Sponsored By Viasat
30 Mar 21. Viasat Opens State-of-the-Art Network Operations Centre & Cyber Security Operations Centre in the UK. Aldershot, UK facility will Give Customers Peace of Mind, Targets the Creation of over 75 New Jobs and Represents the Beginning of More than a £300m Investment in UK Industries Tied to the Launch and Service Roll-out of the ViaSat-3 Constellation Aimed at Serving Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Viasat UK Ltd., a subsidiary of global communications company, Viasat Inc., (NASDAQ: VSAT), today announced the opening of its state-of-the-art Network Operations Centre (NOC) and Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC) in Aldershot, UK. The facility will support defence, government and commercial organisations who rely on the guaranteed resilience of their networks, and who are targeted by increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks from a growing number of adversaries. The NOC and CSOC represent the beginning of a major investment in the UK prosperity and sovereignty agenda from Viasat, which includes targeting the creation of more than 75 new highly-skilled network, analysis and cyber security roles, and more than £300m in UK-focused investment to support the launch and service roll-out of the impending ViaSat-3 constellation over Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Acting as a global customer care centre, the NOC and CSOC offer customers monitoring, detection and network support to help ensure the overall health of the network; identify potential issues or security threats; resolve those issues and threats in the shortest time possible; and confirm that any threat resolution is successful.
“We are entering an era of rapidly changing threat environments, where both the enemies that organisations face and their methods of attack, have taken on new and very dangerous forms,” said Steve Beeching, managing director of Viasat UK. “From militaries, to governments, to critical national infrastructure and the private sector, the network is one of an organisation’s most precious resources, and as such a prime target for adversaries. Constant vigilance against these ever developing threats can mean diverting resources from other priorities. Organisations need a partner who can provide the support, understanding and responsibility needed to protect the network so that they can focus on their core mission. Viasat’s secure mobility, assured satellite communications, network and behavioural analytics experience, along with our drive to bring the best people, technology and innovation to the forefront, make us perfectly suited to open, manage and grow an integrated NOC/CSOC.
The Viasat NOC and CSOC services are available to customers operating Viasat’s cyber solutions or running over Viasat’s global satellite network or Managed Private Service. Viasat’s NOC analysts monitor network health and load balancing 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Viasat works closely with customers to determine their needs, develop security integration, optimise networks, provide monitoring structures and escalation processes to suit the customer’s mission. The NOC also provides always-available technical support and provisioning for the primary network, terminals and user devices. Customers can have full confidence that Viasat will provide services and support customer operations to help resolve network issues identified by the CSOC.
The CSOC itself builds on Viasat’s decades of experience protecting both commercial networks and working closely with the Ministry of Defence, U.S. Department of Defense, and allied forces worldwide to protect classified data. Viasat’s integrated cybersecurity model processes more than 35 terabytes of metadata every day, including more than 2.4 billion events that the CSOC analyses across Viasat’s network. This highly relevant, actionable intelligence means Viasat can maintain a vigilant and watchful defence against some of the world’s most advanced adversaries, deflecting thousands of attacks on its global network every day.
“I was delighted when Viasat chose Aldershot to further its investment in the UK, and with its dedication to the UK prosperity agenda,” said Leo Docherty, Member of Parliament for Aldershot. “Technology changes rapidly, as do the threats we face. Our response in turn needs to be both rapid and agile. To guarantee this, we need to look to the dynamism and creativity of private sector organisations such as Viasat. In partnership, we can create and develop the new services that will keep the UK at the forefront of technology.”
“The UK is an important market for Viasat. From the continued expansion of high-speed broadband services across the country, to the importance of space and satellites as part of the nation’s industrial strategy, we are committed to supporting the UK prosperity agenda,” said Ken Peterman, president, Government Systems, Viasat. “From helping develop sovereign technologies for the UK armed forces and Government; to investing in high-tech industries such as space and AI; to offering ultra-fast satellite broadband from our future ViaSat-3 constellation; we are looking forward to helping the UK meet its technological and industrial ambitions.”
31 Mar 21. HawkEye 360 Announces Commissioning of Second Satellite Cluster. Trio of satellites completes functional testing and starts commercial operations. HawkEye 360 Inc., the first commercial company to use formation-flying satellites to create a new class of radio frequency (RF) data and data analytics, today announced that its recently-launched “Cluster 2” satellites have achieved initial operating capability. The trio of satellites, which entered orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in January, have completed functional testing, moved into proper formation, and begun to geolocate RF signals. They are currently supplying RF data to customers and will soon ramp up output to reach full operating capability.
“The commissioning of these satellites is a major breakthrough for commercial geospatial intelligence,” said CEO John Serafini. “As the leading global provider of space-based RF insights, HawkEye 360 is pleased that our newest satellites are performing exceptionally well and delivering high-quality RF data to our U.S. government, international government, commercial and humanitarian customers.”
