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26 Aug 21. CesiumAstro, Inc. Partners With the U.S. Department of Defense to Launch On-Orbit Active Phased Array Satellite Testbed for Global Users.
CesiumAstro Inc. today announces a key milestone in its collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Innovation Unit; CesiumAstro’s first two spacecraft have been successfully integrated as secondary payloads onto the Atlas V rocket which will deliver NASA’s Landsat 9 to orbit next month.
CesiumAstro is set to launch Cesium Mission 1 (CM1), a two-satellite on-orbit testbed that allows both commercial and defense customers to run experiments using its active electronically steerable array (AESA) communications and crosslink communications payloads. Consisting of two 6U CubeSats, this mission will enable Low Earth Orbit (LEO) experimentation from September 2021 through 2026. CM1 is the first of several planned technology demonstration missions showcasing CesiumAstro’s leading-edge communications payloads.
CesiumAstro is partnering with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to demonstrate a reduced-latency direct downlink to tactical ground terminals as one of several planned commercial and defense experiments. DIU, a US Department of Defense (DoD) organization, partners with leading commercial enterprises across the country to adopt and scale technologies that help solve critically important challenges. DIU selected CesiumAstro as one of the latest additions to its distinguished cohort of companies demonstrating excellence and creating rich, inventive solutions in a variety of critical areas from autonomy and AI to human systems, cyber, space, and connectivity.
“DIU is cultivating a rich environment for innovation and partnership,” said Shey Sabripour, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of CesiumAstro. “This collaboration allows CesiumAstro to showcase the benefits of our scalable software-defined AESA technology in support of future DoD missions.”
Multiple experiments are planned on CM1 with partners across both commercial and government sectors. The communications payloads featured on CM1 are available for sale as standard and customizable products for both satellite and airborne missions.
Interested in partnering? Learn more about CesiumAstro’s product solutions: https://www.cesiumastro.com/products
Join the countdown to Cesium Mission 1 (CM1) and track the company’s journey here.
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, CesiumAstro builds high-throughput, software-defined phased array communication payloads for airborne and in-orbit platforms. Cesium’s full-stack, multi-mission hardware and software products enable a range of commercial and defense objectives. For more information, visit: https://www.cesiumastro.com.
(Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
26 Aug 21. Firefly Aerospace Set For First Launch Next Thursday; Static Test Passed.
“Firefly Alpha will provide a unique capability to the US Government that is not currently available: a 1,000 kg to orbit, commercial, domestic, launch vehicle that can be used for a wide variety of missions,” says Firefly spokesperson Kim Jennett.
The ambitious startup Firefly Aerospace expects to launch its first rocket, Alpha, from Vandenberg Space Force Base one week from today, setting up what could be a spirited rivalry with California-based Rocket Labs.
Rocket Labs has launched two NRO payloads from New Zealand, and NRO Director Christopher Scolese said Tuesday at the annual Space Symposium that his agency plans to launch two more next year from that country. Firefly plans to also launch its rockets from Cape Canaveral.
Firefly Alpha is designed to boost up to one ton of payload to Low Earth Orbit and 630 kilos to a 500-km Sun–Synchronous Orbit (SSO) for $15 million. The rocket is designed to either take single customers or multiple payloads.
The company declined to comment on any discussions there might or might not have been with the NRO, but company spokesperson Kim Jennett did say this:
“Firefly Alpha will provide a unique capability to the US Government that is not currently available: a 1,000 kg to orbit, commercial, domestic, launch vehicle that can be used for a wide variety of missions.”
For contrast, Rocket Labs is designed to carry up to 150 kilos of payload to a sun-synchronous orbit.
A fully loaded Firefly Alpha passed a 15-second burn static test on Aug. 18, in preparation for the coming launch. Company officials say the system passed the test with flying colors.
The company plans to have Alpha ready to launch twice a month, a remarkably fast and persistent record if they can achieve it. Interestingly, the company also plans to become a Tier 1 supplier to other so-called New Space companies.
“Our goal with this line of business is to become the Tier 1 supplier of components to the New Space industry,” Tom Markusic, CEO of Firefly Aerospace, said in a statement. “Our component sales business model has inherent advantages over businesses that focus on a single (e.g., rocket engines) or narrow range (e.g., valves) of components.”
The statement argues that “Firefly will establish flight heritage for all components before supplying them to other companies, providing customers with high confidence and low risk, as the components will have been fully proven in spaceflight missions, not just ground tests.”
With Alpha’s first launch a week away, the public — and government customer — will soon get a much better sense then of the system’s reliability. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
25 Aug 21. Next-Gen OPIR Missile Warning On Schedule For 2025 Launch.
“At this point, we do not assess any impact to the schedule but continue to evaluate that day by day,” said Col. Brian Denaro, SSC’s program manager for Next Gen OPIR.
The Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (Next-Gen OPIR) missile warning satellite program is progressing on schedule towards a first launch in 2025, according to officials from Space Force’s new Space Systems Command.
The next step is a system-wide critical design review (CDR) that should be finished by the end of the year, Col. Brian Denaro, SSC program executive officer (PEO) for Space Development, who manages the Next Gen OPIR program, told reporters at the Space Foundation’s annual Space Symposium.
His comments come a day after SSN announced that the program, designed to replace the current Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) constellation, has just successfully wrapped up a CDR of one key element: the Block 0 Geosynchronous Earth Orbit Space Vehicle.
Block 0 is the first iteration of satellites, composed of three satellites in GEO being built by Lockheed Martin, and two satellites in polar orbits, being built by Northrop Grumman.
“With this successful CDR, we remain on schedule to launch the first GEO satellite in 2025,” Denaro said in the release.
The House Armed Services Committee just last month chided Space Force for what it said were overly optimistic assessments of the cost and schedule for Next-Gen OPIR. The HAC report notes that the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE) has concluded that the planned launch in 2025 of the first program satellite, being built by Lockheed Martin, is “unrealistic.”
Asked about the disconnect, Denaro said that part of the problem is such reviews are based on historical evidence and trend analysis rather than current data.
The recent CDR evaluated “the cost, schedule, performance of the system as it relates to the space vehicle, as well as evaluating the risk,” he elaborated today. “So, out of that review … we had a number of items that we are going to tackle here in the near future, and that will lead toward a system-level critical design review here in the next several months, likely before the end of the year. That’s … the venue in which we’re evaluating that risk. At this point, we do not assess any impact to the schedule, but continue to evaluate that day by day.”
(Source: Breaking Defense.com)
24 Aug 21. Spaceflight Inc. Achieves 100% Mission Success for SXRS-5.
- On board SpaceX Transporter-2 in June, all 36 Spaceflight customer payloads were successfully deployed and Sherpa-LTE1 ignited thrusters on first attempt on orbit
During the 36th Space Symposium being held this week, Spaceflight Inc., the leading global launch services provider, announced it achieved 100% mission success for both its primary and secondary missions for SXRS-5, including the commissioning and successful firing of Astra’s Apollo Fusion electric propulsion system to enable orbital transfers. The mission, which launched on June 30 aboard SpaceX’s Transporter-2 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, featured two of the company’s innovative next-generation Sherpa orbital transfer vehicles (OTVs) — Sherpa-LTE1 and Sherpa-FX2.
For the primary mission, the avionics systems on the two OTVs were tasked with separating 35 payloads, including six microsatellites and 29 cubesats, with a hosted payload remaining on board. Following the successful deployment of all customer spacecraft, Sherpa-LTE1 initiated the mission’s second objective, ensuring all systems were operational and in good health, as well as commissioning the propulsion system for additional orbital maneuvers. All the data collected from these experiments will provide valuable insights before Sherpa-LTC1, Spaceflight’s first chemical propulsion OTV, launches on board SpaceX’s Transporter-3 mission, targeted for no earlier than December 2021.
Spaceflight successfully completed all of its identified mission goals over the past eight weeks. Milestones accomplished include:
- Avionics sequencers (R2A) on board the two Sherpa OTVs executed commands successfully, deploying 100% of customer payloads as planned within 24 hours.
- All Sherpa subsystems were confirmed operational and healthy. System temperatures, voltages, and other data were all within the predicted limits.
- Sherpa-LTE1 detumbled and commissioned the Astra/Apollo Fusion electric propulsion system.
- Sherpa-LTE1 successfully performed thruster ignition and operation on its first attempt and is now preparing to enter its tertiary phase of the mission where it will maneuver to various orbits and conduct automated maneuvers on a weekly basis.
- Successful demonstration of modular subsystems including Sherpa’s propulsion and command-and-control operations, proving rapid prototyping by going from kickoff to flight in less than six months.
- Spaceflight’s free flyer OTV, Sherpa-FX2, successfully demonstrated payload hosting, similar to Sherpa-FX1 which launched on SpaceX’s Transporter-1 mission in January.
- Contact was made with 34 of the 36 payloads within hours of launch, with several customers communicating with their spacecraft before the deployment sequence was complete.
- All spacecraft separation data was shared with the industry’s space object tracking body, 18th Space Control Squadron, as planned within 48 hours for ongoing tracking and monitoring.
“The success of this mission has exceeded our expectations, an indication the technology we designed will be effective in executing a wide variety of missions,” said Phil Bracken, VP of engineering for Spaceflight. “With its versatility and modular architecture, Sherpa will be capable of not only deploying satellites, but hosting them on orbit, supporting infrastructure development, using various kinds of propulsion — all at unmatched development speeds. We are excited to continue building on the success of SXRS-5 and innovating new ways to utilize Sherpa to support our customers’ missions.”
As the only company to have successfully flown three OTVs in six months, including the industry’s first electrical propulsion version, Spaceflight has plans to launch two more later this year, including its first chemical propulsion vehicle, Sherpa-LTC. Building on the success of these Sherpa missions and the company’s experience managing 41 missions to date, Spaceflight is actively planning Sherpa missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO) to GEO and cislunar orbital insertions.
