Sponsored By Viasat
07 June 21. Viasat’s First ViaSat-3 Satellite Achieves Major Milestone; ViaSat-3 (Americas) Currently at Boeing Undergoing Final Spacecraft Integration and Testing in Preparation for Launch. Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, today announced the first satellite in its ViaSat-3 global constellation, which will serve the Americas and the surrounding oceans regions, has reached a major milestone with completion of payload integration and performance testing, and shipment to the Boeing Satellite Systems facility in El Segundo, Calif.
The payload will be integrated with the bus module, which is based on Boeing’s proven 702 platform, and the satellite will then undergo a complete series of environmental testing to simulate the rigors of launch and operation in the harsh environment of space. Launch is targeted for early calendar year 2022.
“This is an incredibly exciting time for Viasat as the first of the three high-powered ViaSat-3 satellites in our global constellation enters the final stages of production,” said Dave Ryan, president, Viasat Space & Commercial Networks. “Once complete, we will be ready to put the world’s highest-capacity single satellite into geostationary orbit to serve the world by delivering broadband to the hardest-to-reach areas anywhere — on the ground, in the air and at sea.”
Each ViaSat-3 satellite is expected to generate over 20kW of payload power, making it among the highest-power commercial satellites ever built. Just three of these satellites will cover nearly the entire globe, and are expected to deliver over 3,000 Gigabits per second (Gbps) of capacity — or 3 Terabits per second (Tbps) total — for 15 years or more. The ViaSat-3 constellation is anticipated to have roughly eight times more capacity than Viasat’s current fleet combined. Vast amounts of bandwidth are needed to address increased demand for high speed internet access — particularly in the video streaming realm. ViaSat-3 represents a major advancement in Viasat’s mission to extend broadband internet service to the many places around the world that don’t have it.
Ryan added, “While the payload was assembled at Viasat’s Tempe, AZ facility, the effort was company-wide. From Tempe, to the antenna expertise in Duluth (GA), to Germantown (MD) for their software and systems engineering know-how and other offices around the world from Chennai, India to Lausanne, Switzerland as well as at our Carlsbad headquarters, all of these teams worked together to come up with a totally unique way to not only build this spacecraft, but to test it in record time.”
Concurrently, the ViaSat-3 ground segment has made significant progress over the past year in preparation to support the upcoming launches. Viasat is also working on the construction of the payloads for the second and third ViaSat-3-class satellites, ViaSat-3 (EMEA) and ViaSat-3 (APAC). The ViaSat-3 (EMEA) payload is expected to be delivered to Boeing in the latter part of FY2022. (Source: PR Newswire)
10 June 21. Iridium Announces Operation Arctic Lynx. More than 20 international organizations are involved in Arctic-focused communications exercises demonstrating the scope, quality and range of satellite capabilities supporting governments and NGOs in the polar regions. Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM) today announced Operation Arctic Lynx (OAL), a series of partnership-driven field exercises deploying Iridium® and Iridium Connected® technologies and involving more than 20 organizations, primarily focused above 60 degrees north latitude and stretching as far as 82 degrees north latitude. Taking place between June 11 and June 26, 2021, OAL involves an international contingent of organizations including existing Iridium customers like the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. federal agencies, Alaska state and local organizations, Canadian government organizations, scientific research organizations and multiple aerospace industry companies.
During OAL, Iridium and Iridium Connected weather resilient satellite communications technology will be deployed through a combination of on-base, communications-on-the-move (COTM), at-the-halt (ATH) and remote environment applications. Technologies being featured include weather-resilient broadband (Iridium Certus®), Iridium Push-To-Talk (PTT), a variety of unattended sensors capable of tracking, environmental monitoring, remote control functions and managing data and image delivery, beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) capabilities enabling truly global real-time command and control for drones and autonomous vehicles (Iridium Global Line of SightSM), in-vehicle solutions and demonstration of cutting-edge capabilities like real-time on-the-move 1080 HD video over L-band. Iridium remains the only commercial satellite communications company with truly global coverage and a 20-plus year pedigree of providing reliable Arctic communications.
