Sponsored By Viasat
10 Nov 21. Viasat Partners with Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute to Open its First Real-Time Earth Ground Station in Africa.
— Viasat’s Real-Time Earth Global Network Focuses on Delivering Satellite Ground Service for Valuable Remote Sensing Missions, On Orbit Servicing, and Satellite Command/Control in a Timely, Secure, and Affordable Way
— New Facility Positively Contributes to Africa’s Technology and Space Growth Initiatives; Promotes New Space Opportunities and Local Job Creation Through Ongoing Site Management and Maintenance
Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, today announced the launch of its first Real-Time Earth (RTE) facility in Africa, located in Accra, Ghana. Viasat worked in partnership with the Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute (GSSTI), a government-based institution under Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), focused on coordinating all space, science, technology and related activities in Ghana, to bring new space opportunities and jobs to the region, while expanding Viasat’s ability to deliver critical earth observation and remote sensing data on-demand around the world. With this new station, Viasat’s RTE global network is now active in five continents.
Viasat RTE provides Ground-Station-as-a-Service (GSaaS) capabilities in support of environmental, insurance, shipping, energy and government operations. It is a fully-managed, affordable ground network that supports next-generation and legacy geosynchronous equatorial orbit (GEO), medium earth orbit (MEO) and low earth orbit (LEO) satellites using the S-, X-, and Ka-bands, enabling operators to meet current and future data requirements.
Specifically in Ghana, Viasat’s RTE satellite ground station facility is located at the Ghana Radio Astronomy Observatory, Kuntunse. It includes a Viasat full-motion 7.3M S/X/Ka-band antenna and associated infrastructure. The antenna is currently ready to provide global satellite operators the ability to perform Telemetry, Tracking and Command (TT&C) capabilities as well as rapidly download, stream and/or disseminate valuable satellite-based data in a timely and secure manner.
“The new RTE ground station, located in Ghana, is part of Viasat’s strategic growth plan for a global RTE ground service network, with prior operations already located in North America, South America, Australia and Europe,” said John Williams, vice president, Real-Time Earth at Viasat. “By working in partnership with GSSTI, we have opened a state-of-the-art RTE facility, bringing jobs and economic growth to the region, while further differentiating Viasat’s service through our ability to provide satellite operators access to world-class antenna systems for high-speed RTE connectivity of payload data across a secure network.”
Eric Aggrey, research scientist and project manager of Ghana Radio Astronomy Project, GSSTI added, “The development of Viasat’s new antenna site has been an extremely positive opportunity for the people and economy of Ghana. We have positively grown our presence in the global space and technology sector and look forward to expanding our relationship with Viasat to bring additional new space opportunities, technologies and skillsets to Africa.”
The Ghana Space Science and Technology Institute is Ghana’s Centre of Excellence for research and innovation in Astronomy, Remote Sensing, Climate, and Satellite Instrumentation. For more information, visit www.gssti.org (Source: PR Newswire)
09 Nov 21. Capella Space to Use Mynaric CONDOR Terminals to Demonstrate Compatibility with Space Development Agency’s Satellite Constellation. Mynaric was unveiled as Capella Space’s supplier for optical inter-satellite links (OISL). Capella Space today announced that they will become the first commercial Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) company to demonstrate compatibility with the U.S. Space Development Agency’s (SDA) National Defense Space Architecture, a large-scale satellite constellation providing a range of capabilities to U.S. warfighters and to be comprised of several hundred laser-linked satellites. Mynaric will be delivering its next generation optical communications terminal, CONDOR Mk3, to Capella Space to ensure this compatibility. In August, Mynaric already announced the signing of Capella Space as a then undisclosed launch customer as part of the product’s debut at the 36th annual Space Symposium. Earlier, industry media reported that the SDA is looking to work with commercial operators of imaging satellites so they can send data directly to U.S. government satellites in orbit.
“After a thorough vetting process, it was clear that Mynaric’s CONDOR Mk3 is the premier solution to interweave our services with the U.S. Space Development Agency’s National Defense Space Architecture,” said Christian Lenz, Chief Technology Officer of Capella Space. “We have selected the CONDOR Mk3 optical communications terminal for our critical, highly reliable and secure data transmission needs due to its demonstrated compatibility, performance and availability.”
“We have a proven track record of demonstrated compatibility with SDA’s interoperability standard for optical inter-satellite links,” said Tina Ghataore, Chief Commercial Officer of Mynaric. “This is just the beginning of a strong partnership between Capella Space and Mynaric and illustrates the importance of our efforts on interoperability and serial production capabilities to meet the needs of our commercial and governmental customers.”
The CONDOR Mk3 ensures compatibility with the U.S. Space Development Agency’s (SDA) optical communications terminal standard. Detailed technical specifications of the product can be requested from the CONDOR Mk3 product page.
About Capella Space
Capella Space is an information services company that provides on-demand 50cm high-resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) Earth observation imagery. Through a constellation of small satellites, Capella provides easy access to frequent, timely and flexible information affecting dozens of industries worldwide. Capella’s high-resolution SAR satellites are matched with unparalleled infrastructure to deliver reliable global insights that sharpen our understanding of the changing world – improving decisions about commerce, conservation and security on Earth. Learn more at www.capellaspace.com.
