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25 Sep 20. UK alternative to Galileo satnav system fails to clear the launch pad.
- Another white elephant crashes back to earth
- Government will now attempt to “repurpose” OneWeb
- Trying to turn a technological sow’s ear into a silk purse
- It won’t end well
The UK government is abandoning its plan to build and deploy its British Global Navigation Satellite System (BGNSS), the home-grown alternative to the EU’s Galileo and the US GPS system. It will bite the dust next Wednesday. Attention (and a lot of cash) will now be focused on trying to turn a technological sow’s ear into a silk purse. Yes, an attempt will be made to repurpose bankrupt OneWeb into a system it was not designed to be. What could possibly go wrong?
A couple of years ago Theresa May, the UK Prime Minister before the Churchillian colossus that is Boris Johnson ousted her from office, was thrashing about for any momentary divertissement that would take the eye of the public away from the Brexit imbroglio that eventually brought her down.
She lit upon the brilliant wheeze of replacing Britain’s membership of the EU’s Galileo satnav system with a home-grown, thoroughly British alternative. Whilst it didn’t quite involve then lighting of beacons around the coasts, men in tricorn hats waving flags from hilltops or the building of huge racks of contra-rotating egg timers, it was always about as realistic a prospect as that of crew of UK astronauts blasting off from the Bognor Regis cosmodrome tomorrow teatime on a round trip to Mars.
Not surprisingly, her plan, the equivalent of the white elephant that was the massive plywood “Spruce Goose” World War II troop transporter aircraft designed by Howard Hughes, which once and only once got to a height of 50 feet flying for a mile across Long Beach harbour, is being dumped.
The UK Space Agency has let it quietly be known that the contacts that had been given to British companies to design and build the British Global Navigation Satellite System “will not be extended beyond their expirations date.” That date is Wednesday, September 30, 2020. In other words, in five days time another British government lame duck will become a dead duck.
Having been a member of the EU’s Galileo programme since its inception and spending £1.2bn on contributions to its development, the UK was booted-out of the project when the country left the European Union.
Theresa May presented that national ignominy as a triumph of British international exceptionalism and said our removal would allow us to build our own stand-alone, independent, oven-ready, world-beating. The wunderwaffe satnav system at a cost of no more than £5 billion, give or take a hundred billion or so here and there to be found a while later.
It’s a project reset, not a surrender to reality
The government is spinning the story as a “reset” rather than a capitulation to the inevitable. However, and crucially, although the UK military access has access to some of the secret aspects of the US GPS system it has has no replacement for Galileo’s Public Regulated Service, which is the partitioned and encrypted military part of the system designed for missile guidance and critical logistics in a time of international tension or possible war.
The decision to abandon Britain’s own putative system has opened a rift in the corridors of power with some senior officials and members of parliament said now to be pushing for the UK to be reinstated to membership of Galileo, at more or less any cost. Meanwhile, others want the country to plough-on regardless and re-jig the OneWeb LEO satellite system, on which the country has taken a £500 million punt, to double-up as a navigation and timing system for which it was not designed and which may be technically unfeasible.
That’s why interested companies in the space sector are being asked to “put forward innovative solutions” that would provide the UK with “extra resilience” over that of both the EU’s Galileo and the US GPS system. Rumour has it that the panic buying of string and sealing wax has started and will take its place alongside the current run (if that’s the right word) on lavatory paper.
The government’s agreed National Space Strategy will finally be published before Christmas when it will be possible for us to read it, over a glass of Yuletide port, in conjunction with the new Beano Annual. The definitive National Space Strategy will remain definitive until at least the summer of 2021 by which time parliament will be looking to kibosh it on grounds of the costs of trying to repurpose OneWeb won’t be worth the candle. Please note and remember that OneWeb satellites are designed to provide satellite comms services and not satellite navigation. To convert them will be immensely difficult and hugely expensive – and their orbits will have to be changed. What a doddle.
Only last week the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee heard space scientists and engineers criticise the part acquisition of OneWeb and point up the likelihood that it will turn out to be another technological cul de sac. The writing’s already on the wall.
Of course, that didn’t prevent a committee apparatchik from saying this; “The government has set a clear ambition for a sovereign space programme which will bring long-term strategic and commercial benefits for the UK. Work is ongoing across government to determine the UK’s positioning, navigation and timing requirements, and assessing options for meeting them. The UK will not participate in the Galileo system.” Wanna bet?
Earlier this year, Dr. Bleddyn Bowen, lecturer in International Relations and Space Policy at the UK’s Leicester University commented. “I don’t know what prestige will be gained as the UK GNSS is widely seen as a waste of resources” and “a political vanity project”” – which it certainly was. Fortunately, the EU is indicating that, in due course, it will allow a chastened UK back as a member of Galileo when the post-Brexit rumpus eventually calms down and the government stops pfeffeling about. Some time around about 2030 then, long after the inevitable losses from the nonsensical OneWeb “plan” have been written through and off the government books. (Source: News Now/https://www.telecomtv.com/)
25 Sep 20. Leonardo sees €1bn industry boost from Italy’s alliance with U.S. on space. An agreement between Italy and the United States over space exploration can generate around 1bn euros ($1.16bn) for the Italian space industry, the CEO of aerospace and defence group Leonardo LDFO.MI said.
Italy’s Undersecretary to the Presidency, Riccardo Fraccaro, and NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, agreed to cooperate on NASA’s Artemis programme for the return to the moon and other space projects.
As part of its Artemis programme, NASA plans to send the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024 and establish a sustainable presence there by the end of the decade.
Leonardo’s Allesandro Profumo said Italy will make a significant contribution to the programme by providing the technology necessary for construction of moon landing systems and some of the habitable surface modules.
“The impact will be worth more than 1bn euros, without considering all the positive effects for the supply chain and the related industries,” Profumo said in a statement.
The Italian space industry currently employs 8,000 workers, of which 5,000 are at Leonardo, and generates an annual turnover of around 2bn euros. (Source: Reuters)
25 Sep 20. Starting in 2021, SpaceX can reuse boosters for Space Force launches. The U.S. Space Force will save $53m in launch expenses due to a contract modification with SpaceX, which will allow the company to reuse Falcon 9 first-stage boosters for future launches.
“SMC’s commitment to innovative partnerships and working with the commercial sector while maintaining our mission assurance posture and mission-success record cannot be understated,” said Walt Lauderdale, the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Falcon Systems and Operations Division chief and frequent mission director. “I am proud of our partnership with SpaceX that allowed us to successfully negotiate contract modifications for the upcoming GPS III missions that will save taxpayers $52.7 million while maintaining our unprecedented record of success.”
Under the contract modification, the reused boosters will first be utilized to launch GPS III space vehicle five and six, with the first of those launches to take place in 2021.