“The successes of Sherpa-LTE1, and the promise of Sherpa-LTC, demonstrate the capabilities of our groundbreaking innovations to take spacecraft to any orbit — from LEO, medium Earth orbit, geostationary orbit, lunar or beyond, in a way that has never been accomplished before,” said Grant Bonin, SVP of business development at Spaceflight. “We are committed to the overall development of space and our Sherpa program is a significant component of our vision to offer the most comprehensive launch solutions to get our customers’ payloads to space — whenever and wherever they want.” (Source: ASD Network)
25 Aug 21. Kymeta and Comtech Telecommunications Corp. Announce Technology and Business Development Partnership. DoD and Commercial Customers Benefit Through Interoperability of the Kymeta™ u8 and the Comtech UHP-200 Universal Satellite Router.
Kymeta, the communications company making mobile global, and Comtech Telecommunications Corp. (NASDAQ: CMTL), a leading global provider of next-generation 911 emergency systems and secure wireless communications technologies, announced today a technology and business development partnership. As a result, Kymeta has diversified its service offerings via network compatibility with Comtech’s UHP-200 Universal Satellite Router and the Kymeta™ u8 terminal, and Comtech has expanded distribution of its recently acquired UHP product line and strengthened its ability to offer integrated VSAT solutions to its customers.
Comtech’s certified UHP platform will enable new and existing Department of Defense (DoD) and commercial customers to operate the state-of-the-art Kymeta u8 for cost-effective and seamless communication solutions through its VSAT router technology. Kymeta will begin offering UHP-based services in North America.
The UHP-200 is an extremely fast VSAT router with aggregate throughput up to 450 Mbps and powerful UHP-real-time operating system. Its small size, low power consumption, and low count of active electronic components ensure the highest reliability with over 200,000 hours mean time between failures. UHP’s disruptive TDMA technology can result in a 20% efficiency advantage over other TDMA solutions. When paired with Kymeta’s next-generation solutions, government and commercial users will have access to efficient operating capabilities on the UHP network using the Kymeta u8.
Kymeta technology is uniquely positioned to meet the demand for mobile broadband, providing internet access via satellite or hybrid satellite-cellular networks on a user-defined basis to enable connectivity while on the move and on the pause. When combined with Kymeta connectivity offerings and back-end support suite of services, Kymeta Connect™, customers have unique access to an experience and product that no other satellite antenna company offers today.
“Kymeta continues to adapt, move, and grow in the market and we are excited to continue diversifying and strengthening our partnerships,” said Bill Marks, EVP and Chief Development Officer of Kymeta. “With an increased demand for UHP-connected services particularly in North America, this strategic technology partnership with Comtech will further enhance communications and offer new capabilities when and wherever needed.”
“With end-markets for high-speed satellite-based networks growing, this partnership is a significant step in enhancing our solution offerings,” said Dr. Vagan Shakhgildian, President of Comtech Satellite Network Technologies, Inc. – Commercial Group. “We are thrilled to collaborate with a forward-thinking company like Kymeta to provide service to end users with the quality and reassurance they expect from our innovative companies.”
This follows Kymeta’s recent announcement with Comtech to broaden its network offerings for the Kymeta u8 terminal through interoperability with Comtech’s SLM-5650B modem and Comtech’s March 2021 announcement to acquire UHP Networks Inc. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
25 Aug 21. Gilmour Space, Exolaunch form ‘rideshare’ alliance for small satellite launches. Queensland rocket company Gilmour Space Technologies has formed an alliance with Berlin-based Exolaunch for a “rideshare” in small satellite launches and deployment.
Under the agreement, the companies will provide tailored launch, precise deployment and in-space transportation services for small satellite operators using Gilmour’s Eris – a hybrid launch vehicle.
This new deal aligns with the Australian Space Agency’s national civil priority areas, a roadmap of the industry over the next decade including access to space, earth observation and more.
Gilmour recently raised $61 m from global investors in July, boosting its total funding to $64 m, the largest private equity investment bagged in Australia.
The Queensland-based company has increased its partners internationally to expand its launch services to global customers, according to Adam Gilmour, CEO and co-founder of Gilmour Space.
“The need for sovereign launch capability is coming into focus for Australia,” he added.
Gilmour will utilise Exolaunch’s small satellite deployment technologies and in- space transportation services through the Reliant orbital transfer vehicle, which will assist Eris in low-Earth orbit.
“Reinforcing novel launch architecture with state-of-the-art deployment and in-space logistics services will pave the way for reliable launch solutions,” said Jeanne Medvedeva, VP of launch services, Exolaunch.
“We look forward to launching customers’ satellites from Australia on the Eris rockets making space more accessible for the New Space industry.”
Exolaunch will partner in Gilmour’s low-inclination missions through the Eris in future launches, set for its debut in 2022.
The Eris is equipped with a payload capacity of 300 to 4,000 kilograms to low-Earth orbits from both Australian and international launch sites.
Using its CarboNIX – a lightweight and scalable microsatellite separation system – and EXOpod, a CubeSat deployer, Exolaunch has accomplished 13 successful launches of 170 deployed small satellites.
This partnership comes as more space companies are investing into cheaper and more sustainable space activity.
“We look forward to launching customers’ satellites from Australia on the Eris rockets making space more accessible for the New Space industry,” said Medvedeva.
New Space is the recent commercialisation of the space sector, and now companies across the globe are gaining access to a previously government owned market.
But a larger industry comes with the increase of space debris, an issue gradually becoming worse.
Exolaunch are developing a line of environmentally friendly transfer vehicles named Reliant for the removal of space junk and ‘last-mile’ delivery – expected launch in 2023. (Source: Space Connect)
25 Aug 21. BAE Systems Unveils World’s Smallest M-Code Military GPS Receiver. BAE Systems, Inc. unveiled its ultra-small MicroGRAMTM-M global positioning system (GPS) receiver compatible with next-generation M-Code military GPS signals that are resistant to jamming and spoofing. About the size of a postage stamp, MicroGRAM-M is the world’s smallest, lightest, and most power-efficient M-Code embedded GPS receiver – delivering assured positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) for size-constrained and other micro-applications.
“We’re delivering reliable PNT where our customers need it – from soldiers’ handheld devices to small unmanned aerial vehicles,” said Greg Wild, director of Navigation and Sensor Systems at BAE Systems. “MicroGRAM-M provides our armed forces and allies with a low-SWAP M-Code GPS solution that’s resistant to adversaries’ disruption efforts in highly contested environments.”
MicroGRAM-M features rapid secure GPS signal acquisition, enhanced security and resiliency, anti-jamming and anti-spoofing capabilities, and the industry’s lowest power consumption for an M-Code device. The 1.0” x 1.25” x 0.275” MicroGRAM-M has the same physical dimensions as its predecessor, enabling quick upgradability to M-Code and reduced system integration costs. At its core is a proven, tamper-proof M-Code Common GPS Module that encapsulates classified data and signal processing.
“MicroGRAM-M is the latest BAE Systems M-Code military GPS product, joining MPETM-M and NavStrikeTM-M, which deliver enhanced awareness in highly contested environments and precision munitions guidance,” said John Watkins, vice president and general manager of Precision Strike & Sensing Solutions at BAE Systems. “Qualification of MicroGRAM-M is underway, with full-rate production expected in 2022.” (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
25 Aug 21. Space Force’s next generation of missile warning satellites passes major design milestone. The U.S. Space Force’s next generation of missile warning satellites has passed a major design milestone, clearing the way for fabrication and integration to begin.
The Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared program is the successor to the Space Based Infrared System, which currently operates as the military’s premier missile warning satellite constellation. Next Gen OPIR will be made up of five satellites: three in geostationary orbit (Next Gen OPIR GEO) and another two in highly elliptical orbits for polar coverage. The first satellite is set to launch in 2025.
On Aug. 24 during the 2021 Space Symposium trade show, the Space Force announced that the Next Gen OPIR GEO satellites had successfully completed critical design review, which validates the design’s maturity and opens the fabrication, integration and testing phase. Preliminary design review was completed in 2019. A systemwide critical review for Next Gen OPIR GEO is expected this fall.
“With this successful CDR, we remain on schedule to launch the first GEO satellite in 2025,” Col. Brian Denaro, program executive officer for space development and director of Space Systems Command’s Space Development Corps, said in a statement. “As the backbone of our nation’s assured missile warning capability, we are leveraging streamlined acquisition authorities on the Next Gen OPIR program to prototype solutions rapidly, using available industry capabilities and mature technology, to ensure that we can deliver advanced capabilities to the warfighter at operationally relevant speeds.”
The Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin $2.9 bn in 2018 for design work, while the Space Force issued another $4.9 bn to begin manufacturing.
The news comes shortly after two critical sensor payloads passed their own critical design reviews. Lockheed Martin has subcontracted to two teams to build the infrared sensor for the first three Next Gen OPIR GEO satellites. Raytheon Technologies and a team made up of Ball Aerospace and Northrop Grumman will provide one payload each to go on one of those satellites. Lockheed Martin will select one provider to supply a third sensor for the final GEO satellites.
Northrop Grumman is also designing the two polar satellites. The Space Force awarded the company $2.4 bn in 2020 for design work on those.
Meanwhile, the Space Force has already begun issuing contracts for the next set of Next Gen OPIR satellites. In May, the service awarded $29 m to Raytheon Technologies and $28 m to Millennium Space Systems, a Boeing subsidiary, to build digital models. The contractors will also use emerging digital engineering tools to validate whether Next Gen GEO satellites can fulfill their mission in a new orbital regime: medium Earth orbit closer to the planet’s surface.
