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29 Sep 21. FAA allows Virgin Galactic to resume launches after mishap probe. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Wednesday said it closed its mishap investigation into the July 11 Virgin. Galactic (SPCE.N) Unity 22 launch, which deviated from assigned airspace on descent, and lifted a grounding order the regulator imposed earlier.
The FAA said Virgin Galactic had implemented changes the agency required on how it communicates during flight and that the company will be allowed to resume operations.
The government investigation found the Virgin Galactic vehicle had deviated from its assigned airspace on descent from space and the company failed to communicate the deviation to the FAA as required.
The FAA on Sept. 2 said it had barred Virgin Galactic from flying its SpaceShipTwo pending completion of the report into the flight of the Virgin Galactic rocket plane that carried British bnaire Richard Branson to the edge of space.
Virgin Galactic said earlier this month it was planning another SpaceShipTwo flight from New Mexico, Unity 23, pending technical checks and weather. That flight is to carry three crew from the Italian Air Force and National Research Council, it added.
The company said on Sept. 10 the earliest it expects “to open its flight window for Unity 23 is mid October.”
Virgin Galactic said the FAA had accepted the corrective actions it proposed. They include updated calculations to expand the protected airspace for future flights and additional steps in the company’s flight procedures to ensure real-time mission notifications to FAA Air Traffic Control.
“The updates to our airspace and real-time mission notification protocols will strengthen our preparations as we move closer to the commercial launch of our spaceflight experience,” said Virgin Galactic Chief Executive Michael Colglazier.
Branson was among six Virgin Galactic employees who took part in the July flight, soaring more than 50 miles (80 km) above the New Mexico desert.
27 Sep 21. Space Force issues $47.5m for prototype data transport service. The U.S. Space Force has awarded Sev1Tech a $47.5m contract to demonstrate a prototype data transport capability that will help connect its space operators with war fighters across the globe.
The demonstration will be part of the Advanced Battle Management System, the Air Force’s contribution to Joint All-Domain Command and Control — a Department of Defense-wide initiative to connect sensors and shooters all over the world in real-time. Specifically, Sev1Tech’s network falls under the ABMS meshONE-Terrestrial program, which is developing a high-bandwidth networking capability at the tactical edge that can connect war fighters from across the joint services, the intelligence community and foreign mission partners.
“Previous network architectures for weapon systems were designed to meet specific user and mission needs,” Space Force Materiel Leader for Data Transport Lt. Col. Louis Aldini said in a statement. “Future network architectures need to be integrated as well as provide enhanced capabilities and efficiencies for the enterprise. meshONE-T is focused on delivering a modernized common solution for all weapon systems.”
Sev1Tech’s prototype will enable a “Data Transport as a Service” capability for select Space Force mission partners, laying the groundwork for a Joint All-Domain Command and Control network. Under the contract, the company will field and operate a multi-node meshONE-T prototype that can facilitate secure communications and cloud connectivity for multi-domain communications.
“meshONE-T is about the ability to get the right information to the right place at the right time. The key attributes are scalability, resiliency, and path diversity,” SSC Cross Mission Ground and Communications Enterprise Director Col. Rhet Turnbull said. “A year from now, we’ll have an operational prototype.”
The contract was issued by Space Systems Command’s Cross-Mission Ground & Communications Enterprise through the Space Enterprise Consortium, an other transaction authority set up to facilitate the Space Force’s rapid prototyping and experimentation efforts. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
29 Sep 21. OQ Technology and GovSat sign MOU to collaborate on IoT products for defence and government sectors. OQ Technology, a Luxembourg-based satellite 5G IoT company, and GovSat, a public-private joint venture between the Luxembourg government and satellite operator SES, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate on developing and testing satellite-based IoT (Internet of things) and machine-to-machine (M2M) products aimed at defence and government sectors.
By combining OQ Technology’s 5G products and services with GovSat’s end-to-end satcom solutions, already supporting customers such as NATO, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Belgium Navy, the companies aim to offer highly scalable applications for air, land and maritime missions across the world. Customers of these future applications will benefit from access to real-time 5G IoT coverage, dedicated geostationary (GEO) capabilities, specialized frequencies and licenses, and a wider footprint of multiple beams.
Omar Qaise, founder and CEO of OQ Technology said: “To successfully provide 5G IoT and machine communication to critical satcom applications in the defence and the government sector, it became evident that we had to partner with a specialized GEO operator. GovSat, due to its application know-how and experience of delivering secure, non-preemptible, reliable and accessible satellite communication services, is the perfect partner to achieve this.”
Under the agreement, OQ Technology will provide user terminals, satellite hub equipment and remote management capabilities. The company will also re-design its satellite IoT user terminal to fit the GovSat frequency band, and it’ll upgrade the antenna of its user terminal. In return, GovSat will give OQ Technology access to its satellite capacity, operate the satellite hub infrastructure and provide uplink services.