Mynaric (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: M0Y, ISIN: DE000A0JCY11) produces the optical fiber for the skies and, as a pioneer of laser communication, enables extremely fast and secure wireless data transmission between aircraft, drones and satellites. Globally, the need for fast and ubiquitous network connectivity is advancing inexorably. Data networks such as the internet are now largely based on infrastructure on the ground which cannot be expanded arbitrarily for legal, economic or logistical reasons. The future, therefore, calls for an expansion of the existing network infrastructure into air and space. Mynaric provides laser communication products to establish the necessary data highways for telecommunication constellations in air and space. For more information, visit mynaric.com. (Source: PR Newswire)
10 Nov 21. MemComputing wins contracts for satellite computing and signal processing. USAF’s AFWERX, in association with the US Space Force, awarded the contracts. Disruptive high-performance computing technology developer MemComputing has secured two small business innovation research (SBIR) Phase I contracts. The contracts have been awarded through US Air Force’s (USAF) AFWERX in association with the US Space Force (USSF).
MemComputing noted that these projects are aimed at providing combat fighters with capabilities such as advanced satellite computing and signal processing. The company will focus on addressing the challenges faced by existing space robotic technologies in implementing tasks such as space debris capture.
MemComputing will investigate and study this problem with the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL-RVSV) RNGRS Program in partnership with the USSF.
This partnership is aimed at improving the service’s autonomous Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPO).
The company will employ a MemCPU-based technology solution to allow a robotic arm-equipped satellite to capture space debris that causes risks to US mission-critical assets in space.
The technology will help calculate the optimum motion planning for the space robotic system.
MemComputing will work on developing detailed plans for a MemCPU-based Neural Network and a real-time Neural Network.
The MemCPU-based Neural Network will offer rapid and precise training while real-time Neural Network will advance signals intelligence (SIGINT) capabilities.
An advanced signal processing system is currently maintained by the USAF’s 361st Air Combat Command (ACC) Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance Group (ISRG).
MemComputing CEO John Beane said: “While we began our journey solving intractable computations for the commercial world, we are finding even more technical challenges perfectly suited for MemComputing within the DoD.
“We look forward to demonstrating the ground-breaking capabilities of our technology on such diverse computational challenges.”
The company will present the technical data and project plans towards the end of Phase I. The Phase II SBIR will include the development of a prototype.
In March, MemComputing won an SBIR Phase II contract to optimise tracking moving targets from space. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
10 Nov 21. CSUG & Teledyne e2v Unveil AI-Enabled Smart Nanosatellite with On-Board Imaging Processing at Space Tech Expo 2021. The Centre Spatial Universitaire de Grenoble (CSUG), in partnership with Teledyne e2v, will be using this year’s Space Tech Expo to provide visitors with a detailed demonstration of a high-performance image analysis system for CubeSat deployment. Intended for Earth observation tasks, this system will process the images on-board to build simplified binary maps of the areas before transmitting back from space, thereby significantly reducing the bandwidth overhead involved. Designed for implementation in a 6U CubeSat (of 10cm x 20cm x 30cm dimensions), the QlevEr Sat demo is the latest development in an ongoing collaboration between CSUG and Teledyne e2v that was first established four years ago. Central to the system’s hardware is a Teledyne e2v quad-core 1.8GHz Qormino QLS1046-Space processing module. This compact space-grade unit leverages 64-bit Arm Cortex A72 processor cores and features 4GB of co-packaged DDR4 memory capacity too. The imaging data is captured using a 16Mpixel Emerald CMOS image sensor also provided by Teledyne e2v. Large area images are firstly acquired by the QlevEr Sat system, then converted via the on-board processing resource with an advanced tailor-made artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm incorporated into it. The AI algorithm was specifically developed by the Multidisciplinary Institute in Artificial Intelligence (MIAI), to optimize execution on embedded targets. There is scope for this arrangement to be employed in a broad range of potential applications. These include deforestation tracking which is the primary use case, but also the monitoring of volcanic activity, evaluation of damage caused by natural or manmade disasters, growth in urbanization, glacial movement analysis and oceanic investigation, as well as possible defense related tasks.
To ensure that Qormino is robust enough to deliver long-term operation when exposed to uncompromising space conditions, and mitigate the threat of errors occurring, modules are subjected to extensive qualification, screening and radiation characterization procedures. These cover both the processor element itself and the accompanying DDR4 memory too. The modules can cope with total ionizing dose (TID) levels above 100kRad and have single event latch-up (SEL) resilience beyond 60MeV.cm²/mg. An operational temperature range of -55°C to +125°C is also supported to ease integration into spacecraft.
“Integrating AI capabilities directly into CubeSats will dramatically reduce the amount of bandwidth needed for data transmission, which is clearly beneficial given the rising number of satellites now in orbit. This QlevEr Sat demo provides a radiation tolerant processing capability without taking up much PCB area,” states Tania McNamara, Project Manager at CSUG. “We envisage the system being utilized to address numerous use case scenarios where changes on the Earth’s surface need to be surveyed.”