24 Aug 21. NorthStar Earth & Space secures radio frequency spectrum license approval for planned satellite constellation. Government of Canada authorization is key milestone for NorthStar.
NorthStar Earth & Space (NorthStar) has received approval in principle from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) authorizing NorthStar to use all of the company’s requested radio frequency spectrum allocation for its planned 52-satellite constellation that will deliver a suite of information services related to Earth and space sustainability.
Specifically, ISED has authorized use for all NorthStar requested Ka-band and X-band radio-frequency ranges, ensuring that NorthStar will have the bandwidth required to deliver ms of images per day of highly detailed, information-rich imagery from multiple sensor types. The ISED approval in principle confirms NorthStar’s Canadian spectrum application is in full compliance with the Radio Regulations of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), an agency of the United Nations.
The full NorthStar 52-satellite constellation will be deployed in two segments. The initial 12-satellite constellation, named “Skylark”, is designed with optical sensors directed to near-Earth space and will deliver services to enhance Space Situational Awareness (SSA) and the safety of the space environment. NorthStar will launch a further forty satellites to enhance Skylark with additional optical sensors, while deploying a combination of hyperspectral and infrared (IR) sensors to provide unique and valuable Earth observation capabilities.
“As NorthStar is advancing towards the launch of its first three Skylark satellites, this authorization from ISED to operate NorthStar’s planned 52-satellite constellation with the radio-frequency spectrum that we’ll need is an important milestone” said Stewart Bain, CEO of NorthStar Earth & Space.
NorthStar’s Skylark satellites will enable the delivery of near real-time high-fidelity SSA information services, elevating traditional SSA to the level of Space Information & Intelligence (Si2). With a comprehensive view of all near-earth orbits (LEO, MEO, GEO & beyond), Skylark’s space-based sensors will deliver precise observations of more space objects with higher revisit frequency per object than any current system. Skylark will deliver a suite of decision-quality information services derived from its unparalleled coverage, object custody, and enhanced predictive capabilities.
Following the full operating capability of NorthStar’s debut Skylark SSA constellation, the follow-on forty satellite constellation will deploy a combination of hyperspectral and IR sensors to provide exceptional Earth observation capabilities, generating information-rich content enabling unique and valuable Earth Information and Intelligence (Ei2) services for a wide range of industry, government and military customers. (Source: PR Newswire)
25 Aug 21. Astroscale’s ELSAd Successfully Demonstrates Repeated Magnetic Capture. Astroscale’s End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) successfully tested its ability to capture its client spacecraft using the servicer’s magnetic capture system, in a demonstration performed on Wednesday, August 25th. A major challenge of debris removal, and on-orbit servicing in general, is docking with or capturing a client object; this test demonstration served as a successful validation of ELSA-d’s ability to dock with a client, such as a defunct satellite. When ELSA-d was launched and commissioned, a mechanical locking mechanism held its servicer and client spacecraft together. The first step of this demonstration was to unlock this mechanism. Once unlocked, the magnetic capture system alone held the client to the servicer, preparing ELSA-d to repeatedly capture and release the client in future demonstrations. The client was then separated from the servicer for the first time and captured to validate the magnetic capture system. During the release and capture period, Astroscale UK’s Mission Operations and Ground Segment teams checked out and calibrated the rendezvous sensors and verified relevant ground system infrastructure and operational procedures. The Mission Control teams are based at the National In-Orbit Servicing Control Centre at the Satellite Applications Catapult, Harwell UK a collaboration funded by UK Research and Innovation. The successful completion of this phase paves the way for the remainder of Astroscale’s pioneering demonstrations of space debris removal. The engineering and Mission Control teams are now preparing for “capture without tumbling,” where the client will be separated to a farther distance, and the method of rendezvous and docking will rely on a combination of on-board autonomous software and advanced ground processing of telemetry and commands. This demonstration is expected to be completed in the coming months and will be followed by the “capture with tumbling” phase, the world’s first attempt to capture a tumbling object in space. “The final capture demonstration will be “diagnosis and client search,” in which the servicer will inspect the client, withdraw to simulate a far-range search, then approach and recapture the client.”
“This has been a fantastic first step in validating all the key technologies for rendezvous and proximity operations and capture in space,” said Nobu Okada, Founder & CEO of Astroscale. “We are proud to have proven our magnetic capture capabilities and excited to drive on-orbit servicing forward with ELSA-d.”
24 Aug 21. Optus to lead joint bid with Raytheon and Thales for ADF’s JP9102 tender. The bid team, referred to as Team AUSSAT, will respond to the tender to deliver a sovereign military SATCOM solution. Satellite owner and operator Optus is set to lead a joint bid with Raytheon Australia and Thales Australia to respond to the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) JP9102 tender. The JP9102 programme is aimed at delivering a fully sovereign military satellite communications (SATCOM) system that will enable the joint command and control of deployed joint task forces.
In leading this bid team, which is referred to as Team AUSSAT, Optus is expected to use its experience in operating seven telecommunications satellites to deploy software-defined satellite Optus 11 in 2023 for Australia and New Zealand.
Optus chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said: “The bid team, Team AUSSAT, has a unique proposition being the only team with an unrivalled history of owning and operating satellites in Australia, by Australians, for Australians – drawing synergies from two partner companies with their exceptional pedigrees in building and delivering world-class defence capabilities.”
Raytheon will leverage its expertise in delivering certified and integrated space systems and Thales will draw on its experience in supplying advanced secure communication solutions.
Raytheon Australia managing director Michael Ward said: “We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with Optus and Thales Australia to provide a next-generation satellite technology solution, and we look forward to offering our global space surveillance and operation capabilities to the Australian Government through this important partnership.”
Team AUSSAT will be competing against several other contractors, including Airbus, Boeing Defence Australia and Lockheed Martin Australia for JP9102 tender. Australia’s Optus has launched ten satellites, operated 13 spacecraft, and provided support to more than 100 international space programmes since 1985. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
25 Aug 21. NSSLGlobal and Telesat Announce Strategic Co-operation Agreement for Telesat Lightspeed LEO Network. NSSLGlobal, a leading independent service provider of satellite communications to the government and maritime industry and Telesat, one of the world’s largest and most innovative satellite operators, have today signed a long-term strategic co-operation agreement to collaborate on the commercial and technical aspects of Telesat’s new Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation, Telesat Lightspeed, initially consisting of a global mesh network of 298 state-of the-art LEO satellites that are seamlessly integrated with on-ground data networks. Telesat Lightspeed will be the world’s most advanced LEO network, optimised to serve the critical connectivity requirements of enterprise, government and mobility customers.
The agreement will include the integration of Telesat Lightspeed services into NSSLGlobal’s value-added network, providing an expanded service portfolio that delivers increased performance, flexibility and resiliency for customers. As a key commercial launch partner, NSSLGlobal will provide a European end-user testing and trials facility for Telesat Lightspeed services at its UK Headquarters. From this facility, NSSLGlobal will support Telesat with service testing, performance validation and customer onboarding to the Telesat Lightspeed network, and also conduct field testing of user terminals from a range of providers. NSSLGlobal intends to market Telesat Lightspeed services into the European Defence and Maritime markets.
Sally-Anne Ray, Group CEO NSSLGlobal, said: “We have been working in close cooperation with Telesat for many years and on Telesat Lightspeed since 2019, including live demonstrations for key customers, and we are delighted to formally expand our partnership. Telesat Lightspeed will be a game-changer for our long-standing customers who demand the most reliable, cutting-edge technologies on the market. It is the only LEO satellite constellation offering that has been specifically designed first and foremost for mobility customers on land, sea and air. As cloud-based services become ever more prevalent within our customers network, it is vital that we are able to support these latency-sensitive applications whilst continuing to guarantee our government and maritime customers the highest levels of security, support and the value-added services that they have come to expect from NSSLGlobal.”
“The Telesat Lightspeed network will deliver the global, secure, resilient, and low-latency connectivity that NSSLGlobal’s blue-chip maritime and government customers demand for their next-generation applications,” said Tom Eaton, Telesat’s Vice President of International Sales. “With NSSLGlobal’s customer-centric service approach, we’re honored to expand our long-standing partnership to jointly bring unrivalled capabilities and cost economics to the market.”
NSSLGlobal is ready to demonstrate the capability supported by Telesat at its UK Headquarters to customers wishing to see how Telesat Lightspeed can transform satellite connectivity.
24 Aug 21. Spacecom Attains Initial Operational Capability, Commander Says. The U.S. Space Command reached initial operational capability today and is on the path to meeting full operational capability in the near future, its commander said.
Army Gen. James H. Dickinson spoke today at the U.S. Space Foundation’s 36th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“We were absolutely ready since day one,” he said, meaning the date it was established, Aug. 29, 2019, as the Defense Department’s 11th and newest combatant command.
IOC is an inflection point for Spacecom, he said. “United States Space Command has matured to the point where we have strategic effects.”
Now, Spacecom can expand its structural, functional and organizational gains made since its establishment. “It’s where we can credibly claim to be organized and effective for employing our enduring, no-fail supporting functions to the joint force,” he said.
Dickinson stressed the important role allies and partners play in Spacecom’s mission and that of the entire department.
Spacecom has more than 100 data sharing agreements with allies, inter-governmental teammates and commercial partners, he said. These agreements exchange information, enhance space domain awareness, increase the safety of spaceflight operations, and lay the foundation for future collaboration in space operations.
The general added that Spacecom has established command and control capabilities, and has participated in 24 tier-one war games and exercises, which are governmental-wide events to test the United States’ collective response to real world contingencies.
“Our participation helps test and refine space warfighting command and control relationships,” he said.
Today, threats from China and Russia are even more pronounced than they were when Spacecom was established, he said. The value of Spacecom to protect and defend U.S. and allied interests in space is even more significant.