GovSat’s coverage is critical for government customers and NATO operations. Its reach spreads Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South West Asia with maritime coverage for the Atlantic, Baltic, Mediterranean and Indian Oceans. Their high-powered fully-steerable spot beams in X- and Mil Ka-Band, and a global X-Band beam, in addition to a secure service hub, assure secure operations and resilient satcom capabilities.
Since its successful demonstration of the technology in 2019, OQ Technology has been working on its patent pending technology to provide global 5G IoT coverage, initially using a low earth orbit nanosatellites constellation. Following the launch of its Tiger-2 satellite onboard the SpaceX Transporter-2 mission in July, the company is now offering commercial 5G IoT services for a variety of IoT applications for environmental monitoring and agriculture, logistics, maritime, smart metering, mining and oil & gas.
27 Sep 21. New UK space strategy sets the stage for defense investments. Britain gave a broad view of where the country is heading in the defense space sector as it launched a national space strategy Sept. 27, but details about London’s military ambitions were largely absent from the document.
For a while, the government’s plan had been to release the national space strategy and an associated defense space strategy in tandem, but publication of the two documents has now drifted apart. One space industry executive, who asked not to be named while discussing internal deliberations, said industry had been told a more defense-specific strategy was still incomplete and would have to wait until sometime next month for publication. That could, of course, mean as early as next week, but the executive said previous delays suggest a fluid time line. For the moment, though, companies will be picking over the new national space strategy for guidance on where Britain’s future defense focus is heading. Little of it will come as a surprise, with many of the developments impacting defense having been flagged previously. Among the key developments include the first space launch from a UK spaceport, planned for next year, building a military-civil National Space Operations Centre, and creating the ministry’s new Space Command, which went operational earlier this year. The national strategy document said Britain would prioritize its defense ambitions in the space domain with the establishment of what it called a “balanced defense space portfolio.”
“It will integrate current and planned capability management activities, combining existing core programs with exciting new initiatives to ensure the UK has capabilities to support defense operations in the modern age,” said the document.
Developing independent space domain awareness capabilities to protect UK satellites, advancing the Skynet 6 communications satellite program and building a small constellation of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance satellites with supporting architectures are part of the investment ambitions outlined by the strategy.
The portfolio is part of a ten-point development plan envisaged to boost British economic and capability growth outlined by the national space strategy.
Details on the portfolio will be included in the defense space strategy, said the document.
What’s already known is defense is investing around £5bn ($6.9bn) over the next decade to enhance satellite communication capabilities with the Skynet 6 program and a further £1.4bn ($1.9bn) in the acquisition and development of new technologies in space domain awareness, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, command and control and other new capabilities.
Among the capabilities name-checked by the strategy document as being of interest were the dual-use applications of free-space optical communications systems.
“We will also investigate new waveforms and encryption methods to provide better end-to-end protection,” said the document.
The government is also continuing to evaluate the case for investing in resilient Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT) capabilities through a mix of innovative new terrestrial and space-based technologies.
Last October the UK Space Agency launched a space-based PNT program to explore innovative ways of delivering vital satellite navigation and timing services to the UK from space.
Civil-military development initiatives and references to cooperation with international partners in development programs are themes running throughout the strategy document.
“By integrating our commercial and military space activities, we will use space to protect British interests abroad and on home soil, establishing the UK as one of the most attractive and innovative space economies in the world,” said Science and Innovation Minister George Freeman.
“Today’s national space strategy sets out our vision for ensuring that our thriving space sector lifts off for the long term,” said Freeman.
“We will collaborate internationally with our partners and allies to achieve our goals, including: maintaining our role in the European Space Agency whilst building new and enhanced bilateral relationships with countries such as the U.S.,” reads the strategy document.
The national space strategy made no mention of increased government funding to meet its ambitions, even though it acknowledged the UK lagged behind its key rivals.
It warned the UK was not keeping pace with threats as adversaries step up investment in space capabilities.
“Other nations have invested proportionally more and the UK lags behind our international peers. As a result, whilst the UK sector has continued grow, it is not currently increasing its share of the global space economy,” said the document.
The solution envisaged by the British Government is to get the private sector to step up spending.
“The UK will require a significant increase in private-sector investment in space activities, and the full combined efforts of every participant in the UK space economy, from businesses to innovators, entrepreneurs, and space scientists,” the strategy document said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
27 Sep 21. Bold new strategy to fuel UK’s world-class space sector.
Government unveils new plans to strengthen the UK as a world class space nation.
- National Space Strategy sets out long-term plans to strengthen the UK’s status as a world-class space nation
- New vision will help grow UK’s multibn-pound space industry, boost private investment and capitalise on UK strengths such as satellite manufacturing
- Brings together UK government civil and defence space activities to protect UK interests at home and abroad
New plans to strengthen the UK as a world class space nation by firing up its multibn-pound space industry have been set out in a National Space Strategy launched today.
