Sponsored By Viasat
17 Mar 21. Viasat, U.S. Navy Renew Contract for Managed Internet, Wi-Fi and Voice Services Worldwide; Expand Relationship with Debut of TV Services and Enablement of MILITARY STAR Card Program. Global communications company Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT) and the Navy Exchange Service Command’s NEXCOM Telecommunications Program Office, today announced a five-year contract extension, whereby Viasat will continue to deliver managed internet, Wi-Fi, voice and other services for personal use networks across Navy facilities worldwide. The contract also adds the roll-out of interactive satellite-based high-definition TV service at 32 Navy Lodge® sites, to enrich the lives of sailors, their families and guests during their stay. Under this extended contract, Viasat will provide personal-use telecommunications services, in support of multiple programs at Navy and joint base installations, for sailors who live in Unaccompanied Housing (UH) or Family Housing (FH); who visit Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) facilities—including fleet and family service centers, gymnasiums, bowling alleys, liberty centers, libraries and child development centers; and to those who are either staying in or visiting lodging or other temporary living facilities, such as Navy Lodge®, Navy Gateway Inns & Suites®, Navy Get-A-Ways®, Wounded Warrior Program® and Fisher House® facilities.
Viasat is also proud to announce it is now accepting the MILITARY STAR card® as a form of payment for its services. Sailors can take advantage of the card’s terms, as well as a rewards program that includes incentives on purchases and discounts throughout the year, along with participation in plans that support wellness within the military community.
“One of NEXCOM’s core missions is to support Navy quality of life programs for active duty military, retirees, reservists and their families,” said Mary Johnson, vice president of NEXCOM’s Telecommunications Program Office. “Our customers are stationed around the world, so it is important for them to stay connected to loved ones on safe, reliable and affordable networks 24-hours a day, seven days a week, year round.”
Ken Peterman, president, Viasat Government Systems, added, “Providing fast, reliable internet access to military on and off the battlespace is what we do at Viasat. We’re proud to be an ongoing partner to NEXCOM, where for the last decade we have served hundreds of thousands of sailors on more than 100 bases—who are either visiting, living permanently or staying in temporary facilities on base. For these Navy bases and other government installations we serve worldwide, our goal is to provide affordable, high-quality, consistent and secure connectivity services for military personnel, their families, friends and guests and to ensure they have seamless access to high-demand applications such as streaming TV and audio, gaming, cloud-based voice calling (VoIP) and other apps.”
19 Mar 21. Space Domain Critical to Combat Operations Since Desert Storm. This year marks the 30-year anniversary of Operation Desert Storm. Due to the Defense Department’s successful use of space-based capabilities during the conflict, many experts consider Desert Storm to have been the first space war.
Many of the space capabilities initially deployed at the time, such as the Global Positioning System, have become vital components in how the United States conducts military operations.
Space Force Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, deputy chief of Space Operations, today discussed the role the space domain played during conflicts and how that technology has evolved over the last 30 years at a Brookings Institution event.
During Desert Storm, in early 1991, commanders were able to keep track of the Iraqi army maneuvering through a sandstorm through the use of GPS, something that could not have occurred in previous conflicts, he said. Saltzman said he joined the Air Force the year after Desert Storm, but he was mentored by many of the leaders involved in that war.
GPS, which uses satellites to pinpoint location, also enabled the use of precision munitions, which had a devastating effect on the Iraqi army — “both physically — because we were hitting the enemy — and mentally because they had no idea how we were able to track them through the weather, through the night,” he said.
Satellite communications during Desert Storm also enabled about 50% of the communications networks that were critical to command and control, he said.
Since Desert Storm, space-based capabilities have dramatically improved, Saltzman said. “If there’s a missile launched on the surface of the Earth, we know about it.”
The biggest change since Desert Storm is that the space domain is no longer a benign environment, he said. Adversaries realize that they cannot take on the U.S. military in direct combat, so they’ve decided to use space as a low-cost way to gain an asymmetric advantage.
“Now, we have a space force that’s focused every day on making sure that we can protect and defend and use the space domain the way we need to, both militarily or commercially and civilly to meet our national interests,” he said. (Source: US DoD)
19 Mar 21. NSW launches new space industry grants programs. The state government has established its own Node of the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre, which is set to fund industry-research teaming project.
NSW has become the first state to launch its own Node of the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), which aims to foster collaboration between industry and academia for the development of advanced telecommunications, intelligent satellite systems and Earth observation data services.
The Node is expected to incentivise collaboration through three separate grant programs, designed to facilitate industry access to advanced equipment, laboratory space and research infrastructure within universities.
The government has invited applications for co-funding of up to $100,000 for projects exploring ways to address challenges in agriculture, mining and resources, defence and security, transport, and bushfires and disaster management.
NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the Node would help create jobs in a range of space sectors, including launch and support services, ground systems, and satellite technology.
“Supporting a thriving research ecosystem is just one part of our Space Industry Development Strategy, which will also help develop a fit-for-purpose workforce by closing the STEM skills gap and supporting the growth of innovation precincts,” Minister Ayres said.
“The technology innovations produced by the space industry have enormous impact here on earth, from using GPS on a smart phone to monitor bushfires to using artificial intelligence to reduce waste across all our industries.”
