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SATELLITE SYSTEMS, SATCOM AND SPACE SYSTEMS UPDATE

Sponsored By Viasat

www.viasat.com/gov-uk

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09 Nov 20. Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT) has announced that Viasat’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Dankberg, has become the Executive Chairman of the company, which is a new position. Mr. Dankberg will continue in his role as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Viasat, Inc.

The Company’s President and COO, Rick Baldridge, has been named President and CEO. These executive changes went into effect on November 3, 2020. This evolution formalizes the way Dankberg and Baldridge have been operating for the past several years. As Executive Chairman, Dankberg will continue to focus on advancing the strategic technology and business direction of the company, as well as continue to influence the national and global space and broadband regulatory environments that are critical to Viasat’s global strategy. As President and CEO, Baldridge will continue his executive and operational leadership, with a focus on building and growing a customer-centric organization that will continue to deliver compelling global services and products. Baldridge will maintain his seat on the Viasat Board of Directors. This leadership evolution is an initial step in the company’s long-term succession plan, creating a foundation for the development of future generations of executive leadership. This seamless transition comes at an important time in Viasat’s growth where the demands for innovation, leadership and operational execution are paramount in scaling the Company as it prepares for the impending launch of the ViaSat-3 global constellation. The new constellation will expand Viasat’s reach and capabilities into new geographies and emerging vertical markets, further broadening the Company’s broadband and technology leadership positions.

“This represents a natural evolution and will best serve the interests of Viasat’s long-term future, as we execute against our plan to deliver ubiquitous, affordable connectivity that will help close the global digital divide,” said Dankberg. “Rick has been managing virtually all of the Company’s operations and key direct reports for several years, while I have been focused on technology innovation, industry thought leadership and regulatory issues at a time of dynamic change and opportunity within the space and broadband sectors. I’m very pleased Rick has agreed to take on the CEO role. We have built a close relationship through the years that is reflected in every part of Viasat – from our company culture, to our business strategies and operational execution. And for me personally, this is an opportunity to define a role where I can continue to contribute to our success for years to come.”

Baldridge added, “I am honored to lead Viasat, a company that I have devoted many years to help build. We have leading technology, strong business segments, exceptional people and the resources needed to make the Company a formidable global player in broadband communications. In working with the Board of Directors, Mark and the global Viasat team, we will continue to embrace new and emerging technologies that enable us to elevate our customers’ experiences, extend our market leadership and deliver long-term, differentiated value for our stakeholders. On a personal note, I want to thank Mark for his continued confidence and trust in what we can achieve together—we have worked hand-in-hand for quite some time dividing tasks on a situational basis. This transition gives us the chance to form a stronger structure for future succession and global growth.” (Source: Satnews)

20 Nov 20. UK government secures satellite network OneWeb. Acquisition of global satellite communications company, OneWeb, completes today, following successful government bid in July 2020.

  • Transaction completes to secure the future of British satellite company, OneWeb
  • strategic investment underlines scale of Britain’s ambitions to be at the forefront of space technology
  • satellite constellation to provide high-speed internet access across the globe

This is a significant strategic investment, demonstrating the government’s commitment to the UK’s space sector and ambition to put Britain at the forefront of a new commercial space-age. OneWeb is now staffing up to complete the development of its first generation constellation, adding new employees in the UK, and we will continue to work with OneWeb to maximise the benefits to the UK from the OneWeb program, both before and after commercial launch.

The company has the foundation of the network already in place with 74 satellites launched and infrastructure in development in strategic locations around the world. The company is launching another 34-36 satellites in December, bringing its in-orbit fleet to 110 satellites. OneWeb is on track to begin commercial connectivity services to the UK and the Arctic region in late 2021 and will expand to delivering global services in 2022.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said, “This strategic investment demonstrates government’s commitment to the UK’s space sector in the long-term and our ambition to put Britain at the cutting edge of the latest advances in space technology. Access to our own global fleet of satellites has the potential to connect people worldwide, providing fast UK-backed broadband from the Shetlands to the Sahara and from Pole to Pole. This deal gives us the chance to build on our strong advanced manufacturing and services base in the UK, creating jobs and technical expertise. The government is committed to work with OneWeb’s shareholder partners to use this investment as a platform to promote UK jobs and supply chains and protect UK critical assets and intellectual property.”

OneWeb will provide a new source of broadband connectivity for businesses, communities, and governments around the world. It could also improve connectivity in a broad range of sectors, including aviation, maritime, government, and enterprise customers, unlocking digital services and applications in a wide range of locations that historically have not access to low latency broadband connectivity.

Sunil Bharti, Founder and Chairman, Bharti Global said, “Together with our partners at HMG, we are looking forward to a new Low Earth Orbit opportunity. Innovation, resilience and growth in the high-tech sector are all served by this powerful global opportunity. By the end of 2022, OneWeb will be a truly global force for good.”

Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said, “This landmark government investment marks the start of an incredibly exciting period for OneWeb and the whole UK space sector, which can play a vital role in our economic recovery. Global connectivity has never been more important and there is a significant opportunity for satellite constellations to deliver a range of valuable services to consumers, businesses and government.”

OneWeb was formed in 2012, and has been developing cutting-edge satellite technology from its facilities both here in the UK and in the United States.

The UK government will have a final say over any future sale of the company, and over future access to OneWeb technology by other countries on national security grounds.

  • The UK space sector is an economic success story, growing by over 60% since 2010. The sector already supports £300bn of UK economic activity through the use of satellite services, and is expected to grow further as new commercial opportunities are unlocked by this agreement
  • OneWeb was formed in 2012 and has been developing cutting-edge satellite technology from its facilities both here in the UK and in the United States
  • earlier this year, government announced a $500m investment to acquire OneWeb together with leading international telecoms operator Bharti Global
  • critical assets protected include OneWeb Spectrum. Find out more on Ofcom’s site

(Source: https://www.gov.uk/)

BATTLESPACE Comment: This acquisition was made in the Dominic Cummings insured ‘Dash for the White Heat of technology’ and a UK DARPA. Now Cummings has dashed for the exit and his influence has gone from government and thus his championing of OneWEb. The government was warned about this acquisition, costing the taxpayer some £500m, that it would not live up to Cummings technology  expectations or job creation in the UK given the problems associated with receivers required for LEO constellations.  It is noted from this announcement that no statement has been made about the suitability for OneWeb to replace the EU Galileo systems as a GPS system.

19 Nov 20. Second RAAF Hercules fitted with in-flight internet. A high-speed satellite communications (SATCOM) system has been installed on a second Air Force C-130J Hercules, providing in-flight internet connection to crew and passengers. The RAAF is the first C-130J Hercules operator in the world to install the Ka-band SATCOM system in its fleet.

The latest aircraft to have the system installed was C-130J A97-467.

The first C-130J was equipped with the antenna and associated avionics equipment in late 2017, and a total of six aircraft will receive the upgrade.

The system allows live-streaming of high-definition video, and connectivity to headquarters and other nodes around the world.

Commander Air Mobility Group Air Commodore Carl Newman said the high-speed SATCOM capability would allow aircrew and passengers to better respond during dynamic scenarios.

“Deploying a Hercules might require a flight of up to 10 hours and, in that time, the operating environment for both the crew and embarked joint capabilities could vary significantly,” Air Commodore Newman said.

“We often deploy the C-130J Hercules as a first responder for missions such as disaster relief, sending them to remote locations where communications infrastructure is often damaged or non-existent.

“Equipping our Hercules with high-speed SATCOM allows control elements, crew and embarked forces alike to conduct mission planning while the C-130J is en route, sending and receiving updates in real time.”

Historically, crew and passengers on a Hercules have been limited to using HF radio for long-range communication while in flight.

In 2015, Air Force began equipping its fleet of 12 C-130J Hercules with L-band SATCOM, which provided global voice and limited data connectivity.

The Ka-band capability substantially increases the bandwidth compared to L Band, enabling increased data transmission and simultaneous connections by multiple users.

Equipping our Hercules with high-speed SATCOM allows control elements, crew and embarked forces alike to conduct mission planning while the C-130J is en route

Each Ka-band modification requires fitting a SATCOM antenna and fairing on the spine of the Hercules, along with equipment inside the cargo bay to provide local and wireless area networks.

No. 37 Squadron, which operates Air Force’s fleet of C-130J Hercules from RAAF Base Richmond, will receive a third aircraft with the Ka-band SATCOM capability by April next year.

The modification is undertaken by Airbus Australia Pacific at RAAF Base Richmond, utilising an antenna provided by Honeywell and connectivity to the Inmarsat network.

Air Commodore Newman thanked industry partners for their support in delivering the upgrade.

“To deliver this upgrade, industry has supported Defence in acquiring an off-the-shelf SATCOM system, and integrated it into one of Air Force’s hardest-working aircraft,” he said.

“The first aircraft to receive the Ka-band antenna has had a range of missions that have benefited from this capability, and that has allowed us to explore new opportunities.”

This year, Air Force conducted a trial to remotely pilot an Unmanned Aerial System using the Ka-band SATCOM antenna while the Hercules was in flight.

In late 2017, the SATCOM was used during Operation Christmas Drop, live-streaming video on Facebook during an airdrop of supplies to a remote West Pacific atoll.

