Sponsored By Viasat
06 Aug 21. China completes engine prototype for next-gen Long March rocket launcher. China has officially completed a prototype of its super heavy-lift rocket engine that will power the next-generation Long March 9 rocket, according to local media reports.
The 220-tonne engine is expected to complete testing by the end of this year, reports suggest, and the product will be used to power China’s next-gen Long March 9 rocket, dubbed CZ-9.
CZ-9 will be a three-stage rocket with boosters, and the current engine prototype will form the rocket’s core and second stage, Chinese news agencies have said.
Like its US equivalent NASA, the China National Space Administration intends to use CZ-9 to power its own moon lander mission by 2030, before blasting off to Mars.
China officially approved the development of the new CZ-9 super-heavy lift rocket earlier this year, which reportedly boasts more lift than even the most powerful version of NASA’s SLS equivalent.
The CZ-9 will have a 10-metre diameter core with five-metre diameter side boosters, and boast a lift capacity of 140 tonnes.
It’s the latest update as China continues to ramp up its operations in space, following a slew of successful missions, including last year’s Chang’e 5 mission to collect lunar samples, and Tianwen 1’s landing on Mars.
Meanwhile, China also continues the construction of its own Tiangong space station, due to be completed next year, with the launch of its first module, Tianhe. Three Chinese astronauts successfully launched into space onboard the Shenzhou-12 on Thursday, 17 June, on the first crewed mission to the new Chinese Space Station.
The Shenzhou-12 launched on top of the Long March 2F – also known as the Chang Zheng 2F (CZ-2F) – Chinese orbital carrier rocket at 9:22am Beijing time from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert in north-west China.
Shenzhou-12 is the third of 11 missions set for building the three-module Chinese Space Station. The station is intended to orbit the Earth for at least 10 years.
Two of the three Chinese astronauts stationed on the Tianhe module embarked on their first seven-hour spacewalk earlier this month, to attach external handrails and a robotic arm to the module. (Source: Space Connect)
04 Aug 21. Iridium announces partnership with Canadian Coast Guard. Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM) today announced that the Canadian Coast Guard has adopted Iridium Certus® connectivity with support from Iridium partner MetOcean Telematics. The Coast Guard deployed dozens of Iridium Certus™ Thales VesseLINK™ 700 terminals on its vessels, including icebreakers, to contribute to reliable internet connectivity as crew members deliver programs and services to ensure the safety of mariners in Canadian waters and protect Canada’s marine environment. Iridium Certus delivers weather-resilient and completely global coverage, ensuring dependable connectivity in the high Arctic where the Coast Guard serves.
The Canadian Coast Guard has deployed weather-resilient Iridium Certus technology, featuring the Thales VesseLINK 700, on its vessels, including icebreakers.
The Canadian Coast Guard responds to marine search and rescue and environmental incidents, provides icebreaking and aids to navigation services, and ensures waterways are safe and accessible for business year-round including in the Arctic during the operational season from June to November. While on duty in the high Arctic, the Iridium® network supports Coast Guard ships’ and crew members’ ability to stay in touch with headquarters. Iridium Certus connectivity also supports the Coast Guard’s general safety with access to navigational data and weather reports, which is a large improvement from historical solutions.
“Reliable internet connectivity onboard our vessels helps contribute to our crew members’ well-being and ensures that our crews are able to carry out the Canadian Coast Guard’s services to protect mariners and the marine environment. Having a support network to ensure we never lose that vital connection with our shore-based personnel and services is vital in the Arctic,” says Mario Pelletier, Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard.
“The Canadian Coast Guard provides essential services that keep things moving safely in the Arctic waterways all year round,” says Matt Desch, CEO, Iridium. “Iridium is proud to support the Coast Guard’s initiatives by enabling them to stay connected no matter how far north or remote their duty takes them.”
“MetOcean is pleased to support the communication efforts of the Canadian Coast Guard. Providing its members with 24/7 real-time secure voice, data, and crew communications services and support,” says Tony Chedrawy, CEO, MetOcean Telematics. “The requirements of Coast Guard personnel while deployed in the Arctic are immeasurable, as they are dedicated to maintaining the safety of mariners as well as protecting the marine environment, within the high Arctic. MetOcean is committed to ensure that Coast Guard personnel are always connected with their command stations.”
The only communications network providing reliable coverage to the polar regions, Iridium enables critical communications and safety services for anyone traveling through the world’s most dangerous-to-navigate regions. Unique in the satellite industry, Iridium Certus delivers the fastest L-band speeds in the world – even at the poles – and is the only broadband service that provides truly global, weather-resilient coverage for on-the-move internet and high-quality voice access. As an L-band network, Iridium is also uniquely positioned to provide safety services, including those for the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), which Iridium launched in December 2020. (Source: PR Newswire)
03 Aug 21. BAE Systems turns up the volume on space activities. BAE Systems has been “quietly involved” in space for the last two decades, but has said the time was right to make sure those conversations were heard by entire space community.
The company was one of the sponsors of the inaugural Space-Comm Expo which took place at the Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre. Director of Space at BAE Systems, John Young, explained: “It’s a really important time for space in the UK and with some of the ambitions laid out by the PM and the Ministry of Defence as well, it’s important to BAE Systems, is seen to be involved in the conversation.”