The SmartSat CRC was established in 2019 as part of the Commonwealth government’s $55m Cooperative Research Centre program.
Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews welcomed the NSW government’s participation in the program.
“This node will contribute to the Australian government’s goal to triple the size of the space sector to $12bn and create an extra 20,000 jobs by 2030, and it will also complement the work of our $1.5bn Modern Manufacturing Strategy, under which space is one of six priority areas,” Minister Andrews said.
SmartSat CRC CEO Professor Andy Koronios said the NSW space ecosystem would help drive commercialisation opportunities of space-related technologies.
“SmartSat is incredibly excited to be partnering with the NSW government in establishing this Node and augmenting other NSW initiatives to supercharge the NSW space innovation ecosystem,” Professor Koronios said.
“We are already working on a number of exception R&D projects that will develop space capabilities and build the commercialisation pathways within the state.”
The NSW-backed Node will be led by coordinator Dr Tim Parsons and based in Tech Central.
Dr Parsons is chair of the Space Industry Association of Australia and has experience supporting the growth of the space industry through his organisation Delta-V NewSpace Alliance.
“With 38 per cent of space start-ups based here, the majority of Australia’s angel and venture capital tech investors, as well as the headquarters of its largest companies, NSW is a fantastic home for Australia’s space industry,” Dr Parsons said.
“The NSW Node will strengthen the outcomes of the SmartSat CRC by enabling more start-ups and SMEs to participate.”
NSW chief scientist Hugh Durrant-Whyte also welcomed the state government’s new commitment.
“This investment will ensure we are well-positioned to take advantage of this growing industry and create new and exciting job opportunities,” he said.
The NSW government first launched its Space Industry Development Strategy in January 2020, which aims to establish the state as the premier hub for commercial space technology in the Asia-Pacific region. (Source: Space Connect)
18 Mar 21. USAF begins construction of new space environment lab. The Air Force Research Laboratory broke ground on its new facility to study space weather and how it affects military systems.
Located at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Skywave Technology Laboratory will provide workspace for the AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate’s space environment research.
That work “involves developing and testing new instrumentation, preparing for field experiments around the globe, as well as collecting and processing data to support ionospheric and radio frequency research,” according to a statement from Todd Parris, the lead for AFRL’s Geospace Environment Impacts and Applications Branch. “We have been working out of temporary shipping containers and from our lab across base. It’s exciting to have this new facility to explore innovative capabilities to bring to the war fighter.”
AFRL develops new technologies for the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Space Force, and understanding the space environment is important to both, Col. Eric Felt, Space Vehicles Directorate director, said in a statement.
“The space environment affects many military systems and services, everything from the actual spacecraft operating in the environment to any radio frequency service that has to operate in or through space.” Felt said. “This lab will give us the knowledge we need to take our research to the next level. We want to be able to measure, predict and command the space environment to give us that tactical advantage in space and terrestrial domains.”
The 3,500-square-foot facility will cost $3.5m to construct, with 72 acres to test large antennas and distributed sensor arrays.
“This exceptional site allows us to develop and test space environment sensing technologies for US military applications,” said Parris. “It leverages local observations and commercial, academic and government partner facilities and systems across the United States to collect information about the dynamics of near-earth space.”
AFRL says the facility will be ready in early 2022. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
18 Mar 21. Glasgow satellites firm leads the way in Scotland’s space sector. UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart today (Thursday 18 March) visited a leading Scottish satellites manufacturer to highlight the exciting new opportunities in Scotland’s growing space sector.
His tour of facilities at AAC Clyde Space in Glasgow comes after Tuesday’s publication of the Integrated Review of Defence, Security and Foreign Policy (the IR), which defines the UK Government’s ambition for national security and foreign policy over the next decade.
Investment in space forms an integral part of the plan as the sector in Scotland aims to grow in value to £4bn by 2030.
Minister Stewart said, “Technologies produced in Scotland are at the cutting edge of science in the space sector. Space firms headquartered in Scotland bring in £254m and about 20 per cent of those working on British space projects do so in Scotland, employed by 133 organisations. The UK Government is committed to increasing spending on defence, which will lead to investment and creation of jobs in the Scottish hi-tech industries for years to come.”
The UK’s first vertical spaceports will be located in the Highlands and Islands – part of a £31.5m UK Government investment – with vertical rocket and satellite launches planned from as early as next year.
While in Glasgow, Minister Stewart also visited Thales Optronics, defence industry manufacturers, who this year secured a 10-year £180m contract to provide armoured vehicle Remote Weapons Stations, securing 700 jobs and supporting 30 apprenticeships.
Minister Stewart met Samir Khan-Young, a graduate apprentice who recently won Scottish Apprentice of the Year.
Minister Stewart added, “Meeting Samir and seeing first-hand the company’s on-site apprentice school underlines how prioritising training within the sector is boosting Scotland’s skilled workforce.”
Minister Stewart also toured the facilities at Glasgow’s Scottish Events Campus, which will be a key venue for the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference later this year, and discussed with SEC chief executive Peter Duthie the UK Government’s commitment to supporting the post-Covid recovery of the events industry (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
18 Mar 21. Airbus led consortium committed to UK prosperity agenda.
Targeting 30% SME engagement and committed to diversifying and growing the UK’s space industrial footprint
Airbus led consortium unites more than £5.8bn spend in UK
Call for SMEs still open via ‘Open Innovation – Space.’
