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29 Apr 21. Gilmour, DEWC team up to launch MOESS system. The companies have agreed to collaborate to deliver new space-based sovereign electronic warfare capability.
DEWC Systems and Australian launch services company Gilmour Space Technologies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), aimed at facilitating collaboration for the launch of the next-generation Miniaturised Orbital Electronic Warfare Sensor Systems (MOESS) system — a reprogrammable, multi-purpose electromagnetic sensor system integrated and deployed on micro satellites.
The five-year agreement involves the delivery of advanced sensor capability, deployment and uptake of satellites in low-Earth orbit (LEO) to support intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and electronic warfare (ISREW) missions.
The MOU is also expected to support co-development projects based on the current 3U platform, including assets in the 80-100-kilogram class to support production of a small satellite prototype.
To achieve this, the firms plan to conduct a joint research activity aimed at harnessing an understanding of the requirements of manufacturing a prototype satellite using commercially available components.
“We are committed to developing a LEO launch and satellite platform that will support new and valuable sovereign space capabilities, such as DEWC System’s ISREW solution for Defence,” Adam Gilmour, CEO of Gilmour Space said.
MOESS was developed by DEWC Systems with the support of South Australian universities and the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG), where a proof-of-concept was funded by the Defence Innovation Partnerships approximately two years ago.
Phase two of the program, funded through a Defence Innovation Hub contract, involved the design, development and assembly of the technology.
Phase three is now expected to involve considerations for integration with a small satellite, before a launch into orbit, with the partnership with Gilmour Space to support the development of technologies required to ensure the system is launched on an Australian made rocket.
“I believe in the ingenuity, innovation and the ‘can do’ attitude of the Australian spirit. Through effective collaboration with likeminded Australian companies, such as DEWC Systems and Gilmour Space Technologies, I am confident that we can deliver a true and enduring sovereign Defence space capability,” Ian Spencer CEO of DEWC Systems said. (Source: Space Connect)
28 Apr 21. USN to Transfer 13 Satellites to Space Force. The US Navy plans to transfer operations of its 13 satellites to U.S. Space Force but will retain the portions of its research labs that focus on space, Chief of Naval Operations Michael Gilday said Tuesday.
In a virtual forum hosted by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Gilday said the transfer of satellite operations will be seamless because both the Navy and Space Force are components of Space Command.
But a “decision has been made” for the Navy to retain its space-related work at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, or NRL, he said.
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Space research offices within NRL include the Space Science Division and the Naval Center for Space Technology.
“The decision has been made to maintain our Navy capability within those labs and keep it in the Navy for the sole reason that … in a Navy research lab, there’s a lot of cross-cutting work that goes on across a number of different disciplines,” Gilday said.
He added that the Navy is developing memorandums of agreement that give the Space Force more say in the work being conducted in the labs without “upsetting the workforce or command and control.”
The Space Force is expected to grow from 2,400 active-duty service members to 6,400 by the end of the year, according to Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond.
The new military branch was created in December 2019 in the Fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. The change moved roughly 16,000 active-duty and civilian personnel on a temporary basis from what was formerly known as Air Force Space Command to the Space Force.
For the past year, the new service has worked to identify appropriate personnel from across the Air Force and other services to become Space Force members.
Gilday said he and Raymond have a “handshake agreement” to transfer the first Navy officers to the Space Force in the coming months, many drawn from a cadre who work space issues.
Raymond told Military Times in February that he expected at least 34 soldiers and sailors to move to the Space Force this year, with hundreds more transferring next year. He added that the service members would not be forced to transition.
Gilday said change nearly always is accompanied by friction, but added that he has not seen it with regard to the creation and manning of the Space Force.
“All the services need to help grow the Space Force,” he said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Military.com)
28 Apr 21. Launch of experimental military navigation satellite pushed back to 2023. A rideshare delay has pushed back the launch of the U.S. military’s new experimental navigation satellite to 2023, but the Air Force Research Laboratory says it can use the extra time to reduce risks and conduct more ground testing. Navigation Technology Satellite 3, originally set for launch in 2022, will help guide future GPS satellites, a priority area for the military as the technology has become easier to spoof and jam.
