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14 Oct 21. Leaf Space Adds Five New Ground Stations to Global Network, Increases Capacity to Address Growing Customer Demand. GSaaS Company Expands Network with Ground Stations in Australia, Bulgaria, Canada and Iceland Leaf Space, a leading provider of ground segment as-a-service (GSaaS) solutions, announced today that the company is adding five ground stations to the company’s global Leaf Line Network. The new stations will be installed in West and South Australia, British Columbia, Iceland and Bulgaria further increasing Leaf Space’s capability to provide GSaaS solutions to its growing list of customers. Leaf Space expands network with ground stations in Australia, Bulgaria, Canada and Iceland. The new ground stations will provide Leaf Space customers with additional global coverage, increasing capacity, decreasing latency and offering new strategic regional placement, like the company’s first station in Canada.
“We set a goal at the beginning of the year to double our global network, and we’re very proud of the work we’ve done to reach that goal,” said Jonata Puglia, CEO and co-founder of Leaf Space. “Our customers are looking for reliable, flexible and cost-efficient solutions that give them the ability to extract data and communicate with their space-based assets frequently and easily. By further expanding our global network, we are continuing to add value to the services we provide to support important space missions.”
Leaf Space will now operate 15 ground stations globally. The company’s new station in Iceland adds another high northern latitude station along with the existing station in Northern Scotland. The stations in Bulgaria, Canada and Australia offer additional diversity in the mid-latitude network, decreasing the risk of interference, band saturation and overlapping.
“With these additions and those we’ve planned to activate by Q1 2022, we’ll be able to support any kind of LEO orbit including SSO, mid-inclination and equatorial with at least one pass per orbit,” added Puglia. “That is a tremendous asset to our customers and a differentiator for us.”
About Leaf Space
Leaf Space is pioneering the concept of ground segment as-a-service (GSaaS) for forward-thinking satellite and launch operators around the world. Since its inception in 2014, Leaf Space has focused on developing the highest quality ground station services and technology with the goal of creating the most efficient and valuable ground segment solutions available on the modern space market. Leaf Space is based in Lomazzo, Italy and is funded by RedSeed Ventures, Whysol Investments, and Primo Space. For more information, please visit: leaf.space. (Source: PR Newswire)
15 Oct 21. OneWeb Confirms Successful Launch of 36 Satellites from Vostochny.
- OneWeb confirms successful launch and contact with all 36 satellites, bringing total in-orbit constellation to 358 satellites
- OneWeb has now launched over half of its LEO satellite fleet that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity
- OneWeb continues to gain momentum, with its Service Demonstrations now live to showcase connectivity services to partners and end customers
OneWeb, the low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, yesterday confirmed its successful launch of 36 satellites by Arianespace from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. This latest successful launch brings OneWeb’s total in-orbit constellation to 358 satellites, over half of OneWeb’s entire 648 LEO satellite fleet that will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity.
Liftoff occurred on 14 October at 10:40am BST. OneWeb’s satellites were separated from the rocket in nine batches over a period of 3 hours 52 minutes with signal acquisition on all 36 satellites confirmed.
With this successful launch, OneWeb celebrates the start of Service Demonstrations which showcase the network’s hardware and capabilities across an array of applications. OneWeb has demo centres open at the company’s headquarters in London and at the Westcott Venture Park Innovation Centre in Buckinghamshire, as well as in the U.S. in Talkeetna, Alaska and Germantown, Maryland.
The business is continuing to expand from a position of strength, establishing strategic partnerships and agreements across a wide array of providers and businesses. In the past month, the company has announced partnerships with Galaxy Broadband, as well as the completed acquisition of the company formerly known as TrustComm, now OneWeb Technologies, together with the announcement of funding from Hanwha Systems and additional funding from Eutelsat. These advancements, along with other recent partnership announcements with AT&T, Hughes Network Systems, Peraton, and BT will further OneWeb towards its goal of bringing improved digital communication services to some of the hardest to reach parts of the world.
OneWeb is now over the halfway point toward delivering global service by 2022 and is seeing growing demand from telecommunications providers, ISPs, and governments worldwide to offer its low-latency, high-speed connectivity services. OneWeb has raised USD $2.7 billion since November 2020, with no debt issuance.
Neil Masterson, OneWeb CEO, commented: “Now is a truly exciting time for OneWeb’s global communications network. Our talented team and partners across the globe have made enormous strides while remaining sharply focused on delivering our network. As we continue to expand and solidify new agreements, we see major demand for our services from global customers. I am incredibly proud of the team and all our partners for delivering another successful launch and taking our satellite constellation past the halfway mark.”
14 Oct 21. New Shakeup Coming To Space Force Acquisition.
“Congress can hold politicals accountable — not so much with the uniformed officers,” one former DoD official said.