The Airbus led space industry consortium in competition to support the future operations of military satellite communications to the UK MOD is focusing on the UK’s prosperity agenda with a target of 30% SME (small and medium sized enterprises) engagement. The consortium, comprising KBR, Leidos UK, Northrop Grumman and QinetiQ spends more than £5.8bn annually in the UK supply chain.
Richard Franklin, Managing Director, Airbus Defence and Space UK said: “We have listened to the government closely and support not just the MOD’s programme objectives, but also the wider prosperity agenda. Yes, we must deliver the best, most agile and innovative future milsatcoms for the UK, but we also need to incorporate a wider supply chain, and by targeting 30% SMEs in our proposal we feel we can make a definitive contribution that will help create long-term value and benefit to the wider British economy.”
In December 2020, the consortium saw more than 100 SMEs take part in a virtual event to see how they could contribute. Richard Franklin continued: “Our initiative “Open Innovation – Space” is actively calling for companies to sign up to see how they can contribute to the future of secure communications for the UK’s armed forces. We are looking across the piece for future capabilities – everything from quantum technologies to real-time ISR and enhanced cyber security. We encourage those interested to visit www.openinnovationspace.uk.”
Airbus in the UK is recognised as a global leader in the design and manufacture of advanced telecommunications satellites and is a trusted prime contractor for some of the most complex space science and exploration missions in the world. Airbus provides a range of space-based services to customers worldwide including the support of the UK Armed Forces, and its NATO Allies, by delivering and operating the Skynet military communications system, providing 24/7 services across the world for more than 15 years.
The consortium which as a whole spends more than £360m a year on R&D in the UK, counts more than 22,000 employees across the country, of which more than 10,000 are scientists and engineers.
Open Innovation – Space – Portal www.openinnovationspace.uk
17 Mar 21. L3Harris sees opportunities in Pentagon’s growing responsive space business. As the Department of Defense puts more resources into responsive space architectures, L3Harris feels well positioned to compete for and win space system contracts.
The concept of responsive space architectures differentiates itself from the exquisite satellite systems DoD has traditionally invested in.
“The current space architecture is largely based on high performance — or exquisite — systems. These systems are costly and take a decade or more to develop and put into service,” said President of Space and Airborne Systems Ed Zoiss during a March 10 investors briefing.
“But this architecture is fragile, with a few high-value targets for our adversaries to attack,” he continued. “What’s needed is a new architecture: One that can keep pace with the ever-evolving threats, one that can be put into service rapidly, and one that is a magnitude less costly. That architecture is what we call responsive space.”
Exquisite systems are generally made up of a handful of satellites in geosynchronous orbit, while responsive space approaches look to take advantage of proliferated constellations made up of dozens or even hundreds of satellites in low Earth orbit. L3Harris has played a role in the development of exquisite systems, contributing payloads for weather, GPS and other satellites for the military.
The Space Force’s chief architect has voiced support for such a distributed, hybrid architecture, made up of the exquisite satellites and the new proliferated constellations. While the Space Force hasn’t articulated exactly how it wants to build out that distributed architecture, the Space Development Agency is already constructing its new National Defense Space Architecture. With an initial 28 satellites set to begin launching in 2022, SDA plans for the NDSA to include hundreds of small satellites within the decade.
While the pivot to more constellations with many satellites is nascent, L3Harris has made inroads in the Pentagon’s emerging responsive space portfolio.
“L3Harris has become an early leader, with six new wins in responsive space,” said Zoiss. “The key to our success has been our deep mission knowledge, our payload expertise and our ability to deliver rapid solutions.”
Some of those contracts are classified. Among the public deals, the company was awarded $193m to build four of the eight SDA tracking satellites in the initial constellation. And in January, the Missile Defense Agency allotted L3Harris $121m to build a prototype satellite for its Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor, which will work in conjunction with the SDA tracking satellites to detect and follow hypersonic weapons. The company is also the prime contractor on a responsive space constellation commissioned by the U.S. Air Force, with the first demonstrator satellite launched last summer.
Part of the reason for this early success, said Zoiss, is the commercialization of the satellite bus, which houses the mission payloads on orbit. Traditionally, DoD awarded contracts to the bus manufacturer, which could then subcontract for the actual mission payloads incorporated into the bus. But treating the bus as a commodity makes awarding prime contracts to payload providers like L3Harris far more attractive to the Pentagon. Those companies can now select from a number of commercial buses to house their payloads, a shift that allowed L3Harris to move from a payload provider to a full end-to-end solution provider, said Zoiss.
This isn’t always the case. For instance, the other company building SDA tracking satellites — SpaceX — is providing the bus and subcontracting for the mission payload. Still, Zoiss feels that the trend is moving the other way.
One significant difference in the responsive space approach is the length of the contracts and the Pentagon’s desire to avoid long-term commitments to single vendors. While exquisite satellite contracts promised vendors a decade or more of guaranteed income, responsive space contracts commonly run two to five years. Moreover, winning the first batch of satellites doesn’t guarantee that contractor will win subsequent rounds, since DoD has prioritized open architectures to avoid vendor lock. For instance, SDA plans to launch new tranches of satellites every two years as replacements and additions to the NDSA. L3Harris providing four of the first eight tracking satellites does not guarantee that it will win contracts for subsequent tranches.