“Iridium’s Arctic and Antarctic communications capabilities have long been a part of the fabric of government, NGO and civil enterprise activities in those regions and now with our upgraded constellation and new technologies developed, we have turbocharged our portfolio of solutions to address an increasing range of polar communication requirements,” said Scott Scheimreif, executive vice president, Government Programs, Iridium. “With more than 20 participating organizations, Operation Arctic Lynx will exercise the ability to provide real-time interoperability, communications-on-the-move, command-and-control and develop and maintain a common operational picture in austere polar regions. We’re proud to have so many esteemed organizations participating.”
As part of the operation, multiple voice, data and video real-time communications threads will be exercised both at-the-halt and on-the-move, starting from Utqiagvik, Alaska. Utqiagvik, previously known as Barrow, is located at 71 degrees north latitude, approximately 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle and situated on the Arctic Ocean. Among these communications threads will be a site located even farther north than Utqiagvik, at approximately 82 degrees north latitude – Canadian Forces Station Alert (CFS Alert), Nunavut, Canada. CFS Alert is the most northerly, permanently inhabited location in the world and one of a number of Arctic Weather Stations. The site has deployed Iridium Certus technology in the form of a Thales MissionLINK 700 terminal to ensure reliable communications.
Additional communications threads include but are not limited to the U.S. South Pole Station, at 90 degrees south latitude, Antarctica; McMurdo Station, Antarctica; Colorado Springs; Melbourne, Florida; Tyler, Texas; Chandler, Arizona; Leesburg, Virginia; Oslo and London. To learn more about Operation Arctic Lynx and to get updates please visit https://www.OperationArcticLynx.com. (Source: PR Newswire)
10 June 21. NORAD, NORTHCOM want $80m to test SpaceX and OneWeb in the Arctic. The head of U.S. Northern Command wants $80m to continue testing SpaceX’s and OneWeb’s low Earth orbit satellite internet service, which it believes could solve the military’s Arctic communications woes.
American war fighters rely on a mix of commercial and government-owned satellites for global communications, but that infrastructure begins to run a bit thin above 65 degrees North. Satellite availability above the 70-degree line is extremely limited, leaving U.S. forces and sensors in the Arctic with far less connectivity than the rest of the military.
But a new generation of low Earth orbit satellites designed to deliver commercial broadband could help fill that gap. Using constellations comprising hundreds of satellites, services like SpaceX’s Starlink and OneWeb are being built out to provide internet access to any location on Earth from orbit.
Last year, NORTHCOM and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) asked Congress for $130m in their unfunded priority list — essentially a wish list of items that didn’t fit into the Pentagon’s annual budget request — to explore using those two constellations for Arctic communications. That funding enabled contract awards to SpaceX and OneWeb for full-scale testing.
Now, NORAD and NORTHCOM Commander Gen. Glen VanHerck requested $79.8m in his FY22 unfunded priority list obtained by C4ISRNET to continue that effort — that’s about $30m less than the commands expected to spend in FY22, according to their FY21 request. They would use the funding to test new terminal prototypes that can connect with multiple commercial constellations, a capability laid out in the Space Force’s Fighting SATCOM Vision.
Long term, NORTHCOM suggested that this investment could encourage companies to develop more polar coverage with their communications satellite constellations.
According to the unfunded priority list, SpaceX launched 10 Starlink satellites into polar orbit in January, and plans to launch over a hundred more this summer. OneWeb told C4ISRNET in May that it had launched 182 satellites with plans to deliver Arctic coverage by the end of 2021. That’s in line with VanHerck’s letter, where he said he expects 24/7 Arctic coverage provided by multiple commercial providers around January 2022. The general noted that additional funding will be needed in FY23 and beyond for commercial service contracts and terminals. (Source: Defense News)
09 June 21. Launch of competition for young people to help make UK spaceflight history. Next generation of space scientists inspired to create nanosatellite designs to support the UK’s ambitious decarbonisation targets.