Young said the company had been “very quietly involved in space for the last 20 years” working with the European Space Agency and more recently with Lot 2 of the Serapis Framework which was awarded by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (MOD). The Framework will focus on the areas of C4ISR, space systems, synthetic environments, and simulation technology to support human capability development.
Creating partnerships in the sovereign space community
Engaging and involving the entire sovereign space community and creating partnerships was another aspect which will promote innovation, according to Young
“Our involvement in the Serapis Lot 2 Framework, for example, is all about getting the best innovations into the UK sovereign market, promoting security, promoting prosperity and those things are core to BAE Systems’ .
“At BAE Systems we’re always keen to make sure the UK gets the best innovation, and the best technology, and I think a lot of innovation comes from SMEs, Its really important for us to make sure that SMEs have a place in the sovereign space capability development going forward and really develop that and we want to be a strong partner to SMEs to make sure that that innovation, gets to the benefit of the UK.” (Source: FINN)
03 Aug 21. Space Command, Navy Share Commonalities in Keeping Open Lines of Communication. The oceans are big, but space is even bigger, the commander of U.S. Space Command said. Still, the Navy and Space Command share a lot in terms of what they do, and there’s opportunity for both to leverage off of each other to increase their effectiveness in carrying out their missions.
“Just like the Navy protects our sea lines of communications, U.S. Space Command’s mission is to protect our space lines of communications,” Army Gen. James Dickinson today told attendees of the 2021 Sea-Air-Space Exposition at National Harbor, Maryland. “Despite considerable differences in maritime and space operating environments, the strategic level objectives of naval forces and space forces are more similar than they are different.”
Dickenson said there’s a “natural synergy” between naval and space operators that, if taken advantage of, could yield benefits for both.
“I think the opportunity for further integration between the Navy and U.S. Space Command is quite frankly boundless — or infinite,” he said.
One of the roles of the Navy, Dickenson said, is to keep open sea lines of communication, which means ensuring the safe and free movement of people and cargo over the world’s oceans. That’s similar to the mission of U.S. Space Command, he said, which involves ensuring the United States can continue to operate safely and freely in space without interference from adversaries.
“Both are central to free and open opportunity to traverse and enjoy the benefits of their respective domains,” he said. “Today, we’re pretty good at operating in vast areas of the universe — or space; however, our ability to operate freely in it is being challenged, and significantly challenged, every day. That’s not unlike the circumstances the Navy faces, too, in the world’s contested waters.”
Dickenson said some examples are Lagrange points, which are locations in space where the gravity of the moon and Earth are balanced.
“These gravity wells are ideal for positioning spacecraft where they can remain indefinitely with only using a small amount of fuel,” he said.
He compared the importance of those locations in space to the small islands in the Pacific Ocean that the Navy would like to keep secure to ensure continued free navigation of the oceans and security in the Pacific.
Long-haul satellite communications and theater intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities are also common concerns for both Space Command and the Navy, he said.
Because of the similarities in the maritime and space operating environments, Dickenson said it’s imperative to enhance collaboration between Navy and Space Forces.
“In that end-state collaboration, we should strive for full integration between us and the Navy in concepts of operation; in systems development; in refinement of tactics, techniques and procedures; in requirements definition; in wargaming; and in war planning,” he said. “You name it — anything, basically, having to do with how we collectively prepare for the joint operations and how we take those forces into the fight — if required. We need to find the right balance between our mutually supported and supporting functions.”
04 Aug 21. The Space Force wants to manage acquisitions by portfolio. The U.S. Space Force believes it could improve the way it develops space capabilities by thinking in terms of portfolios, rather than developing each program of record independently. When asked about the need for acquisition reforms, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration Shawn Barnes said the Space Force had enough flexibility in issuing contracts to do what it needs to do. However, he said the service could do better by thinking in terms of portfolios rather than single platforms.
“One of the things that we’re trying to do out of our office is to think about: How would we manage by portfolio as opposed to by program of record?” Barnes said Aug. 3 at the Sea-Air-Space conference.
Instead of expecting a single platform or constellation to fulfill a mission, said Barnes, the Space Force should be able to pull together pieces from various organizations — the Space Development Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office and the Space Rapid Capabilities Office, among others — to create a portfolio of capabilities for that mission.
“It gives me some agility that I don’t have when I talk about a single program of record,” said Barnes.
Coordination between the various space organizations does currently take place. However, Barnes is likely referring to a budgetary reform the Space Force requested more than a year ago. In a list of acquisition reforms submitted to Congress in 2020, then-Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett argued that the Space Force should consolidate budget line items along mission portfolios rather than by platform. The idea is to allow the service to more easily realign funds for specific programs to respond more rapidly to emerging threats.
For example, if the Space Force had a single missile warning and defense portfolio instead of managing each program of record that serves that mission independently, it could manage that cash flow to each effort depending on how an effort is developing and how the threat environment changes. That could help the service avoid costly delivery delays and other issues that have plagued the military’s space acquisitions and drawn the ire of lawmakers. Currently, the Space Force needs to make reprogramming requests to move funding from one program of record to another. During the fiscal 2020 budget cycle, Congress has criticized the military’s use of reprogramming requests to speed up development of a missile warning satellite constellation, leading to a fight with the White House over funding for the program.