The Department of the Air Force on Monday will put in place a realignment of initial space policy development that in the past has been directly under the purview of the Air Force secretary, handing them instead to the office of the Space Force chief, Breaking Defense has learned.
An Air Force spokesperson confirmed the planned shift in an email this evening. However, Air Force officials later tonight in a phone call stressed that decision-making authority over policy continues to reside within the civilian chain of command, starting with Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall and ultimately going through Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
The move — which will make policy the purview of Lt. Gen. Bill Liquori, who serves as Space Force’s chief strategy and resourcing officer — puts initial space policy development in the military chain of command rather than in the hands of civilians appointed by Congress. It also is at least the seventh reshuffle of space policy activities within the Department of the Air Force since the early 2000s.
Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond had pushed for the shift, arguing that there isn’t a secretariat office for air policy, one former Defense Department official explained.
“I think USSF leadership wants the Space Staff to be the one stop shop for all DAF space policy (and strategy) matters,” one insider said.
At the moment, it remains unclear where those working on policy issues under the old version of the Space Acquisition and Integration office will be reassigned.
“They have announced the top and middle tier structures and leadership, but no worker bees know where they will be assigned yet,” said another source close to the action earlier this week.
A spokesperson for the Department of the Air Force explained that Brig. Gen. Steve Whitney, who was charged with the realignment, would detail the changes to staff tomorrow.
“Brig. Gen. Whitney is presenting to the SAF/SQ team on 15 Oct the organizational structure of SAF/SQ and personnel alignment which will take effect on 18 Oct. There is not a plan for a formal announcement,” the spokesperson said in an email this evening.
“Regarding space policy, space acquisition policy remains in SAF/SQ while broader policy discussions will occur across the USSF. The shift of the international affairs efforts to SAF/IA is in progress and involves the shift of a handful of specific skilled individuals. The remaining members of SAF/SQ will be assigned to positions inside of SAF/SQ to accomplish the SAF/SQ mission set of Space System Acquisition and Integration.”
Follow The Money
Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall in August revealed his plan to merge the Space Acquisition and Integration office, formerly known as SAF/SP, with the Air Force Acquisition, Technology and Logistics office, SAF/AQ, into a new organization still named Space Acquisition and Integration, but now designated SAF/SQ. At the same time, he announced that Whitney was replacing Shawn Barnes, who served as SAF/SP deputy but had de facto been the senior civilian in charge of the office.
“The alignment of SAF/SQ duties is in-line with the previously announced changes by the SecAF at the Space Symposium conference,” the spokesperson said.
“Regarding space policy, space acquisition policy remains in SAF/SQ while broader policy discussions will occur across the USSF. The shift of the international affairs efforts to SAF/IA is in progress and involves the shift of a handful of specific skilled individuals. The remaining members of SAF/SQ will be assigned to positions inside of SAF/SQ to accomplish the SAF/SQ mission set of Space System Acquisition and Integration,” the spokesperson added.
The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act required that the Air Force appoint a Senate-confirmed assistant secretary for space acquisition and integration. That person, the act said, will “synchronize with the Air Force Service Acquisition Executive on all space system efforts, and take on Service Acquisition Executive responsibilities for space systems and programs effective on October 1, 2022.”
The reorganization, Kendall told an audience at this year’s Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, is designed to emphasize that the new office, which was mandated by Congress in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, is first and foremost an acquisition office, as opposed to a policy shop for space acquisition issues.
“Frank cares more about the money than he does about policy,” one outside expert following the issue said, because in the end, those with the money control what is actually bought.
More than one current and former DoD space policy wonk expressed concern about the direction of the planned reshuffle. That is in part because while Raymond has put enormous emphasis on speeding weapons development and fielding, there continue to be major policy questions surrounding what the future space architecture looks like.
For example, what is the balance between small constellations of large, highly exquisite satellites, such as the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) missile warning satellites and those comprised of many smaller but perhaps less capable satellites, such as the Missile Tracking layer being development by the Space Development Agency? What should be the balance of investment in offensive weapons versus building architectural resilience?
“The Space Force is going really fast! I’m not sure where they are going or what they are measuring to suggest they are going fast, but that’s what I hear!!!” the former DoD official wrote.
“They’re creating weapons before they’re realizing how they want to employ them — and that seems a little backwards to me,” said one former military space operator.
There are also issues surrounding how such decisions driving acquisition are managed, and overseen.
“The ‘space policy’ portfolio is to move to CSRO, but I don’t think they have the manning/expertise to support what is needed in the short term,” the insider said.
“Congress can hold political [appointees] accountable — not so much with the uniformed officers,” the former DoD official explained. Noting that in the past the senior space policy official would represent the Department of the Air Force at interagency meetings, the source added: “I don’t see why this would be given to someone who is loyal to the CSO rather than the secretary.”