“One of our most important sources of American strength is free and open access to the benefits of space-based capabilities,” he said. “Free and open access requires a peaceful domain. That’s why U.S. Space Command’s fundamental objective is to deter a conflict in space. And if deterrence fails, we will defeat aggression, through delivering space combat power for the joint and combined force. … So having reached IOC, we’re even more capable now of doing all of that.” (Source: US DoD)
24 Aug 21. L3Harris Expands Satellite Production Site, Adds Unclassified Satellite Line for National Defense. L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX) is expanding its satellite production site to include advanced production of unclassified satellites, which will deliver experimental capabilities for national defense.
The Central Florida location is home to more than 100,000 square feet of space used for development, manufacturing and testing of full satellites and components which already deliver complex, classified capabilities for national defense. The increased production capability allows L3Harris to develop and test the experimental Navigation Technology Satellite-3 (NTS-3), which is a priority program for the U.S. Air Force. Facility investments also make it possible to develop and integrate three sizes of small-to-medium responsive satellites in support of urgent U.S. Department of Defense missions addressing evolving threats.
“Our customers face urgent threats that must be addressed in months rather than years,” said Ed Zoiss, President of L3Harris Space and Airborne Systems. “We prioritized facility investments to meet their accelerating timelines.”
Two of the company’s eight buildings have recently been upgraded to manufacture multiple end-to-end satellites per month. L3Harris has built eight satellites at the expanded Palm Bay facility that are currently on orbit and another 10 are in various stages of development. The company plans to add more production capacity by the end of the year to produce six satellites per month.
About L3Harris Technologies
L3Harris Technologies is an agile global aerospace and defense technology innovator, delivering end-to-end solutions that meet customers’ mission-critical needs. The company provides advanced defense and commercial technologies across air, land, sea, space and cyber domains. L3Harris has approximately $18bn in annual revenue and 47,000 employees, with customers in more than 100 countries. L3Harris.com. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
24 Aug 21. WA’s first ‘homegrown’ CubeSat launch countdown is on. Curtin University has begun the countdown on Tuesday at the Bentley Campus for its first “homegrown” satellite launch, only days away from the mission.
The Binar-1 CubeSat – a miniature satellite – will be launching on 28 August upon a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida, heading to the International Space Station (ISS).
WA Premier Mark McGowan, Minister for Science Roger Cook, Curtin vice-chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne, and professors and students joined together to start the clock.
The researchers are part of Curtin University’s Space Science and Technology Centre (SSTC), in partnership with AROSE (Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth) and Furgo.
Binar-1 – named from the Noongar word for fireball – will take a day to travel to the ISS, where it will be deployed in low-Earth orbit for the team on the Curtin ground station to make contact.
There are two cameras built into the spacecraft for taking pictures of WA’s coastline, which will be relayed back to Earth.
Its objective is to test the spacecraft system that will eventually be part of the SSTC moon mission – Curtin is set on a WA-build spacecraft launched to the moon by 2025, the Binar Prospector.
“The launch of Binar-1 is our first real step towards that goal,” said Phil Bland, John Curtin Distinguished Professor.
“Being able to build spacecraft affordably means that we can rapidly iterate technology, which is a key element in developing advanced systems for exploration,” he added.
The Binar Prospector mission – if successful – will launch around the time NASA begins its Artemis Mission, expected to be delayed after its original date in 2024.
According to the website, the spacecraft consolidates subsystems into a single electronics board, allowing for a larger payload equipment, higher than traditional CubeSats.
The Binar-1 weighs 1.5 kilograms, made from aluminium, copper and fibreglass.
Over the next 18 months, Professor Bland said the program has six more launches planned.
He added that Australia has only flown 15 of its own spacecraft, and the Binar-1 was to “make spacecraft affordable, and space accessible for WA innovators”.
The program is backed by serious spearheads in the sector, including NASA, the European Space Agency, Furgo, the WA government and other smaller companies.
Professor Hayne said the mission will put Australia in the “driver’s seat” of furthering the nation’s presence in space.
“The team has also developed an outstanding school outreach program to put space technology in the hands of students, giving them hands-on experience and real-world inspiration,” she added.
Binar has been involved in numerous other space missions, such as NASA’S InSight mission to study the Martian interior, the ESA’s Roscosmos’ ExoMars mission and other high-profile jobs.
The Australian space industry has grown in more recent years, expecting to create over 20,000 jobs by 2030 and further its efforts in strengthening international relationships. (Source: Space Connect)
24 Aug 21. Australia approves Whalers Way site for rocket launch. The Australian government has approved the commercial launch of a Taiwanese rocket into orbit from South Australia this year, a “significant milestone” in the nation’s space industry.
Taiwan Innovative Space (tiSPACE) will conduct a test flight of its Hapith I rocket from newly licensed Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex, operated by Southern Launch.
The date is expected to be announced in the coming months.
The launch site will be part of a test campaign for three suborbital rocket launches in the future, to determine whether it is a viable site for more suborbital and orbital missions.
Data will be collected during the missions, measuring environmental impacts on the rocket during its orbit.
TiSPACE’s Hapith I is a 10 meter, two stage rocket, designed to be lightweight while carrying significant payloads into space – along with reduced costs.
“Southern Launch is pleased to be partnering with TiSPACE to conduct the first test launch at our Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex on the Eyre Peninsula,” said CEO Lloyd Damp.
He added the regulatory approval is significant as it will be the first site established in Australia.
The Taiwan-based company received its first rocket permit from the Australian government on 9 August, and the company is considering relocating its operations to Australia.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter said it is an “important outcome” in showing Australia’s space capabilities to competitive countries.
“Space is a significant global growth market that will support Australia’s economic future through big investment, new technologies and job growth across multiple industries,” he said.
The Morrison government has invested over $700m into the sector since 2018 in efforts to reach a $12bn industry, expecting to create another 20,000 jobs by 2030.
Australia has slowly increased its space efforts since the establishment of the Australian Space Agency in 2018.
Although the nation previously assisted in NASA missions – such as the Apollo moon landing – it has only recently boosted its own home based operations.
According to Australia’s civil space strategy for 2019 to 2028, a key initiative is access to space, which will be supported by a roadmap to increase the nation’s launch market with small and large businesses.
Head of the Australian Space Agency Enrico Palermo said the nation is serious about growing the industry, and this move is a “significant milestone”.
“We are passionate about growing a thriving space industry – one that can open doors for our national space sector to launch technologies from home and attract greater investment from international launch customers,” he said. (Source: Space Connect)
20 Aug 21. United States Space Force Next Gen OPIR Program completes Block 0 GEO Space Vehicle Critical Design Review. The United States Space Force’s Space Systems Command, Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared program, successfully passed a major milestone, completing its Block 0 Geosynchronous Earth Orbit Space Vehicle Critical Design Review on Aug. 20, 2021.
This CDR milestone, the culmination of 34 subsystem and payload reviews, locks the space vehicle technical baseline, a key step in validating satellite design maturity and readiness to proceed with flight-unit fabrication, assembly, system integration, and test.
“With this successful CDR, we remain on schedule to launch the first GEO satellite in 2025,” said Col. Brian Denaro, program executive officer for Space Development and director of SSC’s Space Development Corps which manages the Next Gen OPIR program. “As the backbone of our nation’s assured missile warning capability, we are leveraging streamlined acquisition authorities on the Next Gen OPIR program to prototype solutions rapidly, using available industry capabilities and mature technology, to ensure that we can deliver advanced capabilities to the warfighter at operationally relevant speeds.”
The Next Gen OPIR program will succeed the Space Based Infrared Systems program. Next Gen OPIR is designed provide a resilient space-based global missile warning capability against emerging missile and counter-space threats.
The Next Gen OPIR GEO space vehicles integrate a new OPIR sensor with an enhanced Lockheed Martin 2100 common satellite bus. Early integration demonstrations on engineering developmental units were conducted to support this CDR. These demonstrations indicate that critical satellite components will meet the requirements established by the Department of Defense.
The Next Gen OPIR Block 0 GEO System Critical Design Review is expected later this fall.
Space Systems Command, is a USSF field command and is responsible for developing and acquiring lethal and resilient space capabilities for warfighters by rapidly identifying, prototyping, fielding and sustaining innovative, space-based solutions to meet the demands of the National Defense Strategy. SSC’s functions include developmental testing, production, launch, on-orbit checkout and maintenance of USSF space systems, as well as oversight of USSF science and technology activities.
23 Aug 21. Millennium Space Systems demonstrates deployable tape technology. Millennium Space Systems, a Boeing (NYSE: BA) company, successfully demonstrated the ability of deployable tether technology to significantly reduce the time a satellite remains on orbit after service life completion.
“Thousands of satellites will launch over the next decade, creating serious congestion in low Earth orbit,” said Patrick Kelly, Ph.D., Dragracer program manager at Millennium Space Systems. “What we’ve proven is a way to safely and deliberately deorbit retired satellites.”
Dragracer is the first direct comparison of a drag tape on two identical satellites. The satellite outfitted with a 70m Terminator Tape® developed by Tethers Unlimited, burned upon reentry to Earth’s atmosphere after eight months. The satellite without tape will naturally deorbit unaided on its journey back to Earth after at least seven years.
“If a satellite has a two-year operational life, you’re looking at a big piece of space debris sticking around for potentially decades,” said Kelly. “With drag tape, we significantly reduce the time it remains space debris, and it’s one less piece of debris to track.”
The Terminator Tape® creates additional surface area that interacts with the Earth’s atmosphere to create drag, which draws satellites back to Earth faster. The tape is deployed with a simple mechanism when a satellite is ready to de-orbit. And, because the tape is so lightweight, it has no effect on the satellite’s primary mission.