The change was the No. 1 recommendation in the report last year to lawmakers.
While such a move would be unusual within the military services, it’s not unprecedented. The Space Rapid Capabilities Office budgets by portfolio, while in the intelligence community, the National Reconnaissance Office does the same thing, said Barnes.
In its 2020 report, the Air Force asserted that a move to portfolio budget management would not require legislation, but it would need buy-in from lawmakers. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
03 Aug 21. Iridium Granted Trio of Regulatory Approvals in Japan. Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM) today announced that Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) has approved regulatory amendments necessary to allow for Japanese adoption of Iridium Certus® broadband, Iridium Controller–Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) and other aeronautical services for aviation and Iridium’s Global Maritime Distress and Safety System service (GMDSS). Over the past several years, Iridium has been working on regulatory amendments with the MIC to incorporate these services into the Japanese regulatory framework, while many other Iridium services have long been approved. Following all required processes of the regulatory amendments, Japanese flagged aircraft, ships and other customers can begin use of these Iridium services.
The Iridium Certus service for maritime and land mobile industries began in January 2019, however it was previously unavailable in Japan due to ongoing regulatory amendments. The MIC published the amendments in the government Gazette in late 2020, and Iridium partners may now obtain equipment certifications for their Iridium Connected® products.
Iridium Certus is the world’s most advanced L-band broadband solution, offering small-form-factor, cost-effective terminals, and truly global coverage. In the maritime industry, terminals include the Cobham SATCOM SAILOR 4300, Intellian C700 and Thales VesseLINK 700 and 200. Iridium Certus enables business applications like web browsing, email, voice calling and video chat functions as well as IoT and sensor data collection and transmission. It serves all market sectors, including commercial shipping, fishing, workboats, leisure and government. Iridium Certus maritime services are being provided by Arion Japan, KDDI, KVH, Kyoritsu Radio Service, Marlink and Satcom Global.
In the land mobile market, the Thales MissionLINK 700 and 200 offer Iridium Certus service for a variety of land applications including those supporting business continuity, public safety, and government organizations. These terminals can support both mobile and fixed-site applications and are ideal for field workforce management for fleets, remote asset control requiring IP connectivity, voice communications, and added redundancy for VSAT systems as a failover. Iridium Certus land services in Japan are being provided by Arion Japan, Kaigai Corporation and KDDI.
Iridium Certus aviation solutions are planned for availability in late 2021 and will serve business, commercial, government and general aviation aircraft, including rotorcraft. The service will offer a variety of speeds and features low-profile, highly reliable L-band antennas and lightweight terminals that enable high-quality voice, IP data, email and web browsing. Iridium Certus aviation services in Japan will be provided by Navicom Aviation.
The MIC’s official approval of regulatory amendments for Iridium CPDLC and Iridium GMDSS were both issued in early 2021. CPDLC is a text-based communications service directly between aircraft pilots and air traffic controllers and is used for air traffic management. The service is now fully approved for use in Japanese airspace and for adoption by Japanese flagged aircraft. Iridium aviation CPDLC service in Japan is being provided by KDDI and Navicom Aviation.
Iridium GMDSS service formally launched in late 2020 and uniquely combines Distress Alert, Safety Voice, and Maritime Safety Information (MSI) in one terminal, the Lars Thrane, LT-3100S. This service offers truly global connectivity including in Sea Area A4, for Japanese Flag vessels. Iridium GMDSS service is being provided in Japan by Arion Japan, Marlink and Satcom Global.
“We are proud that Iridium completed the process for approval of the regulatory amendments by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications after rigorous examination. Delivered through our resilient satellite network, Iridium services can keep customers in Japan safe and connected,” says Bryan Hartin, executive vice president, sales and marketing, Iridium. “Following approval, Iridium’s global offerings of Iridium Certus, CPDLC and GMDSS will benefit the Japanese airlines and maritime industries everywhere on the planet.”
For more information about Iridium visit: www.iridium.com
Iridium Communications Inc.
Iridium® is the only mobile voice and data satellite communications network that spans the entire globe. Iridium enables connections between people, organizations and assets to and from anywhere, in real time. Together with its ecosystem of partner companies, Iridium delivers an innovative and rich portfolio of reliable solutions for markets that require truly global communications. In 2019, the company completed a generational upgrade of its satellite network and launched its new specialty broadband service, Iridium Certus®. Iridium Communications Inc. is headquartered in McLean, Va., U.S.A., and its common stock trades on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol IRDM. For more information about Iridium products, services and partner solutions, visit www.iridium.com. (Source: PR Newswire)
03 Aug 21. Australia explores options for Space Electronic Warfare. Minister for Defence Peter Dutton announced on 29 July the Australian Government has established Defence Project 9358 to explore options for the acquisition of a ground-based Space Electronic Warfare capability.
The 2020 Defence Strategic Update highlighted the critical importance to the ADF’s warfighting effectiveness of assured access to the space domain. A Space Electronic Warfare capability, as part of the ADF’s approach to space control, aims to detect and deter attempts to interfere with, or attack, Australia’s use of the space domain.