Another former DoD official said that given Kendall’s earlier comments, the move is not unexpected. “I do think it is of questionable wisdom,” the source added.
“I think it is a mistake,” the outside expert said bluntly.
“To the question of Individuals expressing concerns about moving Policy from a civilian lead (SecAF) to a military lead (CSO): We would say, SAF/SQ is focused on the acquisition of space systems and technical capabilities. Space acquisition policy will remain in SAF/SQ while broader policy discussions will occur across the USSF and the international affairs efforts move to SAF/IA. The Department of Defense provides civilian oversight of space policy through the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy,” the spokesperson wrote.
To be fair to Pentagon space leaders, a frustrated Congress has been pushing DoD, the Department of the Air Force and the Space Force to move out on space acquisition reform, as well as to speed fielding of new technology to ensure the US has an edge on China and Russia.
Just last week, Chairman of the House Armed Services’ strategic forces subcommittee, Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., admonished the service to “step up its game.” Cooper, who was one of the father’s of Space Force’s creation, said that the service has the budget it needs to succeed but is still moving too sluggishly to acquire cutting-edge tech.
The House Appropriations Committee (HAC), similarly slammed the DoD space leadership in its 2022 defense spending bill for what the appropriators see as foot-dragging on space acquisition reform — which was one of the primary congressional rationales for the creation of the new space service in the first place.
The HAC report thunders:
The fiscal year 2022 budget request is the first budget developed by the Space Force since its establishment, yet jt includes many of the same type of “big juicy targets” that the current Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has warned against for at least four years. The Space Force lacks a clear plan which defines its future space architecture and lacks a strategy for how this architecture will be acquired. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
14 Oct 21. Leonardo Australia joins maritime security co-operative. The global defence prime has entered into a cross-sector partnership aimed at developing new space-enabled surveillance capability. Leonardo Australia, SmartSat CRC, e-GEOS and Deakin University have signed an agreement for the first phase of ‘Enhancing Earth Observation for Maritime Domain Awareness’ (EO4MDA) — set up to leverage ground, air, and naval-based systems data integrated with space-based capability to support authorities across the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone and coastal areas. As part of the EO4MDA partnership, founded by SmartSat CRC, the organisations will develop and demonstrate first phase activities towards an Australian maritime domain awareness capability, which supports national and civil security objectives. The project is expected to leverage satellite technologies enhanced by artificial intelligence, and draw on operational experience in providing maritime surveillance services to private and institutional users, including navies, coast guards, police corps and international agencies. Leonardo Australia and its subsidiary e-GEOS will be tasked with offering digital infrastructure and personnel to accelerate the research outcomes. Specifically, EO4MDA is expected to onboard the e-GEOS platform ‘SEonSE’, which merges data from the Italian Space Agency and the Italian Ministry of Defence COSMO-SkyMed constellation. This capability is tipped to generate vessel detection reports via its Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) technology and data from other satellites and different sources. SEonSE is designed to provide real-time maritime situational awareness to detect illegal activities, support environment monitoring and combat piracy.
“We are proud to collaborate with SmartSat CRC and Deakin University, offering our technologies and knowhow to support Australian-led R&D to drive world-leading Earth Observation remote sensing capabilities, drawing on expert knowledge from an industrial group, Leonardo,” Giorgio Mantegazza, Leonardo Australia managing director, said.
Paolo Minciacchi, e-GEOS CEO, said the collaboration is a demonstration of the firm’s ability to integrate artificial intelligence techniques.
“Based on Geospatial Big Data Analytics on long time series of satellite acquisitions and information from other sources, SEonSE extracts maritime traffic information highlighting the main routes and volumes per ship type and activities, thus providing timely and effective services,” Minciacchi said.
Meanwhile, Deakin University is expected to offer resources in the fields of artificial intelligence, optimisation and uncertainty quantification through the Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation (IISRI).
The institute will test newly developed machine learning models integrated into the SEonSE platform to improve satellite-based data efficiency in the Australian environment and provide predictions on anomalous behaviour at sea.
“Deakin researchers will develop state-of-the-art deep learning algorithms with uncertainty-aware capabilities for anomaly detection utilizing data from satellites and other repositories,” Professor Saeid Nahavandi, director of IISRI and pro-vice-chancellor of Deakin University, said.
“We are excited to work with experts from Leonardo and SmartSat CRC on this project, establishing sovereign capabilities in earth observation for Australia.”
Professor Andy Koronios, SmartSat CEO, said the collaborative project would deliver practical outcomes for the country, supporting enhanced border protection, monitoring of fisheries and aquaculture, and conducting search and rescue and maritime safety operations.
“I am delighted with this impactful collaboration with our great partners Leonardo Australia and Deakin University,” Professor Koronios added. (Source: Defence Connect)
15 Oct 21. From spy satellites to mobile networks, S.Korea pins space hopes on new rocket. South Korea plans to test its first domestically produced space launch vehicle next week, a major step toward jumpstarting the country’s space programme and achieving ambitious goals in 6G networks, spy satellites, and even lunar probes.