The Cluster 2 satellites greatly improve upon the capabilities of HawkEye 360’s first “Pathfinder” (Cluster 1) satellites. The new satellites have redundant systems for longevity, increased computing for on-board data processing, a dedicated GNSS antenna to monitor GPS interference, enhancements to HawkEye 360’s industry-leading geolocation accuracy, wider range of RF frequency coverage, and up to 10 times more collection capacity.
“Cluster 2 and its associated ground systems symbolize our ability to rapidly deliver new impactful capability — capability essential for supporting our clients’ evolving requirements for global commercial RF data and analytics,” said Executive Vice President Alex Fox. “We have a robust roadmap for deploying the most advanced commercial RF solution required to support this high growth industry. In conjunction with Mission Space — our RF analytics platform — we are opening the door for customers across a wide array of industries to seamlessly harness valuable RF insights to further their operational objectives.”
HawkEye 360 is launching five additional clusters (15 total satellites) to establish its baseline constellation. Cluster 3 is on track to launch June 2021, Cluster 4 for October 2021, and further launches planned every quarter thereafter through 2023. Once the baseline constellation is in orbit, the company will be able to maintain revisit rates of considerably less than an hour to support time-sensitive monitoring of developing defense, security, and environmental situations.
For more information about capabilities of the HawkEye 360 satellite constellation, please visit he360.com.
About Hawkeye 360
HawkEye 360 is delivering a revolutionary source of global knowledge based on radio frequency (RF) geospatial intelligence to those working to make the world a safer place. The company operates the first-of-its-kind commercial satellite constellation to detect, characterize, and geolocate a broad range of RF signals. This unique RF data and analytics equip our global customers with high-impact insights needed to make decisions with confidence. HawkEye 360 is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. (Source: PR Newswire)
01 Apr 21. UK Space Agency launches multi-million pound drive to design hospital of the future. The government has invited the UK’s world-leading innovators to help design a new ‘space age’ hospital. The hospital could use technologies and techniques pioneered on missions to Mars or the International Space Station to help treat patients and make life easier for hard-working NHS staff.
Up to £5m of UK Space Agency funding is available to support a joint initiative with the Hampshire Together: Modernising our Hospitals and Health Services programme. The programme is part of the government’s Health Infrastructure Plan, which includes the provision of 40 new hospitals across England by 2030.
The space-enabled services could be inspired by a whole range of activities and technologies pioneered by the UK’s growing space sector, which currently contributes nearly £15bn to GDP and supports 42,000 jobs. They might include new diagnostic tools, improved logistics by tracing goods or using drones, improving hospital parking or better patient reach using tele-rehabilitation or care.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway said, “The UK is a world leader in using space technology and data to tackle the challenges we face on Earth, and this initiative is another example of how one of our most thriving sectors is driving improvements in everyday life. As we build back better from the pandemic, I am confident that UK businesses large and small will come forward to produce some truly awe-inspiring ideas to help design this space-age hospital, support our heroic NHS staff and ultimately save lives.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, “This trailblazing collaboration – bringing together exceptional scientists from the UK Space Agency and Hampshire Together – will help us apply space age innovations to building hospitals of the future. The UK is unashamedly pro-tech and these government-backed medical advancements will give our amazing NHS access to some of the most innovative technologies.”
Space is already playing an important role in supporting healthcare. The UK Space Agency has provided funding for projects to help the NHS tackle the Coronavirus pandemic, including electric drones that navigate via satellite-enabled GPS, carrying COVID-19 samples, test-kits and PPE to improve delivery times and free up transport infrastructure.
Health technologies inspired by space technologies have helped provide real-time diagnosis of bowel cancer, developed more compact 3D X-ray machines and improved healthcare in the community through both remote diagnostics and an app targeting people at risk of social isolation and mental health issues.
The Hampshire Together programme is a partnership between a wide range of bodies responsible for the health and wellbeing of the people of north and mid Hampshire, focused on ensuring that any investment is made not just in hospital buildings – but in local people.
Tony Mears, Associate Director of Innovation for the Hampshire Together programme, said, “We are delighted to be working with the UK Space Agency as part of our programme. It opens up new opportunities for us in terms of innovation and technology and shows our commitment to incorporating new ideas into our plans for the future. The UK Space Agency has really helped the NHS to overcome the challenges posed by COVID-19 and we are excited to see how we can use this innovation-by-nature sector to help provide the best health and care services for people across Hampshire in the future.”
The call for space-inspired ideas is supported by the European Space Agency’s Space Solutions, through their Business Applications programme, in which the UK is the leading investor. The UK continues to be a leading member of ESA, which is independent of the EU, having committed a record investment of £374m per year in November 2019.
A panel of experts, including representatives from the UK Space Agency, Hampshire Together and ESA, will assess the proposals for how space-derived technologies can contribute to the design, development and utilisation of services for any new hospital and its surrounding community.
