“Queensland’s space industry has been calling for space launch infrastructure here in Queensland to take it to lift-off and firm up Australia’s sovereign capability. This could be an awe-inspiring opportunity for the region and Queensland, bringing more jobs and new career paths for the workforce,” Hart explained.
The Queensland government’s designs for the Abbot Point launch site are a critical part of the government’s $8m Queensland Space Industry Strategy 2020-2025.
The Queensland Space Industry Strategy 2020-2025 strategy identifies a bold vision, namely, “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 Aerospace 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan (the Aerospace Roadmap) – in support of the $755m Advance Queensland initiative – sets out actions to leverage Queensland’s well-established aerospace sector to accelerate the state’s fast-growing space industry. (Source: Space Connect)
03 Aug 20. Space Force Chief: DOD Must Work to Ensure Strong Space Industrial Base. A secure, stable and accessible space domain is of vital interest to the United States. However, leadership in space is not a right, and nations such as Russia and China are racing to catch up to Defense Department capabilities and deny the benefits from this domain, the Space Force’s top leader said.
Space Force Gen. John W. ‘Jay’ Raymond, chief of space operations, said the current U.S. advantage stems from its robust and innovative space industrial base.
The 2020 Defense Space Strategy recognizes that commercial space activities have expanded globally in both volume and diversity. As such, Raymond said, the Space Force must leverage the technologies at the frontier of this commercial expansion and move quickly to reap the benefits of improving capability and affordability to be an effective partner for American industry.
”By working with commercial partners, we will harness the best of both civil and government technology to further accelerate capabilities and expand the overall space economy,” he said.
The 2020 State of the Space Industrial Base Workshop brought together more than 120 voices from across the federal government, industry and academia to assess the health of the space industry and to provide recommendations for strengthening that industrial base.
The themes upon which the conference was based were published last month in a report titled ”State of the Space Industrial Base 2020: A Time for Action to Sustain U.S. Economic and Military Leadership in Space.”
While the report does not necessarily represent the views of DOD or other government agencies, Raymond said, it offers valuable insights on the path ahead. The six themes are:
- Build a unity of effort across government, academia and the private sector to incentivize the space industrial base;
- Enhance space communications; satellites; and, positioning, navigation and timing;
- Improve space transportation and logistics from Earth to orbit and beyond;
- Develop systems for human space exploration;
- Build sufficient and efficient power for space transport systems;
- Develop space manufacturing and space resource extraction;
- Develop plans to protect, support, and leverage commerce in space;
- Economically stimulate space industries through space bonds and a space commodities exchange and execute $1bn of existing DOD and NASA funding through this exchange;
- Develop a framework for creating wealth and security with allies and partners;
- Develop a U.S. space workforce steeped in science, technology, engineering and math to fill more than 10,000 jobs domestically; and
- Protect industry and entrepreneur intellectual property; and
- Increase trust and resilience in space supply chains including subcomponent and subsystem manufacturers of critical manufacturers. Subcomponent manufacturers, such as solar cell producers, face significant pressure from foreign producers. (Source: US DoD)
04 Aug 20. Ground segment of Enhanced Polar System Recapitalization program rapidly meets 100 percent of dCDR exit criteria. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has successfully completed a delta Critical Design Review (dCDR) with the U.S. Space Force for the Enhanced Polar System Recapitalization (EPS-R) Control and Planning Segment (CAPS) program.
“The successful completion of this milestone demonstrates our team’s commitment to agile processes,” said Rob Fleming, vice president, strategic force programs, Northrop Grumman. “Extensive collaboration between the Northrop Grumman and customer teams was a large part of the design review success. The final design review content was shaped in cross functional working group meetings in the preceding weeks leading up to and resulting in a high quality dCDR event that met 100 percent of the exit criteria within 13 months of the contract’s authority to proceed.”
With the completion of dCDR the program is now ready to move to the development, integration and test phase.