If all goes well, the three-stage NURI rocket, designed by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) to eventually put 1.5-ton payloads into orbit 600 to 800km above the Earth, will carry a dummy satellite into space on Thursday.
South Korea’s last such booster, launched in 2013 after multiple delays and several failed tests, was jointly developed with Russia.
The new KSLV-II NURI has solely Korean rocket technologies, and is the country’s first domestically built space launch vehicle, said Han Sang-yeop, director of KARI’s Launcher Reliability Safety Quality Assurance Division.
“Having its own launch vehicle gives a country the flexibility of payload types and launch schedule,” he told Reuters in an email.
MILITARY AND CIVILIAN BENEFITS
It also gives the country more control over “confidential payloads” it may want to send into orbit, Han said.
That will be important for South Korea’s plans to launch surveillance satellites into orbit, in what national security officials have called a constellation of “unblinking eyes” to monitor North Korea.
So far, South Korea has remained almost totally reliant on the United States for satellite intelligence on its northern neighbour.
In 2020 a Falcon 9 rocket from the U.S. firm Space X carried South Korea’s first dedicated military communications satellite into orbit from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
NURI is also key to South Korean plans to eventually build a Korean satellite-based navigation system and a 6G communications network.
“The program is designed not only to support government projects, but also commercial activity,” Oh Seung-hyub, director of the Launcher Propulsion System Development Division, told a briefing on Tuesday.
South Korea is working with the United States on a lunar orbiter, and hopes to land a probe on the moon by 2030.
Given problems with previous launches, Han and other planners said they have prepared for the worst.
The launch day may be changed at the last minute if weather or technical problems arise; the craft will carry a self-destruct mechanism to destroy it if it appears it won’t reach orbit; and media won’t be allowed to observe the test directly.
At least four test launches are planned before the rocket will be considered reliable enough to carry a real payload.
According to pre-launch briefing slides, the rocket’s planned path will take it southeast from its launch site on the south coast of the Korean peninsula, threading its way over the ocean on a trajectory aimed at avoiding flying over Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and other major land masses.
“This upcoming launch may be remembered as the hope and achievement of Korean rocketry historically no matter the launch is successful or not,” Han told Reuters.
Space rockets on the Korean peninsula have been fraught with concerns over their potential use for military purposes, leaving South Korea’s efforts lagging more capable programmes in China and Japan.
“Modern rocketry in Korea couldn’t devote its capability much in R&D of rockets because of long-standing political issues,” Han said.
The United States has viewed North Korea’s own satellite launch vehicles as testbeds for nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile technology. A North Korean space launch in 2012 helped lead to the breakdown of a deal with the United States.
“North Korea, of course, will not look favourably on South Korea’s rapidly advancing space capabilities, which are far more technologically advanced than those possessed by the North,” said James Clay Moltz, a space systems expert at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.
South Korea’s push into space comes as it speeds ahead with its own military ballistic missile systems after agreeing with the United States this year to end all bilateral restrictions on them.
“There is no concern on military applications in NURI launch vehicle development,” said Chang Young-keun, a missile expert at the Korea Aerospace University. Unlike the liquid-fuelled NURI, South Korea’s military missiles use solid fuel, which is better for weapons, he added.
South Korea is not seen as a “threat” by either Russia or China, so it seems unlikely to affect their space programs, which are already highly militarized, Moltz said.
“Many space launch technologies are inherently dual-use,” he said, but noted that he hopes NURI’s development will “not lead to an arms race in space, but instead a safer ‘information race’” where South Korea has better intelligence to head off any future crisis.
14 Oct 21. TE Connectivity launches first-to-market SolderSleeve device for space. TE Connectivity (TE), a world leader in connectivity and sensors, is introducing its SolderSleeve device for space, a first-to-market solution that provides a controlled and reliable solder joint for low outgassing applications, including low earth orbit (LEO) satellites. The new product is designed to meet the demands of the space industry, which require minimal to zero foreign object damage (FOD) in applications. The SolderSleeve device will support small, nano and cube satellites for LEO constellations and launch pads, all while helping to ensure end-to-end quality control starting with the material through in-house production, testing and the final product.
The SolderSleeve interconnection device for space is designed for fast and convenient installation, durability to perform in harsh environments, and versatility in application within the space domain. The product can be used in splicing wires and shield terminations. It employs heat shrinkable technology that allows it to connect, insulate and protect in one step. The solution is made with a transparent insulation sleeve, rated up to 150 degrees Celsius, and has a tensile strength of up to 15 pounds.
