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08 Jul 21. China announces a slew of successful launches as operations ramp up. China has ramped up its space operations to near-pre-pandemic levels, and completed three successful orbital launches in four days, according to local media reports.
Prior to the global pandemic, China was regularly sending objects into orbit with launches occurring within hours or days of one another. However, this pace was heavily slowed as the Chinese government turned its attention and resources to the global health emergency.
However, in the last week, Chinese sources have now revealed it has completed three successful orbital satellite launches in the space of four days, beginning 3 July.
In the most recent of the three, a Long March 3C rocket blasted off from the Xichang Satellite Launch centre in Sichuan Province on Tuesday, 6 July, carrying a payload that included a Tianlin satellite – used for data tracking and communication by the astronauts aboard China’s Shenzhou-12.
The launch was confirmed about an hour after lift-off by China’s largest space contractor, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).
One day prior, China sent Fengyun 3E, a new meteorological satellite, into orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre, while earlier in the week, the nation launched a Long March 2D rocket into space with a payload of numerous satellites.
Included was a commercial Jilin-1 Wideband-01B Earth observation satellite, according to space.com, which was launched into sun-synchronous orbit.
Additionally, a trio of Jilin-1 Gaofen 03D high-resolution imaging satellites were also sent at this time, along with the Xingshidai 10 remote sensing satellite, on behalf of Chengdu Guoxing Aerospace Technology.
China is notoriously secretive with its launches, often not revealing any details until after the fact, with its increasing pace and space presence only adding to international concerns over its space ventures.
(Source: Space Connect)
08 Jul 21. Reaction Engines secures new UK Government funding for Space Access Programme. New government funding will help leading UK space technology company Reaction Engines bring low-carbon space propulsion one step closer. The £3.9m grant from the UK Space Agency will support the development of Reaction Engines’ ground-breaking SABRE technology, enabling low-carbon air-breathing space access propulsion technology to be applied more widely in the space sector and beyond.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway and Transport Minister Rachel Maclean visited Reaction Engines today at its site in Culham, Oxfordshire, to discuss how the funding will help keep the UK ahead of the game in sustainable space exploration.
They also discussed how the technology Reaction Engines is developing for SABRE can respond to the challenge of driving Net-Zero into the transportation industry.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway said, “Backed by government, UK firms are leading the way in developing space technology that can reduce costs, improve sustainability and make space more accessible as we pursue our ambitious plans to grow the sector. It was fantastic to see this technology first-hand at Reaction Engines, a business that is spearheading efforts to ensure the benefits of low-carbon innovation are applied throughout the industry, while helping the UK to lead the world in space exploration.”
This investment builds on earlier government backing for Reaction Engines’ revolutionary SABRE technology, which promises exciting new developments both in space with potential for other technology spin-out areas including sustainable aviation fuels, unlocking atmospheric high-speed flight and prolonging electric vehicle battery life through innovative thermal management technology.
Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said, “This funding is not only going towards the development of cutting edge, low carbon technology in space, but it will also boost work to decarbonise our wider transport landscape – from aviation to electric vehicles. We will continue to invest in, and support, companies like Reaction Engines, as we look to a greener, cleaner future – including as we embark on sustainable space exploration.”
Mark Thomas, Chief Executive at Reaction Engines said, “The innovative and disruptive nature of SABRE technology unlocks new ways of accessing space, furthering growth and sustainment of the future space economy. This refreshed UK commitment towards that long term vision is incredibly important for both Reaction Engines and the UK space industry. The ‘space technology’ we are developing is highly versatile and transformational, enabling applications here on earth with a strong environmental focus.”
This new grant includes £5.3m of activity that will be conducted through the next year and is part funded by the UK Space Agency (£3.9m) and Reaction Engines. It follows £50m of UK Space Agency funding for Reaction Engines since 2015.
The latest funding will secure near-term technology demonstration in hydrogen combustion, thermal management and engine control technologies, all critical to the air-breathing core of future SABRE systems.
It will also include strategic elements to explore the competitiveness of prospective SABRE-Launch Systems, whilst identifying key collaborative scenarios associated with vehicle and customer driven routes to market.