EPS-R CAPS facilitates military satellite communications in the Earth’s North Polar Region by providing continuous coverage for secure, jam-resistant, strategic and tactical communications. CAPS is the ground segment providing command and control, and mission planning for all four of the EPS/EPS-R payloads with a single software baseline.
In addition to the ground segment, EPS-R will also include two eXtended Data Rate (XDR) payloads developed by Northrop Grumman which will serve to provide coverage in the region until the Protected Tactical SATCOM and Evolved Strategic SATCOM polar variants become operational in the 2030s.
03 Aug 20. ABL Space Systems begins RS1 stage testing and reaches $90mm in funding. ABL Space Systems has begun stage testing of the RS1 small satellite launch vehicle, and has been awarded two US DoD contracts and secured a large round of funding with a combined value of over $90mm. ABL’s awards and funding are key to the rapid development of the RS1 launch vehicle and GS0 deployable launch system, with a demonstration launch slated for Q1 of 2021.
ABL’s DoD contracts, awarded by the Air Force Research Laboratory and AFWERX, with participation from the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, total $44.5m over three years. Additionally, ABL has secured $49mm of financing led by Ethan Batraski at Venrock with participation from New Science Ventures, Lynett Capital, and Lockheed Martin Ventures. The recent round closed on March 31st, and fully funds ABL through a three launch demonstration campaign in 2021.
Concurrently, ABL has begun testing an integrated RS1 upper stage with an E2 engine. E2 is developed in-house and powers both the first and second stages of RS1. Testing is conducted at Edwards Air Force Base under a CRADA with the AFRL Rocket Propulsion Division entitled “Testing of Additive Manufactured Liquid Rocket Components and Engines in a Rapidly Deployable Architecture for Future Responsive Launch Operations,” enabling ABL’s use of the Area 1-56 test site. “AFRL was an early supporter and remains a key, trusted partner,” said Harry O’Hanley, founder and CEO of ABL. “The AFRL team at Edwards Air Force Base is forward thinking and understands how to work with non-traditional contractors to rapidly innovate. Together, we’re developing critical technology to meet the needs of the next generation warfighter and serve the burgeoning commercial space market.”
The RS1 second stage has undergone successful cryogenic propellant loading and proofing. ABL has begun testing the integrated RS1 second stage at Edwards. Over the last year, ABL has performed successful thrust chamber, gas generator, and turbopump testing, with performance exceeding the levels required for flight. Testing to date has proven the manufacturing techniques and designs of the first stage, second stage, and the E2 engine. The stage test campaign will culminate in a series of long duration tests later this quarter which will advance qualification of RS1.
Based on the test results, ABL has increased the performance target of RS1 to 1,350 kg maximum capacity to a 200 kilometer low earth orbit.
“We’ve completed hundreds of engine, stage, and ground system tests across multiple deployments to unimproved sites. All were performed on generator power with fully self-sufficient systems,” said Dan Piemont, ABL founder and CFO. “From the beginning, we’ve focused on developing tactically responsive launch CONOPS alongside our technology. The result is a large capacity, fit-for-purpose resilient launch system. I am excited to deliver value to our customers in the United States Government and our commercial customers across the U.S. and the globe with this technology.”
To expedite development and production of the RS1 vehicle, ABL has leased additional propulsion test facilities at Mojave Air and Space Port; expanded into a 60,000 square foot multi-facility campus in El Segundo to support full-scale production of the RS1 vehicle; received a signed Category 1 certification plan from NASA; and grown to a team of 80 engineers, designers, and production experts. “We hand-picked each member of ABL to assemble what we consider to be the strongest team in the industry,” said O’Hanley. “It is an intimidating group with limitless potential. With every design review completed, test performed, and part manufactured, our team raises the bar and strengthens U.S. leadership in technology development and manufacturing.”
Additionally, ABL has entered into support agreements for launch operations at Vandenberg Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Leveraging the containerized, deployable, and self-sufficient features of GS0, ABL will be able to utilize the shared pads SLC-8 at Vandenberg and LC-46 at Cape Canaveral with minimal infrastructure buildout.