“TE’s SolderSleeve interconnection device for space offers an ideal solution for high reliability, reduced SWaP and environmentally protected shield termination on cables that help insulate, protect and provide strain relief at the same time,” said Ujjwal Varma, product manager for TE’s Aerospace, Defense and Marine division. “Our inhouse design and quality-controlled process offers complete reliability and traceability for our products.”
The product requires minimal tools for installation, and is tested and qualified for low outgassing parameters, which are in line with TE specification 108-160024, ASTM E-595 (ECSS-Q-ST-70-02C) and RT-1404.
For more information, visit https://www.te.com/soldersleeve-space
11 Oct 21. USQ, Hypersonix to develop reusable launch vehicle. Professor Peter Schubel, Director of University of Southern Queensland’s Centre for Future Materials, said the launch vehicle is a technology demonstrator for key aspects of a re-usable small satellite launch system.
“We are the first university to sign an agreement with Hypersonix Launch Systems to support their journey towards their first launch approximately two years from now,” Professor Schubel said. “This project will involve high temperature composites manufacturing which is an area of expertise for our team. “We are excited to have Hypersonix Launch Systems joining as our latest research partner. Their innovative technology requires advanced composite materials and we look forward to working with them and testing the most suitable materials for their needs.”
The goal is to investigate materials for their high temperature resistance and long durability, access potential for utilising them for re-using launch vehicles and engines.
Hypersonix Launch Systems Managing Director David Waterhouse said the agreement was ideal given the University’s extensive testing facilities.
“They offer a great range of testing including materials characterisation, polymer analysis, mechanical testing and large-scale structural testing; including motor performance testing up to 250kN thrust,” Mr Waterhouse said.
“This is exactly what we were looking for in our current building phase.”
Hypersonix Launch Systems vision is ‘to create the world’s leading sustainable hypersonic technology that fundamentally disrupts the way we fly to space and around the world.’ With a focus on world-leading scramjet technology and hypersonic launch systems, their initial goal is to deploy small satellites into LEO (Low Earth Orbit) and find their unique place in the rapidly growing satellite launch market. (Source: Rumour Control)
11 Oct 21. Production begins of UK’s Skynet 6A defence satellite. The UK’s Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin MP, has visited Airbus in Stevenage and pushed the button to start production of the first panel skin for the UK MOD’s next generation military communications satellite Skynet 6A. The Minister started the high precision cutting machine to profile the first aluminium panels of the near six-ton satellite which is based on Airbus’ Eurostar Neo telecommunications spacecraft as well as visiting extensive cleanroom facilities on site. Airbus was awarded the more than £500m contract to design and build Skynet 6A in July 2020 and the programme achieved its Preliminary Design Review in December 2020.
Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said: “Secure military satellite communications are vital for our ability to conduct operations on a global scale. Seeing the first hardware for the next generation Skynet 6A satellite shows we are on track for launch in 2025 and ready to upgrade and enhance the UK’s global military communications network.”
Richard Franklin, managing director of Airbus Defence and Space, said: “Airbus in the UK is a world leader in the design and manufacture of military and commercial telecommunications satellites, and working hand-in-hand with the Defence Digital team we have overcome the challenges of Covid and are on track with the programme. We also look to future export opportunities which will benefit the wider space ecosystem and are actively engaged with bringing on board a wider spread of UK SMEs to deliver this essential sovereign capability.”
Skynet 6A will extend and enhance the Skynet fleet. The contract signed with the UK involves the development, manufacture, cyber protection, assembly, integration, test and launch, of the military communications satellite. The contract also covers technology development programmes, new secure telemetry, tracking and command systems, launch, in-orbit testing and ground segment updates.
The Skynet 6A satellite is based on Airbus’ Eurostar Neo telecommunications satellite platform. It will utilise more of the radio frequency spectrum available for satellite communications and the latest digital processing to provide both more capacity and greater versatility than Skynet 5 satellites. The satellite will feature electric orbit raising propulsion as well as electric station keeping systems for maximum cost effectiveness. Complete satellite integration will take place at Airbus facilities in the UK followed by testing using National Satellite Test Facility (NSTF) at Harwell in Oxfordshire supporting the UK Space Agency initiative for sovereign UK end-to-end satellite production and support. (Source: News Now/https://www.aero-mag.com/)
11 Oct 21. Lockheed Martin recruits Shoal for JP9102 military SATCOM project. Lockheed Martin Australia has recruited model-based engineering company Shoal Group to aid its contributions to the JP9102 project.
Joint Project 9102 is a nation-wide collaboration slated to deliver a sovereign military satellite system to the Australian Defence Force – dubbed the MILSATCOM system.
The Australian Government has invested up to $3 bn into the project, aiming to reduce reliance on the United States’ defence capabilities, including the US military’s Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS).
David Ball, Space Regional director of LMA said it has long recognised Shoal “punches above its weight” as a model-based engineering system.