- competition launched by government to inspire the next generation of British space scientists
- young people asked to design a ‘nanosatellite’ with the winning entry destined for space
- as G7 and COP26 hosts, the design will also support the UK’s ambitious net zero targets by helping to monitor the effects of climate change
Young people will have the chance to send their own small satellite into space as a competition to inspire the next generation of British space scientists and entrepreneurs launches today (9 June 2021).
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was at Goonhilly Earth Station in Cornwall today to announce the contest, which is looking for nanosatellite designs that can help support the UK’s ambitious decarbonisation targets.
Nanosatellites are small satellites that can be used to gather scientific data, such as on climate change, as well as improving data for satellite navigation systems – making journeys better for everyone across Britain.
The £600,000 prize fund will mean the winner can further develop or build their satellite, making it launch-ready, with the potential for it to be launched into space from UK soil.
In 2022, the UK is set to become the first country in Europe to host small satellite launches, with Spaceport Cornwall, in Newquay, set to be the first operational spaceport.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said, “As hosts of the G7 and with the first space launches from British soil firmly within our grasp, I want to support the UK’s brightest minds and creative ideas to launch this exciting competition. This will help to secure a future spaceflight legacy for Great Britain, by inspiring young adults to build the skills needed to work within this growing sector. With its ambition to double the UK’s global market share of the space sector to 10% by 2030, Britain’s space exploration programme is set to create new high-skilled jobs and economic benefits for communities and organisations across the country.”
As international leaders convene in Cornwall for the G7 Summit, the government is accelerating its vision for the UK to be at the global forefront of small satellite launch and emerging space transportation markets.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway said, “We are committed to putting British innovation at the heart of the global effort to understand and minimise the effects of climate change, cementing our position as a science superpower and helping us to build back greener from the pandemic. As we anticipate with excitement the first satellite launches from British soil next year, this competition gives young people across the UK an opportunity to be part of our country’s thriving space sector and shape a better future for everyone.” (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
07 June 21. USAF announces Rocket Cargo as fourth Vanguard programme. Golden Horde, Navigation Technology Satellite 3 (NTS-3) and Skyborg are the initial three Vanguard programmes. The US Air Force (USAF) is launching Rocket Cargo as the fourth Vanguard programme to explore the rocket cargo transportation capability for the Department of Defense (DoD) logistics.
This programme has been announced as part of the Service’s transformational science and technology portfolio defined under the ‘Department of Air Force 2030 Science and Technology strategy’ for the next decade.
Furthermore, the US Space Force (USSF) is the ‘lead service’ for this fourth Vanguard.
As outlined in the 2030 strategy, Vanguards will ‘advance’ new weapon systems and combat concepts via ‘prototyping and experimentation’.
The first three Vanguard programmes are Golden Horde, Navigation Technology Satellite 3 (NTS-3) and Skyborg.
The programmes are aimed at delivering ‘remarkable’ new capabilities that provide soldiers with superior advantages on the battlefield.
US Air Force acting secretary John Roth said: “The airforce has provided rapid global mobility for decades and Rocket Cargo is a new way the department can explore complementary capabilities for the future.
“Vanguard initiatives lead to game-changing breakthroughs that preserve our advantage over near-peer competitors, and this latest addition is also a significant milestone as the first Vanguard evaluated under the space force’s oversight.”
Rocket Cargo Vanguard will see the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) lead a science and technology effort to analyse the ‘viability and utility’ of using commercial rockets for Department of Defense (DoD) global logistics.
The Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) will serve as the Program Executive Officer.
Space Operations General John Raymond said: “The Rocket Cargo Vanguard is a clear example of how the space force is developing innovative solutions as a service, in particular the ability to provide independent options in, from, and to space.
“Once realised, Rocket Cargo will fundamentally alter the rapid logistics landscape, connecting materiel to joint warfighters in a fraction of the time it takes today.
