Sponsored By Viasat
06 Dec 21. Following Richard Moore’s comments last week about the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service looking to use technology developed by outside companies to provide MI6 with the capabilities it needs, I wanted to share comment from John Reeves, Managing Director of Viasat UK. John outlines his reaction to Richard’s comments, including a need for a unified strategy when it comes to using commercial technologies and the need for the UK government to seek innovation and insight from across the UK’s technology ecosystem rather than traditional established industry partners. John Reeves, Managing Director, Viasat UK said, “Hearing Richard Moore, head of MI6, speak this week about the threats that the UK faces and what we need to do to stay safe; it was great to see him acknowledging the critical challenges that lie ahead and announcing that MI6 will be looking to work more with private companies to deliver the innovative capabilities needed to meet current and emerging threats. This is something that has been a topic of conversation for a long time, and I am encouraged see MI6 leading the way on owning capabilities rather than technologies. Applied judiciously, MI6 will be able to harness and leverage the exponential technological developments being realized in the commercial space for the benefit of its officers, agents, and the UK’s security. Alongside MI6, it’s crucial that the entire defence and security sector adopt this approach, as without a unified strategy we won’t be able to fully capitalise on the potential advantages commercial innovation can offer. Within this context, it is important to note that operational agility and flexibility are paramount when addressing the emerging digital-age threats from nation-state and criminal actors. As such, I would urge the government to seek innovation and insight from all corners of the UK’s technology ecosystem, not solely from its traditional, established industry acquisition partners. Robust engagement with the breadth of next generation UK technology partners will afford MI6 and its sister departments access to innovative ideas, perspectives, and technologies that will not only yield breakthrough capabilities, but will give rise to new methods of addressing the intelligence and defence missions of the 21st century.”
08 Dec 21. ”GBS No. 5” and ”GBS No. 1 (03)” Successfully Launch Marking the New chapter of Commercial Aerospace. On 7 December 2021, ”Golden Bauhinia Satellite No. 5” and ”Golden Bauhinia Satellite No. 1 (03) were successfully launched by the Galactic Energy Ceres-1 (Y2) carrier rocket, and they had entered their predetermined orbits and are currently operating normally in orbits. The ”Golden Bauhinia Satellite No. 5” and ”Golden Bauhinia Satellite No. 1 (03) are both optical remote sensing satellites, of which, the ”Golden Bauhinia Satellite No. 5” is equipped with an industrial-grade optical camera and micro-propulsion system for low-cost on-orbit verification, and the high-function density satellite platforms which composed of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS). It also provides technical exploration and testing for the early phase of the Golden Bauhinia Constellation project. Hong Kong Aerospace Technology Group Limited (HKATG;1725) plans to explore into optical and synthetic aperture radar remote sensing satellite constellation system, which is formed by an on-orbit satellite cluster, in the hope to build a smart city, monitoring the environment, managing energy and natural resources, and undertake marine and disaster emergency management. The Group had previously launched ”Golden Bauhinia Satellite No. 1 (01)”, ”Golden Bauhinia Satellite No. 1 (02)” and ”Golden Bauhinia Satellite No. 2″; the launch of the ”Golden Bauhinia Satellite No. 5” and ”Golden Bauhinia Satellite No. 1 (03)” marks the third successful launch of the “Golden Bauhinia Constellation” in this year, representing a successful conclusion to this year’s mission. 2021 is known as the “year of the mega constellation”, there are 4 mega communication constellations each consisting of over 4,000 satellites. According to data published in January 2021, there are 3,372 active artificial satellites orbiting the Earth, of which 405 belong to China, came second to the United States. And the total number of active artificial satellites orbiting the Earth soared to 4550 in September 2021.