“Dragracer is the first complete demonstration of safe and rapid deorbit of a satellite by the Terminator Tape Deorbit Module,” said Robert Hoyt, president of Tethers Unlimited. “The Terminator Tape is an affordable, lightweight, patented, and now flight-proven solution for responsible end-of-mission disposal of satellites to help ensure the long-term sustainability of space operations.”
Millennium Space designed and developed Dragracer in just nine months – and Dragracer then launched from Auckland, New Zealand, November 19, 2020. The program was a collaborative effort with Tethers Unlimited, mission launch service provider TriSept and launch vehicle provider Rocket Lab. (Source: PR Newswire)
23 Aug 21. AAC Clyde Space starts AAC Space Africa to take part in Africa’s growing space sector. AAC Clyde Space, a leading New space company, today announced it has founded AAC Space Africa to capitalize on the rapidly growing market for satellites and space services in Africa. AAC Space Africa will design, build, and deliver space missions to the continent from its Cape Town base in South Africa’s Western Cape Province. The new subsidiary will also be the group’s centre of competence for advanced radio communication.
The new company will be managed by Dr Robert Van Zyl as Managing Director and Francois Visser as Technical Director. They bring more than 40 years of small satellite experience to the company, having pioneered the African CubeSat industry through several missions, including the first CubeSat launched by the continent. Their expertise spans all facets of New space technologies, with a special focus on communications.
The team will initially focus on radio communication systems as well as sales and marketing. The team is expected to grow quickly in the coming year to meet demand from the African space economy, which is set to grow to $10bn by 2024 (NewSpace Africa Industry Report 2019).
“The need for space services in Africa is growing rapidly as Government, companies and communities seek efficient ways to support development and build out crucial infrastructure. We see great potential for small satellites to provide timely, accurate and targeted data for sectors such as weather forecasting, ocean monitoring, agricultural planning, and land management.
The ability to provide data from space and monitor key issues across the continent will help Africa develop at a far more rapid pace over the next decade. Adding local presence and expert knowledge to our existing commercial offering will put AAC in an excellent position to address these growing needs. We look forward to taking an active role in the South African space community and the wider market,” says CEO Luis Gomes.
AAC selected South Africa as the base for its new subsidiary AAC Space Africa, as the country has an established space industry as well as a strong position in communication systems, with highly skilled engineers and data scientists. AAC Space Africa will also be the centre of competence for advanced radio communication systems for the entire AAC group, becoming the worldwide supplier of advanced radio systems for AAC’s space missions.
AAC Clyde Space has previously been active in the African market through its European companies’ hubs, most recently by supporting Mauritius in its efforts to become a space nation and to track ocean currents with earth observation technologies. (Source: PR Newswire)
20 Aug 21. Next-Gen OPIR sensor payload clears critical milestone. A new missile warning satellite developed for US Space Force cleared a major developmental milestone, as service and industry partners prepare to press forward with payload testing and assembly. The Raytheon-designed sensor payload for the Block 0 variant of the space force’s Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (Next-Gen OPIR) received critical design review (CDR) approval by service leaders on 17 August, according to a company statement. The sensor payload, once delivered, will be integrated into space delivery vehicles developed by Lockheed Martin.
By clearing the CDR milestone, programme officials with Raytheon’s intelligence and space directorate say the payload’s development is now “on schedule with Lockheed Martin on this go-fast program”, said Paul Meyer, vice president of the space & command and control (C2) division within Raytheon’s space and intel directorate. Development of the Block 0 sensor payload wastagged by US Air Force officials as one of several “go-fast” acquisition programmes, designed to circumvent portions of the service’s traditional procurement processes.
The CDR decision comes nearly a year after the Raytheon-built Next-Gen OPIR sensor payload and a variant built by a joint Northrop Grumman and Bell Aerospace team cleared the preliminary design review (PDR) milestone in June 2020. Since then, the US Department of Defense has set aside USD2.9bn for its Next-Gen OPIR for fiscal year (FY) 2021, which included USD2.319bn for research and development and USD160.9m for procurement.
Next‐Gen OPIR is designed to augment and eventually replace the air force’s legacy, satellite-based early warning missile defence system, the Space‐Based Infrared System Constellation (SBIRS). Next-Gen OPIR satellites will operate at geosynchronous (GEO) orbit and will be equipped with advanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) sensor capabilities to address “adversary advances in missile technology and counter-space systems with added resiliency features”, according to FY2021 budget documents. (Source: Jane’s)
23 Aug 21. RUAG Space: Nearly 1000 Satellites Successfully Placed in Orbit. On Sunday, August 22, Paris Time, another 34 OneWeb internet satellites have been separated from the Soyuz launch vehicle and placed in orbit with a dispenser from RUAG Space. With this, RUAG Space successfully placed 997 satellites in orbit, bringing the Swiss-based space supplier closer to the milestone of 1000 satellite separations. “This is a huge achievement which highlights the outstanding capabilities we have in satellite separation,” says Holger Wentscher, Vice President Product Group Launchers at RUAG Space.
“We meet customer expectations in extreme environment”
The separation systems from RUAG Space are being produced at its site in Linköping, Sweden. The 34 OneWeb satellites were launched with a separation system on a dispenser manufactured by RUAG Space. The dispenser system makes it possible to separate multiple satellites in a specific order in order to get exactly the right orbit. “For us, every separation is an exciting achievement. We can offer a 100% reliability and are able to meet customer expectations in the extreme environment of space,” says Holger Wentscher.
Separation systems for all large launch vehicles in the world
RUAG Space is the world leader for satellite separation systems for commercial launch vehicles. “Our separation systems ensure that satellite and rocket remain securely attached to one another during the tough journey into space, and then deliver the valuable payloads into orbit with precision,” says Andreas Jonsson, the site manager in Linköping. All 997 satellite separations have been carried out with a 100 percent success rate. They are the result of a long and trusted collaboration with NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and an increasingly advanced position in the commercial space industry in recent years. “We are leading the commercial market and we provide all the larger launchers in the world with equipment for launching satellites in all sizes,” adds Andreas Jonsson.
RUAG Space has been developing and producing Payload Adapter Systems for around 40 years. “A period during which we have accumulated vast experience, and supplied our products to an ever-growing number of customers,” says Andreas Jonsson. “We constantly try go get better and to develop new products. Our latest product ‘Soft Separation System’ makes our separation systems useful for the next generation satellites with better performance and lower shock.” At the RUAG Space site in Linköping about 140 employees are working. (Source: ASD Network)
23 Aug 21. BAE Systems Collaborates With GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Produce Radiation-Hardened Single Board Computers for Space. BAE Systems’ radiation-hardened RAD510™ System on Chip (SoC) for space-based computing is entering fabrication. Designed by BAE Systems and manufactured by GLOBALFOUNDRIES® (GF®), the RAD510 SoC will be the core of a single board computer (SBC) with twice the performance capability of the industry standard RAD750® microprocessor. The new SBC will provide Power Architecture® software-compatible processing that is more advanced than the RAD750 radiation-hardened general purpose processor, while demanding less power from its spacecraft.
“The RAD510 SBC is the natural evolution of our RAD750 heritage microprocessor-based SBC, which has powered many of the most important national space assets,” said Ricardo Gonzalez, director of Space Systems at BAE Systems. “These high-reliability computers increase performance capability for satellites and other spacecraft, making space missions more effective. BAE Systems’ relationship with GLOBALFOUNDRIES began in 2001 with the development of the highly successful RH25 semiconductor technology node.”
The RAD510 SoC is already being integrated into SBCs that will be available to space agencies and spacecraft manufacturers this year. For ease of transition, the software is compatible with both the RAD750 and RAD5545 computers. The BAE Systems family of space-based electronics can withstand radiation doses a m times stronger than a fatal human dose; that durability is valued on missions like GPS III, Mars rovers, and many satellites on-orbit today. The RAD510 SBC also requires less power and has the radiation advantages of RH45 45nm silicon-on-isolator (SOI) technology.
“We are proud to work with BAE Systems and leverage the performance, reliability, and energy efficiency of our 45nm semiconductor platform to meet the stringent requirements of space,” said Mike Hogan, senior vice president and general manager of Automotive, Industrial and Multi-market at GF. “As the industry leader in semiconductors for sensitive aerospace and defense applications, GF knows what it takes to develop and manufacture solutions requiring the highest levels of security.”
BAE Systems’ facility in Manassas, Va. is a U.S. Department of Defense Category 1A Microelectronics Trusted Source. The company’s radiation-hardened electronics have been on-board satellites and spacecraft for almost 30 years, delivering long-lasting computing power in extreme environments.
The RAD510 SoCs are manufactured at GF’s Fab 10 facility in East Fishkill, N.Y., also a U.S. Department of Defense Category 1A Microelectronics Trusted Source. GF and BAE Systems have initiated the process of transitioning the manufacturing of 45 nm SOI technology to GF’s most advanced facility, Fab 8 in Malta, N.Y., making it available to the space community in the future.
BAE Systems also offers a suite of radiation-hardened Serial RapidIO network products which complement the RAD510 SBC and allow the user to efficiently manage and route data through the system. These include the RADNET® 1848-PS, an 18-Port RapidIO Packet Switch, the RADNET 1616-XP Crosspoint, a protocol agnostic SerDes signal circuit switch and replicator, and the RADNET SRIO-EP, a Serial RapidIO endpoint.
GF delivers differentiated feature-rich solutions that enable its customers to develop innovative products for high-growth market segments. The company provides a broad range of platforms and features with a unique mix of design, development and fabrication services. With an at-scale manufacturing footprint spanning the U.S., Europe and Asia, GF has the flexibility and agility to meet the dynamic needs of customers across the globe. GF is owned by Mubadala Investment Company. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
23 Aug 21. Eaton achieves industry first, qualifies new Valve in Tank Assembly that increases satellite payload capacity. Power management company Eaton today announced that its successfully completed qualification testing for the aerospace industry’s first Valve in Tank Assembly (VITA) propulsion feed system. As the first satellite electric propulsion solution that integrates valves inside the propellant tank, the VITA eliminates the need for a traditional feed system envelope, creating room for more payload.