The 2020 Force Structure Plan called for the development of options to enhance ADF space control through capabilities to counter emerging space threats to Australia’s free use of the space domain. Defence will explore options for a Space Electronic Warfare capability and provide recommendations for a decision by the Government. This capability would help assure Australia’s continued access to space-based communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
The FSP allocates $7bn to Australia’s space capabilities over the decade. The FSP identifies two separate projects which could be vehicles for this investment, Satellite Communications Assurance, worth $1.7-$2.5bn, and Terrestrial Operations in Contested Space, worth $1.4-$2bn.
Space Electronic Warfare is a capability that does not create debris or damage the space environment. Defence supports efforts to promote international norms, transparency and cooperation in upholding responsible behaviour in space. (Source: Rumour Control)
03 Aug 21. Kleos data to help Japan identify illegal activity in its waters. Space Connect reports that Kleos will use its space-based surveillance capabilities to help the Japanese government identify illegal activity in its waters. The news follows a partnership agreement between the Australian satellite technology business and Japan Space Imaging Corporation (JSI).
Kleos’ chief revenue officer, Eric von Eckartsberg, said, “We are excited to be partnering with JSI, who brings more than two decades’ experience serving the Japanese customers with space-based surveillance and data intelligence products.
“Japan’s vast coastline stretches more than 18,480 miles (30,000km), providing significant border protection challenges for Japanese authorities”.
Kleos, a space-powered radio frequency reconnaissance data provider, launched its first two satellite clusters in November 2020. The Kleos Scouting Mission (KSM1) launched into a 37-degree inclination and provides coverage over key areas of maritime interest including the South China Sea and Strait of Hormuz.
Kleos launched its second cluster of four satellites, the Vigilance Mission (KSF1), at the end of June.
Launched into a 525-kilometres sun synchronous orbit from Cape Canaveral in Florida, the four Polar Vigilance satellites are currently progressing through the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) and commissioning phase.
Kleos’ third satellite cluster, the Patrol Mission, is scheduled to launch at the end of 2021 onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9.
“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 the locations of human activity on land and sea,” the business said in a statement. (Source: Rumour Control)
03 Aug 21. SIAA Releases 2021-23 growth strategy. The Space Industry Association of Australia board has released its new growth strategy for 2021-2023. The SIAA now has 105 corporate members and 589 individual members and is implementing a change program to reflect the major shifts in the space industry business environment since 2019. These include the rapid establishment of the Australian Space Agency as a regulator and industry development agency, and the Commonwealth government’s focus on developing a robust and sustainable space industry based on R&D and innovation.
“Our vision is to be the pre-eminent peak body promoting the development of Australia’s space industry,” the strategy documents says. “Our mission is to empower our industry to build a professional, sovereign, and sustainable space economy for Australia. In pursuit of this mission and vision we have two objectives:
- To deliver premium services, events, and opportunities for the Australian space industry
- To be the voice and forum for the space industry in Australia
“In our next evolution we must focus on providing more valuable services, events, and opportunities to Australia’s space industry through the support of our highly engaged membership.”
The majority of SIAA members want to see a continued collective effort to promote Australia’s space industry development but also see a need for the SIAA to step up its operations, particularly in policy advocacy and media engagement.
As the government has committed to a ten-year plan to lift both the size and revenue of Australia’s space sector, the SIAA says it is reasonable to progress to a more premium membership model: increasing membership fees whilst at the same time ensuring it delivers more value to the industry.
“We will deliver value to the Australian space industry in two ways,” the Strategy says. “Firstly, we will provide a business exchange to develop greater opportunities, including through:
- Developing networking events within the space industry
- Connecting space SMEs with prime contractors
- Providing forums to engage with governments and regulators
- Connecting to adjacent industries, investors, the wider space economy, and international opportunities
- Credentialling and promoting Australian space industry through the Australian Space Industry Capability Database
- Coordinating industry priorities and opportunities (across Australia’s defence, strategic, commercial, and civilian space industries).
- Convening the industry through our signature annual conference.
- Publishing reports and hosting conversations that give valuable industry insights
“Secondly, we will provide a voice for industry interests in Australia and internationally, including through:
- Building consensus on industry priorities
- Developing industry policy
- Monitoring government and international policy and regulation
- Advocating, both publicly and privately, for policy measures that will promote the growth of the Australian space industry.
- Speaking to the media and public about Australia’s space industry
- Representing the Australian space industry on key advisory bodies and initiatives within Australia and globally.”
The strategy has been developed through close consultation with SIAA’s Advisory Council and wider stakeholders, the Association says. The first stage in this plan has been to professionalise SIAA’s operations through the employment of full-time staff, including the CEO and Executive Officer. “In this next stage we will continue to professionalise SIAA, improve our advocacy capabilities, boost our industry events and engagement, and commence publishing industry insights. All of this will ensure we can both develop greater business opportunities and provide a voice and forum for the Australian space industry.”
To download a copy of the strategy, contact the SIAA through its web site: https://www.spaceindustry.com.au/
02 Aug 21. BAE Systems eyes operational tests of MGUE capabilities. Programme engineers at BAE Systems are preparing for a series of operational evaluations on the company’s Common GPS Modules (CGMs) under the Military GPS User Equipment (MGUE) Increment 1 initiative, designed to further integrate Military Code (M-Code)-enabled GPS capabilities into the US armed forces.