Designated as one of AFRL’s first Vanguard programs — projects the lab believes can deliver transformative capabilities to war fighters — the satellite will demonstrate new positioning, navigation and timing capabilities while supplementing the existing GPS constellation. Among other features, NTS-3 will feature steerable beams for regional coverage and a software-defined payload that can be reprogrammed on orbit.
AFRL noted the delay in a media roundtable Wednesday. AFRL Commander Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle said that shift was out of the lab’s control since the satellite will launch as a rideshare with a U.S. Space Force payload, and that launch had been pushed back.
“It was manifested as a rideshare through the space test program in partnership with the Space Force Space Operations Command. It is currently set to launch — at least the satellite portion — in 2023,” Pringle said of the delay. “It’s because it’s a rideshare, and so we’re not driving this schedule.”
However, Pringle said the lab would use the delay to its advantage, conducting more ground experimentation and risk reduction in the interim.
“As far as the ground equipment and the other aspects of the program, we’ll continue to develop, experiment and look for new opportunities to keep that up to date as well so when it goes into space that we are ready to hit the ground running,” said Pringle.
AFRL plans to experiment with the satellite in geosynchronous orbit for one year, testing new PNT signals and architectures on the spacecraft in addition to new ground-based command and control systems and software-defined radios. After AFRL completes its testing period with NTS-3, it will transition to the U.S. Space Force and integrate into the service’s other PNT capabilities, said Joel Mozer, the Space Force chief scientist.
(Source: C4ISR & Networks)
26 Apr 21. German startup Isar Aerospace signs first launch contract. Isar Aerospace, one of three German startups vying for ESA funding for smallsat launchers they each aim to debut next year, has won its first launch contract.
Airbus Defense and Space plans to launch a future Earth observation satellite on Isar Aerospace’s Spectrum rocket, a two-stage rocket designed to deliver up to 700 kilograms of payload to sun-synchronous orbit. The contract announced April 22 includes options for additional Spectrum launches but does not specify a timeline for the one firm mission.
Isar Aerospace aims to conduct Spectrum’s maiden launch in 2022. Founded in 2018, the Munich-based company recently arranged for exclusive use of one of two launch pads at Norway’s Andøya Space Center, which is currently under construction. The 20-year lease will enable Isar Aerospace to deploy payloads into sun synchronous and polar orbits.
Airbus Defence and Space is currently working on at least two Earth observation constellations destined for sun-synchronous orbits. One of those, Pléiades Neo, will consist of four 750-kilogram satellites, the first of which is slated to launch April 29 on an Arianespace-operated Vega rocket along with five smaller payloads. Airbus plans to use Vega and Avio’s upcoming Vega C to launch the other three Pléiades Neo satellites, which are all too heavy for Spectrum’s advertised 700-kilogram to SSO capacity.
The Composante Optique 3D (CO3D) constellation, a joint undertaking by Airbus and the French space agency CNES, looks like a better fit for Isar Aerospace’s rocket. Although the initial four-satellite CO3D constellation is slated to be launched aboard a Vega C in 2023, Airbus anticipates that the constellation could grow to between 12 and 24 satellites. At 300 kilograms each, these satellites would be well within Spectrum’s projected capabilities to launch two at a time.
A three-way race for ESA funding heats up
Isar Aerospace is one of three German launch startups currently developing small rockets with an eye toward winning European Space Agency support.
Along with Rocket Factory Augsburg and HyImpulse Technologies, the three startups are competing as part of the German Space Agency DLR’s microlauncher competition.
The competition, which is being run in conjunction with ESA, will award one of the three startups with 11m euros ($13m) in funding later this year. The funding is to be used to support a qualification flight that will carry a payload for a university or research institution for free. A second prize of 11m euros in funding will then be awarded in 2022 as the final stage of the competition.
In evaluating the three startups, the DLR panel of judges will examine the technical aspects and commercial feasibility of each launcher. As a result, each startup’s success in securing funding and signing launch contracts will play a role in their chance of winning the competition.