“Our VITA can help transform the satellite industry,” said Craig Ryan, integrated product team director, Space Systems, Eaton’s Aerospace Group. “The efficient design of the VITA feed system requires less space on the satellite bus, plus it saves integrators significant procurement, assembly, testing, troubleshooting and rework effort.”
VITA will play a critical role in helping propel satellites to final orbit and in station-keeping to maintain orbital position. By enabling additional payload flexibility and control over which type of fuel can be included on a satellite mission, the VITA design supports the growing satellite industry, especially in the highly competitive area of small satellite providers.
“We have the infrastructure to quickly meet high demand volume and are currently taking orders,” said Ryan. “We look forward to supporting the success of a wide range of leaders and emerging innovators in the rapidly growing satellite market.”
The innovative design of Eaton’s VITA eliminates the feed system envelope by integrating proportional flow valve technology into a housing that is then integrated into the neck of a lightweight composite propellant tank. The initial configuration of the VITA solution has two redundant shut-off valves to support one thruster for increased reliability. The drop-in VITA design approach supports modular satellite configurations, making architectural changes easier. Qualified in testing with xenon, this system has demonstrated to be fully compatible with krypton as well. The valve and tank assembly can be pre-filled with propellant and shipped ready to install.
23 Aug 21. US Space Force expands UPP with University of Colorado. The two parties signed a memorandum of understanding representing the partnership during an event on 20 August. The US Space Force (USSF) has selected the University of Colorado (CU) for its University Partnership Program (UPP). As a first step of defining this partnership, the USSF and CU signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) during an event on 20 August. The signing took place at UC Colorado Springs campus in the presence of US Space Operations vice-chief general David Thompson and University of Colorado president Todd Saliman. Thompson said: “The state of Colorado and community of Colorado Springs have long been key members and supporters of the national security space enterprise, so it’s fitting for the space force to establish a formal partnership between the University of Colorado and the space force.” Under the partnership, the USSF will work with CU and each university to outline specific implementation milestones. This will help the service to meet the programme’s four main goals. These goals include creating opportunities for advanced research, advanced academic degrees, and workforce, as well as to identify and pursue research areas of mutual interest. The remaining two include creating scholarship, internship and mentorship opportunities for university students as well as to recruit and develop diverse officer and civilian guardians with a special focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Furthermore, the partnership also highlights focus on Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) scholarships. Saliman said: “Given Colorado’s aerospace and defence economy, the largest per capita in the nation, and CU’s broad array of related workforce and research capabilities, we’re excited to contribute to space force’s workforce and help advance our nation’s aerospace and national security capabilities.” The CU is the second university in the UPP programme, following the University of North Dakota. According to USSF, nine other additional universities are on track to join the partnership in FY-2021. Recently, the USSF officially established the second field command that will be responsible for developing and procuring resilient space capabilities for troops. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
22 Aug 21. Release of CompassOne. DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO) (“DroneShield” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce the release of its latest product, CompassOne, the next generation self-contained navigation solution for fixed site, vehicle and marine applications.
The device provides real-time military-grade location, orientation and direction sensing for deployed static and on-the-go assets. CompassOne is compatible with various global navigation satellite systems, ensuring uninterrupted operation. The device can be used both in C-UAS, and general situations requiring satellite navigation.
With a strong focus on durability and ruggedness, CompassOne is suitable for installation and operation in harsh environments. Military-grade connectors and high-end stainless-steel hardware ensure uninterrupted connection and protection from the elements, while the aluminium underside provides exceptional impact resistance and rigidity while keeping overall weight low.
CompassOne can operate stand alone or integrate seamlessly with DroneShield’s DroneSentry system. Power over Ethernet reduces cable clutter and VESA compatibility makes CompassOne easy to integrate into new or existing systems. Installation is clear and fast with status LEDs, installation graphics and tool-less fasteners.
Oleg Vornik, DroneShield’s CEO, commented, “CompassOne, with its ruggedness and incorporation of advanced technologies, integrates seamlessly within DroneShield’s product ecosystem, and equally with third party systems as a stand-alone product. Its accurate navigation is substantially superior to other systems on the market globally.”
The product is expected to be of interest to both counterdrone and other customers requiring a rugged navigation solution.
20 Aug 21. Space Force standing up STARCOM to train guardians. The U.S. Space Force is set to establish its third and final field command Aug. 23 as part of a significant restructuring of its organization this summer.
Space Training and Readiness Command will be in charge of the Space Force’s doctrine, training, test and education efforts. STARCOM will be located at Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado Springs.
The command will be led by Brig. Gen. Shawn Bratton of the National Guard Bureau, who has served as the planning lead for the new field command since February. Before that he was assigned to U.S. Space Command.
The establishment of STARCOM comes just days after the formal creation of Space Systems Command on Aug. 13. SSC leads most of the Space Force’s acquisitions efforts, replacing the Space and Missile Systems Center as the main organization for purchasing and developing new space systems and services, launching satellites into orbit, and testing assets before handing them over to Space Operations Command, or SpOC. SpOC — the first field command — was established in October 2020 and is in charge of operating the Space Force’s various systems, serving as the service component to Space Command.
To date, STARCOM has existed essentially as a provisional delta under SpOC. That provisional delta will stand down with the establishment of STARCOM as an independent field command. It will then subdivide its own efforts into five deltas: ones for training, doctrine and wargaming, range and aggressor, test and evaluation, and education.
SpOC also relinquished two deltas to SSC when it was established, transferring its two space launch deltas to the acquisition organization, which is unifying the Space Force’s various launch enterprises. Over the course of two weeks, SpOC will have shrunk from 11 deltas to eight.
The Space Force will officially activate the new field command during a ceremony Aug. 23 at Peterson Space Force Base. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
23 Aug 21. Lockheed Martin Australia partners with Clearbox Systems for JP9102. Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA) has integrated Clearbox Systems’ Foresight ESM software application as part of its campaign to build a sovereign satellite communication system for Defence under Joint Project 9102.
The integration effort has seen engineers from both Lockheed Martin Australia and Clearbox Systems, a leading Australian defence and space SME, working together to minimise technical risk and maximise technical readiness to assure execution of the project on schedule and budget.
“We’re very proud of this milestone”, said David Ball, Regional Director for LMA Space. “This integration project is a core element of our approach for JP9102; working hand in glove with Australian industry, mitigating risk, ensuring seamless delivery of world-class, sovereign satcom solutions on a timeframe that allows Defence to meet the growing pressures in Australia’s strategic environment.”
The integration of Clearbox’s proprietary Foresight ESM software has also been used to demonstrate the agility of LMA’s satcom control segment, which serves as the crucial link between the satellites and ground stations in Defence’s future sovereign satcom system. Based on modular, open architecture software, LMA’s control segment is specifically designed for rapid integration of third-party, best-of-breed software products.
Foresight ESM is a sovereign Electromagnetic Spectrum Management (ESM) application born out of Clearbox’s bi-lateral collaborative research and development agreement with the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG), and is key to Defence satellite communications. The software provides ADF operators with the ability to efficiently plan, coordinate and use the electromagnetic spectrum in ways that optimise operational performance by limiting interference.
In 2020, Clearbox was the inaugural graduate of LMA’s Mentor-Protégé Program (MPP). The MPP encompasses best practices in program management, human resource processes, business ethics, product management, competitive intelligence, and cyber security readiness and is part of LMA’s commitment to strengthening Australian industry by readying high-calibre SMEs for work with Defence and prime contractors alike.
Only a month before, Airbus also added Clearbox Systems as its second partner as part of its bid for the JP9102 programme.
Designated Team Maier, the teaming arrangement is designed not only to deliver a sovereign military SATCOM solution for Australia, but to grow the country’s defence and space eco-system for the long-term.
Team Maier will benefit from Clearbox’s experience in supporting the ADF’s control segment for its current military wideband SATCOM, commercial wideband SATCOM, and military narrowband SATCOM systems. An integral component of the SATCOM system, the control segment manages a network of devices, sensors, signals and payloads to ensure successful transmission. Clearbox will be upgrading the current systems to the JP9102 requirements, including ongoing sustainment.
Airbus has been responsible for delivering all secure beyond line of sight communications to the UK MOD for 18 years, owning and operating the Skynet military communications satellite fleet. (Source: Rumour Control)
20 Aug 21. Pentagon Poised To Unveil, Demonstrate Classified Space Weapon. The push to declassify an existing space weapon is being spearheaded by Gen. John Hyten, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. For months, top officials at the Defense Department have been working toward declassifying the existence of a secret space weapon program and providing a real-world demonstration of its capabilities, Breaking Defense has learned.
The effort — which sources say is being championed by Gen. John Hyten, the vice-chairman of the joint chiefs of staff — is close enough to completion that there was a belief the anti-satellite technology might have been revealed at this year’s National Space Symposium, which kicks off next week.
However, the crisis in Afghanistan appears to have put that on hold for now. Pulling the trigger on declassifying such a sensitive technology requires concurrence of the Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines, and a thumbs up from President Joe Biden, sources explain; with all arms of the national security apparatus pointed towards Kabul, that is almost certainly not going to happen next week. And until POTUS says yes, nothing is for certain, of course.
The system in question long has been cloaked in the blackest of black secrecy veils — developed as a so-called Special Access Program known only to a very few, very senior US government leaders. While exactly what capability could be unveiled is unclear, insiders say the reveal is likely to include a real-world demonstration of an active defense capability to degrade or destroy a target satellite and/or spacecraft.