Earlier in the day, the ministers visited the Satellite Applications Catapult at the Harwell Space Cluster in Oxfordshire, where they met Stuart Martin, CEO and Lucy Edge, Chief Operating Officer and enjoyed a tour of the Satellite Applications Catapult Disruptive Innovation for Space Centre (DISC), before a discussion on the future of space and satellite applications in the UK. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
08 Jul 21. DARPA deploys two Mandrake 2 satellites under Blackjack project. The Mandrake 2 mission is developed as an early risk-reduction flight for DARPA’s Blackjack programme. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has deployed two Mandrake 2 spacecraft named Able and Baker under its Blackjack project. Launched on 30 June, the satellites will showcase advanced laser communications technologies for a wider government stakeholder team.
This team includes DARPA, Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/RV), Office of the Secretary of Defense’s (OSD) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) office and Space Development Agency (SDA).
The mission is developed as an early risk-reduction flight for DARPA’s Blackjack programme.
Blackjack project aims to build a constellation of cost-effective, small, secure, and resilient military satellites leveraging commercial satellite technologies.
DARPA noted that Mandrake 2 will prove its interoperable viability of low size, weight, power, and cost laser communications terminals during its on-orbit mission.
The two satellites are progressing towards checkout and commissioning, and are functioning well, stated the agency.
DARPA Tactical Technology Office Blackjack Programme programme manager Stephen Forbes said: “This constitutes a game-changing advancement and a critical enabler for proliferated space architectures.
“Mandrake 2 has already successfully demonstrated a rapid satellite development timeline, since the Blackjack programme moved from contract award to delivery of space vehicles at the launch site in less than nine months.”
A rapid design and development team of industry performers led by prime contractor SEAKR Engineering have contributed to the mission.
The satellite buses for Mandrake 2 were built by Astro Digital while Advanced Solutions (ASI) wrote the Mandrake 2 flight software and is supporting mission operations.
Lockheed Martin provided integration support and launch procurement for Mandrake 2, with the satellite’s optical inter-satellite link (OISL) hardware developed by SA Photonics.
As part of SmallSat Rideshare Program, SpaceX provided launch services for the mission.
In October 2019, DARPA awarded a Pit Boss contract to SEAKR Engineering to support the Blackjack Proliferated Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Demonstration Program. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
08 Jul 21. Australian Metal 3D Printing Company is Reaching for the Stars. SPEE3D, an Australian metal 3D printing company, is set to make a revolutionary breakthrough for rocket applications in the Space Industry with its project: ‘SPAC3D’.
SPEE3D’s high-speed technology is set to revolutionise the Space Industry with a low-cost solution to mass produce metal 3D printed rocket engines in Australia. The Modern Manufacturing Initiative have announced SPEE3D will receive $1.25m in funding from the Federal Government’s MMI ‘Space’ Translation Stream grant, with an additional $312,000 in funding from the Northern Territory Government to ensure that SPEE3D’s ‘SPAC3D’ (pronounced: “Spaced”) project takes off.
Manufacturing space components is a billion-dollar industry set to experience strong growth in demand over the next five years. However, organisations across the world currently face one common challenge: long lead times for production-ready rocket engines.
Metal 3D printing company, SPEE3D, has the solution. The company’s cold spray technology prints metal parts 100 to 1000 times faster than more traditional metal 3D printing methods. It is also the only technology capable of printing metal parts on-demand at a cost that is more competitive than conventional manufacturing.
SPEE3D has already previously demonstrated the technology’s capability to produce rocket engine components. For example, in just three hours, SPEE3D’s large-format WarpSPEE3D printer had produced a 17.9kg Copper Rocket Nozzle Liner at a cost of less than $1,000 USD.
With their ‘SPAC3D’ project, SPEE3D will aim to pioneer the manufacturing of high-quality but inexpensive metal 3D printed rocket engines for space.
Steven Camilleri, SPEE3D’s CTO explains, “SPEE3D has developed a new way to manufacture rocket engines quickly with our advanced manufacturing process. The MMI grant will allow us to work with other partners in Australia to manufacture and test flight ready engines for the emerging industrial space market”.