From connecting people with their friends and family and monitoring climate to helping farmers to manage their crops, space plays a pivotal role in our daily lives, and is a vital part of the UK economy, worth over £16bn per year.
Today’s National Space Strategy sets out the government’s long-term vision for how the UK can establish itself as one of the most attractive and innovative space economies in the world. It will empower British space businesses to innovate and grow by unlocking private finance, while positioning the UK at the forefront of international space research – whether that’s by supporting the first British spaceport satellite launch due in 2022, or leading international space missions that help tackle global challenges such as climate change.
The Strategy brings together the UK government’s civil and defence space activities to ensure an integrated approach to combating hostile forces and emerging international threats such as cyber-attacks and anti-satellite missiles, while protecting UK interests at home and abroad.
It also sets out how the government will build on the UK’s strengths in space including satellite manufacturing and communications, while working with British companies at the cutting edge of the latest advances in space technologies. The Strategy outlines how the UK can establish global leadership in high-growth areas, such as satellite broadband operations, building on the government’s recent investment in OneWeb, while also focusing on new and emerging markets like in-orbit servicing and space debris removal.
Science and Innovation Minister George Freeman said, “As we enter an exciting new space age, we have bold ambitions for the UK to be at the vanguard of this industry in our role as a science superpower – whether it’s launching the first satellite from British soil, or leading major international space missions to help combat climate change. Today’s National Space Strategy sets out our vision for ensuring that our thriving space sector lifts off for the long term. It will put rocket boosters under the UK’s most innovative space businesses, ensuring they can unlock private capital and benefit our home-grown space expertise.
Above all, by integrating our commercial and military space activities, we will use space to protect British interests abroad and on home soil, establishing the UK as one of the most attractive and innovative space economies in the world.”
The Strategy has 4 cross-cutting pillars where government will take bold action to achieve its goals:
- unlocking growth in the UK space sector – supporting UK businesses, researchers, and innovators to grow the space sector and level up our economy
- collaborating internationally with our partners and allies – demonstrating global leadership, and becoming an international partner of choice in space activities
- growing the UK as a science and technology superpower – continuing to collaborate in high profile space missions and backing space technologies to tackle global challenges such as climate change
- developing resilient space capabilities and services – ensuring our critical national infrastructure can rely on a wide range of resilient space technologies and delivering the UK Defence Space Portfolio to strengthen UK security at home and overseas.
The UK already boasts a thriving space sector employing over 45,000 people in highly skilled jobs – from space scientists and researchers to engineers and satellite manufacturers. The National Space Strategy looks to harness these strengths and support British companies to seize future opportunities, with the global space economy projected to grow from an estimated £270bn in 2019 to £490 bn by 2030.
Ensuring the UK keeps pace with our competitors and adversaries as space becomes more competitive, congested and contested, the Strategy commits to the delivery of the UK’s first Defence Space Portfolio. This will see the government investing an additional £1.4 bn in developing new capabilities over and above the £5 bn already committed to enhance the military’s satellite communications.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said, “The ability to operate in space is fundamental to the success of our Armed Forces but also in maintaining civilian, commercial and economic activity. We launched UK Space Command this year for this very purpose. Collaboration with academic and industry partners ensures we progress research and development needed to stay at the forefront of pioneering technology and ahead of our adversaries.
The new National Space Strategy builds on our commitment to spend more than £6bn over the next 10 years to enhance our space capabilities, support vital skills and expertise whilst strengthening the UK’s security at home and overseas.”
Also published today is the National Severe Space Weather Preparedness Strategy, which sets out a 5-year vision for boosting UK resilience to the risk of severe space weather events.
Severe space weather refers to the variable conditions on the sun and in space that can influence the performance of technology and national infrastructure that we use on Earth – from power grid outages to disruption of satellite-navigation systems that we use.
The National Severe Space Weather Preparedness Strategy outlines a series of commitments by government to work with industry, academia, and international partners to increase the country’s understanding and preparedness for a sever space weather event, while tapping into UK expertise already in place, such as the 24 hour Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
27 Sep 21. Aerospace Corporation UK Ltd is Awarded £3m Contract by UK Space Agency. The Aerospace Corporation (Aerospace) announced today that its wholly owned UK subsidiary, The Aerospace Corporation UK Ltd (Aerospace UK), was awarded a two-year, £3m contract by the UK Space Agency (UKSA) to provide technical and policy support. Specifically, Aerospace UK will provide UKSA with independent technical expertise and specialist advice in support of policy development and implementation, successful programme delivery, strategic decision making, and international and sector-specific engagement approaches at a critical moment for the UK space enterprise.