At least, that is what has been on the table since last year — when officials in the Trump administration viewed revealing the technology as a capstone to the creation of Space Command and Space Force. The plan apparently had been to announce it at the 2020 Space Symposium, which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic; the arrival of the Biden administration also led to a reevaluation of moving forward with the reveal.
Expert speculation on what could be used for the demonstration ranges from a terrestrially-based mobile laser used for blinding adversary reconnaissance sats to on-board, proximity triggered radio-frequency jammers on certain military satellites, to a high-powered microwave system that can zap electronics carried on maneuverable bodyguard satellites. However, experts and former officials interviewed by Breaking Defense say it probably does not involve a ground-based kinetic interceptor, a capability the US already demonstrated in the 2008 Burnt Frost satellite shoot-down.
Requests for comment to the offices of Hyten, Haines, and SPACECOM were not returned by deadline.
Many military space leaders believe that Space Force and Space Command must publicly demonstrate to Moscow and Beijing not just an ability to take out any space-based counterspace systems they may be developing or deploying, but also to attack the satellites they, like the US, rely upon for communications, positioning, navigation and timing (PNT), and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR).
Notably, the second-in-command of the Space Force recently foreshadowed movement in the long-running debate about declassification of all things related to national security space — a multifaceted and complex debate which has pitted advocates against upholders of the traditional culture of secrecy within DoD and the Intelligence Community.
“It is absolutely a true problem,” Gen. DT Thompson, deputy Space Force commander, responded to a question about over-classification during a July 28 Mitchell Institute event. “I wish we owned our own destiny in that regard, but we don’t — it’s part of a broader activity and we just have to work through that. What I will say is, I think we’re on the verge of a couple of significant steps.”
The Transparency Dilemma
In fact, Thompson’s comments represented only one of several comments, quietly dropped in speeches or interviews, from top military space officials pushing for declassification of high-end systems, following several years of a steadily intensifying drumbeat on the issue. A who’s-who list of top officers, DoD civilian leaders, and key members of Congress have for years been arguing that over-classification is harming the ability to convey the growing threat of foreign counterspace to lawmakers, the public and allied/partner nations — as well as the ability to cooperate with industry and foreign partners to mitigate those threats.
Sources say that Hyten remains the biggest proponent of a new, declassified demonstration of counterspace capabilities. (And for this reason, there is some rationale to speculate that any announcement would come before he retires in November.)
For years, Hyten has argued that it is impossible to deter adversaries with invisible weapons, and he has taken the lead in calling for space systems to be declassified at a more rapid pace than some traditionalists find comfortable.
“In space, we over-classify everything,” Hyten told the National Security Space Association (NSSA) on Jan. 22. “Deterrence does not happen in the classified world. Deterrence does not happen in the black; deterrence happens in the white.”
Further, Hyten, Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond, and Space Command Commander Gen. Jim Dickinson all have asserted that offensive space weapons are a necessary part of that deterrent.
There is also precedent for using conferences to unveil black programs. In 2014, Gen. William Shelton, the then-head of Air Force Space Command, casually unveiled the existence of the Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) satellites in the middle of a presentation.
But while there is broad consensus among DoD space leadership on the need for declassification, there is fierce debate about what actually should be brought out from behind the onyx curtain of mega-secrecy (in Air Force slang, often called “The Green Door”.)” The National Reconnaissance Office, for example, has long been loath to reveal much of anything about its spy satellites — with officials even attempting to slow-roll a 2018 Hyten policy lifting restrictions on access to basic orbital data about national security satellites.
The central dilemma isn’t hard to understand, but the devil is in the details of solving it.
“We need to take a very hard look at what capabilities we keep concealed, as in our, quote, ‘ace-in-the-hole’ capabilities, if you will, that we would only use in an actual conflict to ensure we maintain the military overmatch we would need to ensure victory, without allowing the enemy to devise ways to defeat that particular capability by having advance knowledge of it,” Matt Donovan, undersecretary of the Air Force under the Trump administration, said in a July 10 Mitchell Institute podcast.
“But what we would really like to do … is prevent that conflict from happening in the first place, by convincing the enemy that they cannot win in a conflict, that the costs of entering into a conflict would be so high to them they don’t start it to begin with; that is the essence of deterrence,” said Donovan, who now heads Mitchell’s Spacepower Advantage Research Center. “So, the problem with only having ‘ace-in-the-hole’ capabilities is they do nothing for deterrence.”
There are also a number of experts who believe that whatever decisions are made, the march of technology guarantees there soon will be no possible way to keep US satellites, or actions on the ground, secret.
“My overall perspective is that a fully transparent world is coming — and no government policy is going to stop it. So, the US — like other governments who are based in the rule of law, respect privacy and protect civil liberties — should not fight that inevitable outcome,” said Robert Cardillo, who spent many years in the Intelligence Community, and recently became board chairman of Planet Federal.
Not so fast, argued another former DoD space official, because the deterrence value actually depends on exactly what kind of weapon system is being discussed.
“Did you conceive of the capability with the idea that you would reveal it? Because if you didn’t, you shouldn’t be revealing it now, or you should really think hard before revealing it,” the source said. “We need to design things that can be that can be revealed without eliminating their effectiveness, and without causing escalation. That’s Step A.”
Military leaders “always want to argue about Step C, instead of doing the intellectual exercise of Step A first,” the former DoD official added.
Another source similarly opined: “The declassification thing is a disaster. … The genesis is supposedly for deterrence — but those doing it lack basic understandings of deterrence. It’s a f***ing shitshow.”
Deterrence — It’s Complicated
To be fair to decision-makers, there have been countless studies, essays and books written about deterrence theory, including about space deterrence, and there are just as many opinions as there are authors.
There is a general consensus among Western experts that strategists and policy-makers must be careful in attempting to map space deterrence to traditional Cold War nuclear deterrence. While there are some similarities — and importantly some strong linkages between nuclear stability and the use of space — there are too many differences, not the least of which is the fact that losing a few satellites is not parallel to losing a few cities.
The second area of general consensus is that deterring adversaries from attacking US space systems (military and commercial) will depend on the adversary. China is not Russia, or even the Soviet Union. Furthermore, because of economic entanglements, US relations with China are way more complicated than they ever were with the USSR.
A third and final point of agreement: space deterrence in particular is hard, and will require an entire tool box ranging from multi-domain military capabilities, to diplomatic actions such as signaling and building international consensus about threatening activities, to economic levers such as punitive sanctions.
Choosing what tools to use when, however, is where agreement breaks down.
This is particularly true with regard to China, which up to now has not had as great a military reliance on space as the US — and more importantly does not have a strategic view shaped by Cold War superpower nuclear deterrence theory (i.e. “mutually assured destruction.”) Following Beijing’s 2007 anti-satellite (ASAT) test, there have been oodles of studies inside and outside DoD specifically on deterring China in space, many of which come to the same conclusion, if not always the same solutions: it’s hard.
For example, RAND’s recent “Tailoring Deterrence for China in Space” has snagged a lot of DoD eyeballs. It highlights the obstacles to success, and argues that DoD might need a “demonstration of capabilities (emphasis ours) that would compromise the PLA’s space systems, perhaps through enhanced U.S. cyber hacking, spoofing, jamming or other dazzling capabilities against China, but could also include kinetic options as well.” But, it warns, any such Space Force activities must be “carefully calibrated.”
A 2008 Council on Foreign Relations report, “China, Space Weapons and U.S. Security,” based on meetings of an advisory board that included active and former DoD and IC officials plus think tank experts (including this author), came to essentially the same conclusions as RAND regarding the difficulties involved. It, too, recommended deployment of offensive ASAT weapons, but limited to non-kinetic systems with reversible effects — and coupling this with robust diplomatic initiatives to set norms and/or establish a treaty to ban debris-creating ASATs.
The US military tends to focus on two distinct types of deterrence, including in the space domain: reducing the vulnerability of US capabilities (i.e. building resilience/reconstitution/passive protections) and punitive military responses via offensive strikes.
In the blurry middle between those two is “active defense.” The key Joint Publication outlining milspace operations, JP 3-14 Space Operations (updated in October 2020), defines active and passive “space defense” (not to be confused with plain old active and passive defense as elsewhere, and differently, defined in the “DoD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms”.) It says:
Active space defense consists of actions taken to neutralize imminent space control threats to friendly space forces and space capabilities.
“The purpose of the US offensive counterspace capability has nothing to do with space. It has to do with protecting US forces on the ground,” a former senior DoD official attempted to explain. “The purpose of US resilience is to continue to provide mission capability to forces on the ground. And the purpose of active in-space defense is to protect satellites in space. So three different things here.”
And the terminology used by the US in declassifying a weapon will matter, because it affects the messaging, and how that message is received by the US public, allies/partners, and the broader international community. Indeed, these distinctions are often deliberately muddied by space weapons advocates out of concerns about US public perception, which to this day remains largely leery of space weaponization.
For example, one expert worried about the declassification plan’s potential negative ramifications for US efforts to set global norms of behavior for space — especially if there is an accompanying demonstration of capability akin to 2008’s Burnt Frost. (Ironically, DoD just last month issued its first-ever policy on space norms.)
In Burnt Frost, DoD took down a failed satellite that was tumbling back to Earth, using a modified Standard Missile-3 interceptor. The George W. Bush administration argued at the time that the move was necessary to avoid the potential spread of toxic rocket fuel, convincing almost no one.
Instead, the shoot-down spurred criticism inside and outside the US, including in allied nations, with observers perceiving it as a direct response to China’s ASAT test the year before. Critics argued that it was at best was an unnecessary demonstration US ASAT capability that until then was known but implicit; and at worst provocative, confirming long-standing allegations by Beijing (and Moscow) that US missile defenses were also designed as ASATs.