The Modern Manufacturing Initiative is designed to help Australian manufacturers to scale up and create jobs to lift Australia’s manufacturing capability, drive collaboration, and identify new opportunities to access domestic and global supply chains. It provides Australian businesses with funding to support projects that translate high quality research into commercial outcomes. SPEE3D’s ‘SPAC3D’ project offers Australia’s fledgling space industry, for the first time, the opportunity to become the world’s leading manufacturer and exporter of rocket engines.
“The Government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative is all about backing our manufacturers to be more competitive, resilient and able to take on new domestic and global markets. This matched government funding will help Effusiontech (SPEE3D) to grow its business and create jobs, while also spurring further investment in the manufacturing sector and cementing Australia’s reputation as a nation that creates high-value products,” states Christian Porter, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology.
Northern Territory Chief Minister, Michael Gunner hailed SPEE3D as a local success story. “This is another big leg up for SPEE3D who are taking the advanced manufacturing world by storm – all the way from the Top End. We are proud to back SPEE3D through our Local Jobs Fund, they are a true testament to the Territory, and its projects like SPEE3D that strengthen us as Australia’s comeback capital.”
The next stage for SPEE3D’s greenlit ‘SPAC3D’ project will be hot fire testing and validating the usefulness of additively manufactured rocket engines for commercial space vehicles.
More information on SPEE3D’s technology, including videos and case studies are available at: https://spee3d.com/
07 Jul 21. Will British Commandos Deploy From Space One Day? The US Air Force is reportedly spending $48m on the prospect of dropping troops via space.
We have all seen those movies.
James Bond’s Moonraker, cyclops slasher-porn Starship Troopers, the endless chapters of George Lucas’ Star Wars saga. In fact, when the words “war in space” are muttered, we more than likely conjure up nostalgic scenes from typically 80s or 90s movies, many considered masterpiece works of sci-fi entertainment.
But, according to a space warfare expert, those notions of laser guns and lightspeed rocket ships, or of orbiting death stars and Earth-invading little green men, cause more of a hindrance than a help as the modern and real-world faces an ever more likely prospect of war in space.
With reports that the US Air Force is spending $48m on researching reusable rockets that might one day deploy troops via space, BFBS spoke to the go-to expert on space warfare about the prospects of British Commandos one day being deployed on operations from space.
Will Commandos Be Dropped Into Battle From Space One Day?
Dr Bleddyn Bowen is an expert in space policy and international relations in outer space. Based at Leicester University, he is one of the go-to experts on all matters of war in space. But for anybody who fancies themselves as the next Han Solo, his expert knowledge on conflict in space will likely pour cold water on those visions or dreams.
When asked whether or not we will likely see our military men and women dropped into operations from orbit, the space expert, laughing, said:
“I saw the news that the US Space Force [is] looking at their orbital point-to-point thing, and again, it’s resuscitating ideas that have come and gone in various Pentagon labs. It doesn’t change the problems.
“Doing things with rockets, even reusable ones is expensive. Everything you put in a rocket has to survive, for one thing, the shaking you get on launch. But if you want to save money, you have to send the rocket to other spaceports, and if you want to refuel it, it is not as if you can launch something into the jungle and not expect to get it back again.
“There are really logistical problems here that haven’t changed since they were last talking about this 30 years ago.
“That’s imaginations running wild.”
What Does War In Space Really Look Like?
Describing the likely reality of space war, Dr Bowen said the truth was much closer to home than far-flung battles on the Moon. He said:
“Methods of harassing satellites are highly spread.
“Even if you are looking at regional powers as opposed to “great” world powers, smaller powers can do a lot to satellites through electronic warfare or jamming. And, if you have invested in enough resources, cyber warfare as well.
“I would definitely expect the Israelis to be looking at a lot of various cyber warfare capabilities against any potential satellite system that might be a problem for them in their likely operations. So, if Iran was to develop a sophisticated satellite infrastructure, I would expect the Israelis to be looking at more methods to undermine those systems.”