Isar Aerospace is the second of the three German rocket startups to secure their first launch contract. Rocket Factory Augsburg signed a contract with a sister company OHB Sweden AB on March 31 for the launch of a single mission. The as-yet unannounced payload will be launched in mid-2024 aboard the company’s RFA One rocket, which is slated to be launched on its maiden flight in 2022 and is designed to carry payloads of up to 1,300 kilograms into low Earth orbit.
HyImpulse Technologies is developing the three-stage SL1 launch vehicle, which is designed to carry payloads of up to 500 kilograms to low Earth orbit. The vehicle is expected to make its debut in 2022. HyImpulse is the only one of the three startups yet to secure their first launch contract.
In December, Isar Aerospace closed a 75m euro Series B funding round. A month earlier, the launch provider was awarded 1.5m euros as part of the European Space Agency’s Boost! initiative, which aims to foster new commercial space transportation services in Europe. With the addition of its first launch contract, Isar Aerospace is paving the way for the company to be a part of a privately-funded commercial European launch market in its infancy. (Source: Google/Space News)
26 Apr 21. SDA opens door to expanded, space-based electronic warfare. Ongoing work by the Pentagon’s Space Development Agency (SDA) to establish new military-centric satellite communications and networking systems has opened the door for US Armed Forces’ (USAF’s) leaders to pursue tactical-level electronic warfare (EW) support capabilities from space.
The SDA’s development work in standing up the National Defense Space Architecture (NDSA), which is designed to detect, identify, and deter potential terrestrial and space-based threats “has offered an opportunity that we have not had before, and that is Title 10 [authority] DOD (Department of Defense) sensors in space”, said David Tremper, the director of EW with the Pentagon’s acquisition and sustainment directorate.
“Historically, when we have done tactical EW support from space-based sensing, it is an intelligence community and DOD collaboration”, which requires US military leaders to work through network infrastructures developed and used by the US intelligence community and not by the USAF, he said. “The emergence of US Space Force and SDA has created Title 10 authorities” for space-based, military-centric tactical EW operations to take place outside the limitations of the intel community’s architectures and infrastructures, according to Tremper.
Space-based counter-intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, executed as part of the EW portfolio, could also see a resurgence due to the potential military capabilities posed by the NDSA.
“This [mission] has always been on the periphery of EW, but it is starting to come in more to the tactical EW conversation as we see kill-chains get shorter … adversaries getting the capability to sense at long range, shoot at long range with what we would traditionally consider strategic [level] sensing,” Tremper said. (Source: Jane’s)
19 Apr 21. Arianespace Soyuz Flight ST31 To Push 36 OneWeb Satellites To LEO. The next Arianespace mission is planned from Vostochny Cosmodrome with Soyuz on April 26 and is scheduled to deliver 36 satellites into orbit. By operating this fifth flight on behalf of OneWeb, Arianespace will bring the total fleet to 182 satellites in LEO. Arianespace is proud to share in the fulfillment of its customer’s ultimate ambition: providing internet access for everyone, everywhere.
Flight ST31, the third commercial mission performed by Arianespace and its Starsem affiliate from the Vostochny Cosmodrome, will put 36 of OneWeb’s satellites into a near-polar orbit at an altitude of 450 kilometers.
The mission will have a total duration of three hours and 51 minutes and will include nine separations of four satellites that will raise themselves to their operational orbit. This sixth launch to the benefit of OneWeb will bring up to speed Arianespace’s operations this year and will raise from 146 to 182 the number of satellites deployed for the global telecommunications operator.
OneWeb’s constellation will deliver high-speed, low-latency connectivity services to a wide range of customer sectors including aviation, maritime, backhaul services, as well as governments, emergency response services and more. Central to its purpose, OneWeb seeks to bring connectivity to every place where fiber cannot reach, and thereby bridge the digital divide.
Once deployed, the OneWeb constellation will enable user terminals that are capable of offering 3G, LTE, 5G and Wi-Fi coverage, providing high-speed access globally – by air, sea and land.