“The response of an offensive ASAT to a Chinese ASAT is not going to make them stop doing it,” one former government official said. “If you want to demonstrate a response, demonstrate … an unexpected maneuver or a LEO satellite that they had never seen before. But the fact that the response was, ‘well, I can shoot down satellites too,’ that doesn’t do shit about stopping them from shooting mine down.”
And even today, one concerned insider said, “A lot of the DoD work on space control ‘strategic messaging’ isn’t backed up by any real strategy, or red-teaming.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
19 Aug 21. Redwire Announces State-of-the-Art Digital Engineering Laboratory to Enable Next Generation Space Architectures. Redwire, a leader in mission critical space solutions for the next generation space economy, announced today initial operational capability for its investment in a first-of-its-kind digital engineering environment, the Hyperion Operational Space Simulation Laboratory (HOSS). The state-of-the-art facility leverages the full suite of Redwire digital engineering capabilities, including software- and hardware-in-the-loop configurations, to enable next generation space architectures and solutions, such as advanced artificial intelligence, machine learning and cyber technologies.
“Digital engineering is a key area of growth for Redwire’s strong portfolio of space infrastructure solutions, and we are well positioned to be a market leader through this significant internal investment in creating an unparalleled development environment designed to improve agility, lower technical risk and reduce cost for our customers,” said Peter Cannito, Chairman and CEO of Redwire. “Redwire is fully committed to our investment in HOSS and we welcome government and industry partners to participate. HOSS provides the industry with a unique environment to prove out concepts, conduct rapid prototyping and de-risk complex systems using the best digital engineering has to offer.”
HOSS will offer commercial space and national security space customers exclusive access to leverage Redwire’s innovative digital engineering ecosystem for experimentation, concept exploration and rapid development of next generation space solutions while significantly reducing the risk of costly programs. This digital environment is built upon a Modular Open System Architecture, using common interfaces and standards that allow users to rapidly change out third-party components and systems. Additionally, HOSS captures physical systems and virtual processes to learn and automate, making testing and manufacturing more cost effective. Using commercial best practices, HOSS provides rapid and secure software development, enabling digital twins, improving cyber security tools and offering opportunities to speed delivery of new capabilities for Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2).
“We have taken a highly innovative approach to develop HOSS and, through virtualization, this lab is accessible from remote locations, allowing distributed development and collaboration. This virtual environment and our space subject matter expertise are a powerful combination utilized to demonstrate high-fidelity future architectures and capabilities for our mission partners,” said Stanley O. Kennedy, Jr., Chief Architect of Redwire. “HOSS will be the premier digital engineering framework designed to empower our customers with improved modeling and simulation to take on their most ambitious missions and enable rapid acquisition development to keep pace with threats, technology and innovation opportunities.”
The announcement follows a recent successful demonstration of the company’s Hybrid Space Architecture Laboratory Operational Environment (HALOE). HALOE allows users to simulate hybrid space architectures for advanced mission planning in support of complete JADC2.
Redwire currently maintains several active digital engineering programs that will fully integrate within HOSS, resulting in greater interoperability to support our customers’ mission needs.
For more information on HOSS and Redwire’s digital engineering programs, visit www.redwirespace.com.
Redwire is a leader in mission critical space solutions and high reliability components for the next generation space economy, with valuable IP for solar power generation and in-space 3D printing and manufacturing. With decades of flight heritage combined with the agile and innovative culture of a commercial space platform, Redwire is uniquely positioned to assist its customers in solving the complex challenges of future space missions. For more information, please visit www.redwirespace.com. (Source: PR Newswire)
16 Aug 21. C-COM’s Phased Array Antenna Takes A Major Step Towards Commercialization. C-COM Satellite Systems Inc. (TSXV: CMI and OTCQB: CYSNF), provider of commercial grade mobile auto-deploying satellite antenna systems, announced that its electronically steerable phased array antenna has passed another milestone test, delivering good results at different scanned angles over the Telesat Anik F3 satellite.
“Our 1024-element electronically steerable Ka-band, prototype Phased Array Mobile Antenna, performed as expected during scanned angle testing,” said Bilal Awada, CTO of C-COM Satellite Systems Inc. “We were able to perform speed tests over satellite for scanned angles down to 50 degrees from vertical (antenna boresight),” added Awada.
“Measured over-the-air scan results are inline with theoretical numbers from our simulation model and this again validates the high performance of the compact, scalable antenna modules and overall system architecture for larger panels,” said Professor Ali Safavi-Naeini, Director of CIARS (Centre for Intelligent Antenna and Radio Systems) at the University of Waterloo.
“The modular, intelligent technology platform provides a cost-effective solution for a wide range of applications—from fixed to mobility satellite broadband services, and for the rapidly emerging millimeter-wave 5G cellular services”, he added.
The Company will continue to move forward and will conduct additional tests to verify the performance of the antenna over several different satellites, including GEO/LEO constellations, and to confirm mobility and interoperability of the new design.
This advanced phased array Ka-band antenna is expected to open new mobile vertical markets (land, marine, aero) for the Company.
The prototyping of a 4000-element antenna using the same building blocks to build the 1000-element antenna is in progress. The commercialization planning phase for this new antenna is underway.
“Today, we are much closer to achieving our objective of delivering an affordable, electronically steerable antenna system capable of operating over the latest constellations of LEO, MEO and GEO satellites, which will play a significant role in delivering broadband solutions to worldwide markets,” said Dr. Leslie Klein, President & CEO of C-COM Satellite Systems Inc.
C-COM expects Flat Panel Antennas (FPA), which comprise less than 1 percent of all satellite terminal market sales today, to constitute up to 15 percent of the market by 2030. According to Northern Sky Research, a global market research and consulting firm focused on the satellite and space sectors, FPA shipments could reach $17bn over the next decade. “FPA’s will be in large demand worldwide over the coming decade and C-COM intends to be part of that market,” added Klein. (Source: Satnews)
15 Aug 21. Partnership Announced By Spire Global With Hancom Group For The 1st Commercial South Korean Satellite Mission.
Spire Global, Inc. has a new partnership and satellite mission with the firm’s first South Korean Space Services customer, Hancom Group, a leading ICT convergence company — this will be the first commercial satellite mission for a private South Korean company.
Hancom will host an optical payload on a Low Earth Multi-Use Receiver (LEMUR), Spire’s 3U smallsat named “HANCOM” to support the launch of a new product focused on the agriculture sector, including landscaping applications as well as expansion of its existing image analysis portfolio offerings.
In addition to using Spire’s services for its own operations, Hancom will also act as Spire’s first reseller within South Korea. Spire continues to expand its partnerships to serve customers across the world.
Hancom specializes in commercial and government applications of image analysis, including detection of vehicles, aircrafts and ships, changes in roads and buildings, and pine tree death detection. Leveraging the infrastructure of Spire’s LEMUR satellite, Hancom expects to be able to capture images of specific territories for its GIS mapping solutions and provide further analysis and expanded offerings, while retaining full control of the captured images and the ability to customize services to customers’ specific needs and applications.
Hancom plans to launch a constellation of up to nine satellites equipped with this type of payload in order to develop their own dedicated solution.
“South Korea’s commercial aerospace sector is making tremendous strides. Spire is proud to partner with Hancom as our first reseller partner in the country,” said Theresa Condor, Vice President of Global Development at Spire. “We’re excited that Spire’s capabilities will help Hancom meet the growing market demand for satellite imagery and geospatial analytics, and provide more insightful, tailored solutions to its customers.” (Source: Satnews)
18 Aug 21. USSF’s Next-Gen OPIR, Block 0 GEO Missile Warning Satellites Pass Raytheon Intelligence & Space’s Sensor Payload CDR.
Raytheon Intelligence & Space, a Raytheon Technologies business, has completed a Critical Design Review (CDR) of their competitive sensor payload design for the U.S. Space Force’s Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared or Next-Gen OPIR, Block 0 GEO missile warning satellites, which are being designed and built by spacecraft prime contractor Lockheed Martin.
RI&S is moving forward with unit risk-reduction activities, flight hardware manufacturing, test, assembly and payload delivery. Much of the testing is completed in a digital environment, allowing engineers to visualize and assess the full mission thread from design to launch to post-delivery support. This type of agile development can offer rapid and iterative design insights while modeling evolutionary payload upgrade capabilities to meet future threats and mission requirements.
Planned to provide more resilient missile warning, Next-Gen OPIR Block 0 was implemented by the Department of the Air Force as a “Go Fast” acquisition program. Lockheed Martin Space selected Raytheon Intelligence & Space as one of two teams to design a viable sensor payload for the program. The first geostationary-orbiting satellite is targeted for delivery 60 months from initial design.
“Protecting the U.S. and our allies from the threat of adversaries’ advanced missile technology begins in space,” said Paul Meyer, vice president of Space & C2 for RI&S. “With this most recent milestone, we are on schedule with Lockheed Martin on this go-fast program. Our digital engineering approach includes mission-scenario simulations that model our full suite of capabilities to predict how they will work on-orbit. We’re able to iterate in real time to validate system requirements.” (Source: Satnews)
At Viasat, we’re driven to connect every warfighter, platform, and node on the battlefield. As a global communications company, we power ms of fast, resilient connections for military forces around the world – connections that have the capacity to revolutionize the mission – in the air, on the ground, and at sea. Our customers depend on us for connectivity that brings greater operational capabilities, whether we’re securing the U.S. Government’s networks, delivering satellite and wireless communications to the remote edges of the battlefield, or providing senior leaders with the ability to perform mission-critical communications while in flight. We’re a team of fearless innovators, driven to redefine what’s possible. And we’re not done – we’re just beginning.