The successful projects, which could be new ideas, or using technology that already exists in a different way to support healthcare, will then be incorporated in any new facility, as well as the wider health system. Where appropriate, these ideas will also be used to improve services across the area before the construction of any new buildings.
Arnaud Runge, Medical Engineer at ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre, said, “In the past but also more recently throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the use of space technologies and satellite data has proven to be an essential driver for innovation in the healthcare sector to address existing and new challenges. We are delighted to extend our fruitful collaboration with the UK Space Agency and NHS in this exciting initiative and demonstrate how space can contribute today to shape the hospital of tomorrow.”
More information on how to apply for the funding: https://business.esa.int/funding/intended-tender/nhs-future-hospitals-initiative (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
31 Mar 21. ICEYE Reports Contracts Valued at $50m in 2020 and Announces New Launches to Meet Growing Demand. ICEYE Adds Key Executives to Leadership Team as Growth Accelerates. ICEYE, the global leader in persistent monitoring of the Earth with radar satellite imaging, announced today $50m in signed contracts last year for radar satellite imaging services, solutions, and satellite missions. This represents nearly 10X growth from the previous year. ICEYE’s real-time Earth observation capabilities transform existing businesses and government processes by adding substantial efficiency with specific knowledge about ongoing events around the globe. Ten new satellite missions are planned for 2021 to meet growing customer demand for data.
IMAGE: An example of ICEYE’s rapid flood analysis which is based on ICEYE radar satellite data. This analysis is from the late March floods in Australia, created within 24 hours from the high water mark of the flood. Insurers use these rapid flood analyses to evaluate the scope of damages with unprecedented speed and accuracy and pay claims faster.
ICEYE is a pioneer in creating solutions relevant for natural catastrophe response with satellite imaging augmented with third-party data and real-time flood analysis. Earlier this month, the company announced a strategic partnership with Swiss Re, one of the world’s leading reinsurers. Through this partnership, Swiss Re is able to generate fast and accurate portfolio and event-level loss numbers for the industry.
The $50m in contracts signed represents relationships with customers in governments and in the commercial sector serving several vertical markets. In order to meet the increased customer demand for data, ICEYE plans to launch more satellites this year than originally forecasted, with a total of 10 new missions. The next launch is booked for mid-2021, including a next-generation satellite with new and innovative capabilities. With these new launches, ICEYE strengthens its delivery of best-in-class persistent monitoring services for its customers.
“We are very excited to see the solutions business growing so fast. The satellites are primarily a data collection tool. ICEYE is a data company and its mission transforms businesses with the use of real-time earth observation,” said Rafal Modrzewski, CEO and Co-founder of ICEYE. “With the momentum built up last year, ICEYE continues as the foremost provider of SAR data and solutions based on radar satellite imaging in the world.”
As ICEYE’s growth accelerates, key executives have been recently hired to its leadership team: Alan Thompson as VP Engineering, Shay Strong as VP Analytics, Marita Markkula as VP Marketing, Susan Repo as CFO and Steven Scheers as Head of People & Culture.
Alan Thompson, VP Engineering at ICEYE, is a leading satellite radar engineer with more than twenty years at MDA, including ten years as Chief Systems Engineer for the Canadian RADARSAT Constellation Mission. He holds a Ph.D. from MIT.
Shay Strong, VP Analytics at ICEYE, joins the company with over two decades in research and leadership in developing and deploying machine learning algorithms for remote sensing imagery. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, and has previously worked at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab,OmniEarth, EagleView, and Rebellion Defense.
Marita Markkula, VP Marketing at ICEYE, is a growth-driven branding, marketing, comms and business strategist with two decades of experience and high impact in international, commercial teams. She joins ICEYE from F-Secure Corporation.
Susan Repo, CFO at ICEYE, joins with more than twenty years of finance, legal and senior leadership roles, including serving as the finance executive leader at Tesla for five years where she served as VP Finance and Corporate Treasurer as well as CFO for Tesla Finance. She also served on the Board of Directors for Tesla’s global subsidiaries from 2013-2018, including SolarCity during 2016-2017.
Steven Scheers, Head of People & Culture at ICEYE, has three decades of HR experience in international leadership positions including Chief Human Resources Officer at TNT Express, AVG and AVAST. He has guided several organizations through high growth periods and international expansions.
ICEYE empowers commercial and government partners with unmatched persistent monitoring capabilities for any location on Earth. The company helps customers make informed, data-driven decisions to address time-critical challenges in various industries, to ensure infrastructure safety, and to protect the environment. ICEYE’s radar satellite imaging service, designed to deliver very frequent coverage, both day and night, helps clients resolve challenges in sectors such as maritime, disaster management, insurance, and finance. For more information, please visit: www.iceye.com (Source: PR Newswire)
31 Mar 21. Australian Gilmour Space Technologies, Fleet Space Technologies sign agreement. Gilmour Space Technologies and Fleet Space Technologies have signed an agreement to launch new fleet of nanosatellites. Gilmour Space Technologies and Fleet Space Technologies have entered into an agreement to put a new fleet of satellites into orbit.