OneWeb Satellites, a joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus Defence and Space, is the constellation’s prime contractor. The satellites were built thanks to its leading-edge satellite manufacturing process that can build up to two satellites a day on a series production line dedicated to the assembly, integration, and testing of the satellites. (Source: Satnews)
23 Apr 21. JADC2: SDA To Upgrade Satellite Laser Links. The Transport Layer will form a ‘mesh network’ of communications/data relay satellites, linking all DoD command and control networks, to enable JADC2.
The Space Development Agency (SDA) hopes to tap into the technical prowess of cable companies and traditional terrestrial communications firms using fiber optics to improve space-based laser communications on its next set of data relay satellites, being developed to underpin Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2), says Director Derek Tournear.
“We really need to look at the optical comm standard, and say: ‘What is industry doing terrestrially that we can leverage?,” he told the 2021 C4ISRNET conference Wednesday.
Of course, he added, putting laser links on satellites is a fundamentally different challenge than using fiber optic cables. Satellites in LEO move incredibly fast — which makes aligning the laser beams with receivers a challenge.
The Transport Layer is being designed to form a ‘mesh network’ of communications/data relay satellites, linking all DoD command and control networks, to enable JADC2. The Transport Layer also will link to both new and legacy weapon systems across all domains — thus making possible JADC2’s sensors-to-shooters concept.
SDA is currently working to put up its first 28 satellites next year, known as Tranche 0. The Tranche 0 program includes 20 Transport Layer satellites and eight Tracking Layer missile warning and tracking sats. With Tranche 0, SDA hopes to demonstrate the constellations basics: the capability for the satellites to ‘talk to’ ground stations and each other; and for the Tracking Layer to find and follow missile tracks.
Tranche 1, however, will only include Transport Layer satellites, to be on orbit by late 2024. Those 150 satellites will be configured differently than those in Tranche 0 in order to provide real-world capabilities to the warfighter.
“Tranche 1 will be an operational system,” Tournear said. “That’s our initial warfighting capability.”
The optical links will provide both inter-satellite communications for SDA’s constellations and, in future, communications from the individual satellites to terrestrial receivers. (The first SDA satellites will use the venerable Link 16 radio link to ‘talk to’ weapons platforms such as fighters and Navy warships.) Indeed, Tournear has repeatedly said that optical comms is the crucial technology to making the entire SDA planned architecture work.
Tournear said Wednesday that SDA is eyeing equipping each of the Tranche 1 Transport Layer satellites with “something on the order of three to five optical cross links per satellite.” Further, he said, “we want those cross links to not only be satellite-to-satellite, but satellite-to-air, satellite-to-ground and satellite-to- … maritime assets.”
The new optical communications payloads also would need to be able to back-link to Tranche 0 sats, Tournear noted, which will be equipped with prototype optical cross-links. Those prototypes, he said, in essence represent “a least common denominator of all of the different optical standards out there.”
SDA in June intends to launch prototypes of the Tranche 0 optical systems, being built by SA Photonics and General Atomics.
Interested companies have until April 30 to submit concepts for the new Tranche 1 payloads to SDA under a request for information (RFI) just updated yesterday. The RFI says:
“SDA expects the T1TL constellation to feature 6 near-polar circular planes with tens of satellites at 1000 km altitude in each plane. Unlike in Tranche 0, SDA is interested in deploying a homogeneous constellation design, with all space vehicles equipped with baseline mission payloads, and is seeking feedback on industry capability to design and develop these integrated space vehicles.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
16 Apr 21. Pioneering Earth Imaging Mission Involves Planet + New Carbon Mapper Organization + NASA JPL + California. Carbon Mapper, a new nonprofit organization, and its partners – the State of California, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA JPL), Planet, the University of Arizona, Arizona State University (ASU), High Tide Foundation and RMI – have announced a pioneering program to help improve understanding of, and accelerate reductions in, global methane and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
The Carbon Mapper consortium also announced its plan to deploy a ground-breaking hyperspectral satellite constellation with the ability to pinpoint, quantify and track point-source methane and CO2 emissions.