MGUE Increment 1 began as a technology development programme for BAE Systems, and the core technology that powered those early variants is now being integrated across the company’s family of GPS products, said Jade Groen, a programme director with the company’s navigation and sensor systems directorate.
“We have weapons programmes that are preparing for field readiness [evaluations] this year”, fielding elements of that Increment 1 technology, Groen said. Development of the Miniature Precision Lightweight GPS Receiver Engine – M-Code (MPETM-M) receiver and its Micro GPS Receiver Application Module – M-Code (MicroGRAM-M) programmes also leaned heavily on the MGUE Increment 1 capability. MPE-M and MicroGRAM-M are both heading into full rate production, she said.
“We have a number of platforms that are doing integration testing and operational testing with ground [based] embedded products … and we are seeing many of those operational tests occurring over the next year-and-a-half,” she said. (Source: Jane’s)
30 Jul 21. Australia launches new project to guard space domain. The government has unveiled plans to explore new ground-based solutions to prevent disruption to activity in the space domain. Minister for Defence Peter Dutton has announced the launch of Project 9358 — a new defence program aimed at exploring options for the procurement of a ground-based Space Electronic Warfare capability. The project seeks to fill a capability gap identified in the2020 Defence Strategic Update, which outlined the need for assured access to the space domain to bolster the effectiveness of military operations. Specifically, a Space Electronic Warfare capability would be used to detect and deter attempts to interfere with or attack efforts to leverage the space domain, in line with broader recommendations in the 2020 Force Structure Plan. The capability is not expected to create debris or damage the space environment.
“Defence supports efforts to promote international norms, transparency and co-operation in upholding responsible behaviour in space,” Minister Dutton stated following the announcement. Defence will now consult with stakeholders to explore options for a Space Electronic Warfare capability before issuing recommendations for a decision by the government.
“This capability would help assure Australia’s continued access to space-based communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance,” Minister Dutton concluded. Project 9358 joins the growing list of Defence’s space domain programs, which include the JP 9102 Australian Defence SATCOM System project. JP 9102 aims to deliver a sovereign system designed to enable the joint command and control of deployed Joint Task Forces by leveraging communications technology with enhanced range and capability. A number of major defence contractors have expressed interest in spearheading the program, including Airbus, Boeing Defense Australia, and Lockheed Martin Australia. (Source: Space Connect)
31 Jul 21. World’s first fully flexible satellite lifts-off. A UK-built satellite capable of being reprogrammed in space has successfully launched from French Guiana in South America. Eutelsat Quantum, backed by UK Space Agency funding and built in Britain by Airbus in Portsmouth and Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) in Guildford, is the first of a new generation of fully reconfigurable satellites that can respond while in orbit to changing demands on Earth. Until now large satellites were configured on the ground for specific tasks that could not be changed after launch. Eutelsat Quantum’s coverage, bandwidth, power and frequency can all be altered in orbit.
The satellite’s beams can be redirected to switch between functions from broadcasting TV, enabling data protection and recovery, to delivering data connections to aeroplanes to improve communication for passengers. This flexibility means satellite operators can offer a wealth of new and emerging applications such as the next generation of drones supporting the NHS or connectivity in driverless cars supporting road safety, at the press of a button, without having to wait for years for bespoke equipment to be produced.
Named due to the quantum leap it brings in space telecommunications, the satellite could also support government broadband services in remote and rural areas, and help monitor critical national infrastructure such as water supply, energy and farming.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway said, “By investing in ground-breaking international projects like this one, we are helping UK businesses transform science fiction into commercial advantage, resulting in jobs, growth and innovation. This game-changing technology will ensure the UK continues to lead the world on telecommunications satellites and further bolster our growing space sector, which already generates £16.4bn of income annually and supports 45,000 jobs.”
The UK Space Agency has invested £65m in Eutelsat Quantum, through the European Space Agency, in addition to an expected £170m from UK industry. Users are expected to include governments, communications on the move and data networks. It will offer extensive coverage of the Middle East and North Africa region, stretching into Europe, Africa and Central Asia.
In the future all satellites are expected to be reconfigurable, enabling the next generation of space applications, and supporting existing applications – such as telecommunications and Earth observation – which require the movement of large data sets. This will make space more accessible, sustainable and help grow the sector.
Elodie Viau, ESA’s Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, said, “I am proud to witness the successful launch of Eutelsat Quantum, which is the result of an ESA Partnership Project. ESA fosters innovation in the space industry in the UK and across Europe, enabling it to succeed in the highly competitive global telecommunications markets. Investing in space creates jobs and prosperity on Earth.”
The launch, which was delayed in part due to the Covid-19 pandemic, took place last night (30 July 2021) on an Ariane 5 launcher. Eutelsat Quantum’s final geostationary position is some 22,000 miles above the Earth and it will come into service in October.
The 3.5-tonne telecommunications satellite, which is the size of a delivery van, was developed under an ESA Partnership Project with French operator Eutelsat, satellite manufacturers Airbus and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.
The satellite consists of three main components. The payload was built in Portsmouth, the platform was built in Guildford and the active receive antenna was built in Madrid. These three components came together in the Airbus satellite test facility in Toulouse prior to shipment to launch site.