(Source: https://news.defence.gov.au/)

19 Nov 20. 10 new satellites to be built in Glasgow in next three years as part of new innovative constellation service. 10 new government-backed satellites the size of a shoebox are going to be built in Scotland after a signing between AAC Clyde Space UK and ESA. AAC Clyde manufacture a range of small satellites, ranging from 1kg to 50kg in weight, and offer space-as-a-service, which is an end-to-end mission service covering everything from mission design, launch and satellite operations to data delivery for companies including; Orbcomm, NSLComm, Eutelsat, Orbital Micro Systems, NASA and ESA.

Each of the small satellites will be built as part of a new three-year project – titled xSPANCION – by the satellite manufacturer to create an innovative satellite constellation that businesses can use for a wide-range of applications, including satellite communications, Earth Observation and remote sensing.

This constellation can then be used by businesses to fulfil their space-data needs with a one-stop-shop, providing data from a single point of contact while cutting out the need to carry out any space activity themselves.

The project will see the company team up with the University of Strathclyde, the Satellite Applications Catapult, Bright Ascension and D-Orbit UK to design and launch the 10 satellites.

UK Space Agency Chief Executive, Dr Graham Turnock said, “This game-changing project will see AAC Clyde Space develop cutting-edge technology, including communication between satellites to increase data performance, and help keep the UK at the forefront of the global small satellite market. Building satellites quicker and in higher volumes is not only vital to meet the increasing demand for services we all rely on, it also supports the launch of small satellites from UK soil in the coming years.”

The UK is a leading investor in telecommunications research, which is why we recently committed £250m of investment to back ESA projects led by innovative companies like AAC Clyde Space.

AAC Clyde Space specialise in providing advanced small spacecraft, mission services, and spacecraft solutions for government, commercial, and educational organisations around the world for an extensive range of space-based applications.

The money to develop the innovative constellation comes from the ESA Pioneer Partnership Projects programme which aims to support businesses in taking up new and advanced technologies and services in space. The UK Space Agency through ESA, will co-fund the project with €9.9 million.

Luis Gomes, chief executive of AAC Clyde Space, “The project will revolutionise our space-as-a-service offering. It will allow us to significantly reduce the cost of every message collected, every image captured, supporting those business cases that to date have not been able to justify the capital expenditure to have hundreds of sensors in orbit. Fundamentally, our customers will no longer have to worry about how to access space, they can focus on how to enhance their core business. This project, named xSpancion, will catalyse a new generation of applications not previously possible.”

UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said, “It is fantastic to see more UK Space Agency funding being awarded to Scottish companies, highlighting the UK Government’s commitment to become a global leader in the space industry.” (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)

13 Nov 20. Contracts Signed for Three High-priority Environmental Missions. Today, ESA signed contracts with Thales Alenia Space in France and in Italy, and Airbus in Spain to build three of the new high-priority Copernicus satellite missions: CHIME, CIMR and LSTM, respectively. Each mission is set to help address different major environmental challenges such as sustainable agriculture management, food security, the monitoring of polar ice supporting the EU Integrated Policy for the Arctic, and all will be used to understand climate change.

There are six Copernicus high-priority Sentinel Expansion missions planned to complement the current capabilities of the Sentinels and address EU policy priorities and gaps in Copernicus user needs.

The development and operations of these Sentinel Expansion missions will be co-financed between the European Commission and ESA, subject to budget availability. These new industrial contacts kick off the key design phases for the missions, with the continuation to be confirmed in 2021.

ESA has recently signed contracts for the development of two of the other six missions: the Copernicus Carbon Dioxide Monitoring mission and the Copernicus Polar Ice and Snow Topography Altimeter mission.

These three new contracts also come at a time when industry and business are suffering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, Josef Aschbacher, said, “We are thrilled to sign these contracts with industry today. Not only because once built, each mission will address real environmental challenges and further Europe’s flagship Copernicus programme, but also because we need to help keep our industrial partners in good shape during COVID-19, which has brought untold damage to the economy and employment security.

“Despite the issues surrounding COVID-19, it is critical that we continue forging new space technologies, and continue developing, building and launching satellites that lead to new knowledge and services that ultimately benefit all humankind.”

With a contract worth €455m, Thales Alenia Space France will lead the development of the Copernicus Hyperspectral Imaging Mission, CHIME. The contract was signed in the presence of Bruno Le Maire, French Minister of the Economy and Finance. The mission will carry a unique visible to shortwave infrared spectrometer.

It will provide routine hyperspectral observations to support new and enhanced services for sustainable agricultural and biodiversity management, as well to characterise soil properties, which is key to vegetation health. The mission will complement Copernicus Sentinel-2 for applications such as land-cover mapping.

ESA signed the contract for the development of the Copernicus Imaging Microwave Radiometer, mission, CIMR, with Thales Alenia Space Italy in the presence of the Under Secretary of the Council of Ministers of Italy, Riccardo Fraccaro. The contract is worth €495m.

Carrying a novel ‘conically-scanning’ multi-frequency microwave radiometer, the mission will measure sea-surface temperature, sea-ice concentration and sea-surface salinity. It will also observe a wide range of other sea-ice parameters such as sea-ice thickness and sea-ice drift. CIMR is being developed in response to high-priority requirements from key Arctic user communities and will support the EU Integrated Policy for the Arctic.

The contract, worth €380m, for the Copernicus Land Surface Temperature Monitoring mission, LSTM, was signed with Airbus Spain in the presence of Pedro Duque, Spanish Minister of Science and Innovation.

It marks the first time that Spain will lead the development of a Copernicus Sentinel mission. LSTM will carry a high spatial-temporal thermal-infrared sensor to deliver observations of land-surface temperature. Satellite data analysis for mapping, monitoring and forecasting Earth’s natural resources helps to understand what, when and where changes are taking place. In particular, this mission will respond to the needs of European farmers to make agricultural production more sustainable as water shortages increase and changes in the environment take place.

While these contracts are for the development of these three new exciting missions, full implementation relies on further agreements. This includes an agreement between ESA and the European Commission, including a joint positive decision by the Commission and ESA and their Member States to go from Phase B2 to Phase C/D for the prototype missions and to procure the recurrent satellite units. This decision point is planned in the second half of 2021.

The European Copernicus flagship programme provides Earth observation and in situ data, as well as a broad range of services for environmental monitoring and protection, climate monitoring and natural disaster assessment to improve the quality of life of European citizens.

Copernicus is the biggest provider of Earth observation data in the world – and while the EU is at the helm of this environmental monitoring programme, ESA develops, builds and launches the dedicated satellites. It also operates some of the missions and ensures the availability of data from third party missions.

The European Commission’s Head of Unit for Earth Observation, Mauro Facchini, said, “Built on cooperation between the European Commission and ESA, Copernicus has been an outstanding success not only for Europe, but also for the rest of the world. Key environmental data and derived products are freely available for services and data users to improve the daily lives of all citizens.

“We are extremely pleased that these contracts are an important step towards the expansion of the suite of satellites delivering critical information, furthering the Copernicus programme as a whole.” (Source: ASD Network)

19 Nov 20. Safran selected by French Space Command, confirming its pivotal position in space surveillance. The French Space Command is expanding and diversifying its sources of information concerning the space environment by subscribing to WeTrack™, a global network of radio-frequency (RF) sensors designed, owned and operated by Safran Data Systems. The WeTrack™ service tracks geostationary satellites, detects their maneuvers and monitors geostationary orbit in general.

RF technology enables the 24/7 real-time positioning and maneuver detection of satellites in geostationary orbit. With the positioning and maneuvering data delivered by WeTrack™, operators can easily and clearly distinguish between two satellites very close to each other, track them and provide a very accurate measurement of the distance separating them.

With the advent of new spaceborne threats and the growing number of objects orbiting the Earth, space surveillance has become a major challenge for nations seeking to protect their strategic and economic interests.

“Our space defense strategy makes space situational awareness a key to meeting our country’s objectives in this area,” noted Michel Friedling, French air force Major General and head of the Space Command. “In 2019 the Minister of the Armed Forces therefore announced the creation of a program called ARES (Action et Résilience Spatiale), covering all space surveillance and action capabilities. Our strategy recommends a mixture of legacy capabilities and procurement of services. We quickly signed an initial service contract with Safran Data Systems, providing for the delivery of radio-frequency sensed data, improving our ability to detect, locate and especially characterize active objects in space. This is an invaluable asset, and provides an excellent fit with optical observation capabilities.”

Jean-Marie Bétermier, CEO of Safran Data Systems, added: “The French Space Command’s selection of our service reflects global recognition for the people who designed and operate WeTrack™. It’s also a clear signal from the space sector, showing that the convergence of commercial means and national missions is very much a reality, enabling us to rise to the emerging challenges of space surveillance and traffic management.” Safran

We quickly signed an initial service contract with Safran Data Systems, providing for the delivery of radio-frequency sensed data, improving our ability to detect, locate and especially characterize active objects in space. This is an invaluable asset, and provides an excellent fit with optical observation capabilities.”