“We’re at the three year anniversary of founding our company and have stayed true to our original business model. By avoiding unnecessary technical risk and maintaining a focus on execution, we have made significant progress in a short time with limited resources,” said Piemont. “We are ahead of our original schedule and are intent on rapidly achieving orbital launch.” (Source: PR Newswire)
30 Jul 20. AMERGINT Technologies Joins Envistacom’s Transport Virtualization Initiative. Building upon Envistacom’s patents and Intellectual Property related to modem waveform virtualization, AMERGINT Technologies brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to enhance the emerging wireless communications technology delivery model.
Envistacom, LLC, a leading technology enterprise which delivers advanced communications, cyber and related services to customers in the aerospace, defense, and intelligence communities, announced today that AMERGINT Technologies, Inc. has teamed up with Envistacom to pair the company’s intellectual property with AMERGINT’s satellite communications solutions. The two companies are also leveraging additive capabilities from AMERGINT Technologies related to Transport Virtualization for transponded communications in order to accelerate the expansion of the emerging market category.
Both companies view their partnership as a significant next step toward the realization of a truly virtualized, “cloud-to-edge”, wireless connectivity environment that is beneficial for a variety of markets and operational scenarios. In addition to their strategic relationship, the companies will also collaborate on various current programs as well as future programs that will benefit from Transport Virtualization.
“AMERGINT Technologies is well known and widely respected for their work in Telemetry, Tracking and Control, Sensor Payload Processing, and end-to-end software satellite ground system solutions,” said Michael Geist, Senior Vice President of Strategy & Technology at Envistacom. “We are excited to be working with such a reputable firm to deliver a variety of new wireless communications applications and capabilities to the market that will deliver innovative solutions to users more quickly than ever before, whether in a teleport, at a remote Forward Operating Base, or on an airplane,” Geist added.
This partnership will enable customers to benefit from future solutions that provide true wireless resilience given all of the emerging custom satellite constellations and other advancing wireless communications technologies.
“We see synergy with Envistacom’s Transport Virtualization, which is well aligned with our SOFTLINK® software architecture and satTRAC® software modems that we’ve been delivering for more than a decade. We are excited to work together with Envistacom to advance our respective technologies,” said Andrew Strange, Vice President of AMERGINT. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
30 Jul 20. USAF moves to enact space acquisition reforms, despite hold up of legislative proposals. The Pentagon is trying to move ahead with reforms to how it acquires space systems, even as a report outlining significant legislative changes has gotten held up by the Office of Management and Budget.
Released in May, the Department of the Air Force report recommends nine specific proposals to improve contracting under the newly established U.S. Space Force. While most of the changes can be undertaken independently by the Department of Defense, three recommendations would require legislative action by Congress. But according to Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration Shawn Barnes, the report has yet to get past OMB, which oversees the President’s budget proposals and ensures legislation proposed by agencies is consistent with the administration.
“[It’s] still not on the hill. I’m a little frustrated by that, but I think we’re very close with OMB at this point and I think we’re just about there,” said Barnes during a July 30 call with reporters. “There are a couple of sticking points, but I’m not going to talk about those directly here.”
Barnes continued on to say that OMB had no issues with the vast majority of the report.
And while the Air Force has to wait for legislative action on some recommendations, Barnes said they are already moving ahead with internal reforms, such as establishing a distinct Space Force budget.
“We’re in the process of figuring out how to implement those actions within the alt-acquisition report that don’t require any legislative change, and of the somewhat less than ten of those specific actions, probably six of them are within the Department of Defense’s ability to get after. So we’re building implementation plans for that,” he said.
The most important recommendation in the report, at least according to the Air Force, is budgetary. They want to be able to consolidate Space Force budget line items along mission portfolios, such as missile warning or communications, instead of by platforms, allowing them more flexibility to move funding between related systems without having to submit reprogramming requests to Congress. This was a point of contention between the Pentagon and legislators last year, as the Air Force issued repeated reprogramming requests to secure the funding needed to push up the delivery date of the first Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared satellite.