“Our strengths in research and development, innovation, and technology place us in a perfect position to take a meaningful role in the new Space Age, and work collaboratively and effectively with our international partners,” said Ian Annett, UKSA deputy CEO for Programme Delivery. “Our partnership with The Aerospace Corporation UK Ltd will allow us to build on our sovereign capabilities and realise our goal of achieving 10 percent of the global space economy by 2030.”
A vital part of UKSA’s work is to ensure it continues to operate in the national interest. The UK space sector contributes £6.6 bn annually to the UK economy and supports £5.8bn annually in exports. New space trends provide significant opportunities for the UK to realise significant economic and national security ambitions for space, including launching satellites from the UK in 2022. The UK has established a new Cabinet committee dedicated to space, the National Space Council, and is developing a new National Space Strategy. Also, space has been designated part of the UK’s Critical National Infrastructure, given satellites support £360 bn of UK gross domestic product, public services, and key economic sectors ranging from agriculture to finance.
Leveraging Aerospace’s unique specialist skills, technical expertise and capabilities spanning the entire space enterprise will enable UKSA to develop in areas of high value for the UK as it pursues a more robust role in the global space environment. In turn, Aerospace demonstrates its commitment to integrating and elevating the entire space enterprise through this collaboration with a key US ally.
“Space-based technology and infrastructure allows for the smooth functioning of virtually every aspect of our daily lives on Earth. With so much depending on the space domain, the UK is building a cross-government, enterprise approach to space,” said Gina Galasso, managing director for Aerospace UK. “Aerospace is pleased to offer our specialised expertise to support our UK customers as they tackle this vital undertaking.”
About The Aerospace Corporation UK Ltd
The Aerospace Corporation UK Ltd is the wholly owned UK subsidiary of The Aerospace Corporation. Headquartered in Salisbury, Wiltshire, this small-to-medium enterprise is focused on supporting a number of different government organizations in the UK space economy. The company has been established to support UK efforts in a variety of space areas, including launch, space situational awareness, systems acquisition, and program management. For more information, visit www.aerospace.org/uk.
About The Aerospace Corporation
The Aerospace Corporation is a U.S.-based national nonprofit corporation that operates a federally funded research and development center and has approximately 4,200 employees. With major locations in El Segundo, California; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and the Washington, D.C., region, Aerospace addresses complex problems across the space enterprise through agility, innovation, and objective technical leadership. For more information, visit www.aerospace.org. Follow us on Twitter: @AerospaceCorp.
20 Sep 21. Spanish Government Authorizes Sateliot To Initiate 5G-IoT Communications From Space. Sateliot has obtained the provisional authorization from the Spanish Government, through the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation (Mineco), necessary to start its 5G-IoT services. Sateliot is the satellite operator that will launch a constellation of nanosatellites to universalize the Internet of Things with 5G coverage. This authorization allows the different terrestrial terminals located in different points of the peninsular geography to connect to the signal offered by the satellite that Sateliot launched into space last March aboard the Soyuz rocket.
So far the company already has everything in its favor to carry out the main objective of the mission: to start the testing phase of its technology in real environments with entities with which it has collaboration agreements, such as its partner Alen Space, with which it has developed the satellite payload, or the Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC), with whom it will work on different use cases, as well as with other strategic organizations that join this unprecedented R&D project.
The results of these technical tests over the next few months will provide Sateliot with very useful information for the evolution and integral design of its nanosatellite constellation, which is scheduled to start offering commercial service in 2023.
The provisional authorization for the use of the orbit-spectrum resource granted by the Ministry refers to the UHF frequency band, which will be used by the company for the first tests.
Orbit-spectrum resources are limited resources allocated by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to national administrations. Satellite operators such as Sateliot must first apply for this resource through an administration and then obtain a license in each country where they want to operate so that their satellites have the right to transmit.
After obtaining the provisional authorization from the Ministry, the company has already initiated steps to obtain the relevant licenses in the United States, France and Brazil, as the first steps for the execution of tests and demonstration of use cases at a global level.
According to Jaume Sanpera, CEO of Sateliot, “the authorization we have received from the Ministry allows our project to start the testing phase, which will begin to materialize in the coming weeks in Spain and will be extended to the rest of the world in the coming months to reach its full development and commercial operation in 2023.”
Sateliot is the first satellite telecommunications operator that will provide global and continuous connectivity to all the elements that will make up the Internet of Things (IoT) universe, such as the connected car or home, under the 5G protocol. Thanks to a constellation of state-of-the-art nanosatellites, located at low altitude and acting as mobile towers from space, Sateliot is the perfect complement to large telecommunications companies by providing them with the necessary infrastructure to extend their coverage where terrestrial technologies do not reach. More information on our website, Twitter and LinkedIn. (Source: Satnews)
24 Sep 21. Israel Space Agency (ISA) Selects Ramon.Space For Computing Payload + New Director General Of The ISA. Ramon.Space has been selected by the Israel Space Agency to provide a space computing payload for a mission scheduled to launch in early 2022. As part of the mission, Ramon.Space digital payload will perform computing on-orbit, including software updates and upgrades, using the company’s programmable, space computing systems. Ramon.Space high performance computing systems are based on in-house manycore Rad-Hard DSP space processor ICs, complete with machine learning, storage and a virtual radiation shield designed to operate reliably in the harsh space environment.