Plus, the value of responsive space contracts is significantly lower than exquisite systems awards. Compared with the L3Harris $193m contract to build four missile tracking satellites, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have raked in billions of dollars to build just five missile warning satellites for the Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared constellation.
L3Harris still expects to contribute to exquisite systems. The responsive space approach has simply opened up new opportunities — ones where L3Harris can be the prime contractor.
“It’s not an either/or. We believe that there’s going to be a continued need for both exquisite and responsive solutions,” said CEO Bill Brown in an interview. “On the responsive side, we’ll prime. On the exquisite side, there will be some other larger prime … and we’ll provide really important components to that.”
Zoiss added: “Our move into responsive space has unlocked $9bn of market opportunity in constellation production, and it is just the beginning.”
Despite being No. 9 on the Defense News Top 100 list of global defense companies and bringing in nearly $14bn in defense revenue in 2019, L3Harris sees itself as the type of nontraditional contractor that the Pentagon wants to work with to build the responsive space architecture.
“We sometimes talk about ourselves internally as kind of being a new entrant. I mean, we’re 20 months old and what [Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond] is really looking for is someone who can be flexible and agile and can get him things quickly, whether through acquisition or production. So I think we’re not too far off from what he’s looking for,” said COO Chris Kubasik.
That’s what L3Harris says is its advantage: It has the domain experience from years of contributing payloads to DoD platforms, but it operates at the commercial speed of a nontraditional vendor. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/C4ISR & Networks)
17 Mar 21. Pixxel To Launch the World’s Highest Resolution Hyperspectral Smallsat Constellation.
Omnivore VC and Techstars join Lightspeed Partners and others in a $7m+ seed round to support rapid development of Pixxel’s satellites and data analytics platform
Today, Pixxel, an emerging leader in cutting edge earth-imaging technology, announced the close of a $7.3m seed round with new capital from Omnivore VC, Techstars, and others, who are joining alongside Lightspeed Ventures, Blume, growX, Ryan Johnson, former President at Planet Labs, and additional industry leaders.
Additionally, for the first time today, Pixxel came out of stealth and publicly announced its mission to build the world’s highest resolution hyperspectral satellite constellation. The company’s first hyperspectral satellite will launch within the next few months.
“We are very excited to finally speak about what we are building at Pixxel. Our new funding enables us to build a health monitor for the planet through the world’s most advanced hyperspectral small-satellites. This enables us to capture some of the richest imagery that’s ever been beamed down to earth,” shared Awais Ahmed, co-founder and CEO of Pixxel. “These hyperspectral satellites will allow society to tackle many of humanity’s most pressing issues and we believe they will become the holy grail of remote sensing – providing the best combination of spatial, temporal and spectral resolutions to date and empowering humans to see the earth like never before.”
Compared to the common multispectral satellites prevalent today, Pixxel’s hyperspectral earth-imaging satellites are able to beam down 50x more information by capturing light reflected in far more detail and using narrower bands beyond just red, green and blue. This technology allows Pixxel to capture exact chemical signatures and offers more accurate solutions to previously unsolvable issues in industries such as agriculture, energy and environmental conservation. Once deployed, Pixxel’s constellation will provide 24-hour global coverage in higher quality resolution and at a lower cost than any existing satellite competitors.
Hyperspectral imaging has the power to help with pressing issues that are invisible to today’s satellites such as flagging pest infestations and crop diseases, tackling air and water pollution levels and detecting oil spills and gas leaks. Pixxel’s imagery and platform provide a one-stop shop for geo-spatial insights.
“Hyperspectral imaging is the next frontier in the $400B+ space industry and Pixxel has proven it can build the hardware and software to be the leader in this category,” said Ryan Johnson, investor in Pixxel and former CEO at Blackbridge, operators of the Rapidye satellite constellation. “Having the best possible imaging technology in space will be critical to understanding our planet and making life more sustainable. I’m very excited to be a part of Pixxel and help them in this journey.”
Today’s funding marks the close of Pixxel’s $7.3m seed round and follows significant technical, commercial, and team momentum bringing onboard some marquee investors such as Lightspeed Ventures and Techstars. This additional funding will enable Pixxel to continue to rapidly scale its operations to meet the growing demand of high quality remote sensing data through hyperspectral imaging. To date, Pixxel has built partnerships and worked alongside the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Maxar, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
18 Mar 21. Quad discussions facilitate space collaboration. Quad discussions keep the door open for inter-agency collaboration across the US, Australia, Japan and India. With the re-consolidation of the Quad – the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue – Australia, the United States, India and Japan have identified a number of critical areas in which the countries are able to expand upon co-operation with one another. Indeed, one of the greatest beneficiaries of this dialogue have been the nations’ respective space industries.
India’s space agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has fully grasped this opportunity signing agreements with the Australian Space Agency (ASA), NASA and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) over recent years.
Firstly, on the 17th of February the Australian Space Agency and the ISRO signed an agreement begin collaboration on research, technology, education and the future utilisation of space.