19 Nov 20. Chess Dynamics Enters the Space Market.

  • Chess wins Dstl contract in partnership with QinetiQ
  • Chess to design and build Optical Ground Station to track Low Earth Orbit satellite
  • Contract signifies a new strategic direction for Chess

Chess Dynamics, the leading British surveillance, tracking and gunfire control specialist today announced it has won a contract in partnership with QinetiQ for the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). The contract will see Chess Dynamics playing a key role in working with QinetiQ on the design and build of a relocatable Optical Ground Station (OGS) in support of Dstl’s space-based Titania Free Space Optical Communications (FSOC) research project. The OGS will be used to acquire and track the Titania satellite and close an optical communications link.

The OGS Terminal will house an optical exchange telescope provided by QinetiQ, and Chess’ precision tracking equipment will be essential to acquire the satellite and maintain the accurate tracking essential for data exchange between the OGS and the satellite.

Graham Beall, Chess Group CEO commented: ‘This contract signifies a new strategic direction for our business. It is a natural progression from our tracking capabilities utilised in military operations, and the Low Earth Orbit satellite will also be one of the furthest man-made targets tracked by our equipment. It is great to realise what can be achieved when working in close partnership with QinetiQ.’

Contract Win Achieved due to Synergy with QinetiQ

The Dstl contract bid was won due to the natural synergy between QinetiQ and Chess Dynamics, with the partnership offering the perfect balance between QinetiQ’s cutting-edge space communications technology and Chess’ expertise in the design and engineering of high-performance tracking systems.

Brian Perret, Integrated Delivery Team Leader at QinetiQ comments, ‘We are a key partner for our clients in air and space and continue to expand our world-class capabilities in free space optical communications for defence. As we build, launch, and operate complex space infrastructures it is imperative that we work closely with partners of our own who can provide the very best in hardware and engineering expertise. By working with Chess for this contract, we are able to deliver an Optical Ground Station to meet DSTL’s demanding operational objectives.’

Precision Tracking for Low Earth Orbit Data Exchange

The OGS will support Dstl’s Space Programme by providing a solid platform on which to undertake research and experimentation into free-space optical communications (FSOC) from space.

The OGS will directly support the “Titania” Capability Demonstrator that aims to develop the science and demonstrate the military utility of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Direct-to-Earth (DTE) free-space optical communications.

The Titania project directly supports the concept of Information Advantage (IA) by providing new communications bearers, which increase the rate at which Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) data can be transferred from space. This enables faster decision making, whilst also increasing the resilience of ISR and Satellite Communication (SATCOM) systems by protecting data in Radio Frequency (RF) contested and congested environments. This leading-edge science will inform choices for future LEO programmes, and will be investigated as a communications technology for interconnected orbits and for the Skynet 6 programme

With only a three-minute transit period per cycle for the QinetiQ optical telescope and LEO satellite to exchange data, Dstl required exceptional precision tracking equipment – and Chess will support QinetiQ by delivering this.

Chess will be utilising one of its high accuracy, zero backlash yoke positioners and advanced tracking algorithms to deliver precise closed loop tracking of the satellite transit. The positioner is a high-performance servo-controlled platform that Chess developed for a range of heavier payloads and which has been proven in service under a wide range of operating scenarios for many UK and international customers.

18 Nov 20. Kleos Space Second Cluster Achieve Milestone.

Highlights

  • On track to launch the Polar Vigilance Mission (KSF1) satellites mid-2021
  • Preliminary Design Review successfully passed
  • Kleos Scouting Mission (KSM1) satellites launched and in commissioning phase
  • Additional satellites give greater capabilities leading to broader revenue opportunities

Kleos Space S.A. (ASX: KSS, Frankfurt: KS1,) a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data-as-a-service (DaaS) company confirms that the Polar Vigilance Mission (KSF1) cluster of satellites has entered the Critical Design and Procurement phase after successfully undergoing Preliminary Design Review (PDR).

The PDR milestone ensures the KSF1 cluster of four satellites now proceed towards a final design. The preliminary design presented demonstrates that all system requirements can be met with acceptable risk and within cost.

The KSF1 satellites will be launched under contract with Spaceflight Inc who have manifested the cluster of Kleos satellites on the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch scheduled for mid-2021 launching into a        500 km Sun Synchronous Orbit.

Miles Ashcroft, CTO of Kleos Space said: “The approach taken by ISISpace has been excellent. It is very pleasing to witness the interpersonal relationships develop alongside the satellite definition, and this is allowing the project to achieve such good progress against a challenging schedule.

Kleos has learned lessons already from the KSM1 cluster and even though the initial specification work for KSF1 comes hot on the heels of our recent integration and launch campaign ISISpace have been supportive trying to integrate those findings quickly as we progress towards upgrading the design.”

KSF1 will provide its own global data that covers areas North and South of the Scouting Mission (KSM1) which successfully launched on the 7th November (from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Chennai, India into a 37 degree inclined orbit)  The KSF1 satellites data will also increase overall coverage density in the equatorial region.

18 Nov 20. Space Force to Remain ‘Lean, Agile, Fast.’ Space Force Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, chief of space operations, spoke today about the Space Force at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics conference.

“We anticipate adversaries will try to degrade or destroy our space capabilities, denying the advantages that they provide,” he said, mentioning Russia and China, which have cyber jammers, lasers and missiles that can take out satellites.

To better compete, the command places a premium on speed. “We know a conflict that begins or extends into space over vast distances at tremendous speeds.” he said, noting that anti-satellite missiles can reach low-Earth orbit in a matter of minutes, moving at speeds of over 17,500 mph.

Raymond also mentioned that big organizations move slowly, and the Space Force and Space Command have to stay “lean, agile and fast.”

And, the Space Force has also shortened the decision-making process by removing unnecessary layers of bureaucracy and shortening the acquisition process, he added.

For instance, this year, the service brought in 50 software coders and then secured over 6,000 licenses to be used for defense software innovation.

What is Raymond’s next goal? “Our vision for a digital service should be out soon. Beyond our workforce, we aim to build a digital headquarters that designs and executes digital operations because we know there’s power in data, information and software,” he said.

Raymond said another goal is to improve partnerships with the other services, the intelligence community, allies, partners and the commercial sector. Historically, DOD space organizations have not had the number of partnerships as other domains such as land, air and sea, he said, adding “This has to change.”

He added, “This is an exciting and critical period for our country in space. As a spacefaring nation, we are strongest when the domain is secure and stable, accessible to enterprising Americans for scientific and economic reasons.” (Source: US DoD)

18 Nov 20. Plans for a North Wales ‘space hub’ receive funding boost. North Wales could be a step closer to being a business “space hub” after the UK Government announced more than half-a-million pounds worth of funding.

The UK Space Agency today said there will be £560,000 spread across seven sites in the UK to build up business hubs for the “commercial space race”.

It is hoped the Welsh site will be in North Wales after it emerged last year a space port was planned for an airfield at Llanbedr near Harlech, Gwynedd.

The space hubs will complement spaceports by “building up the space sector” in the seven areas, said the UK Space Agency.

The funding was welcomed by Welsh Government’s business minister Ken Skates.

He said: “It will give us the opportunity to identify areas of strength and opportunity within our space sector, and provide us with the stimulus to deliver a programme of work which will be structured to feed into the National Space Strategy.

“The space sector in Wales is a critical part of the Welsh economy, and we are committed to supporting its growth and development.

“We offer a unique physical and business environment to companies in the space economy, boasting a strong advanced manufacturing and technology base with specific strengths in sectors that share elements of the space industry supply chain, such as photonics, aerospace, secure communications and software systems.”

The six-month space hub project will see local government, experts and business leaders working together to take advantage of the opportunities of the commercial space industry.

It will be led by Welsh Government and will include academic institutions, research groups and businesses to look at growing the space sector in the chosen area.

The commercial space business employs 42,000 people across the UK and generates an income of almost £15bn annually.

The Welsh Government owns the former military site of the spaceport at Llanbedr, but it is leased to Snowdonia Aerospace LLP which works closely with defence contractor QinetiQ.

Gwynedd council signed an agreement with Snowdonia Aerospace to upgrade the facilities with £7.5m of European money.

Earlier this month, Gwynedd Council approved the use of compulsory purchase orders to ensure construction of the multi million pound Llanbedr bypass – set for completion in 2023 – remains on track, allowing better transport links to the spaceport.

Llanbedr had already benefited from £500,000 of Space Agency cash to develop space research and the launching of satellites and drones.

The Welsh Government also provided £135,000 towards a project to test unmanned and electric aircraft and a space plane.

Facilities will include “world class” training for astronauts and the aero-medical sector, satellite development and launch, plus a visitor centre and planetarium together with supporting hotel.

The UK Space Agency has promised there will be more announcements over the coming months. (Source: Google/https://www.northwaleschronicle.co.uk/news/)

18 Nov 20.  UK Defence Secretary’s speech at Space Conference. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace talks about transforming in the new Space Age.

Good afternoon, it’s a great pleasure to speak to you at the end of what has clearly been a fascinating and wide-ranging conference.

The variety of speakers – over 45, from the UK and overseas, and military and civilian sectors, as well as academia and private industry – shows just how important space is, right across today’s society.

Such importance risks dependence and vulnerability, but it also creates opportunity and offers advantages.

That is why the Prime Minister has such a clear vision for the UK as a Great Science power, with credibility and ambition in Space at its heart.

This conference has demonstrated how defence will play a central part in achieving that vision.

We’ve heard from the Chief of the Air Staff about modern society’s dependence on space services.