“In the event of conflict or humanitarian crisis, the space force will be able to provide our national leadership with an independent option to achieve strategic objectives from space.”
In December last year, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) awarded contracts to three companies for the production of missionised prototypes that can fly in experimentation events. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
08 June 21. Kratos Completes Major Milestone in Build-Out of Advanced Space Radio Monitoring System for the CRA of the State of Qatar.
Successful Critical Design Review Accelerates Path to Production and Testing of System.
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (Nasdaq: KTOS), a leading National Security Solutions provider, announced today that it has successfully completed the Critical Design Review (CDR) for the build out of the advanced space radio monitoring system for the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) of the State of Qatar.
Kratos is providing turnkey services from the design, installation, and integration of the advanced space radio monitoring system to help the CRA regulate and protect the satellite spectrum. As part of the contract, awarded in 2020, the scope of work includes implementing the core satellite technology and associated hardware and software.
The advanced space radio monitoring system includes a fixed site and mobile unit to monitor satellite downlinks to manage and protect the spectrum. The comprehensive system includes Kratos’ antennas, satellite monitoring and geolocation products, and an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) spectrum analysis solution to detect and mitigate any potential interference events.
“The rapid rise in the number of wireless networks and devices increases the potential for unauthorized usage, interference, and illegal transmissions,” said Bruno Dupas, President of Kratos’ operation in France. “We are designing and building this one-of-a-kind satellite radio monitoring station for the State of Qatar to support the delivery of reliable licensed satellite services and interference-free operations.”
Kratos is uniquely positioned to help government agencies protect the spectrum and has worked with numerous regulators across the globe to implement successful spectrum monitoring solutions. Kratos offers extensive turnkey capabilities and a range of advanced products that spans the full range of ground operations including networks, RF management, and Space Domain Awareness (SDA). (Source: ASD Network)
04 June 21. Queensland launch companies rocketing into global space race. Three innovative and very different Queensland space companies are set to propel Australia to the forefront of space launch technology.
Based in Queensland, Australia’s most advanced launch vehicle developers Black Sky Aerospace, Gilmour Space Technologies and Hypersonix Launch Systems are capitalising on the state’s leading aerospace industrial base and research sector – and the potential for orbital launch due to Queensland’s ideal east coast location and close proximity to the equator.
The privately funded Queensland company behind Australia’s first commercial payload, leading propellant manufacturer and launch services provider, Black Sky Aerospace (BSA) is poised to tap into the US $345bn global space economy. In December 2020 BSA became the first and currently the only Australian company with the capability and license to manufacture large scale solid rocket motors (including motors over 1 tonne).
BSA CEO Blake Nikolic, who has a 20-year successful track-record in explosives and rocket manufacture, says the company’s sovereign design and manufacturing facility serves as a platform for this growth, enabling BSA to tap into the global defence sector, which Mr Nikolic says is worth more than four times the space market.
Founded three years ago, the company is uniquely equipped to serve the interests of the Australian Defence Force and its allies through the rapid and flexible design, manufacture, testing, qualification, and launch of high‐speed, long‐range, cost‐effective munitions, at scale.
“The breadth and depth of BSA’s capabilities enables rapid development and complete control of mission performance through any stage of the life‐cycle. BSA’s capabilities are uniquely sovereign, U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) free, and completely customisable.
Black Sky Aerospace’s combined capabilities offers a level of control and responsiveness that was previously unavailable within the Australian industry,” Mr Nikolic said.
Gilmour Space Technologies (Gilmour Space), a global leader in hybrid rocket propulsion technology since 2014, is also tapping into the global space and defence markets.
A$26m venture capital backed enterprise, Gilmour Space’s focus is to develop new low-cost launch technology to capture their share of the global commercial launch market, as well as the space needs of the Australian defence sector, worth, the company says, another $ 5-10bn over the next decade.
Gilmour CEO and Founder Adam Gilmour said that while the company would soon conduct sub-orbital testing of its guidance and navigation systems, the end goal is orbital launch.