“Space deployments set limitations in terms of the power budget and room available in which electronic hardware can be fitted,” adds Thomas Porchez, Application Engineer at Teledyne e2v. “By combining our next generation processing, memory and optoelectronic devices with the cutting-edge AI technology developed, QlevEr Sat overcomes these challenges. It enables image capture and subsequent processing to be carried out in even the smallest of satellite designs. Consequently, we see a lot of opportunities emerging for it.”
10 Nov 21. Arianespace will launch three CERES Earth observation satellites for French defense and security applications on board Vega.
- Following the successful launch of SYRACUSE 4A on October 23, the CERES satellites from the Ministry of the Armed Forces will be launched on November 16, 2021. The CERES project is conducted by the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) at the benefit of the armed forces, while the French space agency CNES assists DGA for project management.
- This launch, VV20, will be the 20th mission carried out by the Vega light launcher. Since entering service with Arianespace in early 2012, Vega has amply proven its flexibility by orbiting a total of 108 satellites, in both single and multiple launches.
- It will also be the 300th launch of the Arianespace launcher family from the Guiana Space Center (CSG), Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, once again proving the reliability and availability of the three launchers in this family, Ariane, Soyuz and Vega, operated by Arianespace from CSG.
Twelfth launch by Arianespace in 2021, the Vega light launcher will lift off, for the third time this year, from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, on November 16, 2021. It will carry on board three CERES satellites for the French Ministry of the Armed Forces.
The CERES program comprises three satellites flying in formation in low Earth orbit (LEO). Equipped with high-performance sensors, these satellites also offer all-weather, daily revisit frequency and are capable of collecting data enabling the characterization and location of transmitters. Airbus Defence and Space is the prime contractor for the space segment, comprising three satellites, and is co-prime with Thales Defence Mission Systems, in charge of the payload and user ground segment. CNES assists DGA for project management; it supplies and operates the satellite control ground segment.
This mission shows once again that Vega is perfectly suited for government applications. Thanks to its versatility and performance, Vega provides the best launch solution for small and medium satellites intended for a wide range of orbits (Sun-synchronous, ballistic, transfer to Lagrange point L1, etc.) and applications (Earth observation, science, learning, defense, etc.).
Ten European countries contribute to Vega, which was developed by ESA, with the Italian space agency ASI as lead contributor and Avio (based in Colleferro, Italy) as the launcher prime contractor. Avio is in charge of all industrial operations up to liftoff. Vega has been part of the Arianespace launcher family since its first flight in 2012. (Source: ASD Network)
10 Nov 21. Northrop Grumman Completes Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor Critical Design Review. Satellite to play critical role in tracking and targeting enemy missiles Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) recently completed the critical design review of the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) prototype for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The review establishes the company’s technical approach for precise, timely sensor coverage to defeat ballistic and hypersonic missiles.
HBTSS satellites will provide continuous tracking and handoff to enable targeting of enemy missiles launched from land, sea or air. They are a critical part of the Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) multi-layered constellation of satellites, which can sense heat signatures to detect and track missiles from their earliest stages of launch through interception.
“When it comes to national safety, there’s no room for error,” said Sarah Willoughby, vice president, OPIR and geospatial systems, Northrop Grumman. “This critical design review puts Northrop Grumman on track to deliver a vital component of our missile defense architecture to keep the U.S. and its allies safe against hypersonic threats.”
HBTSS satellites are also designed to track threats with near global reach when prompted by other OPIR systems, well before they come into view of U.S. ground-based defenses.
Northrop Grumman received a $153 million contract from the MDA earlier this year for the Phase IIB portion of the HBTSS program and is on schedule to deliver the HBTSS prototype in 2023. After the HBTSS prototype is delivered, the company will conduct an on-orbit test to demonstrate its ability to continuously track and rapidly process its observations of hypersonic threats, as well as its ability to effectively hand off the information so the missile is intercepted. Northrop Grumman is a technology company, focused on global security and human discovery. Our pioneering solutions equip our customers with capabilities they need to connect, advance and protect the U.S. and its allies. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers’ toughest problems, our 90,000 employees define possible every day.
02 Nov 21. Isotropic Systems and SES Redefine Global Satellite Services with First-Ever Multi-Orbit Field Tests. Isotropic Systems and SES Redefine Global Satellite Services with First-Ever Multi-Orbit Field Tests. Isotropic Systems simultaneously connects multiple SES satellites across separate orbits to converge broadband satellite networks and provide industry-leading quality of service and experience. Isotropic Systems, the leading developer of transformational multi-link satellite technology, and SES today announced the successful completion of the first-ever simultaneous multi-orbit antenna field tests, a game-changing development empowering a new age of connectivity on land, in the air and at sea for both civil and defense communications. Isotropic Systems’ UK-built multi-link antenna underwent a series of field tests at SES’s Manassas, Virginia teleport. The terminal established multiple simultaneous, full-performance link connections with SES satellites – linking to a geostationary (GEO) satellite while simultaneously connected with an O3b satellite in medium earth orbit (MEO). Currently, users are reliant on legacy ground antennas which only connect to a single network at a time. This industry breakthrough enables satellite end-users to combine the best attributes of all available networks achieving superior network uptime and application performance. Isotropic’s deep tech solution multiplies the performance of single antenna solutions to transform the global appeal of satellite connectivity, ensuring critical defense communications infrastructure and delivering multiple broadband that are highly reliable:
- NATO and other international forces will finally be able to converge the most advanced military and secure commercial satellites, ensuring total mission assurance around the world.