Richard Franklin, Managing Director of Airbus Defence and Space in the UK said, “The revolutionary technology we designed and manufactured here in the UK for Eutelsat Quantum confirms our position as a global leader in state-of-the-art satellite payloads. Last year Airbus secured 40% of the geo telecoms market, up from an average 25% share, and Eutelsat Quantum is one brick in that success story – which has directly led to the development of our latest reprogrammable satellite OneSat.”
Eutelsat Quantum demonstrates the value of partnering with space agencies to bring the latest technologies to the market faster to deliver improved services for customers and users across the world.
Ben Stocker, SSTL’s Project Director said:
The EutelSat Quantum programme presented many challenges for SSTL to overcome during the development of the satellite system design, mechanical design, propulsion system and key subsystems within the satellite platform.
The skills and knowledge gained through successfully overcoming these challenges has enabled us to refine our engineering approach, especially for markets and applications where system reliability and availability are key requirements, and, with the continued support of the UK Space Agency and ESA, has put us in a very strong position to deliver our exciting upcoming pathfinder missions.
Pascal Homsy, Eutelsat’s Chief Technical Officer, said:
Our congratulations to Arianespace and the Guiana Space Center teams for successfully launching the Eutelsat Quantum satellite. The collaboration between Eutelsat, ESA, the UK Space Agency and Airbus Defence and Space on this ambitious satellite program has resulted in a world-first.
Eutelsat Quantum will supply services with unprecedented in-orbit reconfigurability in coverage, frequency and power, allowing complete mission rehaul, at any orbital position. It is a testimony to the innovative spirit and expertise of the European space industry.
About 1,000 people worked on the project across Europe including more than 500 Airbus staff in Portsmouth and Stevenage including payload design engineers, software engineers, spacecraft assembly teams, design office teams, payload manufacturing teams, and supply chain specialists.
Future sales of the technologies developed under the programme are expected to create more jobs. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
29 Jul 21. USSF’s Monolith R&D Smallsat Launched Via Rocket Lab’s Electron Rocket. Rocket Lab has successfully launched a research and development satellite to orbit for the United States Space Force (USSF) — this mission was Rocket Lab’s fourth launch for the year and their 21st Electron mission, overall. The mission, named ‘It’s a Little Chile Up Here’ in a nod to the beloved green chile of New Mexico where the Space Test Program is based, launched from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula at 06:00 UTC / 18:00 NZT on July 29th. A single Air Force Research Laboratory-sponsored demonstration satellite called Monolith, built by Space Dynamics Laboratory, was deployed to LEO by the Electron launch vehicle in Rocket Lab’s second mission for the USSF.
Monolith will demonstrate the use of a deployable sensor, where the sensor’s mass is a substantial fraction of the total mass of the spacecraft, changing the spacecraft’s dynamic properties and testing ability to maintain spacecraft attitude control. Analysis from the use of a deployable sensor aims to enable the use of smaller satellite buses when building future deployable sensors such as weather satellites, thereby reducing the cost, complexity, and development timelines.
Monolith is an Air Force Research Lab program designed to explore the application of small satellites if 6U (2x3x1) or 12U (2x3x2) bus sizes can be configured such that a large deployable sensor can be installed in one of the 2x3x1 side faces for DoD programs.
The mission was procured by the Department of Defense (DoD) Space Test Program (STP) and the Rocket Systems Launch Program (RSLP), both based at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico.; in partnership with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) as part of the Rapid Agile Launch Initiative (RALI). The mission is being managed by the Launch Enterprise’s Small Launch and Targets Division, which is part of the USSF’s launch organization of choice.
“Our continuing partnership with Rocket Lab USA demonstrates SMC’s dedication to grow our Nation’s space capabilities both in Government, and the private sector,” said Col. Timothy Sejba, the Space & Missile Systems Center (SMC) program executive officer for Space Development. “This mission proves the functionality of innovative space launch for the Government by working with an agile company that is working diligently to meet the needs of the DoD.”
“Congratulations to all the teams behind Monolith. We’re proud to have safely delivered another mission to orbit for the United States Space Force,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck. “Programs like the Rapid Agile Launch Initiative are shining a light on the crucial role small launch can play in supporting fast-paced innovation in orbit to support innovation and space capabilities.” (Source: Satnews)
27 Jul 21. iRocket Signs Space Act Agreement With NASA To Start Building Autonomous, Reusable Rockets For Smallsats. On July 27, 2021, iRocket announced that the company signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. iRocket is a New York startup building autonomous reusable rockets to cargo smallsat constellations to LEO via the company’s Shockwave launch vehicle. iRocket develops cost-effective launch vehicles that can support 300 and 1500 kg payloads for satellite constellation providers for national security satellites, 5G internet constellations, the Internet of Things (IoT), biotech research, and space exploration.
Under this agreement, NASA will help to accelerate iRocket’s next-gen reusable engine development by providing testing and engineering support of up to $50m over five years. iRocket will significantly reduce launch costs against competitors, such as SpaceX, and rapidly deploy smallsats to LEO orbit with the first launch planned for 2023.
iRocket recently graduated from the NYU Endless Frontiers Lab 2020-2021 Deep Tech cohort and is scheduled to close its next funding round on August 13th, 2021.
iRocket is currently supporting the U.S. Space Force (USSF) and Space & Missile Systems Center (SMC) on a Phase II rapid prototype development contract for the firm’s reusable launch vehicles, with plans to scale up to Shockwave V to deliver cargo anywhere around the world in under an hour, fully supporting logistics carriers, national security cargoes and humanitarian missions. Space Force’s first Rocket Cargo project studies possibilities of rapid launches and delivery of material and even personnel across the globe.