As the window to limit global warming narrows, there is an urgent need to deploy new technologies that can quickly and accurately measure greenhouse gas emissions across the globe. Current approaches to measure methane and CO2 emissions at the scale of individual facilities – particularly intermittent activity – present challenges especially in terms of transparency, accuracy, scalability and cost. In short, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
Carbon Mapper will help overcome these technological barriers and enable accelerated action by making high emitting methane and CO2 sources publicly visible and at the facility level quickly and persistently. The data collected by the Carbon Mapper constellation of satellites will provide more complete, precise, and timely measurement of point source methane and CO2 source level emissions as well as 25+ other environmental indicators.
Carbon Mapper, in collaboration with its public and private partners, is developing the satellite constellation in three phases. The initial study phase is complete and included two years of preliminary engineering development and manufacturing.
Phase 1 is underway and includes development of the first two satellites by Planet and NASA JPL, planned to launch in 2023, accompanying data processing platforms, and ongoing cooperative methane mitigation pilot projects using aircraft in California and other US states.
Phase 2, which is in development, would encompass the expansion to an operational multi-satellite constellation starting in 2025.
Carbon Mapper, in collaboration with California’s Air Resources Board (CARB), is also developing a public portal to make the data available for use by industry, governments, and private citizens to improve greenhouse gas accounting, expedite repair of leaks, support disaster response, and improve environmental resilience.
Powered by philanthropy, Carbon Mapper convenes a unique coalition of private and public sector actors with the combined expertise and resources to deploy a science-driven, sustained and operational decision support service for maximum impact.
- NASA JPL will deliver the hyperspectral imaging spectrometer payload for the first Carbon Mapper satellite, leveraging advanced remote sensing technology with many years of heritage on aircraft and spacecraft. JPL will also provide technical assistance to Planet’s development of the payload for the additional satellites. These spectrometers offer unparalleled sensitivity, resolution, and versatility.
- Planet, operator of Earth imaging satellites, will design and build the satellites – leveraging the hyperspectral imaging sensor from NASA JPL – and operate the fleet with its existing missions system architecture. Planet will further contribute its rapid revisit satellites, data, and analytics technologies to deliver and pinpoint methane emission for governments, private and public institutions, citizens, facility operators and more. Planet’s ability to commercialize data products is key to the buildout and continuity of the multi-satellite constellation.
- California Air Resources Board (CARB) maintains policy leadership and a pioneering approach to understanding and taking action to reduce climate pollutants and exposure in communities impacted by air pollution. CARB is already working with University of Arizona, JPL, and ASU to use airborne prototypes of Carbon Mapper to demonstrate mitigation and improved accounting with facility operators across California.
- High Tide Foundation has led the extensive philanthropic investment in Carbon Mapper through which they are seeking to deliver on their goal to have a significant measurable impact on climate change mitigation.
- The University of Arizona offers scientific leadership of the methane and CO2 emissions data delivery, including developing new algorithms and analytic frameworks and testing them with an ongoing airborne research program. The University also provides key staff and other resources to the Carbon Mapper non-profit.
- Arizona State University (ASU) provides scientific leadership for non-methane and CO2 data products and supports Planet’s efforts to develop new environmental indicators on the land and in the oceans. ASU’s Global Airborne Observatory is also critical for Carbon Mapper’s airborne prototyping and field campaigns.
- RMI helps guide methane use case applications for Carbon Mapper, satellite observation targeting, industry mitigation opportunities, and policy development through its Oil and Gas Solutions Initiative.
- Bloomberg Philanthropies, one of the original funders of Satellites for Climate Action, believes access to accurate data is one of the most powerful tools we have in tackling the climate crisis. This partnership builds on Bloomberg Philanthropies’ environmental portfolio, which has a long track record of bringing data and transparency solutions to the fight against climate change, including initiatives such as the Bloomberg Global Coal Countdown.
Carbon Mapper is setting out to contribute to the growing community of organizations offering science-based guidance to decision makers at all levels of society and builds on Satellites for Climate Action, an initiative launched in 2019 to bring together governments, philanthropists, environmental groups, and technology companies to use satellite technologies to monitor greenhouse gas emissions and turn satellite data into actionable information.