Enrico Palermo, Head of the Australian Space Agency welcomed the agreement.
“ISRO’s experience in spacecraft and systems engineering and ground stations to support space activities makes them a strategic partner for Australia as we grow our own national space capability and open doors for Australian business internationally.
“Today’s signing signals a valuable opportunity for Australia to play a role in the Gaganyaan missions, further engage industry to grow our sector, and expand cooperation with India in space, science and research activities in the years to come”, Palermo said.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews further expressed that collaboration will reinforce both nations’ space industries.
“Space is an exciting frontier and we can achieve great things by working together, including enhancing space science, technology and research collaboration – all while boosting our economies and creating jobs,” MIN Andrews said.
“Discussions are already underway for Australia to host vital tracking infrastructure as part of India’s Gaganyaan missions, which will place India as the fourth country to put humans in space.”
In the context of NASA and ISRO co-operation, the agencies have confirmed continued technology sharing arrangements. Recently, the ISRO delivered NASA their S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) as a part of the 2014 NASA and ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) agreement. Meanwhile, NASA is expected to provide the L-band.
The NISAR spacecraft is expected to provide frequency across both L and S frequency bands, being the first satellite to achieve this. It is hoped that the mission will be launched in 2022, north of Chennai India.
The ISRO has also been busy inking agreements with JAXA to improve surveillance and satellite collaboration, with the ISRO and JAXA conducting a review of an upcoming mission just last week.
In fact, the agencies hope to launch a lunar mission by 2024. The mission, referred to as the Lunar Polar Exploration (LUPEX) is expected to undertake observation of the Moon’s south pole, and recently received a 2.8bn Yen windfall from the Japanese government. It is further expected that the ISRO-JAXA agreement will provide greater observation capabilities on areas such as air quality and agricultural output for both countries. The Quad has opened the door to continued and better inter-agency technology and information sharing between the nations. (Source: Space Connect)
16 Mar 21. New 3D Printed CubeSat from Roboze and University of Colorado Boulder’s Aerospace Team Measures Electromagnetic Effects of Space Storms. CubeSat will spend six months in orbit measuring electromagnetic lightning waves with components produced with Roboze 3D printing technology.
Today Roboze, a manufacturer of industrial 3D printing technology for extreme end-use applications, announced it has been selected by the University of Colorado Boulder to optimize the design and 3D printed components for a CubeSat project within the college’s department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences. The CubeSat will spend at least six months in orbit measuring electromagnetic waves emitted by lightning discharges on the earth’s surface.
Roboze’s Argo 500 3D printer
The CubeSat’s small size and particular geometries, including strict mass and volume limitations, prompted the Lightning, Atmosphere, Ionosphere and Radiation Belt (LAIR) research team to select 3D printing over conventional methods for the manufacturing of critical components. Leveraging its high-performance polymer, polyether ether ketone (PEEK), Roboze will produce the CubeSat’s magnetic field sensor holders.
“Because we are so constrained by mass, 3D printing was the ideal solution for our CubeSat,” said Vicki Knoer, a researcher in the project. “Roboze allowed us to meet the requirements of the project by guiding us in choosing the most suitable material and in the optimization of the parts to minimize mass. We are very satisfied with the results we are achieving.”
The project kicked off in spring 2019, and after the first validation phases, it will see the launch into space in the first half of 2022.
“Thanks to extraordinary mechanical properties as well as high thermal and chemical resistance, 3D printing is rapidly replacing metal in a wide variety of extreme end-use applications including aerospace, mobility and energy,” said Roboze founder and CEO Alessio Lorusso. “It was an honor and a real privilege to collaborate with the LAIR group on this project. They are one of the pioneers in the use of additive technology in this field and giving our support to the realization of their mission makes me extremely proud.”
Roboze is re-shaping the manufacturing industry and revolutionizing the world of 3D printing with the most precise technology, capable of processing super polymers and composite materials on-demand for finished functional parts for extreme applications in the aerospace, oil and gas, energy, manufacturing and mobility sectors. The Roboze high technical ecosystem includes a complete range of advanced 3D printers for high temperature and high strength super plastics, developed with the collaboration of the best global players. It guarantees a real optimization of costs and time along the entire supply chain, while bringing additive manufacturing closer to the standards of traditional manufacturing. To date, Roboze is used in more than 25 countries globally and recognized as one of the fastest-growing 3D printing companies in the world, serving industry leaders like GE, Leonardo, the U.S. Army and many others. (Source: PR Newswire)
15 Mar 21. China deploys more surveillance satellites. China successfully deployed three Yaogan-31 observation satellites on 13 March, with the orbits they were placed in suggesting they are part of the Jianbing-8 constellation of ocean surveillance satellites.
The Yaogan (meaning ‘remote sensing’) satellites were carried into orbit by a Long March 4C rocket that took off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the Gobi Desert in northwestern China. They are the fourth group of Yaogan-31 satellites to be deployed, with each group containing three satellites.
Previous Yaogan-31 satellites have been described by Chinese state-owned media as being designed to “conduct electromagnetic environmental monitoring and related technology tests”. However, such broad or generic functions are often ascribed to satellites that are considered to have a military function.