Blue Origin’s reusable New Shepard launch vehicle recently successfully performed its first crewed mission on July 20, another reusability milestone in the space industry. New Shepard demonstrated that more and more companies are starting to realize the significance of reusability in this industry.
iRocket’s Shockwave will be a fully autonomous launch vehicle and the only fully reusable small launcher in the market. The rocket will consist of two stages to orbit, the first and second stage landing back on the launch site. iRocket will prove inland launch capabilities to the Department of Defense and be mission capable of launching within 24 hrs. The company plans to launch all rockets from Launch Complex 48 at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
“We are excited about this new partnership with NASA Marshall Space Flight Center as iRocket’s innovative reusable engine technology has been under development since 2018 and will be ready for testing in late September,” says iRocket CEO, Asad Malik. (Source: Satnews)
25 Jul 21. EUMETSAT Becomes The Largest Operator Of Sentinel Missions. EUMETSAT’s third generation of geostationary and second generation of polar-orbiting satellites will carry atmosphere-monitoring Copernicus Sentinel instruments in their payloads.
EUMETSAT will become the largest operator of the Copernicus program’s Sentinel satellite missions under an agreement signed with the European Commission. Copernicus is a component of the European Union Space Program. It looks at our planet and its environment for the benefit of all European citizens. It offers information services that draw from satellite Earth Observation (EO) and in-situ (non-space) data. The €735m, seven-year, Contribution Agreement on the Implementation of the Copernicus Component of the Space Program of the European Union extends and strengthens EUMETSAT’s role in ocean and atmosphere-monitoring missions in the EO program. It entrusts EUMETSAT with the continued operation and exploitation of the existing Copernicus Sentinel-3 and -6 ocean-monitoring missions, the up-coming Sentinel-4 and -5 atmosphere monitoring missions and future missions designed to monitor carbon dioxide and the climate. EUMETSAT will also operate, process and disseminate the data from the future Copernicus anthropogenic carbon dioxide-monitoring mission, CO2M. In addition, the agency will generate global atmospheric and ocean products from the future Copernicus Imaging Microwave Radiometer (CIMR) and CRISTAL polar-monitoring missions. The Copernicus 2.0 agreement signed by the commission and EUMETSAT also extends funding to the WEkEO Copernicus Data and Information Access Service for the next seven years. WEkEO is a joint service involving EUMETSAT, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Mercator Ocean International and the European Environment Agency.
“EUMETSAT’s established expertise as an operational meteorological satellite agency means we are well-placed to bring the benefits of these critical missions to the citizens of the EU’s and our own member states,” EUMETSAT Director-General Phil Evans said. “The Copernicus Sentinel missions the EU has entrusted EUMETSAT to operate complement the missions of our own fleets. Through Sentinel missions comprised of instruments flying on EUMETSAT’s satellites, we will generate complementary products which will give highly accurate information about the Earth’s climate, atmosphere and oceans.”
Evans continued, “WEkEO is an extremely powerful federated platform using EUMETSAT’s experience in this domain, based on the organisation’s knowledge of the management of big data. It allows the agencies to supply their Copernicus Earth observation data to users, via the cloud, without energy-intensive duplication of data streams and archives.” (Source: Satnews)
27 Jul 21. SpaceX Wants FCC OK For Maritime Terminal Test + AsiaSat Renews France 24 Service Agreement. SpaceX has asked the FCC for permission to install two (normally) ground-based Starlink user terminals aboard a maritime vessel. The application says the request is “experimental” and would run September 1st until October 31st. The full request says, “[to] operate two mobile ground-based Starlink user terminals aboard a maritime vessel while embarked in US territorial waters in the North Atlantic Ocean.”
It isn’t known what SpaceX intends to do with the experimental dishes, but it is worth remembering that the rocket company has two of its own vessels in the region. They are the ‘drone’ landing barges that are used for booster landings.
More traditionally, an installation was made in Oklahoma by the tribal Cherokee Nation by Chief Chuck Hoskin saying the tribe needs the SpaceX technology for its internet connectivity.
Also, France 24 has renewed a multi-year service agreement with Asia Satellite Telecommunications (AsiaSat) to continue distribution of France 24’s HD and SD television services in the Asia-Pacific on AsiaSat 5.
The news services, transmitting in free-to-air, include France 24’s English HD TV channel, English SD and French SD TV channels, addressing both French and English speaking viewers across the region.
The partnership of France 24 and AsiaSat began with the successful launch of France 24’s English-language news channel on AsiaSat 5 in 2009 and subsequently extended to the distribution of a French channel in 2010 and English HD service in 2016. France 24 has built a strong presence in Asia, with access to more than 88 million TV households via free-to-air TV networks and payTV platforms, and more than 675,000 hotel rooms in 27 Asia-Pacific (APAC) countries.