Carbon Mapper is supported by funding from a group of leading philanthropists: High Tide Foundation, Grantham Foundation for Protection of the Environment, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Zegar Family Foundation, other philanthropic donors, and the University of Arizona.
“This decade represents an all-hands-on-deck moment for humanity to make critical progress in addressing climate change,” said Riley Duren, Carbon Mapper CEO and research scientist at the University of Arizona. “Our mission is to help fill gaps in the emerging global ecosystem of methane and CO2 monitoring systems by delivering data that’s timely, actionable and accessible for science-based decision making.”
“The Carbon Mapper consortium is a novel multi-stakeholder partnership where each actor is an expert in their own domain that allows for us to do more than we can alone,” said Robbie Schingler, Planet co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer. “Planet is proud to be the commercial and technology partner to deliver needed data for climate action while accelerating humanity toward a more efficient, sustainable global economy.”
“What makes Carbon Mapper unique is that it greatly expands both methane and CO2 emissions transparency for decision makers and civil society,” said RMI Senior Fellow Deborah Gordon. “RMI can use Carbon Mapper to help certify low-methane natural gas and make emissions visible to accelerate action on a global scale.”
“These satellites will help California identify and reduce methane emissions from industrial and energy sources, and also provides valuable data to help us manage our natural and working lands for climate resiliency,” stated CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey. “CARB looks forward to providing a public platform for the greenhouse gas data and exploring how the land-use data can inform decisions on forest management, fire prevention and water quality.”
“High Tide led the funding effort for Carbon Mapper to catalyze low-cost mitigation of greenhouse gases, by creating an innovative partnership model to identify dangerous leaks of methane (CH₄) and carbon dioxide (CO2 ). Carbon Mapper is uniquely positioned to maximize the impact of philanthropic dollars,” noted Richard Lawrence, Founder and Director of High Tide Foundation. (Source: Satnews)
21 Apr 21. Innoflight Teams With Lockheed Martin On Avionics For SDA’s Transport Layer. Innoflight has been awarded two subcontracts from Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems (Tyvak) for the delivery of key avionics for 10 satellites produced by Lockheed Martin under the SDA Transport Layer Tranche 0, consisting of 20 space vehicles total.
This program will be the first generation of SDA’s Transport Layer, an important step toward the development of a National Defense Space Architecture including networked satellites with Optical InterSatellite Links (OISLs) capable of sending and receiving wideband data to and from other space vehicles and ground stations. The capability demonstrated in the Tranche 0 will provide our warfighters with periodic regional access to low-latency data connectivity via space-based extensions of existing tactical data links.
Under its contracts with Lockheed Martin and Tyvak, Innoflight will be delivering communications, cyber-security, and processing/networking avionics for all 10 satellites and three engineering development systems. More specifically, Innoflight will be delivering Ka-band Software-defined Compact Radios for Telemetry, Tracking, and Control (TT&C) data link. Furthermore, Innoflight will be delivering its “Mesh” Networking and “Bulk” End Cryptographic Units (ECUs). Finally, Innoflight will deliver its network switch/router, based on the Compact Flight Computer CFC-400X hardware platform.
Innoflight Compact Flight Computer CFC-400X Flight Unit
“Innoflight’s extensive and unique offering complements Lockheed Martin’s vision for a Joint All-Domain Operations battlespace fueled by agility and innovation from space,” said Chris Winslett, Lockheed Martin’s SDA Transport Layer Program Director. “Innoflight’s technology will help Lockheed Martin connect space to other domains and pioneer interoperability for our customers.”
“Lockheed Martin has been a key and excellent customer contributing to Innoflight’s rapid growth,” said Jeff Janicik, Innoflight CEO and President. “Innoflight is proud to be part of Lockheed Martin’s team for such a high-profile and important program for U.S. National Security Space (NSS).” (Source: Satnews) (Source: Satnews)
22 Apr 21. QinetiQ To Lead Hypersat’s Hyperspectral Satellite Design Development. Hypersat has awarded a design-phase contract to QinetiQ Inc. (QinetiQ) for their next generation hyperspectral satellite — this study will be an enabling activity for a potential constellation of six LEO satellites that Hypersat plans to launch and that will be capable of producing greater information about the material properties on Earth than any current capability in orbit.