On December 5, CNN published a headline saying, “China is developing space capabilities at ‘twice the rate’ of US”, as Gen. David Thompson, vice head of space operations for the US Space Force believes that China may overtake the United States in terms of space capabilities by the end of the decade. As of September 2021, there are a total of 2,788 operating satellites belonging to the U.S and up to 2359 are commercial satellites, of which 1,660 belong to Elon Mask’s Starlink. It is no exaggeration to say that commercial aerospace is the biggest driving force for the development of the global aerospace horizon. While Space X is drawing global attention, China’s commercial aerospace market is also booming. China’s commercial aerospace industry has developed rapidly driven by several new aerospace companies; their emergence has led to the opening up of China’s aerospace ecosystem, and attracting many outstanding international companies, and introducing China’s civil aerospace industry into the international market. Among them, HKATG which Bloomberg has hailed as the “mini Space X” is Hong Kong’s first aerospace enterprise with satellite manufacturing, launching, and testing capability, and able to provide application data for the entire process and produce end products to form a one-stop service capability. HKATG is set to fill up the regional gap in the commercial aerospace industry, promote the marketization of aerospace technology, and fulfill the needs of aerospace commercialization and investors of the region. The Group has successfully launched five satellites in 2021, through the launch of satellites in small batches, HKATG realises the on-orbit verification of miniaturized aerospace systems, laying the foundation for next year’s business constellation development. Perhaps most importantly, the Group will push Hong Kong’s commercial aerospace development to a new level by redefining Hong Kong’s positioning on re-industrialization, and injecting new vitality into mainland China’s commercial aerospace development. (Source: PR Newswire)
07 Dec 21. Space Force launches experimental payloads into orbit. The U.S. Space Force launched a host of experimental payloads into orbit along with a NASA satellite Dec. 7 as part of the Space Test Program.
Nine Space Force payloads selected by the Defense Department’s Space Experiment Review Board were integrated with the Space Test Program-6 satellite, or STPSat-6.
The primary payload was the Energy Department and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Atmospheric Burst Reporting System, built to provide an improved ability to detect nuclear detonations. Also on board was NASA’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration payload, designed to demonstrate laser communications for the civilian space agency.
While not all of the payloads were identified, the Space Force said they covered a host of capabilities, including space domain awareness, weather and more. Northrop Grumman acted as the primary contractor for the spacecraft.
STPSat-6 was launched out of Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Originally slated for a Dec. 5 launch, the mission was pushed back due to a fuel leak in the ground equipment.
“STP-3′s successful launch and acquisition is a remarkable achievement for the entire team,” Col. Brian Denaro, program executive officer for space development, said in a statement. “This mission advances military and civil experimentation objectives by demonstrating next generation space technologies in nuclear detonation detection, space situational awareness, weather, and communication by providing critical data needed to reduce risk for future space programs. It’s the perfect example of how SSC is collaborating to bring exciting new space capabilities to the Space Force, our mission partners, and the warfighters we support.”
The launch mission also carried the Space Force’s Long Duration Propulsive ESPA (LDPE)-1 spacecraft into orbit. This is the first of multiple planned LDPE missions, and it uses a modular setup that enables it to host multiple experimental payloads and prototypes in geosynchronous orbit.
The Space Force refers to the system as a “freight train to space.” The program is overseen by Space Systems Command’s Rapid Development Division within the Development Corps. LPDE-1 payloads feature space domain awareness, communications and space weather sensing capabilities. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
08 Dec 21. NASA’s laser communications spacecraft launches into space. NASA’s new laser relay payload has successfully blasted off into space, set to demonstrate a potentially enhanced communications system between spacecraft and ground controllers.
Dubbed the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD), it launched onboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 5:19am EST, Tuesday, 7 December.
It will demonstrate the first two-way laser relay communications system, sending and receiving data over invisible infrared lasers which can transmit data up to 100 times faster than typical radio frequencies, sending data at a rate of 1.2 gigabits per second.
According to NASA, it is the speed equivalent of downloading a movie in under a minute.
“This launch introduces an exciting new technology for space missions,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.
“Demonstrating this innovative way of communicating with spacecraft will open the door for this technology to expand the horizons of future space missions.”
Optical communications (also known as laser communications) are carried on an optical rather than a radio wavelength – which is how astronauts can communicate with Earth.
In NASA’s context, optical communications use light to transmit information over long distances by using lasers instead of radio frequencies.
Lasers are smaller, lighter and use less power than radio systems, and according to NASA, these advantages can significantly advance human exploration in the future.
According to the head of space operations Kathy Lueders, testing this technology is critical to pave way for human exploration, such as the Artemis mission which will send people back to the moon.
“It’s going to be a workhorse for us, and when you see what we need to have [for] comms for human systems, it’s a big deal,” she said in a pre-launch interview.
Onboard with the LCRD was also the NASA-US Naval Research Laboratory space weather payload called the UltraViolet Spectro-Coronagraph (UVSC) Pathfinder.
The Pathfinder will study the origins of solar energetic particles, which is the sun’s most “dangerous form of radiation”, according to the American agency.