Queensland-based Gilmour Space Technologies will bring its expertise in rocket production to assist launch South Australia-based Fleet Space Technologies’ nanosatellites.
The announcement comes following the release of the federal government’s Space National Manufacturing Priority Roadmap.
Adam Gilmour, CEO of Gilmour Space, welcomed the collaboration between two Australian companies.
“We have signed a contract to launch six Fleet Space Centauri nanosatellites on our Eris rockets in 2023,” he said.
“This is a great example of how Australian space companies are scaling and partnering to compete in the global space market.”
Fleet Space CEO Flavia Tata Nardini outlined the importance of the agreement for Australia’s space industry.
“This launch is going to involve an Australian-built payload in an Australian-built satellite, on an Australian-built rocket,” she said.
“Today’s announcement is the beginning of an ongoing launch service relationship as we work towards our planned constellation of 140 satellites.
“We are building a strong portfolio of launch service partners, and we are very excited to have Gilmour Space as one of them.” (Source: Space Connect)
30 Mar 21. Pseudo-satellite design and delivery competition launched. Consortium launches new challenge for pseudo-satellite design. Trusted Autonomous Systems, SmartSat CRC, the RAAF Air Warfare Centre and RMIT University yesterday launched the High Altitude Pseudo Satellites (HAPS) Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to encourage growth in Australia’s research and development capabilities with pseudo-satellites. Pseudo-satellites are typically unmanned aerial vehicles that operate at high altitudes, relying on solar energy and winds to maintain long term flights. This allows them to provide long-term intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. The challenge will be undertaken over three phases: concept, engineering and prototype development. The first submissions are due on 24 May.
Integration and Innovation Director Group Captain Tobyn Bearman at the Air Warfare Centre welcomed the commencement of the challenge. “Work in this area seeks to enhance the quality and resilience of our high altitude capabilities by identifying creative solutions to difficult problems and pushing the boundaries of engineering knowledge,” he said. “This challenge is an exciting way to contribute to Australia’s security and defence in new ways.” (Source: Defense News)
26 Mar 21. Koonibba Test Range to host rocket launches into space. Australia’s first Launch Facility Licence has been granted to Southern Launch, enabling the firm to host rocket launches from its Koonibba Test Range.
Southern Launch has become the first Australian firm to secure a Launch Facility Licence for its Koonibba Test Range after receiving support from the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation.
The licence was signed by Karen Andrews, federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, after Southern Launch completed the licensing process through the Australian Space Agency.
The Koonibba Test Range is located 40 kilometres north-west of Ceduna in South Australia’s far west coast and hosted the launch of two space-capable rockets to the edge of space in September 2020.
“This is a major milestone for the Australian space sector and will unlock opportunities for our local space businesses to help them grow and create local jobs,” Minister Andrews said.
“It will contribute to fuelling national capability as the civil space sector rapidly grows and transforms and becomes an even more important economic contributor.
“Australia’s geographical location and wide open spaces makes it optimal for various launch activities and suborbital rocket launches provide an important capability to space-qualify Australian hardware and technology.”
Head of the Australian Space Agency Enrico Palermo said space launches from Australia are one of the key areas of competitive advantage.
“We are committed to providing a supportive environment for industry growth in Australia, including for the innovative space start-up community, while ensuring the safety of space activities,” Palermo said.
“Our forthcoming technical roadmap on access to space will further explore launch activities by providing a vision, ambition and aspirational capability targets to grow a globally-respected and thriving industry in Australia.”
Corey McLennan, CEO of the Koonibba Community Aboriginal Corporation, welcomed the approval of the Launch Facility Licence.
“Our community has already seen the benefits of our relationship with Southern Launch. Our kids cannot stop talking about studying STEM courses at university and one day returning to Koonibba to be part of Australia’s space future,” McLennan said.
“Our entire Aboriginal community is very proud to be directly involved in the development of the Koonibba Test Range and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Southern Launch.”
Lloyd Damp, CEO of Southern Launch, added, “Southern Launch is so excited by this development, and with the Koonibba Test Range licensed to launch rockets into space and recover the payloads in the uninhabited desert to the north, we are ready to provide a unique service to both domestic and international customers.
“All the hard work done by Southern Launch and the Koonibba community over the past three years has paid off.”
Southern Launch is expected to provide training and development courses to upskill the local Koonibba community members, in a bid to further integrate the First Nation’s community into Australia’s space industry.