“Gilmour Space is now a proven world-leader in new hybrid rocket technologies. We’ve done 100+ engine tests, enabling us to work with companies such as Northrop Grumman, Electro Optic Systems, the Department of Defence’s Defence Science Technology Group, and many others here in Queensland to develop more tech and capability for Australia,” Mr Gilmour said.
The company’s expertise rests in the strength of its team, with almost 70 employees, some of whom are from other established and successful rocket companies around the world, including SpaceX, Rocket Lab, Avio, and Boeing.
“We want Australia to know space is a real industry developing cutting-edge technology, attracting real investment, and employing highly skilled people, and launch is crucial to this,” Mr Gilmour added.
Queensland-based Hypersonix is disrupting the global satellite launch market and leading the way in ‘Green Space’ and sustainable launch. Hypersonix is using green hydrogen powered fifth generation scramjets and a fully reusable hypersonic platform to launch small satellites to any LEO orbit from any launch site to ‘fly to space’.
Hypersonix is commercialising technology that has evolved from the NASA / Defence Science & Technological Group Australian HIFiRE Program, and the earlier University of Queensland research in hypersonics led by Professor Ray Stalker.
Founder and Head of Research Development Dr Michael Smart, who spent 10 years with NASA and 15 years at the University of Queensland’s Centre for Hypersonics, says in the short-term the company plans to provide replenishment services for the Australian and international small satellite launch market, which in 2020 saw 1,193 smallsats placed into orbit.
“By 2030 the market aims to launch 50,000 smallsats and we want to be part of this,” he said.
The company recently announced a partnership with Boeing Research & Technology (BR&T) to conduct a joint study on the design of a reusable hypersonic vehicle for the sustainable launch of satellites to Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
“This low cost, reliable, reusable and rapid turn-around launch of small satellites to LEO would be the first application of scramjets for space launch,” Dr Smart said.
The company will use BOC locally produced green hydrogen to power its entry into the space race, produced by using renewable energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
“We both share a desire to bring the principles of ‘Green Space’ to the small satellite launch market, and this is something that sets us apart. We are determined to go to space, but in a way that is sustainable for our planet by design,” Dr Smart concluded.
Hypersonix secured a Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources Accelerating Commercialisation Grant last year, for the design and build of a re-usable satellite launch vehicle scramjet engine powered by hydrogen. (Source: Space Connect)
04 June 21. Multibeam antenna to improve communication passes first USAF trials. A prototype multibeam antenna passed its first tests, bringing it one step closer to filling the U.S. Air Force’s desire for ensured connectivity through multiple satellite constellations.
Working in collaboration with satellite operator SES Government Systems, Isotropic Systems is assessing whether its new multibeam antenna can connect to multiple satellites simultaneously, even if they are in vastly different orbits, the developers explained in a June 3 announcement about the tests.
The Air Force doesn’t want to rely on any single constellation in any single orbital range. As laid out in the U.S. Space Force’s Fighting SATCOM Vision, the military wants to ensure that it’s systems can communicate via satellite even if one satellite — or even a whole constellation — is disabled. In order to get there, the military needs antennas that can connect to multiple satellites in multiple orbits. For example, if a weapon system is primarily using a government satellite in geostationary orbit to communicate and that satellite is taken offline, then the antenna could ensure connectivity by switching to a commercial constellation in low Earth orbit or medium Earth orbit.
In September 2020, SES and Isotropic announced they had been issued a two-phase contract by the Air Force Research Laboratory to evaluate the use of Isotropic’s prototype multibeam antenna over the SES O3b medium Earth-orbit constellation. That contract is part of the Air Force’s Defense Experimentation Using Commercial Space Internet (DEUCSI) program, designed to leverage commercial satellite broadband providers to connect it’s legacy systems.
SES declined to share the value of the antenna contract, but according to a federal database the company was awarded a $1.7m contract in July 2020 for work on commercial space internet project.