It has the potential to “develop a new, high-impact tool with predictive capability for energetic solar particle storms that will enable future space missions,” said Daniel Moses, chief technologist in the heliophysics division at NASA Headquarters.
After the launch, ground controllers will receive confirmation that the LCRD payload has adapted well to space, and it will begin transmitting data from its geosynchronous orbit – around 22,000 miles from Earth.
LCRD will spend two years in space conducting experiments and assessing how weather and other factors can impact laser communications.
The biggest day to hit the space industry is coming! Space Connect is thrilled to announce the brand-new Australian Space Summit coming to Sydney in March 2022. This jam-packed event will deliver relevant insights and market intelligence to help better shape business decisions and will provide topical information for the full breadth of the space sector. Visit the website to learn more and to secure your ticket to attend. (Source: Space Connect)
09 Dec 21. New rocket test facility under construction in Scotland. The UK Space Agency welcomes the news that British company Orbex is constructing a state-of-the-art rocket test facility in Kinloss, Scotland.
Ian Annett, Deputy CEO of the UK Space Agency, said: “The construction of this new facility marks another major milestone in our ambitions to become a modern, agile spacefaring nation. Orbex is an innovative spaceflight company developing its own launch vehicle which will be tested at this new facility, before launching from Space Hub Sutherland. This is a very exciting time for the UK space sector, as we look ahead to the first ever satellite launches from UK soil next year.”
Orbex has commissioned Motive Offshore Group to develop the test launch platform, known as Orbex LP1, which will support the testing of Orbex´s Prime rocket, designed to transport small satellites to low Earth orbit.
The UK Space Agency supported the development of Orbex’s Prime Rocket with £5.5m of funding, as part of the government’s plans to enable small satellite launch from UK spaceports. Although Orbex will operate its launches from Space Hub Sutherland, the test launch platform at Kinloss will allow for full ‘dress rehearsals’ of launch procedures. Space Hub Sutherland is one of seven potential spaceport sites across the UK and is being developed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise. The spaceport is expected to generate around 60 jobs in Caithness and Sutherland, and a total of 250 jobs in the wider region. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
08 Dec 21. Kleos’ Patrol Mission Satellites Ready and Shipped to Launch Site. 3rd Mission Launch on track for January 2022.
- Kleos’ third satellite cluster of four satellites have passed all pre-shipment tests
- Builder, Innovative Solutions In Space, given all-clear for transport to Cape Canaveral to launch on the Transporter-3 SpaceX mission in January 2022
- The Patrol Mission (KSF2) satellites feature enhanced hardware and software, significantly increasing data collection capability by an additional 119 million km² per day and improving revisit rates
- Kleos’ satellites detect and geolocate radio frequency activity to within 300m, improving detection of illegal activity such as piracy, drug smuggling and border security challenges
Kleos Space S.A (ASX:KSS), a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data-as-a-service (DaaS) company, confirms its Patrol Mission (KSF2) satellites are on track to launch onboard the Transporter-3 SpaceX mission in January 2022, successfully passing the final technical milestone with satellite builder Innovative Solutions In Space (ISISPACE).
The Patrol Mission satellites are travelling from the Netherlands to the launch integration facility at Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA, where they are being armed for flight, inserted into their dispensers, and integrated into the launch vehicle by Spaceflight Inc. Prior to transport, the satellites successfully completed System Assembly Integration Testing (SAIT) with ISISPACE over a six-week period, including a system checkout and mechanical inspection, battery charging and fuelling.
The transport of the Patrol Mission satellites confirms the satellites are mission ready. The launch will increase Kleos’ reconnaissance capability to three clusters of four satellites each, making a total of twelve satellites patrolling against illegal activity such as piracy, drug smuggling and border security challenges.
Launching into a 500-600km Sun Synchronous orbit, the four Patrol Mission satellites expand Kleos’ data collection capability by up to an additional 119 million km² per day. They also enable Kleos to increase its average daily revisit rate over a 15-degree latitude area of interest to around five times a day.
Kleos Space CEO Andy Bowyer said, “We are rapidly building our constellation to raise the volume of data available to our customers. Each new mission features enhanced hardware and software capability, leveraging the learnings of earlier launches. The improved collection capability of the Patrol Mission is key for our government and commercial data subscribers. The value of our independent geolocation data grows in line with revisit rates, as it enables subscribers to use the data to establish pattern of life behaviour or tip and cue with existing datasets to improve the identification of illegal maritime and land-based activity”.