And we have been reminded how our adversaries are increasingly seeking to weaponise space.

In recent years more countries have used Anti-Satellite weapons.

Earlier this year, alongside the US Chief of Space Operations, I called out Russia’s aggression in orbit.

But space weapons are not our only concern. Ground-based lasers and jammers could also pose a significant threat to our satellites. And their supporting infrastructure on the ground also remains a serious target.

No wonder one of the constant refrains you have heard throughout this conference and, indeed, throughout this year of Covid, has been the importance of resilience.

Commander UK Strategic Command set out how we must become more resilient in space if we are to establish the ‘digital backbone’ and achieve Multi Domain Integration.

And we have now recognised space as an operational domain, driving the development of capabilities to increase resilience and competitiveness.

We are, of course, not the only ones and you’ve heard from many of our Allies in the US, France and NATO, are also alongside us, and they are going to be part of that journey as well.

But there are those steps through which I want the UK MOD to now lead on this journey:

First, our ability to mobilise.

We must recognise our vulnerabilities. Understand our reliance on space – whether for imagery, communications, or navigation. And, in the event that we lose access to our satellite services, have a contingency plan ready.

So, we’re working very closely with the UK Space Agency to create a National Space Operations Capability.

It will improve the way we share data.

It will help us act unhindered to secure our national interests in space.

And, alongside our UK Space Command, it will enhance defence’s ability to generate and operate its own equipment.

Second, resilience will be about modernising what we have – strengthening our existing capabilities.

That’s why we are bringing SKYNET into defence ownership. It will give our personnel the tools to operate a world-leading satellite constellation and ensure they stay at the cutting-edge of space experience and expertise.

And that’s why, back in July, we awarded a contract worth £500m for SKYNET 6A. This new, more advanced satellite capability will provide continued communications support to the UK’s deployed forces for many years.

Meanwhile, we’re continuing the hunt for the latest space innovations.

I am delighted that our first ever International Space Pitch Day was so successful, and congratulations to the winning bids.

With innovations from space weather to space domain awareness, I wish these ten companies every success as they move forward with defence contracts.

Finally, resilience will be about transforming for the future. Going further and faster. Developing next-generation and generation-after-next, technology and the people and structures to exploit them.

That’s why we’ve created the Defence Space Enterprise Portfolio.

Bonding brilliant industry expertise with MOD’s Space Directorate and our world leading DSTL.

Transforming the latest research into game changing space innovations.

Not only deterring dangers but fast-tracking innovative kit to bring to the frontline of space.

Because resilience may be our watchword. But it goes hand in hand with opportunity.

Our evolving National Space Strategy will help us deliver those grand ambitions and defence will play its part – mobilising, modernising, and transforming.

So exciting times lie ahead. Last year we celebrated 50 years since the UK’s first venture into Space.

Since then the dynamism of you – our great British scientists, military and industrial experts – has not wavered.

And your continuing commitment will ensure that in the coming decade Global Britain takes its place as a Space Power in the new Space Age. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)

18 Nov 20. Dstl demonstrates satellite operation capability. Dstl is leading defence research and development in space.

In early November the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) welcomed broadcaster Forces News for an exclusive demonstration of its Hermes relocatable ground station and mission operations centre. Hermes represents the first time in nearly 20 years a UK government-owned and operated asset communicated with a satellite.

Watch a video of the Hermes demonstration (Forces News website).

As the satellite passes over the ground station, the antenna locks on and the satellite transmits the data it collected during its journey around the Earth.

Hermes represents a significant investment in space R&D and increases the UK government’s space-related capabilities. Space technologies underpin our combat capabilities and can give the UK operational advantage over potential adversaries, for example with satellite imagery being used by frontline command.

The development and demonstration of Hermes occurred in collaboration with Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, who provided control of a low-Earth orbit satellite, Carbonite-2, to Dstl for tasking validation and verification purposes. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)

18 Nov 20. New support for UK space hubs unveiled. Government has backed the development of new ‘space hubs’ across England, as well as funding to support projects in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Each area, dubbed a ‘space hub’, will use government funding to bring together local authorities, expertise and businesses to create a strategy for how their area can take maximum advantage of the commercial space race. Harwell in Oxfordshire established itself as a space hub in the last 10 years, and ministers want to replicate this success in other areas.

Funding is going to seven locations – including the North West, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire – to ensure space is a priority for regional economic growth and attract commercial investment from space companies to these areas.

In the last decade, space has transformed into one of the UK’s fastest growing and most venerable sectors. Trebling in size since 2010, at the last count the UK space industry now employs close to 42,000 people in all corners of the country and generates an income of nearly £15bn every year.

The government is committed to making space a sector that thrives beyond the ‘Golden Triangle’ of London, Cambridge and Oxford, and contributes jobs and growth to regions across the whole of the UK. This approach is reinforced by support for seven potential spaceport locations in areas across Cornwall, Wales, and Scotland.

Science Minister Amanda Solloway said, “The UK’s space sector has shown incredible resilience to the coronavirus pandemic and will continue to play a key role in our recovery – from creating high-quality jobs to finding unique ways to support our NHS. This funding will arm local leaders up and down the UK with the tools they need to put their local areas at the front of the commercial space race, while refuelling the tank of the UK economy and helping Britain realise its ambitions as a global space superpower.”

The six-month projects will see local government, experts and business leaders come together to find out how their area can take advantage of the opportunities of the commercial space age. Each location will use the money to assess their current space capabilities and develop action plans for how they can accelerate the growth of their local space hub.

Dr Colin Baldwin, Head of Local Growth Strategy at the UK Space Agency said, “Space has gone from a nice-to-have sector to a heavyweight industry in the UK over the past decade – trebling in size and now employing over 42,000 people. We know that space will help put fuel back in the tank of the economy as it recovers from the pandemic and are determined this growth will be felt in all corners of the country.”

Space hubs will be led by a consortium of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), combined authorities, academic institutions, research groups and businesses, to look at current strengths and set a strategy for how to grow the space sector in their area.

The UK Space Agency will also support Space Leadership Forums in each region, bringing together local government, business leaders and academia into a representative body that can drive forward this work and champion the sector.

Receiving funding are:

  • Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), which will lead a project focused on North-West England
  • West of England Combined Authority (WECA), which covers Bristol, Bath and North-East Somerset and South Gloucestershire
  • City-REDI of the University of Birmingham
  • University of Leeds and Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) working across West Yorkshire
  • Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, which will cover Surrey and Hampshire
  • Welsh Government, which will carry out activities across the whole of Wales
  • AstroAgency on behalf of the Scottish Space Leadership Council, which will look across all of Scotland

In addition to funding for seven areas in this round, money went to Northern Ireland earlier this year, where a project is being led by Invest Northern Ireland to carry out analysis of its local space sector, to work out where investment would be best directed, continuing the important, collaborative partnership between the UK Space Agency and the Devolved Administrations.

The aerospace industry, which has been dramatically impacted by COVID-19, is an important part of the regional economies of many parts of the UK. This funding will help certain localities explore opportunities to use existing industrial strengths to support the space sector.

New money is just one element of an expanded programme of regional activity which the UK Space Agency will be setting out in the coming months, that will be delivered alongside key partners such as the Satellite Applications Catapult, as part of its commitment to help re-balance the economy and support new high-skilled jobs and careers in space across the country. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)

16 Nov 20. National Reconnaissance Office launches new intelligence satellite. A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the NROL-101 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office lifts off Nov. 13, 2020. (United Launch Alliance). The National Reconnaissance launched a new intelligence satellite into orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on Nov. 13, marking the American agency’s fourth successful launch of the year.

“We’re excited to be back at CCAFS with another successful launch alongside our partners at ULA [United Launch Alliance], the 45th Space Wing, and the U.S. Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center. The successful launch of NROL-101 is another example of the NRO’s commitment to constantly evolving our crucial national security systems to support our defense and intelligence partners,” said Col. Chad Davis, director of NRO’s Office of Space Launch.

NROL-101 was launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with help from the Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center’s Launch Enterprise. The Atlas family of rockets have been used for 668 successful launches since it was first introduced in 1957.

For this mission, ULA incorporated new Northrop Grumman Graphite Epoxy Motors 63 solid-fuel rocket boosters, which helped the first stage lift more weight by burning solid propellant. Each of the 66-foot rocket boosters contributed a maximum 371,550 pounds of thrust to help lift the rocket and its payload off the ground. Those boosters will be an important component for ULA’s future generation of Vulcan Centaur launch vehicles.

This was the fourth successful NRO launch of the year. Previously, the agency had conducted two launches from New Zealand and one from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

NRO does not usually reveal details of its satellites or their specific functions. In a statement, the agency simply noted that the classified national security payload was built by NRO in support of its overhead reconnaissance mission.