Is War In Space Inevitable?
Dr Bowen was asked if he felt space was an inevitable frontier in future conflicts with the US’s newly formed Space Force and more and more critical thinking around the prospects of war in space. His response was direct. He said:
“What you should be asking is: is war inevitable?
“And then depending on the type of war, how useful is space to that?”
Dr Bowen added:
“If the parties have the ability to disrupt, harass or destroy space systems, then space war is an inevitability.
“War in space is something that will happen in the context of terrestrial conflict here on Earth. If we were talking about war with America and China, you wouldn’t be asking if naval war was inevitable. If those two nations were going to have a shooting war, then it is inevitable that space systems are going to be targeted in one way or another.”
Who Are The Likely Troublemakers In Space?
Are we in danger from nations cultivating space to aid international objectives in conflict, or is it more likely a Bond-esque villain will use the frontier to gain the upper hand in cyber activities such as computer hacking? According to Dr Bowen, the answer is much more alarming. He said:
“Everybody is a troublemaker because everybody is using space for political, military, economic, self-interested and competitive purposes.
“The Americans and Soviets led the way in the Cold War, but so did Western Europe, Japan, India and China in the later years of the Cold War as well. What we are seeing now is just a continuation of that.”
How Secure Is Space?
The International Space Station is approaching its 21st birthday later this year. However, all these years into its mission, China is still banned from being a part of the scientific coalition that has utilised the ISS for over two decades. Why is that? And with a lack of international conventions designed to keep space secure, how safe is the sky beyond the blue bit for people down here on Earth? Dr Bowen suggested the question is a difficult one to answer, as the matter is so subjective. He said:
“That is a very subjective question. There is no simple answer.
“A good way to approach it is to ask where are the dependencies on space in any given scenario. If you were looking at a China/America war over Taiwan, America’s dependencies on space are perhaps more acute and are more widespread definitely than China’s, but also more than what the United States’ dependencies on space are in a Russia/NATO scenario in, say, a Baltic War.”
Dr Bleddyn Bowen is the Author of War In Space, published by Edinburgh University Press.
Does The UK Have A Military Space Capability?
The US has established a Space Force, something Dr Bowen described as being “probably Donald Trump’s only legacy,” but what has the UK done regarding preparedness for space operations?
Dr Bowen explained that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has had space on its radar for longer than people might realise. He said:
“In terms of the way the MOD is thinking about this, space systems and space power has been a part of doctrine for quite some time.
“That intellectual foundation is there. The real question is, what does that mean in practice for the MOD when money is tight, and personnel numbers are only really going one way.
“In terms of the services, I don’t see space influencing that decision that much. It will be the bigger budgetary decisions that do that.
“And regardless of what goes on in space, you are still going to need to fight wars here on Earth.”
How Realistic Is War In Space Portrayed In The Movies?
James Bond has fought off villains using space on several occasions, be they Hugo Drax in Moonraker or Sean Bean’s Alec Trevelyan in Goldeneye.
But how realistic are these depictions? We asked Dr Bowen his opinions on war in space in the movies. This is what he had to say:
“If you are going to look at one James Bond film, I suggest Tomorrow Never Dies because that has the scene in it where Elliot Carver – the media mogul – spoofs GPS, putting wrong data into the GPS system. That sends a British warship off course into Chinese territorial waters and then triggers a nuclear crisis between Britain and China.
“In terms of getting into the GPS system, that is arguably the most plausible description of what we could call space warfare in any of the Bond films.
Dr Bowen added:
“Sci-fi really is a hindrance rather than a help here.
“We have to abandon all those notions of sci-fi in space warfare.”
Dr Bleddyn Bowen has a book out called War in Space: Strategy, Spacepower, Geopolitics, which was published by Edinburgh University Press. The paperback edition will also be available soon. (Source: forces.net)
07 Jul 21. Blacktree Technology joins Airbus-led JP9102 team. The local firm has been tapped to support Airbus’ bid to deliver future military satellite communications to the ADF. Blacktree Technology has been named as the first member of ‘Team Maier’ — an Airbus-led team gunning for the Commonwealth government’s JP 9102 Australian Defence SATCOM System contract.