“The multi-award-winning team at Shoal Group brings unmatched expertise in the use of digital design tools and analytics that will support us in minimising risks and maximising schedule assurance,” Ball said.
According to the ADF, satellites provide the primary means of long-range communications for Australia to operate in a complex environment.
The satellite will provide “comprehensive resilience” against counter-space threats, as the industry recognises space as a “warfighting domain” according to Lockheed Martin.
As part of the JP9102 team, Adelaide-based Shoal will spearhead the systems’ engineering modelling and management, key project reviews, milestones, modelling, simulation and analysis.
Shaun Wilson, founder and head of Business Development for Shoal Group said the collaboration would build upon “multi-domain” efforts in warfare, and now space-based communications.
By partnering with LMA for the “world’s best” sovereign satellite communications system, “we see the exponential potential for our business in terms of space systems capability development and long-term growth,” added Wilson. From mid-2020, the project has undergone its early risk mitigation activities through proposal developments, system design, integration and supply chain management. The news comes only months after Clearbox Systems joined the JP9102 project in August. The Canberra-based company integrated its Foresight ESM software application which is designed to minimise potential technical risks of the project.
Minister for Government Services Linda Reynolds highlighted the importance of space for the defence industry in July 2020.
“In conflict, Defence uses space technology to communicate with deployed forces, giving them real-time information to help them protect Australian interests,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds and Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a $7bn investment into space defence capabilities over the next decade. The investment falls under the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and 2020 Force Structure Plan and is set to increase Australia’s sovereign space capabilities. (Source: Space Connect)
08 Oct 21. AUKUS to boost ‘collaboration’ across the space sector. Head of the Australian Space Agency has said the AUKUS alliance with the United States and the United Kingdom will also boost the nation’s space capabilities. Enrico Palermo was speaking at a panel with NASA administrator Bill Nelson, discussing Australia’s role in the 2024 Artemis Mission – set to return humans to the moon. The AUKUS agreement was established in mid-September, which will see nuclear-powered submarines built in Australia as part of the trilateral agreement. Although it further enhanced international collaboration in the defence sector, Palermo said it will boost the space industry.
“I should also note that the AUKUS discussion is a further indication of the growing depth of collaboration … between our two nations and the UK,” he said.
“And we hope this momentum continues with even greater trade and collaboration across the space sector in the near future.”
The AUKUS agreement inevitably ended a $90bn submarine deal with France – to which the French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said was a “stab in the back”.
Palermo added that Australia signing the Artemis Accords in October 2020 showed commitment to “the rules and norms that seek to ensure the safety, stability and sustainability of outer space”.
The Artemis Accords established the founding international partners of NASA’s moon mission, pushing for the goal of expanding space exploration across the globe.
To this date, 12 nations have inked the accords including: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Australia’s contribution to the Artemis Program is set to accelerate the nation’s territory in space, as the US continues to spearhead the industry.
In 2019, Australia began investing $150m over five years for Australian businesses to join the NASA Artemis mission.
In late September at a White House press briefing, a joint statement between the ‘Quad Leaders’ – Australia, India, Japan and the US – pledged to continue furthering the space industry between nations.
Following a six month pause of talks between the Quad due to the pandemic, they committed to “identify new collaboration opportunities” in space.
In July, under a bilateral Technology Safeguards Agreement (TSA) between the US and Australia, principles were set to “further opportunities for Australian space companies, space investment and job growth”.
Australia has long relied on international partners within the space industry, but in recent years has boosted efforts to establish its own sovereign capabilities.
The Australian civil space sector contributes $4.1bn in revenue, and it’s expected to triple the size of the sector by 2030 and provide 20,000 additional jobs. (Source: Space Connect)
03 Oct 21. OQ Technology + GovSat Collaborating On IoT Solutions For Defence + Government. OQ Technology and GovSat 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.
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 this will also upgrade the antenna of the 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 with a reach that 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, plus 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 an LEO smallsat 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.
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.” (Source: Satnews)
06 Oct 21. NASA’s Advanced Composite Solar Sail System To Be Deployed Via A Rocket Lab Electron Launch Vehicle.
Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) has been selected to launch NASA’s Advanced Composite Solar Sail System, or ACS3, on thir Electron launch vehicle.
NASA’s ACS3 technology demonstration uses composite materials – or a combination of materials with different properties, in its novel, lightweight booms that deploy from a cubesat to support a solar sail. Just as a sailboat is powered by wind in a sail, solar sails employ the pressure of sunlight for propulsion, eliminating the need for conventional rocket propellant.
Data obtained from the ACS3 demonstration will guide the design of future larger-scale composite solar sail systems that could be used for space weather early warning satellites, near-Earth asteroid reconnaissance missions, or communications relays for crewed exploration missions.