- In the sky, aircraft pilots will be able to connect to the optimal satellites for navigation and ground communications, while passengers in the cabin can connect to entirely separate satellites in different orbits to access live television, super-fast broadband, and enhanced entertainment options with streaming and gaming.
- On the ground, the entire land transport sector will achieve ubiquitous, super-fast, always-on internet access, allowing people to work as if they were in the office even if they are riding on a train or bus, while remote locations can finally access high-speed broadband.
- At sea, ships can be tracked across the oceans, accelerating digital transformation for the shipping industry and super-fast internet will transform the experience for cruise ship passengers.
“We have removed the major bottleneck holding back the expansion of the satellite sector for both commercial and defense communications. Users can finally connect to as many satellites as they want, when they want, wherever they want and that’s a game-changer for enterprise, aero, maritime, government and defense,” said John Finney, founder and CEO of Isotropic Systems. “This test proves space is now open, as we mesh networks together in a way that is unparalleled, without compromise. We have delivered on our vision to combine the full performance of multiple antennas into one multi-link, solid state, software defined terminal without any restrictions.”
“The success of these multi-orbit antenna trials opens the door to a new level of multi-orbit service delivery, as we integrate our geostationary satellites with our second-generation low-latency, high-throughput O3b mPOWER system to provide seamless services for our customers,” said Steve Collar, CEO of SES. “Isotropic’s unique architecture enables our customers to be connected to multiple simultaneous beams from both GEO and MEO satellites, enabling us to deliver industry-defining performance and orbital resilience services. It is a game changer for resilient, secure, global networks built on SES’s state-of-the-art fleet.”
Mike Rudd, Head of Telecommunications Strategy at the UK Space Agency, said: “This is a significant breakthrough that will put UK technology developed by Isotropic Systems at the heart of meeting the unprecedented demand for global connectivity. It’s a great example of the innovation found within the UK’s growing space sector and has been made possible by our leading investments in telecommunications research through the European Space Agency.”
05 Nov 21. Amid national security concerns, US slaps overhead time limits on satellites. “These restrictions would severely hurt commercial companies’ ability to operate high resolution constellations and is counter to the efforts of the past two years to make NOAA regs streamlined and enable US companies to compete internationally,” one industry rep said.
The Commerce Department is placing new restrictions for how frequently US-operated mid- to high-resolution commercial remote sensing satellites can image any one spot on the Earth, prompted by concerns from the Defense Department and Intelligence Community over the potential impacts of repeated captures of key US national security facilities.
The new restrictions, obtained by Breaking Defense and already piquing the fervor of critics in the sector, are being applied under the US commercial remote sensing licensing process managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which falls underneath Commerce. NOAA officials did not respond to Breaking Defense’s requests for comment.
The restrictions prohibit imaging of a list of areas where sensitive national security operations are taking place unless an operator fulfills certain conditions, including notifying NOAA 48 hours in advance to get a waiver. There also are restrictions on the duration of time imaging can be conducted on any one terrestrial “target.”
They will be applied to US remote sensing satellite constellations with the ability take repeat images — or “revisit rates,” in the industry jargon — of the same terrestrial location more often than their foreign competitors (or those of National Reconnaissance Office spy sats). The exact revisit rates and resolutions that would trigger the rule vary with the type of sensor being used.
The concern is that high resolution rapid revisit imagery will reveal changes in activity patterns, known as change detection, at secret US facilities or, for example, troop movements during conflicts.
To implement the new rules, NOAA’s Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs (CRSRA) office has created a new licensing category called “Rapid Revisit Imaging Systems” to capture systems breaking the benchmark thresholds. Such systems are deemed to fall under “Tier 3” of CRSRA’s three-tiered licensing scheme, which covers “novel” capabilities not available on the market.
The lowest level, Tier 1, covers US systems with capabilities already available on the international market and essentially results in an automatic license for unrestricted sales.) According to NOAA’s website, there are 61 such licenses in existence. Tier 2 covers constellations with capabilities available only in the US, for which NOAA reserves the right to include restrictions. Six Tier 2 licenses have been approved.
Under Tier 3, CRSRA can levy “temporary” restrictions on the commercial sale of all cutting-edge capabilities (not just revisit rates) at the request of the DoD and IC. According to the regulations, “temporary conditions will last only one year (generally starting from initial spacecraft operations).” The rules allow two one-year extensions of the constraints if the requesting department “meets a burden of proof, following review by Commerce and notification of licensees.” An extension beyond three years requires a request by the Secretary of Defense or State, and cannot be delegated to a less senior official.