The Australian firm, known for developing ultra-high frequency (UHF) ground systems, has been working with Airbus for approximately 15 years as part of the UK Ministry of Defence’s Skynet program, installing UHF antennas for three of Airbus’ satellite ground station sites.
“Working with Airbus on the Skynet program to deliver innovative solutions to the UK MOD was a key enabler in our mission to become a global market leader in SATCOM ground segment solutions,” Joe Nevin, CEO of Blacktree said.
“Blacktree’s reach now extends from our headquarters in Australia, to solving communications problems for customers in the UK, Europe, US, and to our long-standing customer, the Australian Defence Force.
“We welcome the opportunity to join Team Maier to deliver world leading, proven, sovereign solutions to military SATCOM programs in Australia and, in particular, JP 9102.”
Airbus’ teaming arrangement with Blacktree forms part of its commitment to achieving supporting capability objectives, while also contributing to the broader development of the local defence and space industries.
Airbus has pledged to collaborate with other stakeholders across space, technology and academia.
“At Airbus, we are always looking to increase our engagement with experts in military SATCOM, particularly SMEs, an approach that has proven successful and beneficial to all parties on the Skynet 5 program,” Martin Rowse, campaign lead for the JP 9102 program, commented.
“With this latest move, we will collaborate with Blacktree to explore how we can support the development of their capability and increase innovative solutions to existing and future customers.
“This is key as the Australian Defence Force prepares to move to a fully sovereign military satcom provision under the JP 9102 program.”
Airbus will be competing against a number of other contractors for JP 9102, including Boeing Defence Australia (BDA) and Lockheed Martin Australia.
Last month, BDA revealed Leidos Australia, Viasat and the Indigenous Defence and Infrastructure Consortium (IDIC) would join Saber and ClearBox in supporting its push to secure the contract.
The BDA-led team has committed to building in-country space capability, aimed at providing the Australian Defence Force with flexibility, resilience and agility.
Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin has announced leadership changes to drive its expansion in the space domain.
The firm appointed Mike Scott as program director and Julia Dickinson as chief engineer, military satellite communications.
Dickinson will be responsible for the overall Australian engineering performance for Lockheed Martin’s JP 9102 program solution. The JP 9102 tender is scheduled to close on 24 December. (Source: Defence Connect)
06 Jul 21. ICEYE First In The World To Achieve Revolutionary Daily Coherent Ground Track Repeat. ICEYE’s new radar satellite imaging capability allows coherent change detection every 24 hours of selected locations, which further enables automated persistent monitoring. This capability complements the frequent access radar satellite imaging that ICEYE has been delivering for several years. ICEYE, the global leader in persistent monitoring with radar satellite imaging, announced today the achievement of Daily Coherent Ground Track Repeat (GTR) imaging with ICEYE radar satellites. This new, world-first capability enables detecting everything from large changes, such as monitoring if ships have moved, all the way to such detailed changes on-ground that a person on-site would not be able to recognize. The data enables performing Coherent Change Detection (CCD) every 24 hours, which has use cases in detailed monitoring of patterns of life, site activity, ground subsidence, infrastructure integrity, construction, and more.
ICEYE now provides the world’s most frequent coherent radar satellite data coverage to a selected initial set of customers. The capability is delivered to customers as daily imagery delivered from individual customer-selected locations. This newly demonstrated capability is expected to be available for a wider customer base in 2022, after the initial early access period.
“When you need to know what happens at a chosen location, you need the right technologies to acquire that information. ICEYE has spent the last three years actively pursuing this revolutionary capability for our customers, as it provides an unparalleled basis for performing change detection,” said Rafal Modrzewski, CEO and Co-founder of ICEYE. “This is a completely new level of performance. It enables four times more frequent persistent monitoring with radar satellites than has ever been available before.”
Coherence is a term given for the exact similarity between two radar satellite images. If a car has driven across a field, stockpiles have been adjusted, or forested areas have been cut down, these are seen as changes in the coherence between the chosen two images.