(Source: Space Connect)
26 Mar 21. Saber Astronautics to fly OMS satellites. Saber Astronautics has commenced an agreement to fly OMS satellites from Adelaide. Saber Astronautics has confirmed that it has entered into an agreement to fly Orbital Micro Systems (OMS) satellites. OMS is a US-based weather observation business, which launched an initial batch of Global Environmental Monitoring Systems (GEMS) satellites last year. OMS hopes that it will be able to launch an additional round of CubeSats as its next business venture to provide improved weather monitoring capabilities.
OMS vice president of engineering Roger Carter welcomed the agreement.
“We evaluated many vendors in our efforts to select a partner for GEMS satellite operations and were continuously impressed with Saber’s team and technical capabilities. We are confident that we have selected the right partner to help deliver our weather mission,” Carter said.
The agreement between Saber and OMS will oversee the entire program from integration to flight and decommissioning. It is expected that their first joint mission will occur in the final quarter of 2021.
CEO of Saber Astronautics, Dr Jason Held, confirmed that this was an important step for the company.
“We are very excited to operate Orbital Micro satellites and are committed to their success,” Dr Held said.
The missions will be executed at Saber’s Responsive Space Operations Centre (RSOC) in Adelaide and from Boulder, Colorado. (Source: Defense One)
26 Mar 21. BlackSky Signs Rocket Lab For 9 Smallsat Launches, Plus, BlackSky-7’s 1st Images. The first of these launches occurred on March 22, 2021. BlackSky is accelerating the deployment of their Gen-2 constellation of high-revisit, high-resolution imaging satellites Gen-2 satellites and expects to deliver capabilities in 2021 that were originally planned for delivery in 2022.
These launch missions enable BlackSky to fast-track their plans to offer one-hour average, dawn-to-dusk, imaging revisits and 90-minute average delivery times for customers. In 2023, BlackSky expects to begin including their recently announced Gen-3 satellites, which are intended to have 50 cm resolution and short-wave infrared (SWIR) for low light and nighttime imaging capabilities, moving toward the completion of the firm’s projected 30-spacecraft constellation.
The multi-launch agreement, inked with launch services provider Spaceflight Inc., who will manage the integration and launch services for BlackSky, includes the launch of nine BlackSky satellites across five Electron missions this year.
Collectively, BlackSky, Spaceflight and Rocket Lab are demonstrating how established expertise, shared understanding of systems as well as innovative technologies work together to help accelerate speed to space.
LeoStella, BlackSky’s smallsat development and manufacturing partner, produced the nine BlackSky Gen-2 satellites that are being delivered to Rocket Lab’s launch site in New Zealand. “These deployments with Rocket Lab are intended to advance our delivery of real-time geospatial intelligence solutions to our government and commercial customers worldwide,” said Brian E. O’Toole, CEO of BlackSky. “Combined with our AI/ML platform, Spectra AI, BlackSky aims to provide customers with access to dawn-to-dusk global monitoring of key locations around the world. We’re proud to be working with Rocket Lab to achieve this launch cadence and advance our constellation network configuration, which is the foundation of our high-revisit imaging performance.”
“We’re thrilled to be providing BlackSky with dedicated, rapid, and reliable launches on Electron. Flying on dedicated Electron launches provides BlackSky with certainty around launch schedule, control over tailored orbits, and confidence and reliability at a critical time in its constellation and business development,” said Peter Beck, CEO of Rocket Lab. “After two back-to-back launches for BlackSky on Electron in 2019 and our latest just this week, we’re fortunate to continue partnering with industry leaders to deliver reliable and rapid access to space.”
In addendum, the company revealed their latest Gen-2 satellite, BlackSky 7, delivered first insights within 24 hours of launch. Within that time frame, the BlackSky operations team conducted satellite checkout and the satellite collected its first images.
At the same time, those images were downlinked, processed and analyzed using BlackSky’s Spectra AI suite of AI/ML algorithms to detect objects of interest and establish the first insight milestone. This latest satellite was launched at 22:30 UTC, March 22, 2021 on the Rocket Lab “They Go Up So Fast” mission.
“The maturity of the BlackSky architecture enables the rapid and reliable addition of satellites into our constellation,” said Brian E. O’Toole, CEO of BlackSky. “BlackSky’s ability to scale its sensor and analytic infrastructure allows the company to deliver first-to-know insights for customers. Further, our ability to predictably expand our network allows BlackSky to offer customers on-demand capacity.”
BlackSky 7 is another satellite built by LeoStella’s manufacturing line, where an additional 16 BlackSky satellites are in production.
