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11 May 21. NASA Awards IceMOS Technology an SBIR Project to Develop Radiation-Tolerant High-Voltage MOSFET Transistors Critical to Moon to Mars Campaign. IceMOS Technology is Uniquely Positioned to Making Improvements in High Voltage Power Transistor Radiation Hardness Compatible With Cost-Effective High-Volume Manufacturing.
IceMOS Technology Corporation today announced the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) awarded it a project to begin work on developing a novel radiation-hard high voltage power transistor. Improvements in power semiconductor devices are critical to power supply applications required in long-term NASA space programs such as “Moon to Mars” which aims to send humans to the surface of the Moon by 2024 and establish sustainable exploration by the end of the decade.
“This project consists of developing an enabling technology to accelerate major advances in the efficiency of a spacecraft’s power system by making improvements in high voltage power transistor radiation hardness compatible with cost-effective high-volume manufacturing processes,” said Samuel J. Anderson, IceMOS Technology founder and chairman. “The reliability requirements of hostile deep space operating environments present a unique set of challenges that we look forward to addressing with our innovative device technology.”
The IceMOS power transistor will incorporate a silicon-carbide engineered drain to take advantage of the low on resistance performance from Wide Band Gap (WBG) materials. The development award is in support of NASA’s initiative to realize technology breakthroughs on Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) that will translate into high efficiency, small size, high reliability transistors as enabling components in spacecraft power supplies.
The same attributes valued by NASA for efficient power distribution in harsh environments is also critical to developers of power electronic systems in non-space applications to meet society’s increasing demand for energy conservation. Commercial applications for these novel high voltage devices include AC/DC power stages in data centers servers for cloud computing, fast battery charging power systems for electric vehicles and more.
14 Sep 21. OneWeb Prepares To Go Live With Its Global Connectivity Platform. OneWeb, global communications company powered from Space, is gearing up to introduce its Connectivity Platform providing defence and other Government customers with ubiquitous fibre-like connectivity at the tactical edge. OneWeb will exhibit its turnkey satellite-based communications system at DSEI Booth (H2-480), which comprises a constellation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites and ecosystem of ground gateways, user terminals and software solutions. Backed by Her Majesty’s Government, OneWeb’s solution will provide multi-domain forces with a rapidly deployable, modular and scalable network benefiting from high bandwidth, low latency, truly global coverage and resilience which not only enhances situation awareness but also streamlines decision-making processes. The first phase of OneWeb’s Global Connectivity Platform will be operational from November 2022 and will provide coverage across North America, Northern Europe and the Arctic. By 2023 OneWeb will operate a truly global constellation of LEO satellites, providing multi-domain communications-on-the-move as well as future-proofed networking to enable access to aggregated tactical communications networks (featuring MANET, 5G and GEO SATCOM); Cloud Computing; and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Senior leaders from OneWeb, led by Dylan Browne, President Government Services and Billy Bingham MBE, Director Government, will be available to discuss how OneWeb’s constellation of 648 LEO satellites is ready to satisfy emerging requirements from Government customers in areas including Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2); Tactical and Strategic Communications; Maritime Patrol; and Airborne ISR.
“DSEI is a key showcase for the innovative and disruptive capability set that is our OneWeb offer,” explained Dylan Browne. “We are going to be a core component in the global communications architecture of Government, supporting Search & Rescue, Emergency Responders and Beyond Line of Sight requirements and we look forward to meeting many of the key decision-makers at our stand and to addressing their needs for resilient, reliable, secure communications.” Connect with OneWeb at DSEI booth H2-480.
08 Sep 21. Airbus successfully trials high speed satcoms through helicopter blades. Airbus Proteus Modem provides BLOS communications on UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. Airbus has successfully demonstrated beyond line of sight (BLOS) through the rotor blade communications using its Proteus Unity Satellite Modem System on a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The trial which took place recently in Tennessee, USA, proves the ability to transmit and receive high data rate intelligence while on the move.
Interference for satcoms caused by rotor blades has long been a challenge for terminal designers and manufacturers.
“Mitigating interference is a highly complex and dynamic problem that has prevented widespread roll out of BLOS communications on rotorcraft. Proteus Unity addresses this challenge and provides a flexible waveform that mitigates interference by transmitting through the rotor blade disc. The modem system adapts to the environment it sees to ensure the most efficient, secure and resilient communications,” said Richard Budd, Head of UK & US Secure Communications at Airbus Defence and Space.
“Proteus provides a highly efficient throughput for wideband communications on rotor or fixed wing aero platforms. It also provides interoperability with other ground or maritime users in the network enabling real-time full motion high-definition video, communications and intelligence to be sent and received on the move,” Richard continued.
The trial follows on from a successful test that took place in the UK in September 2020. In partnership with Airbus Helicopters, the test showed the modem system working with over 80% efficiency through the rotor blades of an Airbus H135.
Unlike other rotor blade satcom systems, Airbus’ Proteus modem comprises an adaptive waveform that ‘senses’ the blade position with no input from the platform itself, and adapts the RF (radio frequency) transmission to always provide the optimum communications link. This unique feature of the Proteus system means reduced SWAP (size weight and power) and it is also quicker to install on platforms.