Ramon. Space systems serve as the computing infrastructure for next generation space applications such as communication, remote sensing and data networking. The company’s technology enables full software defined communication systems including software-defined radio (SDR), channelizers, inter-satellite links, routing in space and digital beamforming to maximum bandwidth utilization and increase flexibility and scalability for communication satellite payloads. Ramon.Space’s high performance, power efficient, SW-defined systems are paving the way for smart, autonomous satellites for LEO, MEO and GEO missions, boosting their on-orbit capabilities.
“We are proud to collaborate with the Israel Space Agency and look forward to the launch which will further validate our advanced computing capabilities in space,” said Avi Shabtai, CEO of Ramon.Space. “We continue to develop and make advancements to our digital computing payloads which are targeted for many more missions to come.”
“Space missions call for Earth-like flexibility and reliable computing infrastructure,” said Avi Blasberger, Director General of the Israel Space Agency, part of the Ministry of Science and Technology. “We have been very impressed with the computing capabilities that Ramon.Space offers. Ramon. Space is a trusted partner and we are confident that their cutting edge space technology will set the direction for the future of computing in space and revolutionize digital payloads.”
Ramon. Space builds space-resilient supercomputing systems. Powered by its unique AI/ML processors, Ramon.Space’s software-defined systems enable the realizations of earth-like computing capabilities in space. The company’s proven technology is already deployed in space and used in many satellites and more than 50 space missions across the solar system. Ramon. Space has offices in the United States and Israel. For more information, visit www.ramon.space.
Additionally for the Israel Space Agency, and following a lengthy selection process, the professional search committee, headed by the Director General of the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, Shai-Lee Spigelman, selected Brigadier General (Res.) Uri Oron as the next Director General of the Israel Space Agency.
Oron was selected from among dozens of candidates who applied for the position. His appointment will be brought before the Government for authorization. Oron will be the State of Israel’s 9th director general of the Israel Space agency.
Brigadier General (Res.) Uri Oron is a fighter pilot with command and operational experience of over 32 years in the Israel Air Force and the IDF, having served in a variety of positions – including the head of the IAF’s Intelligence Directorate and head of the IDF’s Operations Division. Since his discharge from the IDF, Oron has created and managed the operation field at an Israeli start-up that develops technology to solve problems using Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools.
Oron has extensive knowledge in managing complex systems and implementing broad-scale strategies and large budgets and state-of-the-art technologies. He has led innovative projects in the space field in collaboration with the IDF, defense industries and interfacing with the political echelon. Oron has earned a bachelor’s degree with distinction from Haifa University and is a graduate of the National Security College. (Source: Satnews)
22 Sep 21. Australian DIN calls for proposals in Space Domain Awareness. The NSW Defence Innovation Network (DIN) is calling for collaborative research proposals in the Resilient Multi-Mission Space STaR Shot theme. Through its Strategic Investment Initiative, DIN will invest $500,000 of research funding in developing a prototype Space Domain Awareness system for defence use. Applications close on 29 October. The DIN is part of DST Group’s Australian Defence Science University Network (ADSUN); with the recent announcement that Space is one of Defence’s Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities (SICP), DIN has established a Strategic Investment Initiative (SII) focused on Space. The purpose of the SII is to enable multi-disciplinary research teams to produce innovative prototypes, create lasting links to the defence industry, and catalyse commercialisation and additional R&D investment in NSW. A key objective is to build capability in the State by funding collaborative research that will enable a prototype to be made within 12-18 months, suitable for a ‘demonstration’ of the new capability of the integrated system. The Initiative is funded by the NSW Government. The focus of the SII is Space Domain Awareness. Proposals must demonstrate multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional collaboration. Projects must be led by a DIN university with substantive inputs from at minimum two DIN universities. Project teams may include Australian businesses and non-DIN member university researchers. The DIN adds that all project participants must be citizens of the Five Eyes Alliance (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States) or NATO member countries. Researchers and the defence industry interested in participating in the call should contact DIN to register their interest. DIN will be able to connect interested parties with other potential team members on request. The project is scheduled to start on 1 April 2022. The application form is available on request at (Source: Rumour Control)
27 Sep 21. Global Missile Defense From Space Got More Affordable, DOD Official Says. The Defense Department hopes, within the decade, to have a meshed network of low Earth orbit satellites — linked together and to warfighters — providing real-time global awareness of missile threats and the ability to respond. However, that goal was once considered cost prohibitive, said the director of the Space Development Agency.
Derek M. Tournear participated today in a Defense One virtual panel on the “State of the Space Force.” Now, the privatized commercial space industry has made that goal much more affordable, he said.