Kleos successfully launched its Scouting Mission satellites into a 37-degree inclination in November 2020 and its Vigilance Mission cluster into a 525km Sun Synchronous orbit in June 2021. Its fourth cluster, the Observer Mission, is scheduled to launch in mid-2022. Flown in a formation of four, Kleos’ nanosatellites detect and geolocate radio frequency transmissions to within 300m, enhancing the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities of governments and commercial entities.
08 Dec 21. First of Its Name, Last of Its Kind. Core Mate Complete for Final GPS III Space Vehicle; Bring on the GPS IIIFs. The 10th and final GPS III Space Vehicle under the original GPS III contract recently completed a production milestone known as “core mate” to assemble it into a full satellite, and its name is “Hedy Lamarr.” Traditionally, core mate marks the “birth” of a satellite and it gets a nickname – chosen by the U.S. Space Force — to honor its completion. All nine previous GPS III satellites built by Lockheed Martin have been named after trailblazers, and GPS III SV10 is no exception.
“Hedy Lamarr” recognizes the famous Hollywood actress and inventor who in 1941 patented frequency-hopping technology that laid the foundation for secure Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth technologies used by billions worldwide today.
“The core mating of GPS III SV10 is an important milestone in Lockheed Martin’s commitment to provide the U.S. Space Force with a modern, agile GPS satellite constellation that will assure mission success far into the future,” said Tonya Ladwig, Vice President of Lockheed Martin Space’s Navigation Systems Mission Area. “With SV10, we’ve now assembled about a third of the satellites we need to modernize the current GPS constellation with new technology and greater warfighting capabilities.”
Along with Ladwig, Col. Edward Byrne, Senior Materiel Leader, Medium Earth Orbit Space Systems Division, and Scott Thomas, GPS III Program Manager, Space Systems Command, attended the final portion of the core mating event on Oct. 26 at Lockheed Martin’s GPS III Processing Facility (GPF), in Waterton, near Denver.
Core Mating Takes Teamwork
During the two-day core mate production event, on October 25-26, a 10-ton crane lifted and completed a 90-degree rotation of GPS III SV10’s system module assembly which holds the satellite’s operations and mission payload electronics. The crane then slowly lowered the system module the final 12 feet onto the satellite’s vertical propulsion core assembly.
Throughout the operation, technicians were strategically placed in elevated lifts 20 feet in the air to monitor the tight interfaces – within thousandths of an inch — and ensure a successful integration. Once the system module was fully seated, the technicians installed the nearly 200 screws bolting the two major components together. When the final screw was placed, the vehicle was officially mated. At that point all activity stopped and the newly assembled GPS III space vehicle got its official name.
The core mate is one of the most intricate and critical operations of a satellite’s build. Completing the process requires teamwork and experience.
Robert Peszek, GPS III Operations Manager, credited the culture of the GPS team for the core mating success and the success of the overall program. “This milestone is not something that many programs get to experience, with 10 satellites and the potential for more,” he said. “It comes down to our culture — people are not afraid to speak up, everybody has a voice, everybody has a role, and we respect everyone’s role.”
A Digital Boost
GPS III SV10 (and SV09 before it) also represent pivot points in digital transformation on the GPS III/IIIF production line. Some of the technologies used include 3D printed parts, HoloLens mixed-reality smart glasses, and model-based engineering images that were overlaid on top of the hardware.
“For these two vehicles, we have really done ‘crawl, walk, run’ for augmented reality,” Ladwig said. “They are transformational vehicles because we’re bringing that new technology, not just to the spacecraft, but also making it part of the production and build process.”
The digital transformation tools improved accuracy and cut production times. “Using the (HoloLens) we actually overlay design drawings onto the hardware, further ensuring that everything is done right,” Peszek said. In addition, the team cut the production schedule by 50% for SV09 and SV10, partly due to the use of augmented reality tools – and while working through the height of the COVID pandemic without missing any work days.
GPS III SV10 – the final space vehicle of the original GPS III contract – became a space vehicle when its system module assembly, which holds the satellite’s operations and mission payload electronics, was core mated with the satellite’s vertical propulsion core assembly.
Where Are They Now?