The recently deployed satellites are believed to be for electronic intelligence (ELINT) exploitation, designed to intercept the radar and communications system emissions of ships. The satellites in each triplet group are positioned in close proximity so that the location of the transmitting ship can be determined by triangulation, measuring the difference in a signal’s time of arrival at each satellite.
The first group – known as Yaogan-31-01 – was launched on 10 April 2018, the second one – Yaogan 31-02 – was deployed on 29 January 2021, and the third – Yaogan 31-03 – was placed into orbit on 24 February. (Source: Jane’s)
15 Mar 21. UK-Australia Space Bridge Industry Briefing 25 March. The Defence Science Institute advises that Austrade and the Australian Space Agency invite industry, academia and government to join an industry briefing on the UK-Australia Space Bridge, to increase bilateral space sector collaboration and grow jobs across the industry.
The Briefing will be held on Thursday 25 March at 1700 AEDT
The Space Bridge Framework Arrangement focusses on areas such as:
- Government-to-government collaboration on space programs and technology
- Trade and investment, including commercial contracts and collaboration
- Research and education
The briefing will cover how the Arrangement is structured, its goals, planned activities and opportunities being explored to assist closer collaboration between the two countries’ space sectors. The event is free and participants are requested to register beforehand. (Source: http://rumourcontrol.com.au/)
11 Mar 21. ESA Defines Elements of Future European Space Transportation Solutions. Space transportation technologies are intrinsically complex, some needing long development cycles of up to a decade. For this reason, ESA is seeking early insights into long-term trends and potential evolutions in all application domains taking into account the needs of future programmes currently under preparation.
For this purpose, ESA has signed, within its New European Space Transportation Solutions (NESTS) initiative, study contracts each worth €500 000, with ArianeGroup, Avio and Rocket Factory Augsburg (a subsidiary of OHB SE).
These companies are tasked with carrying out research over the next few months. This will enable them to identify and recommend preliminary elements for future space transportation solutions to be exploited in the period 2030–50.
The studies will be completed before summer 2021 and will feed the preparation of proposals to be submitted for decision at the next Council Meeting at Ministerial level in 2022.
Europe’s reputation within the space transportation sector worldwide is based on its proven technological excellence and reliability. ESA develops the wide end-to-end vision of systems and services for space transport to, in and from space through anticipating and fostering needs and future opportunities decades in advance. This enables technology concepts to be prepared, offers a basis for further research and identifies technological building blocks.
“ESA, through its New European Space Transportation Solutions initiative, lays the foundations that enable us to prepare the future beyond Ariane 6 and Vega-C. These system concept studies will include services that prioritise the future needs of Europe’s space programmes but also allow us to address global market needs,” commented Daniel Neuenschwander, ESA Director of Space Transportation. (Source: ASD Network/ESA)
09 Mar 21. SpaceX Requesting FCC License To Approve Mobile Comms Via The Starlink Constellation. With another Starlink satellite launch expected this evening (March 9, 2021), there is now a move underway by SpaceX in their latest request to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to bring all manner of moving vehicles into the communications delivery fold via a blanket license.
Currently, there are 1,122 LEO satellites serving the needs of communities in six countries. With antennas mounted to vehicles — from cars to ships to planes to RVs — these dishes will be quite similar to the current antennas used for home and business connectivity. However, due to their large size, these antennas will not be installed on Musk’s Tesla vehicles.
The Starlink constellation is planning to have as many as 42,000 satellites on-orbit by the middle of 2027. Currently, there some 10,000 users of this SpaceX constellation.
David Goldman, who is the Director of Satellite Policy for SpaceX, explained to the FCC that these Starlink antennas for mobile connectivity would certainly serve the public interest and will enable increased productivity, and such comms are now expected, regardless if the user is stationary or mobile. (Source: Satnews)
10 Mar 21. Gilat To Provide The Satellite Network + Thousands of VSATs To Brazil’s Largest Private Sector Energy Company. Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd. (NASDAQ, TASE: GILT) has announced that Telespazio has selected Gilat to supply enterprise connectivity in Brazil for a multinational leading energy company — Gilat will provide the satellite network and thousands of VSATs to energy plants of Brazil’s largest private sector energy company.
Gilat’s high-reliability solution was chosen due to its ability to answer the customer’s demanding Service Level Agreement (SLA) requirements. Gilat’s SkyEdge II-c platform will support energy plants in distant locations and provide the ability to prioritize critical applications of the power plants due to its sophisticated Cloud QoS.
“Telespazio trusts Gilat’s reliable multi-service platform as we extend our current networks to broaden our support to the enterprise sector, following service to other enterprise sectors such as banking, retail, SMEs and large telco carriers,” said Marzio Laurenti, CEO at Telespazio Brasil. “We are most satisfied with the advantage of the seamless integration between our network and the end-customer’s network, that was made possible, due to Gilat’s robust IP routing capabilities.”
“Telespazio is Gilat’s longtime partner in Brazil and we are honored to be part of their growth over the years and to support their increased focus on the energy market,” said Tobias Dezordi, Regional Vice President Latin America at Gilat. “This achievement is in line with Gilat’s strategy to maximize the value of our platform for our customers as they grow their business with additional applications.” (Source: Satnews)
07 Mar 21. Major Asian Defense Projects To Be Developed By ND SATCOM. ND SATCOM’s established reputation in the defence industry for high security, reliability and engineering innovation underpinned new deals for the company with a major Asian country.