NRO’s next scheduled launch is NROL-108, which is slated to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in December 2020. (Source: Defense News)

17 Nov 20. Wars of the future will be won or lost in space, says head of RAF. The UK has to be ready to protect and defend critical national interests in orbit, warns military chief. Future wars which begin on land or sea could quickly escalate and be “won or lost” in space, the head of Britain’s Royal Air Force has said, as he warned that Russia and China are developing anti-satellite weaponry. Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, chief of the air staff, said that while it was still considered “contentious” to talk about space as a military domain, it would be “tantamount to negligence” if the UK armed forces failed to take seriously the threats posed to crucial satellite functions such as communications and GPS navigation. “A future conflict may not start in space, but I am in no doubt it will transition very quickly to space, and it may even be won or lost in space,” the air chief marshal told an online audience at the UK’s Defence Space Conference on Tuesday. “So we have to be ready to protect and if necessary defend our critical national interests in space . . . We see nations like China and Russia and others developing anti-satellite capabilities.” Earlier this year, the US and UK accused Moscow of testing a new space-based weapon from its Cosmos 2543 satellite, marking a new frontier in the militarisation of space.

The projectile, which was released into orbit, could have been used to target an enemy satellite. Gen John W Raymond, head of US Space Command, said at the time that the test fire was “consistent with the Kremlin’s published military doctrine to employ weapons that hold US and allied space assets at risk”, while Air Vice Marshal Harvey Smyth, head of the UK Space Directorate, said the projectile had the “characteristics of a weapon”. The fear among western allies is that the use of space weaponry not only threatens the peaceful use of space but also risks creating debris which could damage satellites and space systems. As the density of debris grows, it could cause follow-on collisions and make parts of space too hazardous to enter. China has already faced criticisms for its role in creating space debris: in 2007, it shot a missile 500 miles into space to destroy one of its own ageing weather satellites.

The test created thousands of pieces of debris — which ACM Wigston described as an “irresponsible action” — and sent the signal that Beijing would also be capable of targeting enemy satellites. The US conducted a similar operation a year later when it shot down one of its own spy satellites, which had malfunctioned, because it said the toxic fuel onboard would be dangerous if it came back to earth. The Pentagon said the timing of the intercept, close to re-entry of the rogue vehicle, minimised any space debris. However, Russia suggested the operation was being used as cover to test an anti-satellite weapon. Last year India became the fourth country to shoot down a satellite in space. Sir Mike added that China’s ambition to become the world’s pre-eminent space power by 2045 had already involved developments in cyber, electromagnetic and kinetic systems “that potentially could threaten other users in space”. Moscow, meanwhile, is also accused of using satellites to conduct what Sir Mike described as “suspect rendezvous proximity operations”: this could be an attempt at commercial and military espionage. The US last December established a dedicated “Space Force” to formalise its recognition of space as a warfighting domain. The Conservative party manifesto published ahead of last year’s UK general election promised to create a UK “Space Command”, which is still being examined by the Ministry of Defence. (Source: FT.com)

17 Nov 20. Winners of International Space Pitch Day revealed. UK & US mark several international firsts for military innovation. The winners of the inaugural International Space Pitch Day were today announced marking several world firsts.

Ten tech start-ups successfully secured same-day contracts worth up to £53,000 ($66,000) to fast-track the development of their innovations after pitching direct to UK, US and NATO military leaders.

Air Vice-Marshal Harvey Smyth, UK Director Space, unveiled the winners following an afternoon of pitches in front of a global audience during the first day of the Defence Space Conference hosted from London.

It is the first time two nations anywhere in the world have come together to award defence contracts based around a pitch-style event, similar to Dragon’s Den/Shark Tank.

It is also the first time two nations have awarded joint defence innovation contracts to an overseas-based enterprise in this way.

And it is the first time same-day contracts have been awarded in this way to industry by the UK Ministry of Defence.

Air Vice-Marshal Smyth said, “Congratulations to the winners and all those that took part in the first International Space Pitch Day – it has captured the imagination of innovators and militaries not just across the UK and US, but all over the world. It has achieved several world firsts and we look forward to building on its success as we seek to fast-track innovation and cutting-edge technology to the front line quicker than ever before with fresh ways of working with industry to make sure we stay ahead of our shared adversaries and the threats they pose.”

Dr Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, said, “ Pitch Days open the government’s aperture to work with commercially-focused companies. Competing for technology outside of our fence lines has been a major U.S. Air Force and Space Force theme. Partnering with our allies to compete globally is the natural evolution. Space is especially exciting with so many ideas brought to the table by these firms, and I’m confident international space cooperation has a bright future.”

Gary Aitkenhead, Dstl chief executive, said, “International Space Pitch Day represents an innovative way of working, ensuring that UK and US Defence are able to keep up with the rapid pace of commercial technology development. We aim to connect world-class space innovation to military end-users at pace, supported by business and commercialisation training.”

The winning companies are:

  • 114 AI Innovation Ltd (India)
  • Clearbox Systems Pty Ltd (Australia)
  • Clutch Space Systems Ltd (UK)
  • Cognitive Space, Inc. (US)
  • precursor SPC (US)
  • Riskaware Ltd and Telespazio Vega UK (UK)
  • Rocket Communications (US)
  • Slingshot Aerospace, Inc. (US)
  • Spire Global UK (UK)
  • Swim.ai, Inc. (US)

Fifteen proposals from tech start-ups and innovators battled it out to win funding by pitching to UK, US and NATO military leaders after being selected to take part in International Space Pitch Day from scores of entries from across the world.

International Space Pitch Day is a joint UK-US initiative that aims to find, fund and fast-track innovation and technology that gives advantage to military personnel and operations in the space domain.

The competition was open to innovators and entrepreneurs from all over the world delivered through the UK Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), assisted by Starburst Accelerator.

It is specifically designed to bolster tech start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and harness the power of their ingenuity and innovation.

The endeavour is jointly funded by the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), Royal Air Force and the US Air Force.

A grand coalition of Dstl, DASA, Royal Air Force, UK Strategic Command, the US Air Force, US Space Force, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has been assembled to find, fund, and fast-track the best ideas from start-up innovators to the front line.

Starburst Aerospace is acting as an industry partner to the International Space Pitch Day and carry out specialist training and mentoring on its behalf through an Allied Defence Accelerator. More details can be found at the International Space Pitch Day Virtual Learning Environment.

The format is the first of its kind in an international collaboration between two international allies.

16 Nov 20. Space Marines: USMC establishes service space command. The US Marine Corps (USMC) has activated a Marine Corps Forces Space Command, subordinate to the US’ latest combatant command, the US Space Command (USSPACECOM). The US Marine Corps (USMC) has activated a Marine Corps Forces Space Command, subordinate to the US’ latest combatant command, the US Space Command (USSPACECOM)

Currently based out of Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Marine Corps Forces Space Command (MARFORSPACE) will focus on providing ‘space operational support’ to the Fleet Marine Force ‘while building a convergence capability to increase warfighter lethality.’

MARFORSPACE first commander is US Marine Corps Major General Matthew G. Glavy who also serves as commander of the Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command.

Glavy said: “We have an incredible opportunity to create a synergy across the information environment based on our unique position within the naval and joint force.

“Space and cyber are critical capabilities in the information environment that, when brought together, can provide a competitive advantage. Convergence requires flexible and interconnected teams focused on solving hard problems with speed. We cannot be successful in these technology-heavy domains without prioritising people, ideas and things … in that order.”

MARFORSPACE will draw from the Marine Corps existing Forces Strategic Command.

Glavy added: “I am humbled and honoured to have the opportunity to lead this new organisation.

“This is a pivotal time for our nation. The commandant has made the bold move Marines are known for to ensure our relevancy and readiness.” (Source: naval-technology.com)

16 Nov 20. UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace joined national and international military leaders and space experts from across government, industry and academia on 17-18 November to explore how the UK can mobilise, modernize and transform its approach to military space.  

The two-day virtual Defence Space 2020 conference, which is organised by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Air and Space Power Association, will see over 30 speakers and panelists tackle the challenges presented by Space as a military domain and the wider economic opportunities on offer. The conference will explore the strategic direction across Government for Space and the new and emerging technologies which look set to disrupt national and international plans in Space.

Confirmed speakers include the Secretary of State for Defence, Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, General Sir Patrick Sanders, Commander UK Strategic Command, General John ‘Jay’ Raymond, US Space Force Chief of Space Operations and Commander US Space Command, Air Major General Michel Friedling, Commander in Chief, French Space Command, and Brigadier General Giuseppe Sgamba of the NATO Joint Air Power Competence Centre. The Programme also includes senior leaders from the National Space Council and Space Strategy Planning and MOD Space policy, Capability and Operations including Claire Barcham of the UK Space Agency, Samantha Job of the Foreign & Commonwealth and Development Office and MOD Director Space, Air Vice-Marshal Harv Smyth.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff, said: ‘The second UK Defence Space Conference will be a timely demonstration of the UK’s ambition in the Space Domain: our future programmes; the opportunities as well as the challenges to our national interests in space; and a showcase for our world-class space industrial sector’.

Day One of Defence Space will see cross-Government leaders and military commanders put into context the whole range of government interests in Space and discussion of the establishment of a National Space Council. Insight into the international military space landscape and the UK’s role with partners and allies in protecting and defending vital interests will be provided by senior commanders from NATO and the newly-formed US Space Force and French Space Command. Day Two will look ahead to the generation-after-next novel technologies which look set to disrupt how UK Defence meets its requirements in Space and ensures it has the personnel it needs to ensure operational advantage.