Once every quarter, CRSRA provides operators with the parameters being used as benchmarks [PDF] for the tiering process. Those benchmarks cover resolutions for different types of sensor technology, revisit rates for those different sensors, persistence of imaging involved and a host of other technical factors.
What is new is NOAA’s articulation of what restrictions apply to Tier 3 rapid revisit rates.
NOAA does not publicly provide the locations on the restricted list, called the Persistent Imaging Location List, as it changes over time. Industry sources, however, say it usually hovers between 60 and 70 places around the world. (While no one mentioned it, Area 51 — a highly classified Air Force facility located within the Nevada Test and Training Range, and a site fixated upon by UFO conspiracy theorists — is no doubt one such site.)
Specifically, the new CRSRA rule requires operators of a constellation deemed a Rapid Revisit Imaging System to comply with the following conditions:
- The Licensee shall not image any location on the most recent version of the Persistent Imaging Location List provided by NOAA at a revisit rate more frequent than the most recent revisit rate benchmark provided by NOAA to the Licensee for the same phenomenology (or phenomenologies) and a similar spatial resolution, unless the Licensee:
(i) Provides imaging coordinates and start/stop times for each imaging period at each location to at least 48 hours prior to imaging;
(ii) Restricts imaging operations to a maximum of 25 minutes per any one-hour period; and
(iii) Does not image during more than three, one-hour periods during any 48-hour window.
Industry official: ‘It’s a big step backwards’
Unsurprisingly, the rapid revisit restrictions have sparked pushback from a number of remote sensing industry officials, who assert they are yet another example of the national security community trying to turn back the clock and claw back ground lost in the remote sensing regulatory reform effort undertaken by the Commerce Department under the Trump administration.
Industry officials further argue NOAA’s ruling will stifle the ability of US firms to claim a leading edge in the growing global market for near real-time imagery products. The use of sat imagery to track terrestrial change has long been in use by the US government and even commercial firms.
The ability to do so with ever increasing timeliness is what is new in the commercial market, and what is worrying DoD and IC officials is that those burgeoning capabilities mean there soon will be no place safe from prying satellite eyes.
“These restrictions would severely hurt commercial companies’ ability to operate high resolution constellations and is counter to the efforts of the past two years to make NOAA regs streamlined and enable US companies to compete internationally. This restriction is WORSE than it was previously — it’s a big step backwards,” one irate industry rep said in an email.
Another het-up company official said the ruling “flies in the face of everything from support to military operations to humanitarian missions in the aftermath of a natural disaster!”
“These NOAA specs seem onerous,” an official from a third company said. This official emphasized that the notification condition about forewarning NOAA about imaging passes “seems like a nightmare” because it doesn’t provide a timeline for NOAA to respond as to whether it is okay for the operator to take the imagery involved. “Thus, it could drag on and leave the company hanging. And in this business, timeliness is everything.”
Still, a fourth industry source was more torn, saying the rule presents a classic “one one hand, on the other hand” situation.
On the up side, this source explained, “there was a time when this kind of situation, if presented to the government, would have gone into an unpredictable spiraling black hole and it could take more than a year before the operator would know when they operate under what circumstances and conditions etc.” So, in that sense, the Tier system used by NOAA “works” by providing more “operational clarity” that allows providers to plan.
On the downside, the source explained, the ruling is “not positioning” US industry to lead the global market. Rather it has “paved the road for the US to eventually be in second place on rapid revisit” as foreign companies are consistently moving faster than the government can recognize and respond in order to readjust controls to let US operators match up, much less overtake the competition.
The national security response
Several former and current government officials well-versed on the licensing process countered the industry concerns, noting that the NOAA’s current regulatory regime, promulgated in 2020 as part of the Trump reform push, was clear that some new capabilities would need to be constrained for limited periods based on IC best judgement.
Indeed, Stacey Dixon, deputy director of national intelligence, last month told the annual GEOINT Symposium exactly that. The Biden administration is “intensifying” work to reduce regulatory burdens on the commercial remote sensing industry where it can, she said, but “lifting some restrictions will not be possible, because custom and classified GEOINT capabilities are still critical to helping us understand and confront core national security challenges.”
“All temporary conditions are proposed by the Intelligence Community and the DoD and developed in coordination with the Department of Commerce as part of the regulatory process,” a spokesperson for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) said in an email. NGA chairs the IC’s Commercial Space Council. “Temporary conditions only apply to data not currently available from a foreign source. Once those similar capabilities are available from a foreign competitor, the rule provides guidance for removing the temporary conditions from the licensed system.”
One former government official told Breaking Defense the new rules are not “egregious.”
“I think NOAA gave good solid answers,” the ex-official opined, noting NOAA’s rule shows that the new licensing process is working exactly as it is supposed to.