QinetiQ will lead a team of specialist engineering and technology organisations across the US that includes Redwire, Millennium Engineering and Integration, LLC and Brandywine Photonics. The team selected Virgin Orbit as the launch provider in part because of the unparalleled agility, mobility, and responsiveness afforded by air-launch, which allows for shorter call-up times and more flexible scheduling for customers, as well as direct injection into precise target orbits. In addition to the value for commercial customers, this capability enables a major strategic advantage to government organisations seeking to maintain unencumbered overhead intelligence.
Each satellite will achieve its incredible resolution by offering hyperspectral imaging – the ability to capture and process an image at wavelengths across the whole reflective spectrum from visible light to longwave infrared, pixel by pixel. This enables the identification of items in an image with superb precision, whether a camouflaged vehicle; diseased crops within a harvest; or gases leaking from a pipeline. That level of information allows users to make informed decisions only dreamed of in the past.
The first satellite, to be launched in early 2023, will have 500 spectral bands across the visible to shortwave infrared region and a ground sample distance of 6m – almost twice that available from existing LEO satellites. The following five satellites will offer longwave infrared images and even more capability in the shortwave infrared region.
The high spatial and high spectrum pixel resolution available from its sensor payload will allow the satellites to be used not only in defense and security applications, but also for other commercial sectors, such as agriculture and insurance, where highly accurate earth observation images can inform critical decisions.
Derek Woods, Founder, President and CEO of Hypersat LLC, said, “The partnership with QinetiQ and Virgin Orbit ensures our satellites are on a path to orbit with the most capable team possible. We look forward to redefining earth observation with an unparalleled hyperspectral and long wave capability.”
Mary Williams, President, QinetiQ Inc. said, “We are excited to partner with Hypersat and Virgin Orbit on this ground breaking program. QinetiQ’s expertise in hyperspectral systems development and data analytics is helping to provide cutting edge technology for both public and commercial organizations; bringing space-based technology to defense and security customers while also supporting the remote sensing needs of civil, environmental and commercial industries.”
“Virgin Orbit is making good on our promise to unleash the small satellite revolution,” said Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart. “QinetiQ’s team embodies the bold energy of this new era of space. It’s extremely exciting to join with our partners to deploy new capabilities and new ideas that will shape our world.” (Source: Satnews)
19 Apr 21. ViaLite C-Band RF over Fiber Links Deployed at Orange Teleport.
ViaLite has deployed their C-Band RF over fiber links at the Orange Telecom Teleport in Bercenay-en-Othe, France, as the facility undergoes further improvements.
RF over fiber experts, ViaLite and their French distributor Eurosatcom – specialists in the SATCOM market – collaborated to help upgrade the teleport operations as part of Orange’s maintenance and upgrade program.
ViaLite‘s C-Band RF over fiber link covers 3.4 – 7.1 GHz, and has a full operational range of 500 MHz – 7.5 GHz.
ViaLite was selected to provide C-Band operational links for both uplink and downlink paths within the teleport’s facility, with high dynamic range, which exceeds others, and also due to full integration with its monitoring and control chassis system which included dual redundancy.
Ryan Nasrallah, Engineer at Eurosatcom, said, “We are excited to be deploying a solution from ViaLite as the C-Band modules are a new, higher frequency product available for any C-Band antennas installed at the facility. Not only are we transferring native frequencies in the C-Band range but it also removes the need for any down converters to be placed at the antenna end. Our confidence in the products from ViaLite is always high, as they deliver much better performing units compared to others.”
ViaLite’s Business Development Manager, Amair Khan, commented, “We are very happy to be deploying our new C-Band links into Orange. The links give them the opportunity to cover up to three different bands: UHF, L-Band HTS and C-Band; supporting high throughput satellite operations as well. Our dynamic range, reliability and performance was the main focus with these links, however, the tri-band solution we have developed works really well and gives them confidence in achieving superior performance.” (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.