The compelling advantage of ICEYE’s Daily Coherent GTR capability is that it allows quickly determining small changes at a location on a consistent daily basis. This type of persistent monitoring is intended for knowing exactly the level of activity at a chosen site. The Daily Coherent GTR capability is available either in very high resolution imaging for smaller areas, or wider area coverage at high resolution.
Radar satellite data acquired with this capability enables data users to perform interferometric and coherence analysis. The technical achievement is a result of a successful orbit adjustment of ICEYE’s satellites, which allow the same locations on Earth to be imaged from exactly the same orbit placement every 24 hours. It is the precision and repeatability of the imaging angles that enable ICEYE to deliver this new capability, in addition to the globally unique spacecraft design of ICEYE.
“The ability to image the same area at the same angle each day creates new opportunities for detecting daily changes that were not previously possible. By overlaying stacks of daily images, it is now possible to rapidly determine if objects have moved or entered the scene,” said Jerry Welsh, CEO of ICEYE US. “For example, we can monitor activities at a port and quickly identify changes, whether it’s commodities sitting on the docks or ships in the harbor. We have previewed this technology with some of our U.S. customers and the response has been amazing.”
Last week, ICEYE launched four more synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) satellites with SpaceX, bringing the total number of the company’s radar satellite missions launched to 14. One of the newest spacecraft is a next-generation demonstration mission, which is set to double the effective resolution of ICEYE’s proprietary imaging instrument, while the other three satellites are set to deliver data to customers with flight-proven technology after commissioning is finalized.
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)
06 Jul 21. Fleet Space says world’s most advanced nanosat launched. Adelaide nanosatellite manufacturer Fleet Space Technologies has launched its sixth nanosatellite, Centauri 4, aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9. It also claimed a world first: the shoebox-sized C4 has been integrated with digital beamforming technology, viewed as the world’s most advanced nanosatellite payload yet.
The payload of what Fleet says is the world’s most advanced nanosat includes a highly innovative, lightweight beam-steering antenna, artificial Intelligence-driven computer server and satellite modem, all designed in-house by the Fleet team. These features will help transform the ability of worldwide industry to manage and control in real time remote assets, through the IoT communications payload onboard, and connect thousands of sensors monitoring critical infrastructure across the world in real time, 24 hours a day.
CEO Flavia Tata Nardini said “in only a few hours we have managed to launch our nanosatellite, catch our nanosatellite in its first pass and then switch on its payload. This usually takes weeks if not up to a month, so to achieve this in only a few hours, I am blown away!” Nardini thanked avionics partner Tyvak International for its help with the quick activation.
Centauri 4 was one of 88 government, military and commercial satellites released at 525km into low earth orbit on the Thursday 1 July launch.
Fleet Space says its nanosatellites are servicing IoT for use cases including tracking power outages, receiving alerts of unwanted encroachments along easements and bushfire risks, through to applications in defence, mining and logistics. Fleet Space plans the launch of a further 16 nanosatellites during 2022 and 2023. (Source: Rumour Control)
02 Jul 21. HawkEye 360 expands satellite-based RF data collection. US-based commercial satellite company HawkEye360 is expanding its satellite-based radio frequency (RF) data collection and analytics operations with the launch of its Cluster 3 constellation late last month.
Operating in a three-satellite cluster constellation with each low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite weighing roughly 25 kg, the Cluster 3 constellation took off from Cape Canaveral in Florida on 30 June aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, according to a company statement. Constructed off a spacecraft bus developed by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies’ Space Flight Laboratory and deployed into orbit from a Sherpa-FX orbital transfer vehicle by Spaceflight Inc, the Cluster 3 constellation joins HawkEye 360’s Cluster 2 constellation already in orbit.
“Once tested and moved into formation, Cluster 3 will significantly expand the current constellation’s global revisit and collection capacity,” company officials said in the statement.