The first phase of assessments took place over two tests. The first, at the Harwell Science, Technology and Innovation Campus in the United Kingdom, demonstrated that Isotropic’s multibeam terminal can connect with multiple satellites simultaneously. A second test in Port St. Lucie, Florida, showed that the system meets military requirements for acquiring and tracking the MEO satellites from SES.
“Interoperability and multi-orbit capabilities are essential to achieving this vision, and these collaborative trials with the armed forces demonstrate how Isotropic Systems’ multi-beam antenna can successfully deliver robust connectivity across our vast MEO and GEO fleet,” said SES Government Solutions President and CEO Pete Hoene.
The second phase of assessments will test whether the prototype can connect with satellites in multiple orbital layers, demonstrating seamless transition between connecting to SES satellites in MEO and GEO. The trials are set to finish by the end of the year. (Source: Defense News)
04 June 21. Space Force Seeks $831.7m for Unfunded Priorities.
Projects left out of 2022 budget would boost Cheyenne Mountain security, space-based cryptology.
The Space Force is seeking an additional $831.7m from Congress for improvements on Earth and in space that it says are necessary to continue building the force.
Among the larger projects on the unfunded priorities list submitted by service officials to Congress this week are:
- “Critical blast door, water, ventilation, and sewer improvements at the Cheyenne Mountain Complex in Colorado,” $83m.
- New payload and propulsion system development, $61m.
- Procurement of space-rated crypto systems that support the Space Force’s anti-jamming protected tactical satcom satellites, Wideband Global Satellites, GPS III, and Next-Gen OPIR satellite launches, $22 m.
The requests were submitted in a document obtained by Defense One. The unfunded priorities list comes on top of the $17.4bn requested for the Space Force in the Biden administration’s 2022 budget proposal submitted last Friday.
Space Force also requested an extra $130m to sustain current satellites and launch facilities. More than $275m of the service’s unfunded priorities were marked as classified, with no additional details provided. (Source: Defense One)
04 Jun 21. Space Command to bring ‘huge change’ for UK industry. The recently stood-up UK Space Command is set to have a massive effect on the nation’s space industry, with the head of Airbus Defence and Space (DS) in the United Kingdom noting the new sense of purpose and direction it is expected to bring. Speaking to Janes at Airbus’ satellite payload production facility in Portsmouth, Richard Franklin said that this new command, which was stood up as a joint unit under Royal Air Force (RAF) leadership on 1 April, will set the UK’s space industry on the right path to meet the country’s future military requirements in the domain.
“Space Command is so interesting. It is helping give a sense of direction right now, [and] we will have a huge amount of change in our industry from the creation of Space Command,” Franklin said on 3 June. “I would say we are currently in that forming stage, where they are actually fully defining their remit and creating their capabilities, but the trajectory is good, it is clear that we are now pointing in the right direction, and we are now on the journey”. (Source: Jane’s)
31 May 21. New Space Development Kit Launched By Alpha Data. Alpha Data, in collaboration with Xilinx and Texas Instruments, has launched a new Space Development Kit, the ADA-SDEV-KIT3, which will help users to rapidly test the hardware and software setups that look to incorporate the Xilinx™ Radiation Tolerant Kintex® UltraScale™ XQRKU060 Space-Grade FPGA.
A Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) is a chip consisting of a series of logic blocks which can be modified and configured by the user, and that is fast becoming a vital component of specialized electronic applications and products. With the benefits of being reprogrammable after being deployed in a given setting, and having a low power consumption, FPGAs are very well suited to computationally intensive operations including machine learning tasks and missions in space environments, either for upgrading the hardware or for mitigating cosmic ray radiation damage.
Alpha Data’s new Space Development Kit, the ADA-SDEV-KIT3, is a development kit for the the world’s ﬁrst 20nm space-grade FPGA. The Xilinx XQRKU060 oﬀers a 5x improvement over the previous generation of Space-Grade FPGAs, allowing the deployment of far more advanced communications, signal processing, image processing and machine learning applications.