Further, a couple of other government and former government sources stressed that it is important to recognize the restrictions will apply only to imaging the areas of national security concern on the Persistent Imaging Location List, not the entire globe. These sources stressed that there simply are areas that the US government would rather not be publicly monitored with high fidelity. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
04 Nov 21. Leanspace Emerges From Stealth Mode With New Major Customers. Leanspace, a company building the future digital infrastructure of the space industry, announced its launch out of stealth mode with several major customers. A Seraphim Space backed start-up, it has already raised over 2 m Euro in seed funding from institutional and angel investors.
Its first offering is the Leanspace Cloud, a technology enabling space organizations to easily build integrated software ecosystems to run space missions. It will be launched at the SpaceTechExpo in Bremen, Germany, via a public demonstration event in partnership with ClearSpace, the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) and the International Space University (ISU).
The commercialization of the space industry is bringing a myriad of new and innovative space programs, ranging from small satellite constellations, to launchers, to in-orbit services. As every use case is unique, they all require setting up new, custom, ground software infrastructures to manage their operations.
“I’ve spent the last decade building and selling ground segment software, from bespoke solutions to off-the-shelf products. The truth is: 80% is always the same!“ explains Guillaume Tanier, co-founder & CEO of Leanspace. “What is specific for each space mission is the use case, the 20%. But, for example, people rebuild their ground segment from scratch each time. In the era of commercialization of space, it does not make sense anymore.”
The Leanspace cloud provides the common building blocks of space software, accessible in a Platform-as-a-Service model. Engineers will find a large collection of standardized, generic web services that they can use through simple APIs. With them, they can build bespoke software systems for example for monitoring and control, mission planning, satellite testing, or configuration management. They can do it themselves; 5x faster, 2x cheaper, easily and in a scalable way. In one word, lean.
Every space player invests today to leverage the benefits of digital transformation: scalability of the cloud, digital engineering, and modular, iterative developments. But the missing piece is the ability to link together tools, data and third party services, in a seamless, integrated ecosystem.
“Today, space organizations set up their ground infrastructures by mixing technologies: off-the-shelf products, open source libraries, and countless in-house developments. The result is a fragmented and complex infrastructure that requires highly manual interventions and doesn’t scale,” said Alvaro Alonso Ruiz, co-founder and CCO. “This problem has already been solved in many other industries, just like Shopify for ecommerce. But nobody has done it for space, until now.”
Leveraging the Leanspace Cloud makes it possible to create collaborative systems which operate as a Single source of Truth, across assets, teams and business phases. It enables digital processes and more business agility than ever before. In one word, we make the industry lean.
Leanspace empowers the entire industry. Space operators can now build their own systems, step by step, from small applications to entire ground segments, but much easier and faster. Software integrators can now create smarter solutions for their customers. Providers of off-the-shelf products can now easily adapt and extend their portfolio to reach new markets.
Leanspace’s customer base includes notables such as ClearSpace, an ESA-funded space debris removal company, and many others from a variety of use cases: satellite constellations, space-as-a-service, micro-launchers and system integrators.
With the commercialization of the industry, every organization needs to drastically reduce costs, time and be future-proof. “This is the only way to allow space businesses to thrive and together build the future space economy.” highlights Guillaume Tanier. “We are providing them the technology to do it.” (Source: Satnews)
01 Nov 21. MEASAT’s HD Video Neighborhood Adds Global Trekker. MEASAT Satellite Systems Sdn. Bhd. (“MEASAT”) has signed an agreement with Rock Entertainment Holdings for the distribution of Global Trekker HD via MEASAT-3a satellite. The channel joins MEASAT’s High Definition (“HD”) video neighborhood at 91.5°E for viewers across Asia Pacific. Global Trekker is a premium channel that features a broad range of content where viewers get to explore the world, bringing them closer to nature and giving them insights to business success and how technology improves everyday lives. The 91.5°E prime video hot slot is home to the MEASAT-3a and MEASAT-3b satellites, forming the region’s strongest video neighborhood. From 91.5°E, MEASAT supports broadcasters and DTH operators to distribute UHD, HD and SD channels to audiences across Asia, Australia, East Africa and Eastern Europe. The MEASAT fleet will be further strengthened with the addition of MEASAT-3d in 2022.
“Since 2017, MEASAT has proudly served Rock Entertainment Holdings with its distribution of ROCK Entertainment, ROCK Extreme, ZooMoo and Smithsonian HD channels. The addition of Global Trekker HD on MEASAT’s platform will further enhance the variety of our HD channel bouquet – making us the preferred satellite operator for HD channel distribution in the region”, said Ganendra Selvaraj, Associate Vice President, Sales, MEASAT. (Source: Satnews)
31 Oct 21. Dragonfly Aerospace To Launch New Products, Satellite Buses And Imaging Satellites. Dragonfly Aerospace, producer of compact high-performance imaging payloads, will begin producing satellite buses and complete imaging satellites. Dragonfly Aerospace is now competing with the established leaders in space imaging technology with two new products: the 100kg class µDragonfly satellite bus and the 200kg class Dragonfly satellite bus. The µDragonfly bus product is targeted at electro-optical imagers while the Dragonfly bus is designed for synthetic aperture radar (SAR) payloads. The compact high-performance satellite bus products provide flexible interfaces to support a wide range of customer payloads.