HawkEye360’s Cluster 2 and Cluster 3 satellite constellations are tasked with identifying and precisely geolocating broad sets of RF signals from a variety of terrestrial emitters. The RF identification and location data can be compiled into big data sets, to inform current and future RF-focused artificial intelligence algorithm development. The company’s satellite constellations focus primarily on detection, identification, and location of RF signals between 144 MHz and 15 GHz, which is the RF band that covers the RF signals and emitters that the majority of defence and intelligence programmes and platforms are tracking. (Source: Jane’s)
30 Jun 21. The SpaceX Transporter-2 Mission Launches Without A Hitch. Although the 88 commercial and government payloads within the 70-meter tall, Falcon 9 launch vehicle’s, 17-feet in diameter fairing — it’s third flight — for this Transporter-2 mission is not quite the same number as the 144 smallsats SpaceX launched by the company on January 24, 2021, what makes this a unique, historic launch for the company is that, this time around, SpaceX is pushing more mass to orbit for the firm’s customers than their previous Transporter-1 mission.
Liftoff occurred from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on schedule, with this Falcon 9’s first stage booster previously having supported the launch of GPS III Space Vehicle 03, Turksat 5A and five Starlink missions.
Then quite a feat occurred, as three Merlin engines engaged in burns to reduce speed of the 1st stage for landing… at Cape Canaveral and not out in the Atlantic Ocean aboard one of the firm’s droneships. Quite an amazing site watching the first stage accurately land in the exact, defined spot for its return.
The payloads for the Transporter-2 mission included (not in order of deployment):
- Capella SAR satellite
- D-Orbit’s ION satellite carrier
- DARPA/Space Development Agency/Air Force Research Laboratory’s Mandrake-2 Able + Mandrake-2 Baker
- ICEYE satellite #1 from EXOPort-5
- ICEYE satellite #2 + #4 from EXOPort-3
- ICEYE satellite #3 from EXOPort-4
- Loft Orbital’s YAM-2 + YAM-3 (EXOPort-5)
- NanoAvionics’ D2/AtlaCom-1 from EXOPort-3
- NASA’s PACE-1
- NASA’s TROPICS Pathfinder deploys
- PlanetiQ’s GNOMES-2
- Satellogic’s NewSat-19, 20, 21, 22
- Space Development Agency/General Atomics/Peraton’s LINCS-1 + LINCS-2
- Spaceflight Inc.’s Sherpa-FX2 + LTE-1
- Spire’s LEMUR #1 + #2 from EXOPort-3
- Starlink Smallsats
- Swarm’s 1st + 2nd SpaceBEE cluster from EXOPort-4
- TU Berlin’s TUBIN from EXOPort-4
30 Jun 21. Infostellar Is Integrating AWS Ground Station In Their Mission Control Software. Infostellar Inc. is collaborating with Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) to make AWS Ground Station available within StellarStation. The combination will give satellite operators more opportunities to communicate with their space workloads, downlink geospatial data faster and easier, and decrease the time it takes to get data to decision makers on Earth. Infostellar also plans to leverage AWS for customer integration, testing and other onboarding activities to reduce the time it takes to scale successful operations across a global ground network.
Satellite operators require an increasingly large, global footprint of satellite antennas and expansive ground networks to get decision makers the most recent satellite data and track and manage fast-changing conditions. Larger ground coverage areas also provide satellite operators with more options to downlink their data during each orbit.
The AWS Ground Station network allows customers to cost-effectively control satellite operations, ingest satellite data, integrate the data with applications and other services running in AWS, and scale operations without having to worry about building or managing their own ground infrastructure.
StellarStation gives satellite operators a common interface to leverage ground stations from a variety of providers around the globe so they can schedule satellite passes and monitor and exchange data in a standard manner.
Now, with AWS and Infostellar, is required to scale globally in the cloud because operators do not need to send engineers to each site around the world. Instead, they can reuse their integration and test efforts across multiple global sites simultaneously.
The combination of AWS Ground Station and StellarStation helps satellite operators to provide customers with near real-time data through an expanded ground coverage area, including an automated ground network with virtual data and mission management capabilities.
Through the API integration of AWS Ground Station on StellarStation, customers will be able to schedule contacts across both ground networks from a single scheduling interface and specify data endpoints in their AWS Management Console or in their own data reception facility.