“SpaceX is proud to leverage Falcon 9′s flight-proven benefits and capabilities for national security space launch missions,” said Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer, in a statement. “We appreciate the effort that the U.S. Space Force invested into the evaluation and are pleased that they see the benefits of the technology. Our extensive experience with reuse has allowed SpaceX to continually upgrade the fleet and save significant precious tax dollars on these launches.”
SpaceX first collaborated with the Space and Missile Systems Center to recover a booster from the third GPS III launch on June 30, 2020, and plans to recover a booster from the upcoming GPS III launch on Sept. 29. That launch will take place from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
Of course, the company has been recovering and reusing its boosters for commercial launches for some time now. According to SpaceX, they have recovered booster from 53 launches, reusing them in another 38 launches.
“The United States’ launch industry is the envy of the world,” said Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, commander of the U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center. “Industry’s innovation has been key to SMC’s success over our 60+ year existence. I am thrilled to welcome SpaceX’s innovative reuse into the National Security Space Launch program!” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
24 Sep 20. BlackSky Announces Next Generation Dual Payload Satellite Architecture to Deliver High Resolution and Nighttime Imaging Capabilities.
U.S. Army and Defense Innovation Unit to leverage new satellite design for Tactical GEOINT program. BlackSky, a leading provider of global monitoring services, geospatial intelligence and satellite imagery, announced today the next phase of expansion of its high-revisit commercial satellite constellation with the unveiling of its next generation, Gen-3, satellite architecture. In addition, the company also announced it has conducted the preliminary design review of its Gen-3 satellite design for the U.S. Army Tactical GEOINT (TACGEO) prototype program as part of a multi-year contract with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU).
The commercial constellation expansion features Gen-3 satellites capable of producing images with 50-centimeter resolution and of hosting multiple sensors including short-wave infrared (SWIR). The improved resolution and enhanced spectral diversity of the Gen-3 satellites will extend BlackSky’s ability to provide real-time insights to its customers in a broad set of conditions, including nighttime, low light, and challenging weather.
The TACGEO program is designed to support the Department of Defense’s needs for responsive, space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) for tactical applications. The TACGEO program is a science and technology program to demonstrate the tactical utility of a single satellite of Gen-3’s capabilities. BlackSky’s Gen-3 satellites will enable rapid distribution of highly responsive insights to warfighters to support concurrent war games, exercises, and combat training center events and help measure technology readiness.
The TACGEO project leverages BlackSky’s high-revisit, low-latency constellation architecture to address a growing need for responsive intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for the tactical ISR missions. BlackSky accelerates the Department of Defense’s ability to leverage low-cost, high-performance, small imaging satellites to develop critical concept of operations (CONOPS) including tactics, techniques and procedures, and to inform future operational systems.
The contract was awarded to BlackSky in January 2020 after a competitive bid process. The TACGEO satellite program is now well into the design and development phase and is on track to launch and demonstrate operational capabilities in 2022.
“BlackSky is committed to ensuring the success of our customers’ missions. Our strategy of combining rapid evolution and deployment of space-based remote sensing capabilities with an industry leading AI-driven analytics and delivery platform will ensure that our customers are always the first to know,” said Brian O’Toole, CEO of BlackSky. “We are very proud to have reached this performance milestone. It demonstrates our ability to leverage a next generation space and analytics architecture to deliver new insights at a pace and economics unprecedented in the industry.”
The Gen-3 design is an evolution of the Gen-2 system that is currently in production with BlackSky’s satellite partner, LeoStella. BlackSky’s rapid innovation approach and vertically integrated architecture enables it to produce new generations of satellites, while continuing full-scale production and operations of its current satellites. This agile development and production strategy will enable BlackSky to complete design and manufacturing of its Gen-3 satellites in less than 24 months.
About BlackSky LLC
BlackSky is a global monitoring company. We monitor activities and facilities worldwide by harnessing the world’s emerging sensor networks and leveraging our own satellite constellation. We process millions of observations daily from space, air, environmental sensors, asset tracking sensors, Industrial IoT, and Internet-enabled narrative sources. BlackSky’s on-demand swarm of satellites can image a location multiple times throughout the day. We monitor for pattern-of-life anomalies to produce alerts that enhance situational awareness. Our monitoring service is powered by cutting-edge compute techniques including machine learning, artificial intelligence, computer vision, and natural language processing. BlackSky’s global monitoring is available via a simple subscription and requires no IT infrastructure or setup. For more information visit www.blacksky.com. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
25 Sep 20. DMTC partners up with ANU for hyperspectral imaging R&D. Melbourne-based DMTC’s High Altitude Sensor Systems Program has partnered with the Advanced Instrumentation Technology Centre at the Australian National University to drive advances in hyperspectral imaging technology.
The work is part of DMTC’s High Altitude Sensor Systems (HASS) Program and will be led by Professor Rob Sharp from the Advanced Instrumentation Technology Centre (AITC) at the Australian National University (ANU) and hosted at Mount Stromlo Observatory.
The project is a collaboration involving DMTC, researchers from ANU and CSIRO and industrial partner Skykraft, a small business formed out of the UNSW Canberra Space team that is currently developing a space-based Air Traffic Management solution that will utilise a constellation of small satellites.
The technology will provide Defence with critical visibility of littoral environments (the land-sea boundary zone), with direct applications for navigation, hydrographic survey and information gathering from denied or contested access areas.
Deployed on an unmanned aerial vehicle or a small satellite platform, the sensor could be tuned to measure optical water quality or detect objects in submerged environments, and simultaneously to provide topographical information of the land and sea bed in a consolidated 3D view of the area.
DMTC CEO Mark Hodge said, “This sort of collaborative team with a focus on industrialising research outcomes is what people expect of our projects.”
Expanding on Australia’s world-leading expertise in instrument design and data analysis, this project provides a clear pathway to transition research outcomes into a commercially viable solution. It will support an Australian-led consortium and create a critical Australian capability with global perspective and reach.
Designing the system to deploy on an unmanned aerial vehicle or small satellite puts an emphasis on making the system compact in size without compromising the quality of data capture.
“We’re seeking to achieve a lot in a relatively short space of time, and stage-gate reviews will confirm the levels of technological readiness that the team achieves,” Hodge added.
Along the way, the team will need to confront and overcome a number of technological barriers, including miniaturisation for deployment on target flight platforms, and size and weight optimisation of the prototype design.
The trade-offs between these competing elements will be addressed through advanced simulation techniques based on new design methods developed at ANU.
Professor Sharp, project leader, ANU, explained, “The project will utilise techniques developed from distinct yet highly complementary research fields. The mission uses simultaneous observations of light over a wide range of wavelengths to build a 3D model of the sea.
“That model is the key to peeling back the layers of the ocean, that is, to see beneath the surface,” Professor Sharp added.
This phase of the project will be completed in 12 months, with follow-on activities planned, including work to realise the potential for powerful onboard scene analysis.