Barnes insisted that managing funding at the portfolio would give the Space Force more flexibility to react to program developments without sacrificing transparency. While funding would not longer be broken out at the program level, it could still be expressed at a lower level, he said.
“We would still be breaking it down at a subordinate level but what we would hope is that we would have the ability to still move money from one of those subordinate levels to another, and that’s where we can have that transparency,” he explained. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
30 Jul 20. Gilat Satellite Networks in Kazakhstan to Implement Cellular Backhaul Project. Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. (NASDAQ, TASE: GILT) has been awarded a cellular backhaul project for Kcell, Kazakhstan’s largest Mobile Network Operator (MNO). Gilat will provide connectivity starting with hundreds of rural villages, in partnership with Kazakhstan’s recognized service provider, TelService LTD, to satisfy the “Digital Kazakhstan” government program.
“We are pleased to be utilizing Gilat’s globally recognized cellular backhaul solution over satellite, to provide rural coverage to the villages which require voice and data services,” said CTO, Mr. Askar Yesserkegenov at Kcell. “We are honored to be part of the ‘Digital Kazakhstan’ government program and support the goal of accelerating the economic growth and enhancing the living conditions of the rural population.”
“TelService LTD chose to provide the expansion of Kcell’s coverage program with Gilat’s platform for cellular backhaul, due to the high quality, performance and spectral- efficiency of Gilat’s solution,” said General Director, Mr. Vyacheslav Peretyatko at TelService LTD. “We are pleased to expand our relationship with Gilat and are excited to leverage Gilat’s future-ready platform for increased business in the region.”
“Gilat is most pleased with its partner, Telservice LTD, its competent engineers and its ability to quickly roll-out the project, overcoming tough restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Barak Lerer, Regional Vice President EMEA at Gilat. “We are honored to include Kcell among the leading global MNOs who are using Gilat’s solution to provide high-quality connectivity to people in the most remote areas of the world.” (Source: Satnews)
29 Jul 20. Speedcast Signs A Multi-Year Contract With Intelsat. Speedcast International Limited (ASX: SDA) has signed a new contract with Intelsat S.A. — under the new multi-year contract, Speedcast will leverage the reach and reliability of Intelsat’s global connectivity infrastructure and service offerings to support Speedcast’s customer operations across the energy, maritime, cruise, mining, enterprise, media, humanitarian, and government sectors.
Intelsat’s global fleet includes more than 50 satellites that operate seamlessly with the IntelsatOne ground network, offering an extensive, flexible, reliable, and secure communications network.
This agreement marks a significant milestone for Speedcast as the company looks towards emergence from its chapter 11 proceeding and seeks to cement renewed relationships with key suppliers. It will provide increased capacity to assist customers with critical short-term requirements as the industry continues to adapt to the current environment.
The agreement was approved by the U.S. courts overseeing the financial restructuring cases for both Speedcast and Intelsat. Speedcast maintains long-standing partnerships with more than 20 satellite fleet operators, including Intelsat, to ensure seamless managed network services for customer operations, utilizing C-, Ku-, Ka-, L-, and X-band capacity.
Speedcast’s comprehensive global network portfolio includes access to 200+ beams across more than 100 satellites, totaling 16GHz of satellite capacity.
“This new agreement will offer us the flexibility and global scale we need to best support our customers,” said Peter Shaper, CEO at Speedcast. “As we navigate the near-term headwinds stemming from the global COVID-19 pandemic and work toward finalizing our recapitalization process, it is critical that we find opportunities to reassess our overall bandwidth purchasing to better support our network, while also allowing us to help our customers through these unprecedented times. We look forward to expanding our use of the Intelsat network, and further transforming our business.” (Source: Satnews)
28 Jul 20. Open Cosmos Begins the Build and Operation of One of the One Hundred Smallsats for Sateliot’s Constellation. Open Cosmos announced that they have ‘sealed a deal’ with satellite communications operator Sateliot to build and operate their small satellite constellation. This enables continuous global connectivity for Internet of Things (IoT) under 5G architecture.