BlackSky is a provider of real-time geospatial intelligence. BlackSky monitors activities and facilities worldwide by harnessing the world’s emerging sensor networks and leveraging its own satellite constellation. BlackSky processes millions of observations from its constellation as well as a variety of space, IoT, and terrestrial based sensors and data feeds. BlackSky’s on-demand constellation of satellites can image a location multiple times throughout the day. BlackSky monitors for pattern-of-life anomalies to produce alerts and enhance situational awareness. BlackSky’s monitoring service, Spectra AI, is powered by cutting-edge computer techniques including machine learning, artificial intelligence, computer vision, and natural language processing. (Source: Satnews)
21 Mar 21. Aussies’ Fleet Space Technologies Applies for $5m Grant Will Increase Building From Three Smallsats to 50 Per Year. If the grant application is successful, Fleet Space will become a major satellite manufacturing hub and increase its payroll from 31 staff today to 128 by 2024. Australia’s satellite manufacturer, Fleet Space Technologies of Adelaide, has applied for a $5m Federal government Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI) grant so that it can jump from building three hand-built smallsats a year to mass-producing 50. Additional support from the South Australian government will supplement nearly $4m the company is raising itself.
If the grant application is successful, Fleet Space will become a major satellite manufacturing hub and increase its payroll from 31 staff today to 128 by 2024, says its CEO and co-founder Ms. Flavia Tata Nardini. Most of the new employees will be engineers and specialist satellite assembly technicians.
Fleet Space has spent $12m since 2015 on R&D to develop the world’s most advanced beam-steering antenna and to miniaturize its satellites’ com where previously this level of connectivity was only possible with a 100kg satellite.
The company, which has already launched four smallsats, has applied for a $5m grant under the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources’ Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI) to help it make the jump. Fleet Space plans to build a new factory with more than double the space for R&D and manufacturing and has partnered with the University of Adelaide’s Institute of Photonics and Advanced Sensing, local company Redarc Electronics, Hawker Richardson in Melbourne and NSW-based Lintek to build the industrial capability to manufacture these smallsats in Australia.
The Nebula service for utilities, mining and energy companies uses satellites to connect sensors monitoring critical infrastructure such as remote mine sites, alternative energy sites, gas pipelines and rurally dispersed electricity pylons with central base stations, 24 hours a day. This also allows operators to conduct geological surveys and operate unmanned vehicles such as drones remotely from a proper control centre, rather than having to visit a distant, inaccessible site.
This is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and it’s transforming the ability of Australian companies to manage and control remote assets in real time, says Ms Tata Nardini. The full constellation of 140 nanosatellites could generate a lifetime revenue of $1.82bn, she estimates.
The heart of Fleet Space’s 10kg Centauri-series satellites is its Nebula System, consisting of the smart, lightweight, low-power communications payload and antenna, ground-based Portal satellite modem and the Nebula Network Management System. The company designs all of these, including the advanced on-board Artificial Intelligence system that manages them, itself in Adelaide. However, it is forced to get the antenna and some of the complex electronics manufactured by space-qualified specialist suppliers in Switzerland.
In order to achieve seamless global coverage, the company needs a constellation of 140 satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Up to 50 will need to be replaced each year due to the rate of orbital decay associated with LEO as well as battery and solar panel degradation. A fifth satellite in Fleet Space’s constellation, Centauri 3, will be launched from New Zealand in just days, with two more scheduled for launch this year and 16 in 2022-23.
“At present, every satellite launched by an Australian company is hand-made, and many of the components come from overseas,” says Ms Tata Nardini. “Our manufacturing rate is very low. Australia lacks many of the manufacturing capabilities its industry needs to build satellite payloads and the satellites themselves. And we certainly can’t produce them in volume.”
“We want to establish these manufacturing capabilities here in Adelaide so that we can kick-start Australia’s space industry.”
Fleet Space’s goal, says Ms. Tata Nardini, is to be able to manufacture the entire payload in Australia. That includes 3D printing the advanced beam-steering antenna and designing and manufacturing increasingly complex Printed Circuit Board Assemblies (PCBAs).
As well as high-precision 3D printers, with trained operators, Fleet Space needs to be able to design and prototype complex PCBAs up to 26 layers deep. The best that Australian firms can do at present is 12 layers. Fleet Space currently gets its complex PCBAs manufactured overseas and much of its pre-launch testing must be done overseas too.
“Winning this grant would mean Fleet Space and its partners can develop and manufacture the smartest parts of future satellites right here in Australia and provide an Australian service to a worldwide customer base,” says Ms. Tata Nardini. “Only a handful of companies worldwide such as SpaceX and Airbus have the capacity to mass-produce satellites. We can join them, if we move quickly.” (Source: Satnews)
23 Mar 21. ORBCOMM’s ST 9100 IoT Terminal Debuts. The versatile devices is designed to be future proof, with multi-network connectivity using LTE as well as 3G and 2G fallback. Satellite connectivity for the device is powered by the IsatData Pro network, allowing cost-effective and ubiquitous coverage, even in the most remote regions. The ST 9100 comes equipped with a global SIM, allowing access to a network of cellular service providers, alongside a second slot if you prefer to bring your own SIM card.