James Prior, CEO of Skykraft, added, “This project will contribute to the burgeoning Australian space industry and has clear application opportunities in and beyond the defence sector, including other commercial uses and further research in areas around reef health monitoring and water quality assessment.
“The team assembled for this project has the depth and breadth of skills and commercial acumen to ensure the sensor specifications, technology development roadmap and market potential are all well considered. The technology developed through this project has significant export potential due to the recent global growth of small satellite technology and investment interest.”
DMTC was established in 2008 under the Australian government’s Defence Future Capability Technology Centre Program. DMTC’s role in the Defence innovation system, specifically through the Defence Innovation Hub, was confirmed and extended through the 2016 Defence Industry Policy Statement. (Source: Space Connect)
24 Sep 20. Government to explore new ways of delivering ‘sat nav’ for the UK, Government will explore new options for a UK satellite navigation and timing capability programme to support the nation’s critical infrastructure.
- Government to look at wider range of options for a UK satellite navigation and timing capability, critical for energy networks and communications to maritime, aviation and defence
- the government will explore cutting-edge ways to deliver vital ‘sat nav’ services to the UK – including use of satellites at different orbits
- this will boost the UK’s thriving space industry and expertise, paving the way for greater independence from foreign systems
New options for a UK satellite navigation and timing capability programme to support the nation’s critical infrastructure will be explored by the government, it was announced today (Thursday 24 September).
The Space-Based Positioning Navigation and Timing Programme (SBPP) will explore new and alternative ways that could be used to deliver vital satellite navigation services to the United Kingdom which are critical for the functioning of transport systems, energy networks, mobile communications and national security and defence, whilst boosting the British space industry and developing the UK’s own capabilities in these services.
This will follow the work of the UK’s Global Navigation Satellite System (UK GNSS) programme, which is due to conclude at the end of the month.
UK GNSS is an exploration programme which has developed outline plans for a conventional satellite system as an alternative to American GPS or the EU’s Galileo. The programme will now be reset as the SBPP to build on this work to consider newer, more innovative ideas of delivering global ‘sat nav’ and secure satellite services to meet public, government and industry needs.
Satellite navigation is a sophisticated technology that works by beaming signals from space that devices such as smartphones can use to determine their location and time – otherwise known as position, navigation and timing (PNT).
This could include technology that supports people’s everyday lives, such as emergency services to locate incidents, financial services companies to regulate exchanges on the UK stock market, or energy networks to ensure households receive power. Satellite navigation systems are also necessary to unlocking future technologies such as driverless cars, smart cities and artificial intelligence – transforming the way people live, work and travel.
Capitalising on the ingenuity of British businesses and academics, the programme will explore the use of different kinds of satellites at various levels of orbit by exploiting technologies offered by companies at the cutting-edge of innovation such as OneWeb, Inmarsat and Airbus.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:
Satellites underpin so many of the services that we all use every single day, from precise train timetables on our phones and satnavs in our cars.
Through our Space-Based Positioning Navigation and Timing Programme, we will draw on the strengths of the UK’s already thriving space industry to understand our requirements for a robust and secure satellite navigation system. This includes considering low orbiting satellites that could deliver considerable benefits to people and businesses right across the UK, while potentially reducing our dependency on foreign satellite systems.
A Cabinet Office Study examining the need for a UK space-based system for secure positioning, navigation and timing concluded that any solution would need to examine more options and further work is needed to determine what form a potential system takes so it provides value for money.
In order to meet UK industry and government needs for resilient global navigation and timing while also providing value for money to the public, the new SBPP will consider collaboration with international allies to share satellite navigation services, costs and technology.
Graham Turnock, CEO UK Space Agency said: “Our work to date has developed cutting-edge UK expertise in satellite navigation spacecraft, antenna design and control systems, while supporting high-skilled jobs.
Now is the time to drive this work further to look into wider, more innovative ways of delivering this important national capability – to help protect our critical infrastructure and put the UK at the forefront of the development of new space technologies. Currently, the UK is entirely dependent on foreign systems for these critical navigation services. SBPP will enable to the UK to build on its thriving space industry, home to global players such as Inmarsat, Airbus, Surrey Satellites (SSTL) and others, to become a global leader in space navigation technologies, developing new opportunities for businesses in the UK and overseas and creating new highly skilled jobs.”
The government has made clear its ambitions for the UK to become a globally competitive space power and is taking action through the newly established National Space Council, emerging National Space Strategy and the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, to create the conditions for a strong, secure and innovative space sector that delivers for the British people.
A government-backed study from London Economics estimated that sustained disruption to existing satellite navigation capabilities would likely cost the UK economy £1bn per day. Investment in space technology and services will enable the UK to build back better, unleashing the country’s global competitiveness and underpinning growth and high-skilled jobs.
- In 2018, the government announced an 18-month programme led by the UK Space Agency to develop a conventional Global Navigation Satellite System, which could meet UK security requirements and support the UK’s sovereign space and cryptography sectors
- the UK GNSS Programme in its current form will conclude on 30 September 2020
- work completed by the UK GNSS Programme so far has developed cutting edge British expertise in areas such as spacecraft and antenna design, satellite and ground control systems, systems engineering and simulation, which have wider applications across the space sector, in addition to supporting specialist UK jobs and industrial GNSS capability (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
24 Sep 20. SEOSAT-Ingenio starts its journey to space. Last night, the Spanish satellite SEOSAT-Ingenio, built by Airbus, was loaded at the Torrejón de Ardóz air base, near Madrid, on board an Antonov 124 cargo plane to fly to the Kourou launch site. SEOSAT-Ingenio shares the flight to Guyana with the French satellite Taranis from CNES. Once in Kourou, the launch campaign will begin including functional tests, integration on the launcher adapter and encapsulation into the launcher for final inspection. Launch is scheduled for 18 November aboard a Vega launcher. As both SEOSAT-Ingenio and Taranis are destined for similar orbits, at an altitude around 700km, they will ride-share on this launch. A VESPA payload dispenser, produced by Airbus in Madrid for Avio, will enable Vega to accomplish this dual launch.
SEOSAT-Ingenio is the first Spanish satellite with optical technology, developed primarily by the Spanish space industry led by Airbus in Spain as the prime contractor. It will give Spain the capability to capture high resolution satellite images. Imagery will be used for civil and military purposes covering services such as: security, land management, natural resources, border surveillance, agriculture and crisis management for natural disasters. Together with the PAZ satellite, launched in 2018, Spain will have a dual Earth observation system for both optical and radar imagery. This combined data set will produce higher resolution images and better information about our planet to Hisdesat, operating the constellation for the Spanish government.
SEOSAT-Ingenio is a strategic satellite for Spain and is owned by the Ministry of Science and Technology. The Centre for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI) leads the project by delegation and also assumes its cost.