The ADA-SDEV-KIT3 supersedes Alpha Data’s ADA-SDEV-KIT2 by adding Ethernet I/O and more ﬂexible conﬁguration options for SelectMAP Scrubbing. The improved version, which was developed following space industry feedback, makes the new Space Development Kit more powerful for customers interested in deploying FPGA hardware in harsh environments.
Alpha Data’s ADA-SDEV-KIT3 board powers the FPGA with a reference Texas Instruments power supply design. The power eﬃciency and the increased processing capacity of the new Space Development Kit will allow customers to design more computationally intensive solutions, with a focus on space deployable systems and payloads.
Alpha Data’s Space Development Kit helps space companies gain this competitive edge by providing a cost-eﬀective environment to rapidly test the hardware and software setups incorporating the Kintex® UltraScale™ XQRKU060 FPGA. Alpha Data have already developed example applications for the Space Development Kit, enabling customers to build on proven designs and reduce their own development cycle to improve the time to market.
The launch of this Space Development Kit is part of Alpha Data’s ever growing product line in “Extreme Environments”, which also includes the ADM-VPX3-9Z5 board – an OpenVPX MPSoC FPGA System on Module (SoM) board – and builds on the company’s strong technical heritage and the experience of providing products to aerospace primes and research organizations. Alpha Data engineers are ready to support customers looking to quickly develop space-ready designs using the very best in reconﬁgurable computing.
“We expect machine learning to become vital in dealing with the huge amount of data produced by satellite remote sensing,” said Andrew McCormick, Technical Director at Alpha Data. “The ability to use machine learning to pre-process and ﬁlter data will provide a competitive edge, and this new Space Development Kit – the ADA-SDEV-KIT3 – helps our customers develop spacecraft payloads incorporating A.I. solutions. As well as providing ongoing technical and design support, one of Alpha Data’s key strengths is quickly modifying our designs to meet customer requirements. In terms of the space development kit, this allows customers to rapidly prototype and develop rugged aerospace products, helping them get their hardware into orbit faster.” (Source: Satnews)
03 June 21. Kleos Space’s Polar Vigilance Mission Smallsats Enroute To Cape Canaveral Space Force Station For Launch. Artistic rendition of Kleos Space’s Polar Vigilance Mission smallsats on-orbit. Image is courtesy of the company.
Kleos Space S.A (ASX:KSS, Frankfurt:KS1) has confirmed the successful dispatch of their cluster of four Polar Vigilance Mission satellites (KSF1) from Delft in the Netherlands to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Under a rideshare contract with Spaceflight Inc., the satellites will liftoff aboard the Spaceflight SXRS-5 / SpaceX Transporter-2 mission no earlier than June 2021. The satellites have been built by smallsat specialist Innovative Solutions In Space B.V (ISISPACE).
The Polar Vigilance Mission will provide global data that will will increase Kleos overall coverage density in the equatorial region and also cover areas North and South of the Kleos Scouting Mission satellites, which successfully launched on in November into a 37 degree inclined orbit.
Kleos uses clusters of four satellites to collect radio transmissions over key areas of interest around the globe and after processing a geospatial data product is delivered to analytics and intelligence entities for government and commercial use – efficiently uncovering data points of human activity on land and sea. The Kleos clusters enable up to six antenna pairs to be used in proprietary multilateration algorithms – aiding data accuracy.
Kleos CEO Andy Bowyer said, “ISISPACE have done an incredible job delivering four satellites in a very short time period to our exacting standards, we look forward to them entering service in our growing constellation – more satellites, means more data for our customers increasing their insight into human activity in key areas of interest.” (Source: Satnews)
31 May 21. D-Orbit has announced the upcoming launch of WILD RIDE, the third mission of the company’s proprietary space transportation vehicle ION Satellite Carrier.
Scheduled to lift-off in June of 2021, the vehicle, called ION SCV Dauntless David, will deploy six satellites into distinct orbits and perform the on-orbit demonstration of three payloads. This mission, which serves clients from 12 different nationalities, will increase the total number of payloads launched by D-Orbit to 54.