New features include an expanded backup battery, additional inputs and outputs, larger memory and a ruggedized exterior with an IP67 rating, allowing the device to continue operating in the harshest environments. The addition of Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity allows integration with new sensors, as well as the ability to troubleshoot devices in the field via mobile app. The programmable terminal uses the Lua framework to customize and enhance the functionality of the device.
This next generation device is purpose-built to support a variety of IoT applications. The device is designed for use in applications ranging from fleet management, vessel and fisheries management, oil & gas equipment monitoring, heavy equipment asset monitoring, electrical utility management, smart agriculture and more.
With a broad set of integration tools, partners can easily bring solutions to market. The ORBCOMM Development Kit provides tools for the complete solution development cycle—from development to testing and production—and includes a terminal, a simulation environment, an interface development board and more.
The ST 9100 can be programmed to support a wide range of applications and customer requirements. Use it in tandem with ORBCOMM configurable applications for more basic deployments or loaded with custom scripts for more complex installations. (Source: Satnews)
23 Mar 21. Open Cosmos Milestone Reached With The Launch Of Two Smallsats. Open Cosmos has achieved a major milestone in the company’s mission to democratize space with the launch of two commercial smallsats that were entirely created at the company’s Harwell Campus-based HQ in the United Kingdom.
The launch on Monday, March 22, witnessed two Open Cosmos smallsats along with the South Korean EO satellite CAS500-1 and 30 other satellites launched aboard a Soyuz-2 rocket from the Baikonur base in Kazakhstan.
One of the Open Cosmos satellites is the latest addition to the Lacuna Space IoT constellation, which provides a service using LoRaWAN®, an open, global standard for IoT LPWAN connectivity, along with a new demonstrator satellite for telecoms operator Sateliot to provide 5G Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities to remote areas across the globe.
The satellites traveled to Kazakhstan after passing strict testing in controlled environments and receiving the operations license from the UK Space Agency (UKSA). The device was then integrated into the deployer in the rocket which, when the Soyuz-2.1A rocket reached 500 km from Earth, was ejected to take up its mission to travel around the Earth and provide connectivity services.
Open Cosmos will now be monitoring and operating the mission from four ground stations around the globe, all of which can managed by the team on behalf of their partners through OpenOps, Open Cosmos’s satellite operations software.
Open Cosmos operates space missions from start to finish by manufacturing and building satellites as well as handling the mission, satellite operation and services. The company, which was created five years ago, was established with a view to open up space by making it more affordable for small businesses and governments to utilise satellites to access data they need to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges from climate change, to civil protection and emergencies and infrastructure.
Open Cosmos and Lacuna Space are part of a new generation of UK space industry companies. The sector employs almost 42,000 people, more than 1,000 who work within the Harwell Campus, Europe’s most concentrated SpaceTech cluster that launched in 2015 as Open Cosmos was just starting operations. UK space generates an income of £15bn every year, while the global space industry is predicted to be worth $350bn. The UK government wants to gain a 10% share of the global space market by 2030 and clusters like Harwell are key to this endeavor.
Applications Catapult and the ECSAT telecommunications centre of the ESA in Harwell were also just starting. Five years later, these launches mark a key milestone for the UK space industry. Another Harwell-based company was instrumental in the recent launch: Oxford Space Systems, which provided the innovative deployable antenna that goes on top of Lacuna’s IoT satellite receiver and is able to receive short messages directly from small, battery-powered devices on the ground. Additionally, the satellite was tested within the Disruptive Innovation Space Centre (DISC) of the Satellite Applications Catapult and the testing facilities at RAL Space. This demonstrates how close collaboration amongst space startups, scaleups and stakeholders are enabling this new breed of companies to grow and thrive.
The focus for the UK space industry has been on tapping into the satellite launch market, which is why the UK is investing in spaceports in Cornwall and The Shetlands. Initiatives such as this collaboration demonstrate that the benefits of satellites don’t just lie in the economic gains of launching them, but the wider services they can offer to governments, citizens and businesses. In fact, £300bn of wider UK GDP is supported by satellite services, including telecoms, science, earth observation and navigation. Open Cosmos has invested more than £4m in R&D leveraged with support from the UKSA and the ESA through the ARTES Partnership Project’s Pioneer program, growing the team from five to 50 people.
Following these two launches, Open Cosmos will look to expand its commercial offering, delivering constellations for both private companies and governments in need of accurate global and information services. Open Cosmos has 10 missions under development at the moment, including the MANTIS mission in partnership with the ESA-Incubed program, and UKSA, which aims to provide high-resolution imagery and IOD6 in partnership with the Satellite Applications Catapult that will test innovative services in orbit. These satellites will be key to powering digital transformation in many sectors and fight the climate crisis using satellite data.