ACS3 will launch as part of a rideshare mission, scheduled for lift-off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in mid-2022. The ability of the Electron launch vehicle’s Kick Stage to deploy individual satellites to unique orbits, even when flying as part of a rideshare, was a key factor in Rocket Lab being selected as the launch provider.
Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1. Photo is courtesy of the company.
ACS3 requires a higher altitude than the other rideshare payloads launching on the same mission, so after deploying the first payloads, the Kick Stage will perform another burn with its 3D printed Curie engine to raise the orbit and deploy ACS3. Rocket Lab’s Kick Stage has demonstrated orbit raises across 18 missions to date, and also successfully conducted inclination changes and orbit lowering, providing customers with proven, flexible, and precise in-space transportation.
“We are thrilled to be NASA’s launch partner for this innovative mission,” said Rocket Lab founder and Chief Executive, Peter Beck. “It seems fitting to launch NASA’s Advanced Composite Solar Sail System on Electron, the world’s first full carbon composite orbital launch vehicle. We’re excited to see composites used yet again to unlock new capabilities in space.”
ACS3 Mission Partners:
NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, is designing ACS3’s deployable composite booms and solar sail system. NanoAvionics of Columbia, Illinois, is designing and building the 12U cubesat for the ACS3 technology demonstration. NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley is managing the ACS3 project and will oversee final integration of the solar sail payload and cubesat. The Santa Clara University’s Robotics Systems Lab in Santa Clara, California, will provide cubesat operations support for the ACS3 technology demonstration. NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology program within the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate is sponsoring the ACS3 project and is providing the funding for the launch . NASA’s Game Changing Development program within the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate is developing ACS3’s deployable composite boom technology. (Source: Satnews)
03 Oct 21. Space Forge Is Going To Make Smallsat Return From Space Far Easier. Space Forge is engaged in the clean industrial revolution by harnessing the power of space — along with partners, Space Forge is developing a world-first service that incorporates both launch and a returnable satellite – the ForgeStar – that can be deployed from conventional launchers to provide rapid, reliable and reusable in-space infrastructure. Space Forge has been awarded a two-year contract, through the European Space Agency’s Boost! Commercial Space Transportation Services Program, worth 2 m euros – covering the preliminary and detailed design phases, as well as the launch, on-orbit operation and return of the first operational ForgeStar demonstration vehicle. The current market demand for microgravity as a service, which has the potential to decrease energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by manufacturing high-performance products impossible to produce on Earth, is in excess of half a bn per year – yet cannot be supported with current offerings. Having identified the key barriers to this market – namely: no dedicated platform, no soft return and a heavy reliance on the International Space Station – the solution developed by the consortium is a low-cost, independent, reusable space vehicle able to perform scalable in-orbit manufacturing. Space Forge’s microgravity return vehicle, the ForgeStar Orbital Vehicle 1 (FSOV-1), is a flexible. modular. smallsat that consists of the orbital module and an interchangeable microgravity capsule, to enable reliable, safe and predictable return to Earth. The innovation in this smallsat is the ability to return from space using a non-ablative technology, thereby significantly reducing the landing impact and enabling vehicle refurbishment and re-launch. In creating a reliable return, Space Forge will advance the expansion of the microgravity market for premium research and development applications by lowering the barriers to entry. The company is focused on R&D initiatives where dedicated return from the space environment can add a significant benefit, or overcome obstacles found terrestrially, to unlock new value and innovation. Identified markets with a history of in-space research for this purpose include the semiconductor and pharmaceutical industries. The ability to return from space has changed little since the 1960s, with the costs remaining extremely high and the opportunities to return few and far between. The ESA funding will significantly accelerate Space Forge’s development of a sustainable return from space. FSOV-1 is scheduled for launch in 2022, and will test multiple critical subsystems including return to earth technology and tracking software. Space Forge are working with key partners from across the industry, drawing upon existing infrastructures and expertise to develop this comprehensive scalable solution. The consortium includes AAC Clyde Space, Goonhilly Earth Station, NORSS, Satellite Applications Catapult and STFC.
Joshua Western, CEO and Co-founder of Space Forge, said, “We’re thrilled to receive this support for the ForgeStar platform. Sustainable return from space can unlock commercial opportunities not otherwise possible, and leverage Low Earth Orbit as a resource in a similar way to how reductions in launch prices have democratized access to space. “Space Forge is uniquely positioned to multiply the value of microgravity research coupled with dedicated return and we cannot wait to see the positive impact this will have on commercial space.”
Jorgen Bru, ESA’s Commercial Services Manager and Technical Officer for the contract, said, “Space Forge has raised private funding, identified niche markets and strengthened its core team and industrial organization to bring these novel reentry and recovery technologies to life. ESA is delighted to support Space Forge in its endeavor to prepare this service for the market.”