Airbus’ Proteus Unity modems are Software Defined Radios (SDR) which use frequency hopping, together with spreading, to enable satcoms through the rotor blades. Airbus’ range of high spec Proteus modems are available for fixed, land mobile, airborne and maritime platforms, and deliver maximum satellite bandwidth efficiency and data throughput while offering robust protection against interference (jamming) and interception. Proteus modems operate in star networks in wideband satcom and are band and antenna agnostic (C, X, Ku, Ka-Band).
06 Sep 21. FAA grounds Virgin Galactic over investigation concerning ‘public safety.’ The Federal Aviation Administration has imposed a temporary grounding of Virgin Galactic on Thursday over an investigation of the 11 July “mishap” during flight.
First revealed in The New Yorker, eight sources knowledgeable of the program told the newspaper that earlier on in the flight, the spacecraft veered slightly off course.
“Virgin Galactic may not return the SpaceShipTwo vehicle to flight until the FAA approves the final mishap investigation report or determines the issues related to the mishap do not affect public safety,” the regulator told CNBC.
It added it is overseeing the investigation that occurred over Spaceport America, New Mexico.
“SpaceShipTwo deviated from its Air Traffic Control clearance as it returned to Spaceport America,” it said.
On 11 July, Virgin Galactic successfully performed its fourth crewed spaceflight, which saw founder Sir Richard Branson officially complete his first mission.
This initiated the biggest space race in history, beating billionaire Jeff Bezos to space only days ahead, despite announcing the flight after the Amazon founder.
But, during the ascent, as the VSS Unity rocket was firing – about 30 kilometres above air – a warning light appeared, notifying the pilot the nose was “insufficiently vertical” according to article.
A Virgin Galactic spokesperson admitted to not initially telling the FAA that the craft veered off track for a minute and 41 seconds.
But the company disputed “the misleading characterisations and conclusions in The New Yorker article” in a statement to the CNBC on Wednesday.
“At no time were passengers and crew put in any danger as a result of this change in trajectory,” Virgin Galactic said.
The spokesperson added the FAA’s “representatives were present in our control room during the flight and in post-flight debriefs”.
Data shown through Flightradar24 also proved the VSS Unity was flying outside of its trajectory.
On Thursday, Virgin Galactic announced its next “rocket-powered” test flight of the SpaceShipTwo Unity from Spaceport America.
It was set to be the first commercial flight for the California-based company to occur between September and October carrying crew from Italian Air Force and the National Research Council.
But only hours later the FAA updated a statement claiming the company will not launch any more flights until the investigation is resolved.
Virgin Galactic said it was “working closely” with the FAA for a “timely resolution of this issue”. (Source: Space Connect)
30 Aug 21. Virgin Orbit + Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) Sign A Collaboration MOU. Virgin Orbit has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing a new collaboration with the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), an independent, non-profit research and development organization. Under the terms of the agreement, Virgin Orbit and SwRI will explore multiple specialized mission opportunities using the LauncherOne system coupled with SwRI’s deep expertise in space mission development. Additionally, the two organizations will explore potential opportunities for joint manufacturing of SwRI’s space platforms and delivery of space services to Virgin Orbit’s customers.
Virgin Orbit is developing partnerships to offer customers turnkey bundled services. Virgin Orbit and SwRI are particularly interested in collaborating on stewardship programs that would leverage space data to inform critical decisions around weather and for environmental monitoring purposes.
As part of the agreement, Virgin Orbit will assess the possibility of manufacturing SwRI Space Vehicle platforms at the company’s manufacturing hub in Long Beach, California. Virgin Orbit and SwRI will also evaluate opportunities to jointly develop and launch missions to space, including the deployment of satellite constellations, to provide comprehensive space service offerings to customers.
This past June, Virgin Orbit completed its second successful flight to space, Tubular Bells: Part One, which delivered several payloads for the U.S. Department of Defense Space Test Program to a precise target orbit.
“As the Virgin Orbit team works to build on our recent successes, we’re excited to join forces with organizations like SwRI to propel forward our mission of opening space for good. We’re especially looking forward to combining our uniquely responsive air launch capabilities with SwRI’s broad spacecraft expertise to provide turnkey solutions for our most pressing environmental challenges,” said Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart. (Source: Satnews)
29 Aug 21. On-Orbit, Active Phased Array Satellite Testbed Milestone Has Been Reached By CesiumAstro In Their Collaboration With The DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit. CesiumAstro Inc. has reached a key milestone in the firm’s 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 that will deliver NASA’s Landsat 9 to orbit next month.
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. Defense Innovation Unit (DIU, a US Department of Defense (DoD) organization, partners with leading commercial enterprises across t)he country to adopt and scale technologies that help solve critically important challenges.
DIU selected CesiumAstro as one of the latest additions to a cohort of companies that are creating inventive solutions in a variety of critical areas from autonomy and AI to human systems, cyber, space, and connectivity. 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.
“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.”