Since Dragonfly Aerospace began its rapid growth process with the support of space entrepreneur Max Polyakov, the imaging systems specialists have set an ambitious goal for themselves to build up to 48 imaging satellites per year. In the second year of operation Dragonfly Aerospace is preparing for the launch of its first satellite in 2022 based on the µDragonfly satellite bus. The Dragonfly team has over 20 years of experience building and launching many high-performance imaging satellites.
Dragonfly has now completed the upgrade of its 3000m2 design and manufacturing facility in Stellenbosch, South Africa. This marks a turning point in the company’s progression as it starts actively ramping up for the serial production of satellites and payloads. Compared to other established NewSpace players, Dragonfly is already in a strong position to rapidly accelerate technology production to meet market demand. In the next few years, Dragonfly plans to deliver 10 satellites per year and in 2022 is preparing for the production of 4 satellites.
The new µDragonfly satellite bus is designed for constellation deployment. Three satellites can be launched side-by-side in a 2.2m payload fairing. The attitude control system of the bus provides excellent stability and accuracy which is important for high-performance imaging. The satellite bus also has a highly capable power system that can support a large amount of imaging and downlinking per orbit. The satellite bus provides high data rate transmitters which enable the downloading of large volumes of image data each day. The satellite bus can accommodate payloads with a diameter of up to 500mm and a mass of up to 60kg. The satellite bus is designed for a five-year lifetime and provides full redundancy on all components.
The Dragonfly satellite bus was designed for high power payloads such as a SAR imager. It can supply the payload with up to 3.5kW power and an orbit average power of 630W. The satellite bus can accommodate payloads with a footprint of up to 1m x 1m and a mass of up to 250kg. The satellite bus is designed for an eight-year lifetime and provides full redundancy on all components. Both products include xenon electric propulsion for orbit correction and maintenance.
Due to manufacturing the majority of the satellite bus components in-house, the price of the Dragonfly satellite bus products is dramatically lower. This is critical for deploying large constellations of satellites and ensuring the systems are compact and low mass.
“This is the next important step in the evolution of Dragonfly Aerospace. Our team has extensive experience developing and launching high-performance imaging satellites in the past and it is now time to translate that experience into modern satellite bus products that take advantage of the latest technologies and meet the needs of the market in terms of performance and serial production capability.” said Dragonfly Aerospace CEO Bryan Dean. (Source: Satnews)
05 Nov 21. C-COM’s Newest Antenna Relishes Eutelsat-Type Approval. C-COM Satellite Systems Inc., (TSXV: CMI and OTCQB: CYSNF) has received approval for the company’s iNetVu® Ka-74G antenna system from France-based Eutelsat S.A., one of the world’s largest satellite operators. The Ka-74G vehicle mounted mobile antenna system is now officially approved to operate on Eutelsat’s KONNECT High Throughput Satellite (HTS) service. This innovative satellite broadband service provides coverage in Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa.
In order to provide IP connectivity, the Ka-74G is fully integrated with the KONNECT’s base-band system and is available across the entire KONNECT service area. The broadband service is designed to deliver speeds of up to 100 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload for various applications.
“The Ka-74G Driveaway antenna has met the rigorous auto-pointing Verification Tests per Eutelsat ESOG-120 KONNECT requirements, as well as the RF performance testing, with a good level of pointing accuracy and repeatability,” said Bilal Awada, CTO of C-COM Satellite Systems Inc.
“With the approval of this new vehicle mount antenna, C-COM is now able to offer additional high quality, cost effective and reliable mobile broadband satellite solutions to its European and African resellers and integrators,” said Leslie Klein, CEO of C-COM Satellite Systems Inc. “This 74 cm Ka-band antenna will open up additional revenue streams for the company from a number of new geographic areas made possible by the KONNECT service.” (Source: Satnews)
31 Oct 21. Hispasat Strengthens Its Capacity Dedicated To Bridging The Digital Divide In Spain And Portugal With Eutelsat’s Konnect Satellite.
More than 1 m homes in Spain won’t have Internet access at 100 Mbps by the end of 2021 unless it is possible to guarantee the use of all available technologies.
Hispasat, the Spanish satellite telecommunications operator of the Red Eléctrica Group, and the French operator Eutelsat have formed a partnership to promote initiatives to bridge the digital divide in Spain and Portugal that Hispasat has already put in place. As part of this agreement, the Spanish operator will complement its current capacities with those of Eutelsat’s Konnect satellite over the two countries. This way, Hispasat will operate in collaboration with Eutelsat and market high-quality broadband connectivity services at 100 Mbps to telecommunications operators and Internet Service Providers. Hispasat guarantees immediate connectivity at 100 Mbps from any geographic location in both countries.
This agreement forms part of the lines of action that Hispasat proposed in its Strategic Plan for 2020- 25 aimed at transforming the infrastructure operator company into a satellite services and solutions company. The company will move forward by strengthening its current business, with actions such as this partnership with Eutelsat, and promoting its growth to adapt to the latest market trends, diversifying its portfolio through new technologies, services and strategic partnerships.