Uniquely, the live-cast virtual event will also feature pitches by the fifteen finalists of the first-ever UK-US International Space Pitch Day innovation competition, a UK-US initiative to find, fund and fast-track innovation and technology that gives advantage to military personnel and operations in the space domain. The finalists from Australia, Canada, India, the US and the UK will pitch to the panel and global audience on 17 November during the conference with the aim of securing contracts on the day worth up to £53,000 ($66,000) each to fast-track the development of their innovations.

Air Commodore (Ret’d) Mark Roberts, Chairman of the Air and Space Power Association said: ‘Defence Space 2020 promises again to provide a springboard for the next phase of conceptual thinking, discussion and development of the UK’s approach to Space Power.  Of particular importance as we move forward with Space is how emergent and disruptive technologies may play a part in the use of Space in the defence and security contexts, and the conference gives a strong emphasis to this debate.  Additionally, we will have excellent input from international friends and allies to complement the strategic and operational views from the MOD and Front-Line Commands. The Conference promises to be a stimulating and informative exposé of MOD’s Space Power direction of travel and I am delighted that the Air and Space Power Association is again delivering the event.’

16 Nov 20. Kleos Space Scouting Mission (KSM1) Update. In-orbit commissioning phase progressing successfully.

Highlights

  • Post launch satellite commissioning progressing to schedule
  • Communication established with each satellite
  • All satellites in healthy state
  • Increased commercial interest following launch and deployment

Kleos Space S.A. (ASX: KSS, Frankfurt: KS1,) a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data-as-a-service (DaaS) company is pleased to provide an update on the four Scouting Mission satellites (KSM1)  following the launch on India’s Space Research Organization’s (ISROs) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C49 from Chennai, India on the 7th November 2020.

The in-orbit commissioning phase is progressing successfully into its second week of activity, preparing the satellites to collect data over crucial areas of interest such as the Straits of Hormuz, South China Sea, East/West Africa, Southern Sea of Japan, Northern Australian coast e.g. the Timor Sea.

The Company confirms that after the launch of the KSM1 satellites:

  • Automatic detumbling was completed successfully by all four satellites
  • The four antennas on each satellite have deployed
  • Communications between each satellite and ground has been established
  • The satellites have moved apart enabling each to exploit full ground station passes
  • Telemetry from each satellite has been retrieved

Kleos CEO Andy Bowyer said, “The KSM1 cluster of four satellites form the foundation of a constellation that will deliver a global picture of RF activity, enhancing the intelligence capability of government and commercial entities.

While the KSM1 satellites are being commissioned Kleos remains focused on securing additional Government and commercial contracts and is on track to generate first revenues in Q1 2021.

17 Nov 20. UK to play critical role in building ‘the Claw’ – the first ever satellite to remove space junk. Vital technology for the first ever mission to remove a piece of debris from space is going to be built in the UK, the Science Minister has announced today. Planned for 2025, Clearspace-1 is the first ever space mission dedicated to removing an existing object in orbit, and is a significant first step towards a cleaner space environment. The Clearspace-1 satellite – dubbed ‘The Claw’ – will use a pincer motion to collect debris, before giving it a controlled re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere – allowing it to decompose safely and away from life.

Elecnor DEIMOS in the UK will play a leading role in Clearspace-1, designing the Attitude and Orbit Control System (AOCS) which will orientate and position the satellite to help grab the space junk, using power generators, thrusters and antennas.

The OECD now estimates there are currently more than 160 million objects in orbit, most of which are ‘space junk’. This junk comes in all different shapes and sizes, from spent rocket bodies to a camera and a spatula dropped by an astronaut.

Science Minister Amanda Solloway said, “There are millions of hazardous pieces of space junk orbiting the Earth – if a single one collides with a satellite it could interfere with vital everyday services that we all rely on like broadband or GPS. The first ever interstellar clean-up mission, driven by ground-breaking British scientists and researchers, is just another example of how the UK’s space sector is out of this world.”

Dr Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency said, “For fourteen billion years – between the Big Bang and the autumn of 1957 – space was pristine. But since that autumn we have placed nearly 10,000 satellites into the sky, the vast majority of which are now defunct or destroyed. The UK is going to lead the way in tracking in tracking and removing this hazardous debris, and I am delighted that technology supporting this pioneering ambition is going to be made in Britain. In 2018, 300km above the Earth, a British satellite – run by removeDEBRIS – successfully deployed a net in orbit to demonstrate how to capture space debris. The demonstration, using a small object sent out by the satellite, formed part of a mission to test techniques to clear up space junk.”

The British-led mission was equipped with vision-based navigation (VBN) technology, which essentially tells a pursuing spacecraft how its target is behaving – how it’s moving and even tumbling.

The UK is committed to reaping the benefits from the new age of satellite ‘megaconstellations’ – vast networks made up of hundreds of spacecraft, which is why the government is investing in companies and technologies to track and remove this debris.

Earlier this year the UK Space Agency announced a number of new investments – funded through its Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) programme – designed to supercharge the UK’s capabilities to track this junk and monitor the risks of potentially dangerous collisions with satellites or even the crewed International Space Station.

Projects backed included London-based Lift Me Off which will develop and test machine learning algorithms designed to distinguish between satellites and space debris using thermal infrared and optical cameras. Meanwhile Andor, based in Northern Ireland, will use a scientific detector camera to help the astronomy community track debris which may interrupt ground-based astronomy applications.

The UK is already a world-leader in small satellite technology, telecommunications, robotics and Earth observation, and our universities host some of the best minds in the world for space science.

With the demand for services increasing, this provides an opportunity for the UK space industry to become a global leader in space sustainability.

Ismael López, the CEO of Elecnor DEIMOS Group said, “Clearspace-1 is the confirmation of our role as a key Guidance, Navigation and Control systems provider in Europe. This is a very innovative mission and we are thrilled that the expertise and capacity across our companies match the technology challenges required.”

After the Clearspace mission concept was approved by the European Space Agency a year ago, ClearSpace – a Swiss start-up with expertise in space debris in robotics – began co-ordinating the mission and brought together a consortium of expertise, including Elecnor DEIMOS in the UK.

The Attitude and Control system of Elecnor DEIMOS UK will be integrated in the overall satellite ‘autopilot’ – the Guidance, Navigation and Control system being developed by Elecnor DEIMOS in Portugal, together with other German and Portuguese entities. This consortium will also perform tests to support ClearSpace in the assembly, testing and operation of the mission.

Ricardo Conde, President of the Portuguese Space Agency said, “Europe is taking the lead in ensuring that space debris are not a source of disruption to our economy, way of life and well-being, and Portugal, which is working to take a leading role in space systems and subsystems, could not fall behind.”

Last year there was a close call in which an Earth-observation spacecraft operated by the European Space Agency had to light up its thrusters to dodge a Starlink satellite. A clash between the spacecraft was far from certain, but the trajectories posed enough of a threat that ESA concluded that a manoeuvre was necessary. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)

18 Nov 20. Defence chiefs warn of threat to vital satellites. Future wars could be “won or lost in space” and attacks on satellite signals could cost the British economy more than £1bn a day, military chiefs have warned.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, head of the RAF, raised concerns yesterday about Russian and Chinese efforts to develop anti-satellite capabilities. These weapons “risk creating debris” that could make “parts of space completely unusable”, he told the virtual Defence Space 2020 conference.

He stressed how dependent Britain was on space. “Our access to space is fundamental to national security and our way of life, and any loss or disruption to our satellite services would have a disastrous effect on people’s day-to-day lives,” he said.

Satellites govern bank transactions, traffic systems, the national grid and even elements of the government’s coronavirus response.

“In the context of Covid-19, around 15 million items of NHS PPE [personal protective equipment] are delivered every day and the delivery of these vital items are dependent upon space, as will be the immense logistics effort supporting a future vaccine,” Air Chief Marshal Wigston said.

General Sir Patrick Sanders, commander of Strategic Command, focused on the importance of positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) signals provided by satellites. “The economy would be projected to lose £1bn every day if we did not have access to these crucial timing signals,” he said, citing a 2018 analysis by the Ministry of Defence. A world without satellite-enabled navigation would be “incredibly challenging” because societies have lost skills like manual map-reading and navigating by the stars, he suggested.

It was also crucial on the battlefield. “Accurate timing signals, precise positioning and effective navigation aids allow our people, platforms and systems to find, fix and kill their target. Without PNT we are lost,” he said.

Last month Britain tabled a motion at the United Nations to introduce norms and principles of responsible behaviour in space and reduce threats.

Britain and the US have accused Moscow of testing a weapon in space in the summer that could pose a threat to western satellites. A Russian inspector satellite, Cosmos 2543, conducted “a non-destructive test of a space-based anti-satellite weapon” on July 15, according to the American military.

Air Chief Marshal Wigston said: “Russian satellites continue to conduct suspect rendezvous proximity operations . . . possibly an indication of commercial and military espionage activities.” He added: “Meanwhile, China seeks to become the world’s pre-eminent space power by 2045, an aspiration supported by developments in cyber, electromagnetic and kinetic systems that potentially could threaten other users in space.” (Source: The Times)

16 Nov 20. Athena, the UK’s new national team in space, formed by Serco, Inmarsat, CGI UK and Lockheed Martin UK, has today published a report with support from Bryce Space and Technology that showcases the opportunities available to the UK through growth in its space sector and how to seize the moment to do so. The report is available here.