23 Sep 20. Isotropic Systems Signs Contract with SES GS to Initiate Multi-Orbit Trials of Next-Gen Multi-beam Antenna Technologies for U.S. Military. Isotropic Systems’ prototype multi-beam terminals to be trialed at SES teleport and U.S. Army base. SES Government Solutions (SES GS), a fully-owned affiliate of SES, and Isotropic Systems, a leading developer of transformational broadband terminal technologies, today announced a two-phased antenna evaluation contract with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, working in close collaboration with the U.S. Army Research Engineering Team, for tests of Isotropic Systems’ multi-beam terminal over SES’s O3b Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) constellation to ultimately unleash next-gen connectivity across the battlefield.
It is the first customer contract between Isotropic Systems and SES Government Solutions and follows on from the significant developmental partnership currently ongoing between the two companies to produce scalable, cost-effective terminals capable of providing government, military, and commercial access to the existing O3b constellation and the groundbreaking O3b mPOWER system set to launch late next year.
The U.S. Air Force and Army, through the innovative Defense Experimentation Using Commercial Space Internet (DEUCSI) program, will review a prototype of Isotropic Systems’ optical beamforming antenna and its ability to connect simultaneously with two satellite constellations at GEO and MEO. The unique multi-beam capability will enable the armed forces to deliver data at the tactical edge by leveraging capacity from multiple commercial satellites and a military satellite over a single antenna platform.
First phase over-the-air (OTA) is scheduled to be completed by early fall, followed by the phase two in early 2021 where the Isotropic Systems optical lens technology will be utilized to demonstrate a two full performance beam connection. One beam will link with an SES geostationary (GEO) satellite, while another full performance optical beam will establish a simultaneous connection with SES’s O3b MEO satellite constellation.
The biggest user of satellite capacity in the world, the U.S. Department of Defense, is exploring new ways to more effectively and efficiently utilize both existing and new capacity coming online in GEO, MEO and LEO orbits. Isotropic Systems’ optical multi-beam terminals bring key advantages to government markets, including the flexibility to meet performance, cost, and power consumption requirements specific to defense.
“As we get ready for the launch of our O3b mPOWER MEO constellation and SES-17 GEO satellite late next year, it is vital that we work with the U.S. Government to better understand their requirements, and to partner with companies like Isotropic Systems to help us meet those needs,” said Pete Hoene, President and CEO of SES Government Solutions. “The Isotropic antenna will deliver high throughput, at low latency over a MEO constellation with simultaneous resilient GEO capacity. This will be a game-changer for the U.S. Army. These collaborative trials with the U.S. Army Research Engineering Team and the Air Force bring commercial ingenuity to the men and women in uniform and the U.S. Government as a whole.”
“Isotropic Systems’ collaborative tests with SES Government Solutions in support of the U.S. military is an important milestone on our roadmap leading to a multi-beam, multi-frequency terminal that allows the government and armed forces to utilize every bit of capacity in the sky,” said Scott Sprague, Chief Commercial Officer of Isotropic Systems. “That is the ultimate goal for the defense market, which is currently grappling with disparate networks to deliver connectivity to the battlespace.” (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
23 Sep 20. Space Force and NASA focused on cislunar space in new agreement. The U.S. Space Force has signed a new memorandum of understanding with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, laying out areas for collaboration between the main military and civilian space organizations within the U.S. government.
The five-page document outlines areas for collaboration, including human spaceflight, space policy, space transportation, standards and best practices for planetary defense. The agreement replaces a similar 14-year-old memorandum between NASA and U.S. Air Force Space Command, the organization that has since morphed into the Space Force.
“NASA and the military share a long history dating back to the late 1950s; there is power in our partnership,” said Space Force Chief of Space Operations General John “Jay” Raymond during a Sept. 22 Mitchell Institute event. “A secure, stable, and accessible space domain underpins our nation’s security, prosperity and scientific achievement. Space Force looks forward to future collaboration, as NASA pushes farther into the universe for the benefit of all.”
The memorandum puts increased focus on cislunar space, the area beyond geostationary orbit that encompasses activities around the moon. According to the document, both the Space Force and NASA need to increase their Space Domain Awareness of cislunar space, but are at the limits of their current capabilities.
For the Space Force, the imperative to know what’s happening in cislunar space has grown as both commercial entities, NASA, and adversary nations like China have shown increased interest in operating in that area. Part of the Space Force’s mission is to ensure freedom of action in space, and with NASA preparing to once again send astronauts to the moon through the Artemis program, the nascent service needs to have a better understanding of what is happening in cislunar space.
NASA, meanwhile, is charged with planetary defense — detecting, tracking and characterizing 90 percent of the potentially dangerous asteroids and comets that come within five million miles of the Earth.
While both NASA and the Space Force claim they have reached the limits of their current capabilities, the memorandum notes that there is significant overlap in the technologies needed to carry out those missions.
A key example is the Space Force’s Space Surveillance Telescope in Australia. Though designed to provide advanced electro-optical coverage of objects in geosynchronous orbit for the military, NASA could use that telescope for detecting near-earth objects that fall within its planetary defense mission. Under this agreement, the two organizations will work to share relevant technologies and data like the Space Surveillance Telescope that can help each fulfill their distinct missions.
“NASA’s partnerships are vital to ensuring America continues to lead the world in the peaceful uses of outer space,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “This agreement with the U.S. Space Force reaffirms and continues our rich legacy of collaboration with the Defense Department and provides a critical foundation to investigate areas of mutual interest for our distinct civil and defense roles in space.”
The memorandum went into effect when Raymond signed it Sept. 21. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
15 Sep 20. EDA participates in EU secure SatCom project. EDA is part of a new EU research project launched today by the European Commission under the HORIZON 2020 programme which aims to develop secure satellite communications for EU governments and institutions. Called ENTRUSTED (‘European Networking for satellite Telecommunication Roadmap for the governmental Users requiring Secure, inTeroperable, innovativE and standardiseD services’), the project will run until February 2023.
With its wide SatCom expertise based on two SatCom services delivering projects and a Project Team Satellite Communication, EDA has been called to be part of the consortium of EU Member States and EU Agencies implementing the project. The Agency will contribute to all work packages with a focus on user needs, requirements and use cases definition, surveying the state-of-the-art of existing secure SatCom user technologies and definition of a research and development (R&D) roadmap.
Over the coming 30 months, ENTRUSTED will develop a common understanding of governmental user needs for secure SATCOM systems, elaborate a set of user requirements for the future EU GOVSATCOM programme and analyse available and planned secure SATCOM capabilities and solutions offered by commercial operators and governments. It will also assess the need for European standardisation for secure SATCOM user equipment and services and identify the main research and innovation actions to be taken at national and EU levels with regard to secure SATCOM user technologies. A set of recommendations to the European Commission will be issued at the end of the project. (Source: EDA)
22 Sep 20. NASA, DOD Agree to Collaborate More Closely in Space. While advancing plans for unprecedented lunar exploration under the Artemis program, NASA also is building on a longstanding partnership with the Defense Department according to a memorandum of understanding announced today by Space Force Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
The agreement commits DOD and NASA to broad collaboration in areas that include human spaceflight, space policy, space transportation, standards and best practices for safe operations in space, scientific research and planetary defense.