Mission-critical new features and capabilities clinched the deals, in particular the company’s True-Mesh ACM, Any-to-All Mesh functionality and full DVB Redundancy. With the recent launch of SKYWAN 5G Release 2.0; the selling feature of True-Mesh ACM has garnered a great amount of interest, according to the firm.
Providing the highest link reliability regardless of weather, ND SATCOM’s exclusive True-Mesh ACM provides 64x boost throughput with a single hop — even from remote-to-remote as well as the ability to flexibly decide on network topology via three modem types within the same 1U hardware: Hubless true-mesh MF-TDMA, DVB-S2 or the new SCPC links with highly efficient point-to-point connection. The four year software support package with this release ensures business continuity and cybersecurity.
The SKYWAN 5G satellite IP router.
Other highlights in the company’s technology arsenal include ND SATCOM’s Any-to-All Mesh functionality. ND SATCOM also features hubs in “hot-hot” standby whereby geo-redundancy occurs in milliseconds, an almost instantaneous switch to ensure seamless communication in mission-critical networks. Additionally, the new full DVB Redundancy is representing the next generation of security and flexibility that defence customers seek.
“The new full DVB Redundancy, an advanced customer-specific adaption of our SKYWAN DVB option, gained immediate traction,” said Michael Weixler, Director of Product Management and Training. “Featuring DVB-S2 transmitters at two different locations is transformative for tactical networks. Strong interest was also registered for our advanced option featuring two DVB-S2 transmitters in one location. Together with all our latest innovations, we have raised the bar again for seamless satellite communication no matter the location, no matter the conditions.”
ND SATCOM is a leading global supplier of satellite-based broadband VSAT modems, as well as broadcast, government and defense communication network and ground station solutions. As a systems integrator, networks are based on the ND SATCOM flagship product, the SKYWAN platform, an advanced MF-TDMA VSAT system for establishing wide-area corporate networks. The latest addition – SKYWAN 5G – highlights unique features, from flexible topologies (star to mesh networks) and powerful performance to its compact portable design. The company’s offerings range from wide-area SATCOM networks, smaller corporate networks, SNG vehicles, antenna subsystems, COTM & COTP, portable FlyAway systems as well as uplink components such as TWTAs and up- and down-converters. The firm’s diverse customer base includes: satellite network service providers, international carriers, broadcasters, satellite operators, governmental institutions, corporations and military organizations. More than 30 years of providing highly secure, tailor-engineered solutions have made ND SATCOM a trusted and reliable partner in SATCOM and MILSATCOM. (Source: Satnews)
07 Mar 21. Airbus’ First Syracuse IV Initial Order Worth €100m For French Armed Forces. Airbus has been awarded a 10-year framework agreement that is within the Syracuse IV program. Called Copernic the job is for the construction and upgrading of part of the ground segment for the telecommunications satellites used by the French Armed Forces. As part of Copernic, the French Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) has placed an initial order worth more than €100m.
Dominique Maudet, Head of French Defence Sales at Airbus Defence and Space said, “We are building the future broadband and multi-satellite ground segment for France’s Armed Forces. It will be fully integrated, intelligent and dynamic, giving operators access to a decision-making tool unique to satellite communications management.”
This first order specifically covers the development of the future satellite communications management system for the French Ministry of Defence. This unique portal called Pegasus, accessible to all units, will enable the French Armed Forces to optimize use of the available capacities on military and commercial satellites. It will make it possible to coordinate requests entered by central military staff or any unit deployed on the ground, at sea or in the air. Allocation of satellite capacities will be optimized in terms of operational criteria completed by the units, such as the type of terminals used, ground cover, level of cyber security, jamming resistance, as well as the need for availability.
The Copernic project also aims to increase the operability of Comcept, the multi-satellite communications network designed by Airbus and commissioned by the French armed forces in 2017. Comcept uses the broadband Ka-band transmission capacities of the Franco-Italian military satellite ATHENA-FINDUS, in addition to the Ku- and C-band capacities of commercial satellites. Thanks to these developments, Comcept will also be able to use the high-speed Ka-band of future satellites SYRACUSE 4A and 4B.
Different elements of the SYRACUSE IV program’s future ground segment and the Pegasus portal will enable the French armed forces to use the entire spectrum of satellite capacities efficiently and dynamically, from the most secure and resilient to the high-speed and wide coverage capacities, in all areas of operations. (Source: Satnews)
07 Mar 21. Brightree Joins Inmarsat’s Fleet Connect Service. Brightree and Inmarsat, providers in global, mobile satellite communications, have signed an agreement for Brightree to join the growing group of certified application providers to offer a dedicated application for Inmarsat’s Fleet Connect service. Fleet Connect is a dedicated bandwidth service that provides connectivity independent of the ship owners’ primary bandwidth, allowing Application Providers to have an always-on, or on-demand, two-way communication channel to the vessel.
Brightree will use Fleet Connect to offer their Marine Bunker & Fuel Consumption Monitoring application and Remote Engine Monitoring services.