About the company
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. (Source: Satnews)
27 Aug 21. EM Solutions wins NATO SATCOM contract. The communications technology company has secured a multimillion-dollar deal to deliver new satellite communications capabilities to NATO forces. EM Solutions — subsidiary of Electro Optic Systems Holdings — has announced its receipt of several orders worth a combined $15m from three unnamed NATO navies. The company has been tasked with delivering its new two-metre Fleet Satellite Communications Terminals for integration into European frigates and warships over the course of 2022 and 2023. These latest orders take the overall value of EM Solutions’ order book to over $38m. The Fleet Terminal, which is a new variant of the maritime communications terminal developed for the Royal Australian Navy under the Defence Innovation Hub, is expected to operate like the existing one-metre Cobra terminals, in both X-, Ka-, and commercial satellite bands. The larger antenna is built to support higher data rates, with the duplicated systems enhancing the terminals resilience.
“Last year we supplied a number of our one-metre Cobra maritime satellite systems to our partner navies in Europe, and this has now given these customers the confidence to proceed with placing orders for EM Solutions’ new two-metre Fleet maritime terminal,” EM Solutions CEO Dr Rowan Gilmore said.
“This new capability will bring robust and secure communications into the very core of their fleets.”
EOS Communications Systems CEO Glen Tindall said these latest orders increase EM Solutions’ terminals project pipeline to more than one and a half years’ revenue.
“This continued growth in our order book attests to our strong customer partnerships and ability to co-develop systems that meet real customer needs,” Tindall added.
EM Solutions’ Cobra Tri-Band Inmarsat GX and WGS X/Ka-band satellite Communications Terminal was recently installed aboard the RAN’s amphibious assault ship, HMAS Canberra.
This followed installations on the Cape, Anzac, LHD and AOR Class ships earlier this year.
The work forms part of EM Solutions’ ongoing contracts with the Royal Australian Navy to improve bandwidth capacity, crew conditions and Quality of Life options under the SEA 1445 and SEA 1180 programs.
(Source: Defence Connect)
24 Aug 21. OneWeb’s New, Small, User Terminal Debuts. OneWeb has unveiled their newest and smallest user terminal that offers high-speed internet connectivity to businesses, governments and communities across the globe as well as in remote locations. Developed in partnership with Intellian Technologies, Inc. and Collins Aerospace, the Compact-Electronically Steered Antenna OW1 user terminal, will play a key role in realizing OneWeb’s vision of bringing high-performance, easily installed, affordable communications services to the world’s least-connected regions and industrial sectors.
The OW1 terminal will bring performance, adaptability and a low profile that will make it ideal for delivering OneWeb-powered satellite broadband in a wide range of settings. The flat-panel antenna at the heart of the unit is easily installed, only requiring basic mounting and wiring skills to install and, coming in at 50x43x10 cm and around 10 kg, is about the size of a briefcase.
The flat-panel antenna will integrate with a OneWeb satellite modem in an environmentally sealed outdoor unit, can be installed using an optional stabilized J-mount and will connect via a single combined power and data cable to an indoor unit that will in turn provide connectivity to the end user devices, such as laptops or routers.
The new device follows the successful completion of OneWeb’s ‘Five to 50’ launch program that has delivered the satellites required to bring OneWeb services to Canada, the UK and Northern Europe later this year. OneWeb is on track to deploy its full fleet of satellites by 2022.
Michele Franci, OneWeb’s Chief of Delivery, said, “We are so excited to bring this user terminal to market, and we thank Intellian and Collins for their invaluable partnership in making it a reality. OneWeb’s vision of connecting the world requires the hardware to do it, and we are pleased to be able to offer an affordable, compact and easy-to-install user terminal. It will connect and empower communities and small to medium-sized businesses, opening up applications for a wide variety of purposes, including community Wi-Fi in remote regions; rural retail point-of-sale systems; agricultural Internet of Things functions; and internet service in hotels, health clinics, research stations and more, located in places that the status quo has left unconnected.”
“This agreement marks another exciting milestone in our great partnership with OneWeb, delivering another unique Intellian user terminal to address new markets and requirements with a high bandwidth and low latency user experience,” said Eric Sung, President and CEO, Intellian Technologies Inc. “The OW1 is our first flat-panel antenna, following years of investment in R&D, expanding our comprehensive OneWeb portfolio. This user terminal is a continuation of our ongoing mission of ‘Empowering Connectivity’, allowing customers in remote and challenging environments to access a cost effective and enhanced user experience otherwise inaccessible to them. The OW1 from Intellian along with OneWeb’s LEO service, can enable business growth, empower education and support the delivery of critical services in communities on a global scale.” (Source: Satnews)
At Viasat, we’re driven to connect every warfighter, platform, and node on the battlefield. As a global communications company, we power millions of fast, resilient connections for military forces around the world – connections that have the capacity to revolutionize the mission – in the air, on the ground, and at sea. Our customers depend on us for connectivity that brings greater operational capabilities, whether we’re securing the U.S. Government’s networks, delivering satellite and wireless communications to the remote edges of the battlefield, or providing senior leaders with the ability to perform mission-critical communications while in flight. We’re a team of fearless innovators, driven to redefine what’s possible. And we’re not done – we’re just beginning.