To put that in perspective, historically, each satellite has cost hundreds of millions of dollars, he said.
Commercialization of space has brought these prices down. “We now have 20 of our transport satellites on firm fixed price contracts at $14.1m apiece,” he said. “That’s unheard of, and we believe that price will continue to go down as commercialization keeps driving the price down.”
That’s only one part of it, he said. The other part of it is that access to space has also been commoditized. Commercial industry has been driving down the price to get satellites in orbit.
A few years ago, launches were hundreds of ms of dollars and now, they’re tens of millions of dollars which is a huge difference when launching hundreds and hundreds of satellites that the DOD needs for spiral development, he said.
The end game for the space-based architecture would be, for example, to track hypersonic glide vehicles, calculate a fire control solution and send that directly to a weapon to intercept and neutralize that threat, he said. “These are the missions people have wanted to do for a long time.”
Tournear mentioned the Missile Defense Agency, the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, along with industry partners, in playing roles in that endeavor.
Moderator Patrick Tucker, the technology editor for Defense One, added that 3D printed components and new breakthroughs in software have also brought costs down.
Tucker also pointed out that China and Russia also have access to the same technology and advantages that the U.S. has. (Source: US DoD)
23 Sep 21. OneWeb Strengthens Ground Segment with QuadSAT. With a QuadSAT antenna measurement drone, tests are performed where and when needed reducing operational expenditure. OneWeb, the low Earth orbit satellite communications company is working with QuadSAT to perform verification of its ground segment antennas ahead of the global rollout of its LEO constellation. In an initial stage, QuadSAT has carried out an antenna validation campaign at the Telespazio teleport in Scanzano, Italy.
Using its unique drone payload for antenna testing, QuadSAT performed in-situ measurement generating antenna radiation patterns as well as north offset in antenna pointing. QuadSAT’s drone-based system provides users with flexible and accurate antenna testing and calibration. Antennas can be tested anytime and anywhere, and it can perform a broad range of testing missions depending on requirements. QuadSAT pre- and post-flight software ensures repeatability, control over the drone during measurements, ease of operation and data delivery in a uniform format.
During the campaign, QuadSAT measured radiation patterns of several OneWeb antennas, enabling the validation of feed alignment and the direction of pointing. This is the first time OneWeb has utilized the capabilities of drone-based antenna diagnostics. Following successful results from this initial phase, QuadSAT will be performing antenna verification at other OneWeb sites.
Joseph Paciaroni, Director of Gateway Deployment, OneWeb commented, “We are in the process of building the ground segment for our state-of-the-art constellation. Having innovative methods for diagnostics will be an important success factor and we are particularly excited about the potential of drone-based in-situ diagnostics where traditional antenna validation techniques are not available. During this initial phase, we were really impressed with both the quality of the data and the ability to carry out the test within a very short time frame.”
Joakim Espeland, CEO, QuadSAT, added, “We are glad to be able to provide OneWeb with our measurement services for on-site validation and optimization. A fully optimized ground station is essential for OneWeb to assure the best possible service to its customers. It is therefore essential that a validation of the ground segment is carried out on-site. This is one of the services we provide at QuadSAT.” (Source: Satnews)
19 Sep 21. UK’s D-Orbit Signs A €2,197m Contract With ESA To Develop Debris Removal Technology. The UK branch of D-Orbit signed a €2,197m contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for phase 1 of the development and in-orbit demonstration of a “Deorbit Kit” as part of ESA’s Space Safety Program (S2P). The decommissioning kit proposed by D-Orbit is a self-contained suite of equipment that can be tailored to space vehicles of any size to enable them to perform a propulsive decommissioning maneuver at the end of their mission or after a failure, even if the spacecraft has become unresponsive. The kit and the know-how developed are also foundational capabilities that can be used in the future as part of active debris removal mission concepts.
“We believe that the development and in-orbit demonstration of this system will pave the way for the development of several other applications of autonomous deorbiting systems for future LEO missions,” commented Simon Reid, COO of the UK branch of D-Orbit. “In addition, the work performed in this activity will define a foundational capability that can be adapted in the future for active debris removal mission concepts, such as on-orbit installation of de-orbit kits on satellites already in space”.
D-Orbit will lead a consortium to develop the multi-purpose kit, which will be installed initially on a Vega Rocket payload adapter called Vespa (Vega Secondary Payload Adapter). This type of equipment is traditionally left in a ‘gradual disposal’ orbit, which although compliant with current international guidelines, represents a contribution to the growing debris problem. The kit will be installed before the launch to perform a propulsive direct re-entry maneuver over a designated uninhabited area shortly after the rocket has deployed its payload.
The design reference mission for the first phase of development for this new device is the VESPA Upper part, which is currently foreseen as the launch adaptor for the ESA ClearSpace-1 mission, scheduled for 2025. The final target application for the device will be confirmed at the start of phase 2 of the program.