Brightree’s application with a state-of-the-art Coriolis mass flowmeter, to accurately measure marine engine fuel consumption and bunkering transfer, and their Dandelion cloud-based remote controller transmits real-time consumption data over Fleet Connect, to assist and achieve fuel efficiency.
Remote Engine Monitoring is performed via its Dandelion service to the engine’s electronic digital interface, transmitting data in real-time via the Fleet Connect dedicated bandwidth. This creates a data repository, allowing for performance trend analysis to be achieved, and sent either on a fixed interval or on-demand from the on-shore office. A mismatch in fuel consumption data with engine parameters indicates an abnormal condition or lower engine efficiency, and alerts can be sent using SMS or email. This provides better maintenance scheduling of engines at a lower cost. Brightree also aims to use existing onboard equipment as much as possible to also reduce initial CAPEX.
“It is a privilege to be working with Inmarsat. We have been seeking a reliable and cost-effective IoT data satellite solution for some time. Fleet Connect is a dedicated bandwidth for IoT data, which comes with high reliability of connectivity and competitive pricing. This is the IoT satellite communication solution that Brightree has been seeking for a long time,” said Kevin Peng, Managing Director at Brightree.
“We are delighted to be working with an innovative start-up such as Brightree,” said Marco Cristoforo Camporeale, Head of Digital Solutions, Inmarsat Maritime.
“The Brightree application gives our customers a transparent and easy way to monitor their engine and fuel efficiency, helping to support the IMO’s target to reduce the industry’s CO2 emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030,” says Mr. Camporeale.
The goal of the collaboration is to digitalize the process of marine fleet management. With engine and fuel consumption data collected in real-time, optimization and predictive maintenance can be achieved, reducing downtime and maintenance costs. (Source: Satnews)
25 Feb 21. EDA and ESA cooperate on Next-Generation Secure Satellite Communication. European Space Agency (EDA and the European Space Agency (ESA) have agreed to jointly explore, within their respective remits, all relevant technology and capability opportunities for the gradual evolution and development of Next-Generation Secure Satellite Communication (NGSSC) systems required for the benefit of their respective Member States, user communities and industry. To this end, a Memorandum of Intent (MOI) has just been signed by the two organisations.
The MOI will broaden up the existing ESA/EDA cooperation framed by the Administrative Agreement signed in 2011 and further substantiated by their joint efforts on Governmental Satellite Communications, subject of a dedicated Implementing Arrangement since 2017. Acknowledging the growing strategic importance of satellite communications in security and defence, including in support to Europe’s strategic autonomy, ESA and EDA take the view that additional cooperative steps should be taken to develop secure and resilient satellite communications which respond to Member States’ evolving needs, and also strengthen the competitiveness of the Europe’s industry.
Secure Satellite Communications – NG SATCOM Infrastructure Exploratory System Studies
Concretely, the plan is to coordinate both organisations’ activities with the aim of supporting ESA’s ongoing system studies on the Next Generation Satellite Communication solutions that aim in particular to identify systems architectures responding to a wide set of user requirements in the field of secure communications. EDA will be invited to take part in ESA’s study process to provide expertise, information, data and a channel to its user communities which may have a stake in ESA’s exploratory systems study. Once the study results are available in the course of 2021, ESA and EDA will explore further coordinated steps related to towards the evolution and preparation of NGSSC systems.
Both parties will also jointly look at how respective user communities may be best serviced, by exploring the relevance of user-segments such as EDA’s EU Satcom Market model and services, as well as EDA’s GOVSATCOM Pooling and Sharing Demonstration project. Furthermore, the two organisations will exploit this new framework to discuss relevant activities in support of EDA’s satellite communications work in the fields of security, guarantee of access and next generation of satellite communications requirements for EU defence, satellite communications training and standardisation. Considering the challenges and stakes, these activities will be synchronised and undertaken in full coordination and transparency with all relevant actors engaged in this domain. The Agencies will furthermore coordinate their views on proposals for GOVSATCOM-related projects in the framework of EU defence initiatives, such as PESCO and the European Defence Fund (EDF). Another objective of the new cooperation is to explore potential joint R&D efforts of relevance to the future implementation of a joint secured satellite communication vision and strategy. Finally, these joint activities will be supported by a security management plan that will cover future cooperation activities and high-level security objectives to be implemented in the context of this cooperation.
EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý welcomed the enhanced cooperation with ESA, stating: “Nowadays, neither national nor multinational military operations are anymore conceivable without the support of space-based systems, especially secure and resilient satellite communication, and their importance keeps growing. The Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD), which delivered a first ever comprehensive defence review conducted at EU level, specifically underlined the importance of cooperation in space and identified the ‘Defence in Space’ as one of the most pressing, most needed and most impacting areas for cooperation and future investment in EU defence. Therefore, increased cooperation between ESA and EDA in this specific domain will not only be beneficial for our Member States and industry but also contribute to strengthening Europe’s defence capabilities”.
ESA Director General Jan Wörner said: “Over the years, our two Agencies have undertaken no less than eight formal cooperation projects, ranging across most space domains. Our partnership is solid and will support ESA Member States and help ensure a resilient civil infrastructure and robust services for citizens”. (Source: EDA)
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.