The agreement was discussed today at the Air Force Association Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies’ Space Power Forum.
The MOU replaces an agreement signed 14 years ago between NASA and the U.S. Air Force Space Command, under which the two organizations exchanged research and development information, sought to reduce duplication of system development and collaborated in the long-term planning of each organization’s space roadmaps.
The security of the space domain has become more challenging with competitor nations able to jam, spoof, hack and use lasers to attack satellites and communications systems, Bridenstine said.
“We want to see behaviors improved in space,” he said, “and the Space Force will be an important partner in ensuring space is secure and is used peacefully for the benefit of all of humanity.”
Raymond said the Space Force will defend assets in space including GPS satellites, weather satellites, communications satellites, missile warning satellites, space domain awareness satellites, rockets and the International Space Station.
Those assets are vital to the joint force and those capabilities are shared with allies and partners, he added.
NASA, on the other hand, is in science, technology and exploration missions, which are distinct from what the Space Force does, Raymond said.
But besides operating together in the space domain, the two organizations share the space industrial base, research and development and science and technology that benefit both, he said.
This MOU reiterates the close collaboration that DOD has had with NASA since its founding in 1958, Raymond said, mentioning that most of the astronauts leading up to the moon landings were military personnel.
Bridenstine mentioned that as part of its Artemis program, NASA plans to send the first astronauts to the lunar surface in 2024 and establish a sustainable presence there by the end of the decade. The agency will then use the Moon to prepare for its next giant leap — human exploration of Mars. Raymond said the Space Force will support those missions as well. (Source: Space Connect)
21 Sep 20. How Relativity Space plans to win the Pentagon’s launch contracts. With the U.S. military looking to launch thousands of satellites into low Earth orbit over the next several years, Relativity Space feels well positioned to comped for those launches. (DARPA)
Relativity Space wants to be the first company to launch an entirely 3D-printed rocket into orbit and it wants the Pentagon as a customer.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench into plans, a growing number of companies are looking to provide small and medium launch services to the U.S. government. The establishment of the U.S. Space Force, Space Development Agency and U.S. Space Command in 2019 signaled the Pentagon’s ambitious plans for launching more payloads into space, and providing a vehicle for just a portion of those launches would prove lucrative to any company.
For Vice President of Business Development and Government Affairs Josh Brost, Relativity Space stands out from the competition, bringing disruptive 3D printing technology to bear on the small launch sector. Prior to joining Relativity, he worked at SpaceX for nine years, where he was responsible for the company’s government sales.
Even as the company works toward the launch of its first Terran One rocket in fall 2021, Relativity has worked to secure contracts in the commercial world. In June, the company announced it had secured a deal with Iridium Communications for six dedicated launches to low Earth orbit, with the first launch taking place no earlier than 2023. That same month, Relativity also announced a Right of Entry Agreement with the 30th Space Wing for development of rocket launch facilities at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Recently, Brost and Relativity Space co-founder and CEO Tim Ellis spoke with C4ISRNET about how the company plans to win launch contracts with the U.S. government.
This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
C4ISRNET: How is Relatively Space approaching the U.S. defense and intelligence community launch market?
BROST: We see the national security customer base as a really important long term customer for us. I think you know, that the main buyers of launch within the national security sector, are the Air Force through their small launch group, the Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. But in addition to that, you do have [the National Reconnaissance Office] that buys some launches themselves directly, you’ve got the Space Development Agency that maybe buys launches directly as well as DARPA. We have existing relationships with all of those different entities. And while we’re still in development, we have been bringing them along with our developments and getting them excited about what we’re doing differently.
If you look at what the spacecraft that are being developed by the Defense Department at this point in time, you’re seeing a really rapid growth in the interest and need for for smaller satellites that are offering more distributing capabilities. So you got the Space Development Agency working on their demonstrations, you have DARPA working on their demonstration of a whole new way of building resilient space architectures which are predicated on more smaller spacecraft.
And then if you look, again, on the way we’re building the launch vehicle, with the 3D printing, we’re gonna be able to go from raw materials flight in just 60 days, where normally it would take something like 18 months to two years to build a small launch vehicle.
C4ISRNET: Can you give me some numbers around your pricing, to give us a little more perspective? I mean, how are you shaping up to what you see as the competition right now?
BROST: We do post our launch vehicle price on our website. It’s $12m for the full capability of Terran One. And that vehicle can take a little over 1250 kilograms to low Earth orbit. So that puts us at just under $10,000 per pound to orbit. In the small launch space, most or basically all of the other launch vehicles that are out there have lower capacity than us and most of them charge the same or more per mission. And so the math becomes pretty simple for the dollar per pound comparison.
C4ISRNET: What do you think is a healthy mix as far as what proportion of your business will be defense related as opposed to commercial launches? Say 10 years down the line, what’s the mix you’re looking for?
ELLIS: When we’ve looked at market analysis, overall, I think we can get to something that’s pretty close to 50/50. There’s certainly a very robust and growing commercial launch industry and, you know, lots of low Earth orbit constellation providers that are looking to develop capability. [There are] other markets — low Earth orbits, medium Earth orbit as well as geosynchronous — which we can actually serve with our launch vehicle and a kind of final kick stage third stage, that we have a launch agreement with Momentous Space offer. So we can reach all of these different orbits for commercial customers, which we see being a several billion dollar per year opportunity. And then on the defense side, we’re seeing similar activity. There’s a whole bunch of these low Earth orbit programs that are being investigated, as well as other capabilities that we think will make the government market robust. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
21 Sep 20. Maxar Selected to Deliver Portable Satellite Imagery Ground Systems to U.S. Army. Maxar Technologies (NYSE:MAXR) (TSX:MAXR), a trusted partner and innovator in Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure, today announced that it has been selected by the U.S. Army Geospatial Center to deliver multiple highly portable, direct-downlink tactical ground systems that provide critical geospatial intelligence to users in remote locations. Maxar was awarded a sole-source, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract valued at up to $49m over eight years and two initial task orders worth a combined value of $8m.
The system, called the U.S. Army Remote Ground Terminal (RGT), is easily transported by two people and can be set-up in about an hour. The RGT enables troops in remote locations to rapidly downlink, analyze and disseminate data from commercial Earth observation satellites to support military, humanitarian and disaster relief missions. The RGT system is based on Maxar’s Tactical Architecture for Near-real-time Global Operations (TANGOTM) platform, the most portable ground system of its kind.
The RGT downlinks data from a variety of commercial sources, including Maxar’s high-resolution WorldView constellation, and is designed to be continuously upgraded with additional commercial electro-optical and synthetic aperture radar sources. The RGT comes with robust training for unit operators to enable self-sustained operations, and 24/7 field service available from Maxar.