Ahead of the Defence Space 2020 conference (17-18 November), of which Athena is a strategic partner, the team argues that now is the right time to propel the country towards an ambitious, achievable goal of becoming a respected space-faring nation, by galvanising the UK and its society, across both civilian and defence communities.

Athena – representing an end-to-end, sovereign and UK-based approach to space services – believes that the United Kingdom has reached a pivotal moment in its space aspirations. Currently it is trailing behind nations such as France and Japan, who are considered robust space powers due to the depth and sophistication of their space capabilities, which they put to good use in their pursuit of a clearly defined national strategy and the resulting widely-recognised economic, technical, societal and security benefits.

Chris Rocks, Capability Director Space and Security at Serco, said: “The UK is at a critical point and the time to step forward and become a leading space nation is now. The UK Government is taking steps towards achieving this aim with the formation of the National Space Council and its forthcoming National Space Strategy. Industry also needs to play its part and it is in this spirit of cooperation that Athena has published this report to set out a proposed roadmap to success with emphasis on key focus areas that can deliver the most benefit to the UK to make its space ambitions into reality.”

The report, called A New Approach to Space, recommends seven key areas of focus for the UK to 2030:

  • Integrate military and civil space operations into a National Space Operations Centre to jointly operate key national infrastructure and maximise data sharing
  • Invest in satellite communications to deliver a secure platform for military and government
  • Develop a sovereign space-based Positioning, Navigation and Timing capability to address urgent national requirements and to enable burden sharing with key allies
  • Establish satellite launch operations from the UK
  • Invest in research and development and create a National Space Academy to nurture STEM talent and develop a career pathway into space
  • Increase contribution to space domain awareness
  • Participate in the European Space Agency Copernicus Programme and further support earth observation activity with additional UK programmes

The report identifies a set of principles and enablers to achieve these goals, including effective regulation and licensing, public awareness-raising, and the development of a diverse supply chain. Activity should be driven by the development of a National Space Strategy, the report recommends.

Space and its associated capabilities are strategically vital to civil, commercial, security and defence policy ends. As a nation, the UK is wholly reliant on it for everyday activities such as satnav for commuting, through to precision timing for banking, global navigation services for shipping and earth observation services for weather forecasting. It has been estimated that the loss of global navigation satellite system services alone would cost the UK economy in excess of £1bn per day.

Athena, launched in May 2020, was formed to seize development opportunities that new space technologies will offer, driving economic growth for the UK and diversification across the British space sector as Athena succeeds. The combined capabilities and technologies available to Athena will enhance further the country’s ability to deliver the UK’s ‘Prosperity and Security in Space’ strategy, which aims to increase the value of space to wider industrial activities to £500bn, generate an extra £5bn in UK exports and attract £3bn of additional inward investment.

16 Nov 20. US Marine Corps awards L3Harris wideband satellite development deal. The US Marine Corps has selected L3Harris’ Panther II Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSAT) for satellite communications (satcom) operations, in support of the Marine Corps Wideband Satellite-Expeditionary (MCWS-X) programme.

The USD88m total indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) procurement deal for the Panther II will cover an initial delivery of the VSAT systems to the Corps, at a cost of USD21mi, according to a L3Harris statement issued on 9 November. The MCWS-X platform, as currently configured, includes the 96 cm variant of the Panther VSAT “in a tri-band configuration with multiple modular modems and power options,” company officials said.

The passively cooled Panther II features interchangeable feed capabilities to allow for quick radio frequency (RF) band changes, due to changing combat environments, as well as fine tune adjustments for elevation and Azimuth, according to a company fact sheet. The Panther II also supports iDirect Keyline capability, which allows the system to field the iDirect mp950 Board Satellite Modem. Optimised for size, weight, and power (SWaP) requirements, the mp950 meets MIL-STD 810G for expeditionary operations and the Keyline capability is designed to improve battery performance.

The Panther II will be an integral part of the Marine Corps’ VSAT Family of Systems (FoS), which ‘provides wideband, beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS), low-cost satellite communications to Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) commanders from the Major Subordinate Command to Battalion levels,’ service budget documents stated. “The VSAT FoS provides the RF communications link in support of the transfer of voice, video, and data services,” they added. (Source: Jane’s)

16 Nov 20. UK Defence Boldly Goes For Sovereign And Collaborative Milsatcom Capabilities. The award of the Skynet 6 Alpha contract to Airbus Defence & Space by the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence during the summer proved that momentum had still been achieved despite the COVID-19 pandemic, said Air Vice Marshal Harvey Smyth, director Space, UK MoD during his keynote opening of SMI’s virtual Global MilSatCom conference (10-12 November).

He said that the strategically important programme the capability of Skynet 6A would ensure that UK defence had “global secure and resilient communications that will outpace the growing and dynamic threat well into the next decades.”

AVM Smyth added that the UK was at “a critical inflection point” regarding its national approach to space. “Daily [space] is becoming more congested, specifically in LEO [Low Earth Orbit] and contested,” which he said had been a main consideration during the ongoing [although now delayed] Integrated Defence Review.

He added that there was impetus among the UK’s leadership to ensure that the country’s critical dependency on space-based capabilities and services would be served. This meant that the UK would become a “meaningful leader in space developing sovereign capabilities where required to underpin our operational advantage and protect our critical infrastructure,” he explained, adding that this would be conducted while “working with allies and partners across the world and space sector to collaborate and co-develop space capability and deepen resilience.”

“From a military capability perspective, satcom sits right at the top of our priority list,” he added. The UK’s ambition was to maintain a leadership role in NATO while being able to forward deploy to address a range of existing threats. This would require speed, readiness and resilience operating in new domains of space and cyber, he said.

AVM Smyth warned that “future wars may start and even finish with minimal terrestrial interference” which meant that current armed forces needed to be reshaped “for tomorrow’s battle.” (Source: Armada)

13 Nov 20. Three of Northrop Grumman Corporation’s (NYSE: NOC) 63-inch-diameter Graphite Epoxy Motors (GEM 63) rocket boosters were used for the first time today to help successfully launch and deploy the National Reconnaissance Office launch 101 (NROL-101) on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V launch vehicle.

The GEM 63 strap-on boosters were developed under a cooperative agreement with ULA to provide additional lift capability for the Atlas V launch vehicle. Each motor contributes 371,500 pounds of additional maximum thrust, and up to five GEM 63 motors can support a single Atlas V launch.

“The GEM 63 rocket motors were developed to enhance the performance of the existing Atlas V launch vehicle while incorporating our flight-proven, heritage designs that provide a significantly lower cost for boost propulsion,” said Charlie Precourt, vice president, propulsion systems, Northrop Grumman.

Northrop Grumman has been supplying rocket propulsion to ULA and its heritage companies for a variety of launch vehicles since 1964. The GEM family of strap-on motors started in the early 1980s with the GEM 40, which supported 132 Delta II launches with 1,003 motors. The company followed with the GEM 46, which flew 63 motors on seven successful missions on the Delta II Heavy launches, and the GEM 60, which retired in August 2019 with 86 motors flown over 26 Delta IV launches. The GEM family has recently expanded with the development of the GEM 63XL variation to support ULA’s Vulcan Centaur launch vehicle.

The company also manufactured the Atlas V rocket’s Reaction Control System propellant tanks at its Commerce, California, facility, and eight retro motors at its Elkton, Maryland, facility that will assist first and second stage separation.

12 Nov 20. Maxar Debuts 15 cm HD, Offering High Clarity From Commercial Satellite Imagery. Maxar is expanding their High-Definition (HD) imagery offering with the introduction of 15 cm HD. 15 cm HD provides a new pixel experience for our customers, helping them identify smaller features on the ground to make more informed decisions from satellite imagery.

15 cm HD is created by applying the company’s proprietary HD technology to their native 30 cm imagery. HD technology intelligently increases the number of pixels through a complex mathematical model that is tuned to the specific requirements of our imagery, resulting in a superior visual experience. This innovation will produce well-defined features and help both people and algorithms better extract meaningful information.

Today, 15 cm HD is available for Maxar’s satellite imagery products (View-Ready and Map-Ready products), and it will soon be applied to the firm’s basemap products (Vivid and Dynamic) to provide an improved visual experience throughout our portfolio.

More opportunities with 15cm HD

The Maxar satellite constellation provides the highest-resolution (natively collected) imagery in the commercial market. About 680,000 sqkm of 30cm imagery is collected every day, providing an abundant inventory to create 15cm HD. WorldView Legion will triple Maxar’s 30cm collection capacity, and this significant increase of natively collected content will unleash new opportunities to provide 15cm HD imagery globally, unlocking additional monitoring, mapping and AI/ML products and services.

The examples below provide a visual of the details and insights that can be uncovered with 15cm HD.

Monitoring

15cm HD significantly expands the level of detail, maximizing the ability to see smaller features that can be gathered from satellite imagery. For customers who need to monitor and identify critical areas, 15 cm HD provides new insights into remote locations to observe high-value assets, environment, agriculture and change over time. Reducing in-field inspections protects both assets and personnel.

From large-scale projects to detailed city information, 15 cm HD enables higher-definition mapping with a level of detail that allows governments, organizations and commercial customers to verify features, such as light poles, signs and road and infrastructure conditions, without the inconvenience or cost of sending teams into the field.