Open Cosmos is already manufacturing the first of the one hundred that will comprise the full constellation, that Sateliot has scheduled for construction before the end of 2022. Additionally they will control the mission management and launch of the first satellites.
These microwave oven-sized satellites operate in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), flying at an approximate altitude of 500km to guarantee IoT connectivity at a global scale and in almost real-time.
In the next two years it is forecast that there will be more than 50bn IoT devices globally, and with this constellation Sateliot is perfectly positioned to partner with conventional telecommunication providers to ensure ubiquitous coverage.
Sateliot will also offer monitoring and tracking systems, data analysis, and processes in areas such as: maritime, railways, aeronautical, agriculture and farming, gas and petroleum exploration, electric or critical infrastructure.
Rafel Jordá, Founder and CEO of Open Cosmos said, “We are excited to have satellite production underway for these satellites and be progressing all other aspects of the mission, including system integration, launch, licensing and logistics, as well as orbit operations. We are delighted to partner with Sateliot to enable the reality of IoT anywhere.”
Jaume Sanpera, co-founder and CEO of Sateliot, added that, “A bond with a partner, such as Open Cosmos, allows us to move forward with our project, meeting head-on the requirements and challenges the New Space industry faces, while keeping control over the design of the antennae and the radio that will allow the operational and commercial management of our telecommunications service.” (Source: Satnews)
29 Jul 20. New High Resolution Satellite Launched by China. China dispatched a new high-resolution mapping satellite into space on Saturday, July 25, from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in the northern province of Shanxi.
The Ziyuan III 03 satellite was launched by a Long March-4B rocket at 11:13 a.m. Beijing time, according to the center. This was the 341st flight mission by the Long March rocket series.
Also on board the rocket were two satellites used for dark matter detection and commercial data acquisition respectively. They were developed by the Shanghai ASES Spaceflight Technology Co. Ltd. All three satellites have entered preset orbits, sources with the Taiyuan center said.
According to a University of Hong Kong press release, the “Lobster-Eye X-ray Satellite” that rode the Long March 4B lift rocket to orbit is co-led by Nanjing University (NJU), the Laboratory for Space Research (LSR) of The University of Hong Kong (HKU), the 508 Institute of the Fifth Academy of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), and Shanghai ASES Spaceflight Technology Co.Ltd. as well as under the 805 Institute of the Eighth Academy of CASC.
The satellite was successfully developed by five years of joint effort by the above outstanding teams. The satellite is equipped with an internally developed “Lobster-Eye” focused X-ray detector and a small high-precision payload platform. During the satellite’s long-term orbit operation, it will verify the ultra-large X-ray field-of-view within the X-ray energy regime and complete several important space X-ray detection experiments. This especially includes carrying out dark matter signal detection research within the X-ray energy regime under earth orbit environment.
Based on the “Lobster-Eye” focusing light theory, the X-ray imaging technology was first proposed in the 1970s, with advantages of large field-of-view, small size, light weight and easy assembly, etc., making it highly suitable for space payload applications.
The “Lobster-Eye X-ray Satellite” will be the world’s first in-orbit space exploration satellite equipped with such Lobster-Eye focused X-ray imaging technology, according to the release. Its core payload was technically guided by Nanjing University and jointly manufactured by the 508 Institute of CASC and China Building Materials Academy (CBMA).
The satellite’s successful launch marks an important milestone in the hoped-for the emergence of space science research will encourage more scientists to engage in nationwide space science projects. The LSR hopes this iconic scientific endeavour may inspire young minds in the HKSAR and beyond to pursue their space dreams and get involved in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Executive Comment: “I hope this project will lead to important scientific advances that reflect well on our two great universities of HKU and NJU and that will provide additional impetus and incentive for greater and deeper collaborations in the future with the Mainland Space program and emerging space economy,” said Professor Quentin Parker, Director of HKU LSR. (Source: Satnews)
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