Miguel Ángel Panduro, CEO of Hispasat, said, “Digitalization cannot be addressed without having guaranteed connectivity everywhere first. Satellite technology has evolved and permits Internet access at 100 Mbps immediately from any location, no matter how inaccessible it is. At HISPASAT we are fully committed to the goal of providing all citizens internet access and contributing to digitalizing economic activity regardless of geographic location. That’s why we have entered into this partnership with Eutelsat to complement our current capacity”.
Rodolphe Belmer, CEO of Eutelsat, stated, “We are delighted by this strategic deal with our longstanding partner, Hispasat. Coming after wholesale agreements covering France and Italy, and a distribution deal for Germany, this latest commitment by a satellite operator to cover the territories of Spain and Portugal confirms the relevance of powerful, cost-efficient next generation geostationary satellites as an immediate solution to the ubiquitous deployment of reliable, high-speed broadband.”
Based on the estimates of the Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure, at the end of 2021 more than 1 m Spanish homes won’t have 100 Mbps Internet access. A large part of this population still lacking high-quality internet access lives in rural areas, where the roll out of terrestrial infrastructure (fiber optic and 5G) is insufficient. In Portugal, 30 percent of rural homes lack highspeed internet access
It’s not just homes that suffer from this digital divide, but also SMEs. This fact is a key factor in the population drain from rural areas. Only high-quality connectivity will be able to provide social stability based on digitalization, allowing the population and economic activities to be dispersed throughout the region while also ensuring the equality of rights and opportunities for all citizens.
Universal coverage and a rapid roll out make satellites an ideal technological solution to democratize internet access and bring it where other alternatives do not reach. For this reason, Hispasat supports technological neutrality and complementary technological solutions that can provide an immediate response to the goal of connectivity for 100 percent of the population set forth in the Spanish government’s Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan for 2025. (Source: Satnews)
02 Nov 21. Multi-Mission Orbit Delivery + Launch Services Agreement Signed By iRocket + Turion Space. iRocket has announced that the company signed an agreement with Turion Space Corp. — iRocket is a startup building 100% fully reusable rockets for smallsats and constellations that are intended for LEO orbit via the company’s Shockwave launch vehicle.
The company develops cost-effective launch vehicles that can support rapid launching within 24 hrs. for 400 kg. and 1500 kg. payloads for smallsat constellation providers for national security satellites, 5G internet constellations, the Internet of Things (IoT), Biotech Research, and Space exploration.
In addition, the reusable upper stage will target space junk removal that are in LEO orbit. iRocket is currently funded by the U.S. Space Force – Space Systems Command, The M&J Engineering Group, & Village Global (a venture capital firm).
Turion Space is building spacecraft to remove orbital-debris and provide orbit-modification and domain-awareness services to existing space assets. The company plans to soon launch their D-1 satellite. Turion Space is funded by Y Combinator, Soma Capital, Forward VC, Pi Campus, FoundersX Ventures, Harvard Management Company, Imagination VC, among several others.
The company’s CEO, Asad Malik, said, “We are excited about this new partnership with Turion Space to provide rapid access to space and cost competitive launch costs for their 20 Droid satellites and the low-cost final orbit delivery option their Droid satellites will bring to some of our own customers.”
Turion Space CEO, Ryan Westerdahl, said, “Turion Space looks forward to a strong partnership with iRocket for access to space and for providing us with a pipeline of future customers that will use the final orbit delivery services our Droid spacecraft can provide.” (Source: Satnews)
03 Nov 21. Space Industry’s Debris Statement From The World Economic Forum. From the World Economic Forum the following is the platform for shaping the future of mobility. The rapidly growing space economy is expected to reach $1 trillion USD by the 2030s. However, this growth is threatened by the increase of human-made space debris, which is approaching a critical level. Close to 1 m objects larger than 1 cm travel at 27,000 km per hour in Earth orbit. Any one of these objects poses a risk to satellites or spacecraft, including those with humans on board. Satellites power our modern economy as they provide navigation signals for billions of devices around the globe. They monitor our environment in ways that can only be done from space, conduct other cutting-edge science missions and provide connectivity to remote areas, including ships and planes. Debris endangers these services and benefits, along with human space flight and missions to and beyond Earth’s orbits.
As a space community, we must start doing a better job at safeguarding the Earth orbits and ensure we use them in a sustainable and safe manner now and for future generations. This is why we believe in minimizing and preventing, where possible, any new debris created as a result of our missions. Critically, no actions should be taken that purposefully create debris. We therefore commit to working with governments, civil society, commercial partners and competitors to substantially reduce any new debris creation. We also call for new collaborations in transparency between operators. Finally, we must continue to work together to speed up development of technologies and practices for the disposal of spacecraft at end-of-life, and for removing existing debris already in orbit. These are necessary steps in ensuring more responsible operations in space, which we all share. We encourage companies throughout the space sector to join us on this mission and to work together to inform and help governments create a practical set of regulations for the sustainable use of space.
- Bharti Global
- Lockheed Martin Corporation
- Spire Global
- Thales Alenia Space
- Voyager Space (Source: Satnews)
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