The U.S. Army plans to continue developing the RGT system, ultimately transitioning it to become the commercial imagery receive node for the U.S. Army’s future Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node (TITAN). TITAN is a scalable intelligence ground station that will leverage sensors across multiple domains to provide rapid and accurate targeting data directly to U.S. Army fires networks.
“As the industry leader in Earth Intelligence, Maxar is dedicated to delivering innovative solutions for our customers’ most complex challenges,” said Tony Frazier, Maxar’s Executive Vice President of Global Field Operations. “The RGT is revolutionizing the way users in remote sites obtain the critical Earth Intelligence their missions demand – when and where they need it most.”
“Times of crisis are defined by seconds and minutes, not days and months,” said Matt Cro, U.S. Army Geospatial Center’s Technical Director, Army TENCAP. “The Maxar-developed RGT is significantly enhancing the speed at which we access critical information at the tactical edge and provides an important technology advancement for enabling TITAN.” (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
21 Sep 20. RAAF launches first space payload on DART rocket. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has launched a DART rocket with a first space payload from Koonibba Rocket Range in South Australia.
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has launched a DART rocket with a first space payload from Koonibba Rocket Range in South Australia.
This marks the launch of the first commercial rocket to space from Australia.
The DART is 3.4m-long and weighs 34kg. It is said to be a fraction of the size of Nasa and SpaceX rockets.
The Government of Australia has planned to invest A$7bn over the next ten years to boost space capabilities as part of the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan.
Australia Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said: “The rocket will carry a prototype radio frequency receiver unit designed for airforce.
“The payload, carried on a DART rocket, provides a stepping stone for airforce to explore how advanced rapidly deployable networked sensors can be employed to provide information across defence networks.
“Airforce’s Plan Jericho has sponsored this prototype, developed by DEWC Systems, and marks an exciting future for Australia’s space capability.”
Australian Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said the launch of the DART rocket demonstrates the opportunities for commercial and government applications.
The rocket launch is a part of the RAAF Plan Jericho advanced sensing programme aimed at detecting and tracking challenging targets. It also includes the launch of high-altitude balloons.
Price said: “Airforce’s advanced sensing capability is being enhanced by working with leading Australian industry partners, Southern Launch, DEWC Systems, and Dutch company, T-Minus Engineering.”
Last month, Earth Observant (EOI) secured a US Air Force (USAF) contract under the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) programme for the development of a very low Earth orbit (VLEO) optical payload. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
21 Sep 20. Airbus selected for ESA’s new polar ice and snow topography mission. CRISTAL will measure sea ice thickness and ice sheet elevations.
Airbus in Germany will lead the industrial consortium
Contract is worth €300m. The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected Airbus to develop and build the Copernicus polar ice and snow topography mission (CRISTAL). With two satellites the CRISTAL mission will ensure the long-term continuation of radar altimetry ice elevation and change records. It is one of six new missions to expand the current capabilities of the Copernicus space component for the benefit of all European citizens. The contract is worth €300m.
With launch planned in 2027, CRISTAL will carry an advanced multi-frequency altimeter that will measure sea ice thickness and ice sheet elevations. These data will support maritime operations in polar oceans and contribute to a better understanding of climate processes. CRISTAL will also support applications related to coastal and inland waters and the observation of ocean topography.
Six fixed and two deployable solar arrays – 18.6 m² in total – ensure enough power on a drifting polar orbit at 760km above the Earth. Its on-board memory will be able to store up to 4 terabits of science data at once, providing scientists with a wealth of information during its 7.5 year lifetime. The Airbus Defence and Space site in Friedrichshafen (Germany) will head an industrial consortium involving companies from 19 countries to deliver the project, including Thales Alenia Space to provide the IRIS Interferometric Radar Altimeter.
The 1.7 ton spacecraft is based on a proven, robust Airbus satellite design building on the heritage from Sentinel-6 and CryoSat.
Jean-Marc Nasr, Head of Space Systems at Airbus said: “With a tenth of Earth’s land surface permanently covered by ice sheets or glaciers, the cryosphere is an important regulator of global climate. Data from the Airbus-built CRISTAL predecessor, CryoSat, has shown that ice losses from Antarctica have increased global sea levels by 7.6 mm since 1992, with two fifths of this rise (3.0 mm) coming in the last five years. CRISTAL will continue these vital measurements, a key climate change indicator.”
Overall, Airbus is responsible for the spacecraft or payload on 3 of the 6 new generation Copernicus Environment and Earth observation missions: LSTM, CRISTAL and Rose-L, and is providing critical equipment to all six.
The Copernicus Sentinels are a fleet of dedicated EU-owned satellites, designed to deliver the wealth of data and imagery that are central to the European Union’s Copernicus environmental programme. The European Commission leads and coordinates this programme, to improve the management of the environment, safeguarding lives every day. The European Space Agency (ESA) is in charge of the space component, responsible for developing the family of Copernicus Sentinel satellites on behalf of the European Union and ensuring the flow of data for the Copernicus services, while the operations of the Copernicus Sentinels have been entrusted to ESA and EUMETSAT, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites. Six new missions have been selected to join the fleet of Copernicus Sentinels and expand the current capabilities. Airbus is a key industrial contributor by developing and manufacturing satellites, instruments and components as well as providing related services.
20 Sep 20. UK Space Agency report sees soaring demand for space surveillance and tracking. A research report for the UK Space Agency sees the demand for Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) services soar over the next decade, the “Future SST Markets Research” report published on 15 September said in its conclusion.
“Over the coming decade, the number of operational satellites in orbit is set increase by an order of magnitude from around 2,300 to well over 20,000.,” the report said. “The ability to detect smaller pieces of the debris population is also set to increase, resulting in the tracking of potentially a million objects in orbit. Low Earth Orbit will be particularly impacted as it faces the highest growth and the greatest risk of collision.”
“As a result, the demand for products and services from a credible Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) provider is projected to increase.”
“The space environment is complex, congested and set to become more so in the near future,” the analysts from Map Analytica and Inverse Quanta wrote. “As more operators launch satellites into orbit, the need to better understand the orbital environment is greater than ever. The framework for undertaking space surveillance is also undergoing significant change. The US is in the process of bringing a hugely capable military sensor on-line, the new Space Fence, yet is nevertheless transferring responsibility for the space catalogue from the US Air Force to the Department of Commerce, reflecting the shift to the civil and commercial sectors as the dominant space actors.”
The report concludes that the “UK is well placed to take advantage of all of these opportunities and take a global lead in the provision of SST products and services and if it did, would position itself as an informed and influential partner in the inevitable global discussion of space sustainability.” (Source: Google/https://spacewatch.global/)
21 Sep 20. China to lose access to Australian space tracking station. China will lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region.