UK Space Agency Chief Executive, Dr. Paul Bate, added “This success for Space Forge shows how UK firms are at the forefront of the global space industry.”
“The substantial funding support we are delivering to our growing space sector, alongside our world-leading regulatory regime and strong international agreements, means the UK is well placed to benefit from the new commercial opportunities UK launch will bring to communities across the four nations,” Economy Minister for Wales, Vaughan Gething, said. “This world-first operation has the potential to revolutionise space capabilities which have remained unchanged for decades. Space Forge is a real Welsh success story and continues to develop ground-breaking new technologies grounded in sustainability. Its pioneering brilliance is warmly welcomed amid our efforts to deliver a greener Wales for the future, and I am delighted Space Forge has been able to access funding from the Welsh Government and the Development Bank for Wales.” (Source: Satnews)
06 Oct 21. Swedish Space Corporation To Finalize The Building Of A New Spaceport At Esrange Space Center. Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) and the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) have signed a 12m euros loan agreement for the finalization of a new spaceport at Esrange Space Center in Kiruna, northern Sweden. The 12-year maturity loan will finance the investments to enable the use of reusable rockets and the ability to launch smallsats into orbit as early as 2022, making Esrange the first major orbital launch site in the EU The 12m euros loan is part of an extensive modernization of Esrange that has been ongoing since 2015 – a total investment of around 50m euros. The loan will finance the completion of the construction of a new spaceport capability, aiming at a first satellite launch in 2022 The project entails construction work for the new launch site, including integration halls for rockets and satellites, expansion of planned fuel plants, launch pads and surrounding technical ground systems as well as development of technical support systems in Esrange’s operational communication center.
“This important milestone means that Sweden will become a launching state, offering the most modern ground technology possible to European and international satellite owners. This will be of great importance for future research, technology development and expanded international collaboration – all to support a sustainable development of life on Earth”, said Stefan Gardefjord, CEO of SSC
“With more than 50 years of experience from launching rockets and balloons, Esrange Space Center is already one of the most active and versatile launch sites in the world. And with the new spaceport capability it will most likely become the first launch site on European mainland to provide a platform for space companies to develop their next generation rocket technologies and launch their satellites”, said Philip Påhlsson, Project Manager New Esrange at SSC. (Source: Satnews)
04 Oct 21. Launch Agreement Signed By EnduroSat With Exolaunch For 2022 Mission Via SpaceX. EnduroSat and Exolaunch have signed a launch agreements for sending two EnduroSat smallsats into orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle. The 6U XL SharedSat smallsats, built by EnduroSat for customers, will be launched via Exolaunch in H1 2022 as part of SpaceX’s SmallSat Rideshare Program. The SharedSats are 6U XL smallsats with several multi-purpose payloads on a single bus. By simplifying access to space services through shared missions for a range of commercial, exploration and science customers, EnduroSat aims to significantly lower the entry barrier of operations in orbit. The two SharedSats are part of the commercial EnduroSat’s Missions. They foresee integration, validation, and testing, launch and operations of the satellite and hosted payloads. Direct access to the payload data will be made available in the cloud through EnduroSat’s Digital Mission Control. The software-centric smallsat architecture allows for multiple payloads to operate together reliably on a single platform with access to on-demand processing, power and pointing capability. Exolaunch will ensure comprehensive rideshare mission management, satellite integration and deployment services for both EnduroSat missions. The launches are arranged by Exolaunch under its Multi-Launch Agreement with SpaceX. The new launch agreements mark the expansion of EnduroSat’s Shared Satellite Service and pave the way to the continued cooperation between the companies on future launches. For both missions, Exolaunch will use their proprietary deployment technologies — the EXOpod, a next-gen cubesat deployer with half a decade and 100+ of released satellites flight heritage, to deploy the EnduroSat’s satellites into their target SSO above 500 km, and the EXOport, a flexible, multi-satellite adapter designed to optimally accommodate several satellites on a single Falcon 9 port.
“We’re really pleased to have signed a launch agreement with Exolaunch, as it is another step in our mission to provide easy access to space. The Shared Satellite Service goal is to help drive innovation at the final frontier for visionary entrepreneurs, scientists, and technologists. At EnduroSat, we are eager to see the innovations that our customers will accomplish in space and are happy to support them every step of the way,” said EnduroSat’s Founder and CEO, Raycho Raychev.
“We’re proud to support EnduroSat with a variety of launch options and flexible mission management to address all their ongoing launch needs for the Shared Satellite Service program. Exolaunch has acquired outstanding flight heritage with Falcon 9 after signing a multi-launch agreement with SpaceX and is pleased to become a trusted launch partner for EnduroSat,” said Jeanne Medvedeva, VP of Launch Services at Exolaunch. “It’s our common vision to make space accessible for everyone and we are honored to contribute to EnduroSat’s mission.” (Source: Satnews)
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