Using AWS Ground Station, Infostellar customers can immediately access AWS storage, compute, and analytics services, such as Amazon Simple Storage Services (Amazon S3), to store the downloaded data; Amazon Kinesis Data Streams, for managing data ingestion from satellites; and Amazon SageMaker for building custom machine learning applications that can be applied to a wide variety of data sets.
Customer onboarding, including spectrum licensing, will be coordinated between the two ground operators. Among initial customers of AWS Ground Station on StellarStation mission control software could be Japan-based space start-up ALE Co, Ltd.
“Leveraging AWS Ground Station allows Infostellar to expand our infrastructure very rapidly with the addition of key locations to our global network of ground stations. AWS also shows the benefits of our cloud-based ground service aggregation platform, StellarStation, to the global community of spacecraft operators,” said Naomi Kurahara, Infostellar CEO. “With Infostellar and AWS, satellite customers can migrate their workloads to AWS in order to benefit from its agility, cost savings, elasticity, and global connectivity.”
“We are excited to provide AWS Ground Station services through Infostellar. AWS Ground Station makes it easy for customers to communicate with their satellites and quickly move data around the globe, process and store it in the AWS cloud. StellarStation customers can schedule satellite contacts at AWS Ground Station locations around the world and take advantage of Amazon’s low-latency, high-bandwidth global network to deliver data.” said Jim Caggy, General Manager, AWS Ground Station.
“The combination of AWS Ground Station and InfoStellar’s StellarStation mission control software will provide satellite operators with more frequent communication with their satellites. This collaboration will allow us to better schedule shooting star events for the ALE man-made shooting star experience and provide more flexible options for our customers. This combination is very important to us here at ALE; we look forward to it helping us delight customers all over the world,” said Lena Okajima, CEO, ALE Co, Ltd. (Source: Satnews)
01 Jul 21. Sateliot’s First In-Orbit Demo Of 5G NB-IoT Nanosatellite Extends Mobile Operators’ Coverage. Sateliot’s ultimate goal of launching a constellation of nanosatellites to democratize the Internet of Things (IoT) with 5G coverage has succeeded with the world’s first implementation and in-orbit demonstration of the 5G NB-IoT stack by nanosatellites that will allow extending coverage to mobile operators, as reported today in the framework of the MWC where it participates.
In this way, Sateliot validates its project by confirming that the service tested in the laboratory is already working on the first of its nanosatellites currently orbiting in space. Thus, the company has verified that the signals can be transmitted by this fast-moving satellite (LEO-600) and detected and decoded by a device on the ground.
This technical advance comes at the same time that the 3GPP, the body that periodically brings together the main players in the telecommunications sector to define the various communication standards, has approved the inclusion in the definition of the 5G-IoT standard of ‘scenario 4’ or also known in the sector as ‘Sateliot scenario’ in which low orbit nanosatellite networks are contemplated to provide IoT services.
This agreement also represents a breakthrough for the company, as the 5G IoT services it provides to telecommunications operators from its constellation will be compatible with the official standard defined by consensus by the main representatives of the sector.
Thus, barely a quarter after its launch aboard the Soyuz rocket, Sateliot’s first nanosatellite has passed the so-called Commissioning, all the technical phases of testing and verification of all its systems, and is now ready to offer 5G-IoT connection to companies and institutions with which it has already signed collaboration agreements.
With this preliminary pilot testing phase, the company will obtain very useful information for the evolution and integral design of its constellation, which is expected to start offering commercial service to telecommunications operators in 2022.
According to Marco Guadalupi, Sateliot’s CTO, “All technical tests have shown that the satellite works, so this endorsement of our value proposition now allows us to test our services in real environments, and to start new missions with new satellites to continue advancing in the technological validation of our project”.
Sateliot is the first satellite telecommunications operator that will provide global and continuous connectivity to all the elements that will make up the Internet of Things (IoT) universe, such as the connected car or the connected home, under the 5G protocol. (Source: Satnews) (Source: Satnews
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