FILE PHOTO: The Australian flag flutters in front of the Great Hall of the People during a welcoming ceremony for Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (not in picture) in Beijing, China, April 14, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Lee
The Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the ground station since at least 2011. It is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the United States and its agencies, including NASA.
The Swedish state-owned company told Reuters it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after its current contract expires. However, it did not disclose when the lease runs out.
“Given the complexity of the Chinese market, brought about by the overall geopolitical situation, SSC has decided to focus mainly on other markets for the coming years,” the SSC said in an emailed response to questions.
The site is owned by SSC subsidiary, SSC Space Australia. (Source: Reuters)
21 Sep 20. Leonardo joins Lot Fourteen space precinct, partnership with SmartSat CRC. Italian defence and aerospace conglomerate Leonardo has announced it is enhancing its footprint in the Australian space industry through its subsidiary e-GEOS – in partnership with SmartSat CRC – setting up at Adelaide’s Lot Fourteen.
Leonardo has committed to the South Australian space ecosystem establishing a foothold for its space service business – through its subsidiary e-GEOS – in partnership with SmartSat CRC.
E-GEOS is a joint venture between Telespazio – Leonardo’s subsidiary – and the Italian Space Agency.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall welcomed the announcement, and Leonardo to Lot Fourteen, saying, “South Australia is the defence and space capital of the country and it’s fantastic to see another incredible international company choosing South Australia to do business.
“The strong interest being shown by major national and international players is a coup for South Australia and is further evidence that Lot Fourteen is a magnet for business and jobs. The addition of Leonardo to Lot Fourteen cements my governments strong commitment to create a once in a generation hub that will generate thousands of jobs for South Australians now and into the future.”
Professor Andy Koronios, SmartSat CEO, added, “Leonardo Australia aims to work with SmartSat to harness local expertise and develop competitive business opportunities with their global partners, leading to job creation and industry growth.”
In 2019, Leonardo Australia, through the involvement of e-GEOS, became a supporting partner of Adelaide-based space Cooperative Research Centre SmartSat CRC.
Michael Lenton, executive chairman of Leonardo Australia, added, “Lot Fourteen is the beating heart of Australia’s space activity. It is where the future of Australia’s space capability is being created. Leonardo and e-GEOS have so much space expertise to bring, technology to transfer and experience to share. We want to see the Australian space industry grow. How could we not be part of this thrilling venture?”
Leonardo Australia’s partnership with SmartSat is a key driver in the company’s strategy to grow its presence in the space industry within the Oceania region and to develop joint research and commercialisation opportunities.
Richard Price, chief executive of Defence SA, said, “Leonardo can leverage decades of expertise and experience in space programs and plays a crucial role in several important space missions, such as the Galileo global navigation system, Copernicus, COSMO-SkyMed, Prisma (Hyperspectral Precursor), ExoMars and Rosetta missions, as well as the International Space Station. The company’s presence in Adelaide is a major step for the South Australian ecosystem.”
As a prominent provider of the European Copernicus program, e-GEOS supports rapid security and disaster response operations all over the world, including providing Australian fire authorities with rapid mapping during recent bushfires.
Leonardo Australia is the regional subsidiary of Leonardo, a global top 10 high technology defence and space company with annual revenues of $23bn.
George Coulloupas, business development manager – space at Leonardo Australia, is leading Leonardo Australia’s space line of business based at Lot Fourteen.
Coulloupas has extensive Australian experience in start-up innovation, space-derived service commercialisation and primary research in next-generation satellite systems.
The SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre brings together over 100 national and international partners who have invested over $190m, along with $55m in federal government funding under its Cooperative Research Centres Program, in a $245m research effort over seven years.
Working closely with the Australian Space Agency, SmartSat will make a strong contribution to the Australian government’s goal of tripling the size of the space sector to $12bn and creating up to 20,000 jobs by 2030. Alongside developing projects with SmartSat CRC, Leonardo Australia is preparing to deliver world leading geo-information expertise and unique access to dual military and civil satellites provided by e-GEOS. (Source: Space Connect)
14 Sep 20. China Rocket Failure + EO Capture Success With 2.5+K Images Released. Optical remote-sensing satellite Jilin-1 Gaofen 02C, which was launched aboard the Kuaizhou-1A carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China at 13:02 p.m. (Beijing time) on Saturday, September 12, failed to enter the preset orbit.
Abnormal performance was identified during the rocket’s flight, said the launch center. The cause of the failure is under investigation.
Additionally, China’s first polar-observing satellite, BNU-1, has obtained 2,501 images covering the Arctic and Antarctic regions after orbiting Earth for a full year, its owner, Beijing Normal University (BNU), said on Saturday.
At a press conference held in Beijing, the BNU released a series of remote sensing data of the North and South Poles. Among all the images obtained by the satellite, 850 are of the Antarctic ice sheet and 1,025 picture the Arctic regions. Plus, a total of more than 240 high-quality remote sensing scenes, which picture the North and South Poles in partly cloudy weather with a resolution of 80 meters, were captured by the satellite.
Users have access to all the above data and images, and downloading is free (http://earth.bnu.edu.cn).
The satellite, also called “Ice Pathfinder,” was launched on September 12, 2019 and is the first member of China’s polar observation satellite constellation, which will have a total of 24 satellites when fully completed.
During its on-orbit operation, the satellite continuously monitored the gigantic ice calving, which occurred on the Amery Ice Shelf in September of 2019, and obtained key satellite images and data, said Chen Zhuoqi, the satellite operations team leader and also an associate professor at the Guangzhou-based Sun Yat-sen University. Chen added that the satellite also completed a remote sensing mapping of Greenland with a resolution of 70 meters in 2020.
Supported by the country’s Ministry of Science and Technology, the satellite was designed by the BNU and jointly developed by the China Great Wall Industry Corporation and the Shenzhen Aerospace Dongfanghong Satellite Co., Ltd.
The satellite is mainly equipped with a wide-width camera with a high dynamic range specially designed for polar observation, and is suitable for polar and mid-latitude environmental monitoring, according to the BNU.
The release of the satellite polar remote sensing data has made up for China’s long-term lack of polar observation data and helps to promote the country’s polar and global change research, said Wu Qizhong at the College of Global Change and Earth System Science of the BNU.
The release of the data is an invitation to researchers around the world who focus on polar research to jointly explore the application value of the data, Wu added. (Source: Satnews)
14 Sep 20. Paradigm’s HORNET100GX Gains Inmarsat Type Approval for GX Land Ops. Paradigm Communications Systems Ltd. has reported that their rugged, quick deploy HORNET100GX, which is now available for operation on the Inmarsat Global Xpress satellite network as a highly efficient Land Terminal Efficiency Group 2 terminal.
Inmarsat has issued Type Approval of the HORNET100GX for use on all GX Land based services, such as G2X Land, providing cost effective high throughput data services around the world.