Rafel Jordá, Founder and CEO of Open Cosmos, said, “These launches mark a major milestone for Open Cosmos, demonstrating the capacity of low-cost satellites to provide IoT connectivity to remote parts of the world and collect data. With £300bn of wider UK GDP supported by satellite services, Open Cosmos is key to unlocking these services and making them more accessible for businesses and governments across the world. We’re also extremely proud that Monday’s launches have been made possible by working closely with the UKSA, ESA, the Catapult and all our partner companies at Harwell Campus and abroad. We look forward to continuing to push forward the potential for UK space tech in 2021 and beyond.”
Rob Spurett, CEO of Lacuna, said, “The successful launch of our latest satellite is another important milestone in expanding our network capacity, and growing our services. We are providing the ‘Internet for Things’ and it is quietly revolutionizing industries in the same way that connecting people to the internet has. The range of services and possibilities that Lacuna is enabling is incredible and beyond our wildest imagination: from mundane tracking of cargo containers to counting penguins in the Antarctic. It has been wonderful to bring together other Harwell-based companies on this project such as Open Cosmos and Oxford Space Systems, demonstrating the strength of the UK’s collaborative space sector and depth of innovation. ”
Catherine Mealing-Jones, Director of Growth at the UK Space Agency, said, “The UK is a leader in the design and manufacturing of small satellites. With our support innovative companies like Open Cosmos, Lacuna Space and Oxford Space Systems are developing exciting services to improve our daily lives. Our space sector is thriving and it is fantastic to see these ambitious UK companies working together to enable connectivity in remote and hard-to-reach parts of the globe.” (Note: The UK Space Agency invests around £90m a year, through its subscription in ESA’s ARTES program, in developing innovative technologies, services and applications to help meet societal challenges.)
Sean Sutcliffe, CEO of OSS said, “We are proud to deliver this milestone together with Open Cosmos to contribute to Lacuna Space’s ambitious constellation of IoT Gateways in space. This also gives further space heritage to our helical antenna product line, with several helical antennas already successfully deployed in orbit and working within the expected performance range. This is another step towards the delivery of reliable antenna solutions for the next generation of IoT constellations, as part of OSS’s comprehensive family of deployable antennas.”
Lucy Edge, Chief Operating Officer at the Satellite Applications Catapult said, “We are delighted to be supporting Open Cosmos on their growth journey, and to witness the launch of the first two satellites built at the Satellite Application Catapult’s DISC facility at Harwell. Open Cosmos’s success demonstrates exactly what can be achieved when a pioneering business, innovative UK partners and Catapult support all come together without limitations. We look forward to seeing how the low-cost IoT capability developed for these missions will help solve some of the major global challenges we all face.” (Source: Satnews)
23 Mar 21. Cubic’s Nuvotronics To Develop HAB To Support WGS-SP For The US Army. Nuvotronics will deliver a high-altitude balloon (HAB) payload solution to support WGS surrogate operations, intended to provide contingency communication support during “a day without SATCOM” scenarios.
Nuvotronics’ HAB payload solution will support Ka-Band SATCOM for beyond line of sight (BLOS) communications between Division, Brigade, Battalion and Company echelons during electronic or kinetic attacks. During electronic or kinetic attack, SATCOM accessibility may be denied, which creates a need for the Army to have access to alternative capabilities that can effectively restore tactical communications and operate in denied environments.
Nuvotronics’ HAB surrogate payload solution will introduce key innovations based on proven technology and processes, including its unique and innovative additive manufacturing process called PolyStrata® which enables radio frequency component size reductions from 10x to 100x. PolyStrata also significantly improves radio frequency performance, which will allow Nuvotronics to meet more stringent requirements that would not otherwise be possible.
“Cubic has a long history of developing innovative solutions that address network availability and resiliency in challenged environments for our warfighters,” said Mike Knowles, president of Cubic Mission and Performance Solutions. “With our award-winning Nuvotronics technology, we are able to provide a viable surrogate payload solution with a true size, weight and power (SWaP) advantage.”
“We are very pleased to collaborate with the CCDC C5ISR Center and S&TCD to develop a solution that will provide transparent BLOS SATCOM access to existing WGS Ka-Band ground terminals within a region that has been denied access to on-orbit WGS resources,” said Martin Amen, vice president and general manager of Cubic Nuvotronics.
The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, known as DEVCOM, is the Army’s technology leader and largest technology developer. DEVCOM ensures the dominance of Army capabilities by creating, integrating and delivering technology-enabled solutions to our Soldiers. The command provides the Army with an organic research and development capability. More than 13,700 Soldiers, civilian employees and direct contractors form this world-class team. As part of that team, there are more than 10,000 engineers and scientists, many of whom are the Army’s leading experts in their fields. The fundamental characteristic of the DEVCOM workforce is the focus on the Soldier. DEVCOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command, which assesses and integrates the future operational environment, emerging threats, and technologies to develop and deliver concepts, requirements, future force designs and the delivery of modernization solutions. (Source: Satnews)
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.