In our blog “HD Satellite Imagery and Machine Learning,” the company demonstrated how HD technology improves the average precision of the object detection of the ML algorithm. 15 cm HD provides additional detail for automated analysis and feature extraction.

Aerial customers are already using 15 cm HD to augment their collections over regions that are too remote to fly aircraft and to support aerial mapping missions that have been affected by the pandemic. 15 cm HD is not a replacement for aerial mapping, but augments this solution with global coverage with satellite imagery.

The continued expansion of Maxar’s HD technology helps the company’s customers use this satellite imagery to solve more problems. As the firm prepares to launch Maxar’s upcoming WORLDVIEW LEGION SATELLITES, the value of HD will unlock new insights on Earth.

Learn more about HD and download a 30 cm image sample and the image’s corresponding 15cm HD image sample. (Source: Satnews)

09 Nov 20. Telesat’s Broadband Connectivity Agreement With The Canadian Government Is Completed. Telesat and the Government of Canada have completed their agreement to ensure affordable, high-speed broadband connectivity across all of Canada with Telesat’s LEO satellite constellation. Following a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed in July of 2019, this $600m (CAD) agreement enables internet and mobility service providers to acquire Telesat LEO capacity at substantially reduced rates to bring universal broadband connectivity to rural, Northern and Indigenous communities across Canada. Telesat will be eligible to receive amounts under the agreement over a ten year period once the Telesat LEO constellation enters service.

With just 41% of rural households, and only approximately one quarter of Indigenous communities in Canada having access to fast, reliable broadband Internet service today, delivering affordable, high quality connectivity to all of Canada is essential.

Telesat LEO will provide the reliable, secure, fiber-like broadband connections needed to bridge the digital divide in Canada, ensuring that Canadians living in rural and remote communities have access to affordable high-quality broadband that meets the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) goal of at least 50 Mbps download, 10 Mbps upload speeds with unlimited data.

In the wake of the global pandemic, dependable connectivity for Canadians has never been more important, as all aspects of life – from healthcare to work to education to remaining connected to family and friends – became virtual. Telesat LEO represents a holistic approach to connecting entire communities: delivering Gbps of broadband capacity into the community provides internet connectivity that supports households, schools, healthcare facilities, and government services, and also enhances and expands the reach of LTE and 5G networks across all of Canada, including in far northern, remote, rural and Indigenous communities.

Under the terms of the agreement, a dedicated pool of Telesat LEO rural connectivity capacity will be available to Service Providers at greatly reduced rates on a first come, first served basis to provide connectivity for eligible communities. With Telesat LEO’s high performance network capacity, service providers will offer broadband services to their end users of at least 50/10 Mbps speeds with unlimited data, and mobility service providers will offer LTE services.

“Telesat LEO will transform connectivity in Canada, and this agreement will bring affordable enterprise grade, high-speed connectivity to underserved Canadians no matter where they live and work,” said Dan Goldberg, Telesat’s President and CEO. “We applaud the Government of Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada for leveraging revolutionary technologies like Telesat LEO to drive widespread social and economic benefits. We look forward to working with Canadian service providers to provide this capacity to qualified communities across the country to get all Canadians connected as soon as possible.” (Source: Satnews)

12 Nov 20. Two New Orbital Transfer Vehicles Being Developed By Spaceflight Inc. Spaceflight Inc. is developing two, additional, next-generation orbital transfer vehicles (OTVs) that will debut in 2021. The first one — Sherpa-FX — will fly on a fully dedicated rideshare mission with SpaceX, dubbed SXRS-3 by Spaceflight, no earlier than December 2020.

The next two ESPA-class space vehicles in the company’s portfolio are designed to provide more orbital diversification, including flexible manifest changes, deployment to multiple altitudes and orbital planes, and rapid launch solutions.

Spaceflight’s Sherpa-NG (next generation) program includes:

  • Sherpa-FX, the first innovative orbital transfer vehicle to debut, is capable of executing multiple deployments, providing independent and detailed deployment telemetry, and flexible interfaces, all at a low cost. This free flyer separates from a launch vehicle prior to deploying any satellites, with satellite separations initiated by onboard avionics once clear of the launch vehicle. It is quickly configurable and can move from vehicle to vehicle and mission to mission. It includes independent, near real-time, worldwide telemetry via GlobalStar. It will carry 14 spacecraft, including hosted payloads, on the upcoming SXRS-3 mission.
  • Sherpa-LTC features a high thrust, bi-propellant, green propulsion subsystem integrated seamlessly within the available space of the original free flyer. By including this new propulsion technology from Benchmark Space Systems, Sherpa-LTC provides a low cost, rapid orbital transfer for many sizes of small spacecraft. It’s compatible with all launch vehicles Spaceflight currently works with and enables reaching higher orbits quickly through SpaceX Starlink missions and similar flights. It is scheduled to fly the second half of 2021.
  • Sherpa-LTE is a high specific impulse (Isp), Xenon propellant, electric propulsion OTV. It builds on the Sherpa program by incorporating Apollo Constellation Engine (ACE), a low thrust, high efficiency, radiation hardened Hall thruster propulsion system developed by Apollo Fusion, Inc. As ACE systems are able to generate over 6 km/s of delta-V, Sherpa-LTE now has the capability to deliver customers to GEO, Cislunar, or Earth-escape orbits. The Sherpa-LTE provides a low-cost alternative to purchasing full direct-inject launch vehicles and will extend the ability of small launch vehicles that are currently under development to reach beyond low Earth orbit. The Sherpa-LTE is targeted to fly mid-2021.

“When there are no launches that meet our customers’ exact needs, Spaceflight now will be able to provide more options to achieve their mission objectives,” said Grant Bonin, SVP of business development for Spaceflight Inc. “Our goal is to get our customers’ spacecraft delivered to orbit exactly when and where they want it, all the way to their final destination — that last leg of the journey. Our new Sherpa OTVs enable us to provide that in-space delivery service, while keeping costs low and timelines short.”

“We have a successful track record of developing and deploying spacecraft from in-space vehicles,” added Curt Blake, President and CEO of Spaceflight. “Our first orbital free flyers were on the historic SSO-A mission, which successfully delivered 64 unique spacecraft aboard a Falcon 9 to orbit. We are excited to build on our 10 years of launch experience learnings to develop these new advanced vehicles which will provide even more flexible launch options and customized orbital delivery for our customers.”

Spaceflight works with more than 10 current and future launch vehicles, including Falcon 9, Antares, Electron, Vega, and PSLV, to provide a variety of launch options to its customers. The company has launched more than 300 satellites across nearly 34 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.

09 Nov 20. USSF’s SMC Awards Three ASIC Contracts For Military Global Positioning Ops. The United States Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center have competitively awarded the Military Global Positioning System User Equipment (MGUE) Increment (Inc) 2 Miniature Serial Interface (MSI) with Next-Generation Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) to Rockwell Collins, Inc.; L3 Technologies; and Raytheon Technologies.

The three MSI contracts are valued at $552m, and will be executed as Middle Tier Acquisition rapid prototyping efforts. The first delivery is scheduled for early fiscal year 2026.

Enhanced processing and security features associated with M-Code drove the decision to develop a smaller and more powerful receiver card for handheld and dismounted applications.  The MSI with Next-Generation ASIC will enable Military-Code GPS receiver production, mitigating the obsolescence issue of current ASICs and providing significant security and performance improvements for GPS-enabled weapons systems. MGUE Inc 2 will be compatible with all existing and future spacecraft and ground systems.

MGUE Inc 2 enables military GPS user equipment to receive allied Global Navigation Satellite System positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) signals to increase both the resilience and capability of military PNT equipment, and deter attacks on GPS.  These signals will supplement GPS-based PNT in accordance with DoD policies regarding usage of allied GNSS signals, ensuring identification and mitigation of cyber risks, and compatibility with existing PNT equipment. (Source: Satnews)

11 Nov 20. The Indian Defence Research & Development Organisation Unveils ASAT Missile Model. A model of an Anti Satellite (A-SAT) Missile installed inside the Indian Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) Bhawan premises was recently unveiled by Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh in the presence of the Indian Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Shri Nitin Gadkari, and Secretary DDR&D and Chairman DRDO, Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy.

‘Mission Shakti’ was the country’s first ever Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Missile Test that was successfully conducted on March 27, 2019, from Dr. AP J Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha, where a fast-moving Indian orbiting target satellite in LEO was neutralized with pinpoint accuracy. This was an extremely complex mission, conducted at extremely high speed with remarkable precision.

The successful conduct of Mission Shakti made India the fourth nation in the world with the capability to defend its assets in outer space.

Dr. G Satheesh Reddy stated that the installation of the A-SAT model will inspire the DRDO fraternity to take up many more such challenging missions in the future. (Source: Satnews)

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At Viasat, we’re driven to connect every warfighter, platform, and node on the battlefield.  As a global communications company, we power millions of fast, resilient connections for military forces around the world – connections that have the capacity to revolutionize the mission – in the air, on the ground, and at sea.  Our customers depend on us for connectivity that brings greater operational capabilities, whether we’re securing the U.S. Government’s networks, delivering satellite and wireless communications to the remote edges of the battlefield, or providing senior leaders with the ability to perform mission-critical communications while in flight.  We’re a team of fearless innovators, driven to redefine what’s possible.  And we’re not done – we’re just beginning.

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