“This contract is an important milestone for D-Orbit group and for the entire space sector” says Luca Rossettini, CEO of D-Orbit. “We, space pioneers in the space industrial ecosystem, shall stand up and act to preserve the future of our business and the entire humankind. The first product we launched on the market long time ago was a decommissioning device: today we are working to make sure the space debris problem turns into a commercial opportunity and a resource for the future development of space.”
Besides D-Orbit, the consortium includes Airbus Defence and Space, ArianeGroup, GMV Innovating Solutions, and Optimal Structural Solutions. The kickstart meeting is scheduled for today, September 8th, 2021. (Source: Satnews)
20 Sep 21. AFRL Invites New Science, Technology Ideas Through Air Force, Space Force Tech Connect. On behalf of the Department of the Air Force, as one laboratory supporting two services, the Air Force Research Laboratory has developed the Air and Space Forces Science & Technology Front Door, to connect potential partners with S&T experts and opportunities. The Department recognizes that innovative ideas often come from small businesses, industry, academia, or even a project in your neighbor’s garage that can help solve problems the department has identified.
Everybody has ideas. Many people have had an idea for a new product or technology only to have it dismissed or neglected. Sometimes we later find that others had the same idea, but were able to get it in front of the right people, resulting in their product on the market, not ours.
Ideas are relatively easy to come by; inventions and innovations are more difficult. It takes knowledge, time, money and effort to refine an idea into a workable solution, even on paper. There are formidable tasks and substantial barriers in the path of those who pursue innovation. Accomplishing these tasks and overcoming the barriers typically requires much careful planning and input from others.
The Department of the Air Force recognizes that innovative ideas often come from small businesses, industry, academia, or even a project in your neighbor’s garage that can help solve problems the Department has identified. In April of 2019, the Air Force announced its Science and Technology 2030 Strategy which lays a path forward for the U.S. Air Force science and technology ecosystem to rapidly develop warfighting capabilities.
By expanding and strengthening our partnerships, and leveraging the innovation networks within industry, small business, academia, and government laboratories, the Department is committed to delivering an effective service to connect that will ensure more external innovations have a transformational impact on the Air Force and Space Force. On behalf of the Department, as one laboratory supporting two services, the Air Force Research Laboratory has developed the Air and Space Forces Science & Technology (S&T) Front Door, to connect potential partners with S&T experts and opportunities.
Partnering or connecting with the DAF science and technology enterprise can be challenging due to its structure and various platforms of engagement. The Air Force and Space Force Tech Connect website was built to help address this and support S&T ecosystem awareness, learning, engagement and unsolicited idea submission intake. The website provides access to current S&T opportunities, S&T events and other S&T enterprise connectors. It also provides innovators a portal where they can share their ideas and capabilities with an AFRL subject matter expert for potential feedback, collaborations and opportunities. With a nationwide scope to invite and nurture game-changing ideas and technology that might come from anywhere and anyone that can ultimately benefit the warfighter, the S&T Front Door’s long-term goal is to expand the science and technology ecosystem involvement beyond AFRL to include more mission-aligned organizations and organizations of the larger Department of Defense science and technology network.
Another partnering S&T entity, and also part of the AFRL team, AFWERX is expanding technology, talent and transition partnerships for rapid and affordable commercial and military capability through three efforts: AFVentures, Spark and Prime. AFVentures, which is AFWERX’s commercial investment arm for the Air Force, creates simple pathways for commercial innovators and private capital investment to help the Department of the Air Force solve problems. Spark connects Airmen and Guardians to commercial innovators while Prime is all about accelerating emerging commercial markets using military missions and equities. Both Tech Connect and AFWERX are committed to exploring viable solutions and partnerships to further strengthen both our air and space forces and aim to make connecting potential partners with S&T experts and opportunities easier than before.
“The National Defense Strategy forecasts a highly-contested future fight with complex threats,” said Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle, AFRL commander. “Peer competitors are driving to overtake the United States as the science and technology superpower. The global commercial sector is outpacing our investment in S&T and exploding with innovative technologies. Nonetheless, we remain clear-eyed about the challenges ahead.
“With the complexity of this evolving landscape, we accelerate change in line with the Air Force chief of staff’s charge to us. We accept appropriate levels of risk in innovation and experimentation, as the chief of space operations urges. Above all, we recognize technological superiority is necessary to address these challenges. By expanding our presence and creating more visible and convenient virtual front doors, we are cultivating a world-wide ecosystem of research from basic to applied that drives the pace of technology and competition in the agile pursuit of innovative solutions for Warfighters and stakeholders alike,” she said.