The HORNET100GX is based on Paradigm’s rugged and portable PIM-based HORNET VSAT terminal. The field-proven HORNET provides a single SATCOM solution for many different operational requirements, being environmentally rugged, yet lightweight; even the largest 100cm variant can be packed into a single airline-friendly case, as well as saving airtime service charges compared to other terminals.
At the heart of each of Paradigm’s satellite terminals is the PIM (Paradigm Interface Module), providing an easy to use operational interface ensuring rapid setup and simple terminal configuration and management. Paradigm’s PIM is at the heart of modern satellite terminal operation, designed to simplify operation, reduce operating/training costs and provide a central unit for the integration and operation of satellite terminal hardware.
That is the reason Paradigm terminals are ideally suited for Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network. As well as making pointing simple for any user, PIM-based terminals all offer excellent SWaP characteristics and operational agility providing key connectivity for edge devices.
Paradigm terminals are all IATA compliant, and the modular, quick deploy single-case HORNET provides the ideal balance of portability with high bandwidth.
Ulf Sandberg, Managing Director at Paradigm, said, “The availability of the HORNET as a Global Xpress Land Group 2 terminal is a fantastic opportunity to use our rugged, environmentally proven HORNET with high speed data, all over the world at a great price” James Marley, Director, Land Sector for Inmarsat Global Government said: “Paradigm’s HORNETGX100 terminal offers customers a highly portable, single case solution with the airtime service cost benefit of a 1m antenna. We look forward to getting the first terminal units connected on the G2X Land service.” (Source: Satnews)
14 Sep 20. Launch Services MoU Signed By Equatorial Space Systems With Indian Firm. Equatorial Space Systems has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India’s Space Development Nexus-SDNx for suborbital launch services using the company’s Dorado rocket.
The MOU is the first foray of Equatorial Space into the Indian market and involves extensive collaboration in providing responsive, suborbital launch operations to academic and research groups in the country. With its standardized payload module, the Dorado vehicle will provide cost-effective and frequent testing opportunities for a variety of users starting 2021.
Space Development Nexus (SDNx) is creating multiple Space Education and Research Centers in Educational Institutions across the globe to create an experiential learning ecosystem for the students in the Field of Aerospace, Aviation, and Automation. These Space Education and Research Centers will engage students in research and development of unique projects like Nano-Satellites, Sounding Rockets, Interplanetary Rover etc. to create skilled and eligible space ready workforce of tomorrow.
The company’s inaugural suborbital launch of the Dorado sounding rocket is slated for the first half of 2021.
“It’s hard to find another nation as proactive and visionary in space as India and we are excited to enable the wealth of creativity found in India’s education institutions to scale greater heights with responsive launch capability,” said Simon Gwozdz, the Founder and CEO of Equatorial Space.
“Indian Space Sector is rising and with that a giant wave of new opportunities is about to strike the nation. We need an entirely new type of workforce to serve the space industry and there is an immediate need of large number of Space Research and Training Platforms to provide the necessary skills to the young minds of the country,” said Govind Yadav, the Director and Chief Innovation Officer of Space Development Nexus-SDNx. (Source: Satnews)
14 Sep 20. Oakman Aerospace To Establish A Ground Station In Michigan. Oakman Aerospace, Inc. (OAI) and Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) have created a partnership to establish a ground station, referred to as the Homestead ground station, at Chippewa County International Airport (CIU).
The Homestead ground station, expected to be fully assembled by first-quarter 2021, will use a high-gain, 5.5 meter, parabolic dish antenna that supports S-band uplink and downlink as well as X-band downlink for satellite communications and data processing.
This announcement comes at an opportune time as Chippewa was recently named a finalist in Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association’s (MAMA) site selection search for a new command center to support satellite launch and daily operations. Oakman Aerospace’s new Homestead ground station paves the way for a complete command and control (C2) center in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula (EUP).
The site for the new ground station was selected for its strategic location that supports both Polar Orbiting Space Vehicle Command and Control, as well as, lower-inclination Space Vehicle missions due to CIU’s ideal latitude and longitude. Homestead and the eventual Common Integrated Ground – Command & Control (CIG-C2) center will enable U.S. Government, Commercial, and Academic missions; and, increase mission assurance associated with future Hybrid-Architectures that seamlessly connect disparate systems through standardized interface and interoperability constructs.
Homestead will provide enhanced space communication capabilities to the Upper Peninsula and its effects will be apparent in the advanced workforce development planned for the area. OAI and CCEDC are working to establish a training & certification program for mission controllers, mission engineers, and various IT support functions for the future C2 center. MAMA is anticipated to announce the C2 site selection by November 2020. The future command center, along with two launch sites in Marquette and Oscoda, are projected to create over 2,000 jobs.
“The Homestead project provides critical pathfinder understanding and is a risk reduction effort that will enable cost-effective and highly efficient mission operations for the future command and control center initiative,” said Maureen S. O’Brien, Co-founder and CEO of Oakman Aerospace, Inc.
“I am excited to see both the Homestead and CIG-C2 projects being implemented in the EUP. As a long-time resident of Pickford, Michigan these efforts will bring high-paying, high-tech jobs to the local economy. OAI is confident that CIU and our partner CCEDC are on the right path,” stated Stanley O. Kennedy, Sr., Co-founder, Executive Vice President, and OAI board member.
“The CCEDC is very pleased with the site selection of Chippewa County for OAI’s Homestead expansion. We view this as an important step forward for economic opportunities in the region and greatly enhances our competitiveness for site selection of the command and control center. The future of space is U.P.,” added Chris Olson, President of the Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation. (Source: Satnews)
09 Sep 20. NATO reviews proposals for new centre of excellence on space. With NATO having declared space as an operational domain last November, the allies are now preparing to add a new space-focused centre of excellence (CoE) to their 25-strong network of alliance-affiliated national CoE’s. A decision approving the move could come as early as November, when NATO defence ministers meet for the last time this year, according to alliance sources. The CoE will not form any part of NATO’s command structure but will more likely serve as a place “where the allies can discuss, compare notes on how each approaches the space sector, and develop ideas together on policy and operations,” a NATO official told Janes on 8 September. “It would also be useful for building up a common understanding of the challenges of space, particularly for those allies that don’t have a space sector or space command.”
Asked if the future space CoE would be assigned any concrete responsibilities by its participating nations, the official said it was uncertain whether the CoE would carry out any training or help organise space-related exercises. “My initial impression is that I don’t see it doing any tabletop exercises, for example, but it is just too early to tell. The allies will have to decide what they want to do with it.”
There are two proposals to host the CoE, which Allied Command Transformation has been reviewing over the past year. One is from France, which has offered to co-host the CoE at its new space command in Toulouse, and the other is from Germany, which would site it alongside NATO’s Joint Air Power Competence Centre (JAPCC) of excellence, located in Kalkar. (Source: Jane’s)
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