The mission manifest includes international clients, such as the Spanish Elecnor Deimos, the Bulgarian EnduroSat, and the Kuwaiti Orbital Space, which will launch the country’s first radio amateur satellite. Also on board, under contract with ISILAUNCH and integrated into a QuadPack from Dutch satellite manufacturer ISISPACE, are Finnish Reaktor Space, Marshall Intech Technology from UAE, and the Royal Thai Air Force.
The mission, which will start on a 500 km Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO), will go through four phases: satellite deployment, on-orbit demonstration of the payloads hosted onboard, testing of D-Orbit’s advanced services, and decommissioning.
During the deployment phase, ION will deploy each satellite into a distinct orbit. The release of the seven satellites onboard will follow a highly customized plan that defines the moment of release, and the direction and speed of ejection of each spacecraft.
During the on-orbit demonstration phase, ION will operate LaserCube, a payload hosted onboard through an innovative plug-and-play system that streamlines the integration of instruments and experiments developed independently by third parties. LaserCube, from the Italian Stellar Project, is an optical communication device featuring a throughput performance more than 10 times higher than traditional radio devices. The increased throughput, combined with lower latency and increased security, enables new business opportunities in fields requiring increasingly higher data volumes like Earth imagery, weather forecasting, global telecommunications, and internet services.
The third phase will be focused on testing Nebula, a payload at the core of D-Orbit’s upcoming advanced services. The first iteration of Nebula, an on-demand, on-orbit cloud computing and data storage service being developed by D-Orbit UK, features Unibap’s SpaceCloud iX5-100 radiation tolerant computing module. A range of innovative applications will be demonstrated using sophisticated, artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) techniques; some of these experiments will feature video compressing techniques from industry specialist V-Nova.
Another Machine Learning (ML) payload, called Worldfloods, has the ability to identify flooding and send down a flood map to emergency responders seconds after image acquisition. Developed by the Frontier Development Lab (FDL), a partnership led by Trillium Technologies with the University of Oxford and ESA, Worldfloods offers a glimpse of a future where rapid insight is delivered almost instantaneously from space.
During the fourth and final phase, decommissioning, D-Orbit’s operations team will deploy ADEO. Developed by the German HPS, ADEO is a small, 1U-size, de-orbit sail subsystem that will be deployed to 3.6 m2 at the end of the mission to accelerate the decommissioning phase by passive means, using the air drag of the upper atmosphere. This will lead leading to a faster, residue-free incineration of ION.
The entire mission, including operations on payloads, will be managed by D-Orbit’s mission controllers through AURORA, the company’s proprietary cloud-based mission control software suite that enables satellite operators to manage and control multiple payloads simultaneously, from any location in the world, saving all the expenses connected with software design, development, testing, deployment, and maintenance.
The mission will also feature a SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) experiment in collaboration with media artist Daniela de Paulis and INAF (Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica). The experiment, which investigates the possibility to communicate with other kinds of life in the universe, consists in the transmission of simulated alien messages to be received and decoded by radio telescopes worldwide.
“In addition to the many technical advances, this mission marks a major milestone for us: an international collaboration involving companies and institutional organizations from 11 nations, the largest we have had so far,” said Luca Rossettini, CEO of D-Orbit. “This is a testament to how borderless the space ecosystem truly is. Its rapid expansion, and the global services it is creating, will substantially improve life on Earth and mark this new decade in ways that we can’t even imagine right now.”
“We are very excited about this mission; the great variety of payloads onboard, the purpose of their single missions, so many of which targeting sustainable purposes, innovative challenges, and great technological advancements, make this mission quite unique,” commented Renato Panesi, the company’s CCO. “While the best part has yet to come, this has already been an extremely rewarding experience.”
While getting ready to launch this mission, the D-Orbit team is already working on future missions, with the next launch planned for Q4 2021. (Source: Satnews)
At Viasat, we’re driven to connect every warfighter, platform, and node on the battlefield. As a global communications company, we power ms 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.