How it Works
The Air Force and Space Force Tech Connect team, currently comprised of subject matter experts from AFRL’s technology directorates, the Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer program, Strategic Development Planning and Experimentation Office, Transformational Capabilities Office and AFWERX, reviews and connects quality, relevant submissions with S&T subject matter experts and S&T opportunities. The team provides feedback and if the submission is relevant, establishes dialogue with interested Air Force S&T programs.
“By leveraging S&T advancements in government, university and industry laboratories, AFRL can move innovations further toward transformational impact within the Department of the Air Force. For those who submit an idea through the Air Force and Space Force Tech Connect, they can expect confirmation that their idea has been received by AFRL and that feedback on their idea will be provided by a Department of the Air Force subject matter expert in a timely manner,” said Elizabeth Escamilla, Science & Technology Front Door lead.
If you are an innovator with promising ideas and are interested in collaborating with the Department of the Air Force on science and technology innovation and development, then the Air Force and Space Force Tech Connect team wants to hear from you. (Source: Satnews)
27 Sep 21. Processor Intelligence For SpaceLink’s Spacecraft To Be Provided By SEAKR. SpaceLink has selected SEAKR Engineering, Inc. (SEAKR) to provide key payload technology for the firm’s relay satellite system.
SEAKR is developing technologies for DARPA and the U.S. Space Force and will provide advanced on-board processing for the SpaceLink network (infographic below), which provides secure, continuous, high-capacity communications for time-critical service between spacecraft and the ground.
Working together with SpaceLink, SEAKR is developing an advanced, high-performance processor that integrates with optical and radio frequency (RF) signals. The processor on each of SpaceLink’s MEO satellites will control and direct data traffic to optimize the capacity and availability of the network in response to customer demand.
SEAKR, a firm that just agreed to a definitive acquisition by Raytheon Technologies, is a leading-edge provider of advanced electronics for space applications and is developing one of the central technologies for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA’s) Blackjack satellite network.
The SpaceLink relay system, planned to launch in 2024, will provide operational connectivity to commercial and government space missions using both RF and optical links to the relay satellites and laser crosslinks to route traffic to any SpaceLink ground entry point, and on to the users’ Mission Operations Center. The system will support the growing bandwidth demand and security requirements of commercial, civil, and U.S. and allied national security missions.
With the growing space economy and proliferation of spacecraft in LEO, the demand for fast, continuous, high-capacity connectivity is accelerating. SpaceLink’s unique architecture and location in MEO means the satellite constellation always has direct line of sight to satellites, space stations, tugs and servicers in LEO, as well as to its dedicated Gateway Earth Stations. SpaceLink will relieve the bandwidth bottleneck for organizations that need to transport data quickly and securely to users anywhere in LEO or on Earth.
The SpaceLink relay network is designed to pick up where the U.S. Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) leaves off and go beyond with unprecedented capacity that leverages today’s technology advances. Enhancing the business case for Earth Observation (EO) companies, commercial space stations, satellite servicers, and space tugs, SpaceLink also meets requirements for the U.S. Government and close allies that want to leverage industry solutions.
Artistic rendition of NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M (TDRS-M), which is the third and final in a series of next generation communications satellites.
“SEAKR and SpaceLink are aligned in our strategic planning and technology roadmaps,” said Dave Bettinger, SpaceLink CEO. “SEAKR is fully compliant with U.S. government standards and cybersecurity requirements, and our processor development and production will be done on U.S. soil by U.S. persons. For critical payload components, we know this is important to many of our customers.”
”SEAKR has developed multiple on-orbit reconfigurable payloads for both commercial and military missions for multiple orbital domains. The SpaceLink satellite communication processor leverages decades of successful missions and will represent one of the most capable systems deployed,” said Dave Jungkind, SEAKR’s Vice President of Business Development.
“We share SpaceLink’s excitement about the prospects for a relay system that provides continuous connectivity for spacecraft in LEO,” said Scott Anderson, president and co-founder of SEAKR. “Our agreement with SpaceLink enables us to move forward with development of the advanced, high-performance processor that meets SpaceLink’s relay requirements. Our companies have great synergy and we are enthusiastic to move forward with all the technical requirements and interfaces.”
About the companies
SEAKR Engineering, Inc. (SEAKR) is a leading supplier of space qualified state-of-the-art electronics for advanced processors, networked systems, reconfigurable radio frequency (RF) and electro-optical (EO) payloads, and digital channelizers/beamformers. These systems use SEAKR’s Radiation Hardened system By Design (RHBD) techniques that have successfully been deployed in over 300 missions with a 100% on-orbit success rate. SEAKR designs, builds, and tests these systems at their facilities in Colorado.
SpaceLink will help advance humanity to a new age of space commerce, exploration, environmental awareness, and security. The Always in Sight™ data relay system provides global coverage to empower space system operators to maximize use of their assets.SpaceLink Corporation is headquartered in the Washington DC area and has offices in Silicon Valley, California. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Electro Optic Systems Holdings Limited, a public company traded on the Australian stock exchange. (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.