France 24 offers Asian viewers round-the-clock news and analysis from a French perspective, featuring special reports and magazines, as well as promoting the French vision with high quality content covering the French ‘art de vivre’, news of business updates, trends and technology, and sports in different continents. (Source: Satnews)
28 Jul 21. NSR Does Flat, Forecasts Nearly $17bn for Flat Panel Satellite Antennas Over Next Decade. A very impressive $17bn in equipment revenues is anticipated and addressed by NSR’s Flat Panel Satellite Antenna Analysis, 6th Edition report. The report sees over 6M cumulative FPA shipments generating nearly $17bn in equipment revenues over the next decade. The growing Non-GEO HTS Consumer Broadband market will yield nearly 5M in shipments alone, driven by the growing number of HTS constellations expected over the next 10 years.
“Near-term, COVID-19 continues to present supply-chain challenges across the equipment supplier landscape,” states Principal Analyst and Report Co-Author Brad Grady. “However, customer demand remains robust, with FPAs reaching upwards of 15 percent Satellite Terminal penetration by 2030 – up from basically 0 percent today.”
“There is a lot of activity in the FPA market,” adds Charlotte Van Camp, NSR Analyst and report Co-Author. “Prices are being pushed down, and we’ve seen good improvements on antenna performance, but in the end, it will be one or the other.” She adds, “Several players are still looking for a spot in the FPA market. The biggest winners of the market will be the ‘can do it all multi-orbit, multi-frequency, multi-beam antenna’.”
Grady continues, “Total Cost of Ownership is driving SATCOM markets. Increasingly, that means all the way down to the ground segment – and FPAs provide a highly flexible capability to leverage an increasingly complex space segment.”
Bottom Line, Commercial Mobility end-users will generate 60 percent of cumulative revenues. Consumer Broadband applications will unlock $1B in revenues for FPA manufacturers. HTS architectures in GEO and Non-GEO account for nearly 99 percent of In-Service Units by 2030 (up from 30 percent in 2020), and GEO-HTS remains as the largest cumulative equipment revenue source – more than $10B by 2030.
NSR’s Flat Panel Satellite Antenna Analysis, 6th Edition report provides a 360-degree overview of the FPA market, forecasts the global industry growth in terms of shipped units, in-service units, and equipment revenues across nine regions and across five different types of services for both FSS and HTS. The market drivers and restraints that NSR believes will lead to market growth in the next ten years are clearly explained to offer a wider outlook as to what the future holds for stakeholders. (Source: Satnews)
25 Jul 21. A European Satellite Constellation Expansion Is Underway By Rovial SAS + Consortium Members. With precise plans to develop a commercially driven, hybrid, multi-orbit global constellation, the Paris based startup — ROVIAL — responded to EU Commissioner Thierry Breton’s strong interest, as articulated recently to an audience of nearly 500 European space sector companies, for the EU private sector to develop a space-based system for secure connected services in Europe and across the globe. That system, to be focused on the telecommunications sector, is going to be designed to be Europe’s “third pillar” after the Galileo and Copernicus systems.
The target is to install a network to complement existing telecommunications infrastructure and serve Europe’s global requirement for 100% covered and always-on connectivity services and meet the exploding demand for multimedia content. Europe´s constellation will be end-to-end quantum encrypted to ensure secure communications. The satellites will be uniquely designed to provide services in geosynchronous and non-geosynchronous orbits that are environmentally friendly and sustainable, scalable, density-adaptive for user demand, and operate in millimeter wave using free space optical (FSO) technology to ensure a very large system capacity to support anticipated exponential demand for connected services.
ROVIAL expects to launch a “pathfinder” demonstration mission in late 2022. As the system´s owner-operator, the firm is leading a consortium at the core of which are the co-founding members:
Mynaric, a German developer of laser communications systems.
The consortium is currently expanding to include European new space SMEs that specialize in satellite and ground system components and subsystems. To better evaluate these SMEs’ services and products, the consortium is organizing a series of workshops in various EU member states.
The first such workshop was held recently at ISAR’s Munich headquarters. About 30, German-based, space-tech SMEs introduced their capabilities and expertise in such areas as solar panels, propulsion systems, payload components, specialized radiation-hardened components, and ground system elements that can be included in the design and build-out of ROVIAL’s constellation.
Speaking on behalf of the consortium, Raghu Das, a co-founder of ROVIAL and co-founder of the GEO satellite operator ProtoStar Ltd. and the mobile IOT operator, Helios Wire Ltd., said, “ROVIAL and the consortium were very impressed by the breadth, quality, and capabilities of the German SMEs’ services and products. We expect that many of them can be leveraged to help realize our vision to develop an EU-built state-of-the-art constellation. The success of this workshop has encouraged us to now organize similar SME workshops in other parts of Europe to further strengthen our consortium’s supply chain..”
Dr. Ernst K. Pfeiffer, CEO of HPS Group GmbH and Chairman of the German SME association (Best-of-Space.de), said, “The German aerospace SME eco-system has long been a critical contributor to the advancement of the European Union’s old and new space sector economy, and is very excited to learn about Rovial’s planned constellation and the significant benefits it will bring to Europe and the rest of the world. We look forward to working closely with the Consortium’s founding members and supplying key services and products for this exciting project. ROVIAL is definitely about to surround itself with the industrial elite to ensure access to cutting edge technology and the rapid deployment of our constellation.” (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.