Of the other nine GPS III satellites, the first five — GPS III SV01-05 — have launched and been handed over to the Space Force for on-orbit operations. The next three — GPS III SV06-08 — have been completed and declared “Available for Launch” by the U.S. Space Force. Those satellites are currently in storage at the GPS Processing Facility until the Space Force determines their launch dates. GPS III SV09 is fully assembled and in final testing.
GPS III SV10 will undergo a comprehensive suite of system performance tests before moving to the critical thermal cycling and thermal vacuum test (TVAC) phase, which demonstrates the satellite’s ability to survive the thermal and pressure conditions of space.
After GPS III SV10, the GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) satellites will start to appear on Lockheed Martin’s production line. In 2018, the Department of the U.S. Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin a contract to build as many as 22 additional GPS IIIF space vehicles. GPS IIIF SV11-12 were part of that original contract. The government exercised options for GPS IIIF SV13-14 in 2020.
On October 22, 2021, the U.S. Space Force exercised its second contract option valued at approximately $737m for the procurement of three additional GPS IIIF space vehicles (GPS IIIF SV15-17) from Lockheed Martin.
Modernizing the Constellation
Lockheed Martin is building GPS III/IIIF satellites to help the Space Force modernize the current GPS satellite constellation with new technology and advanced capabilities. GPS III satellites are the most powerful GPS satellites ever designed. Compared to legacy satellites in the constellation, GPS III satellites are three times more accurate and have up to eight times improved anti-jamming.
GPS III satellites are also the first to introduce the new L1C civil signal, which will enable interoperability between GPS and international satellite navigation systems.
GPS IIIF satellites build off GPS III’s innovative, modular design. GPS IIIF satellites will add new capabilities and advanced technology, including Regional Military Protection (RMP); a safety-improving Search and Rescue payload; and an accuracy-enhancing laser retroreflector array. The RMP capability further reinforces GPS III/IIIF as a warfighting system, providing up to 60x greater anti-jamming for our warfighters operating in contested environments.
GPS IIIF SV13 and beyond will incorporate the company’s LM2100 Combat Bus, an enhanced space vehicle that provides even greater resiliency and cyber-hardening against growing threats, as well as improved spacecraft power, propulsion and electronics. LM2100 Combat Bus vehicles are also capable of hosting Lockheed Martin’s Augmentation System Port Interface (ASPIN), which would allow for future on-orbit servicing and upgrade opportunities.
Name that Satellite!
In honor of the last GPS III satellite in the SV01-10 series, here are the names they share with famous explorers:
- SV01 – Vespucci – Amerigo Vespucci, Italian navigator, explorer and merchant whose name is the origin of “America”
- SV02 – Magellan – Ferdinand Magellan, Portuguese explorer and leader of first expedition to circumnavigate the Earth
- SV03 – Matthew Hensen – First African-American Arctic explorer, part of the Peary expeditions.
- SV04 – Sacagawea – Lemhi Shoshone woman who served as translator and guide for the Lewis and Clark expedition
- SV05 – Neil Armstrong – Astronaut, first man to walk on the moon
- SV06 – Amelia Earhart – Daring pilot, first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, attempted circumnavigation around the world.
- SV07 – Sally Ride – Astronaut, physicist and first American woman in space
- SV08 – Katherine Johnson – American mathematician, NASA employee whose calculations made human spaceflight possible
- SV09 – Onizuka – Named for Ellison Onizuka, astronaut, first Asian-American to reach space, crew member on the ill-fated Challenger space shuttle mission.
- SV10 – Hedy Lamarr – Famous Hollywood actress and inventor who patented frequency-hopping technology that led to today’s secure Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth.
07 Dec 21. U.S. Army Tests Multi-Orbit Solutions Leveraging MEO Capabilities Amid SES’s Upcoming O3b mPOWER Launch. Series of tests enables the U.S. Army to lay foundation for multi-domain operations fostering MEO capabilities. SES Government Solutions (SES GS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of SES, supports the U.S. Army in conducting a series of cutting-edge trials and testing of commercial satellite constellations in multiple orbits, as well as services and ground terminals, in the U.S. Government’s effort to establish Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) by 2028.
“Early next year, SES will launch its second-generation MEO system, O3b mPOWER, which promises to meet and exceed the connectivity requirements of today’s warfighting technologies – delivering flexible and secure fiber-like connectivity anywhere the mission requires.”
Most recently, the U.S. Army announced its integrated ground terminal, Phoenix E-Model, would serve Expeditionary Signal Battalion – Enhanced (ESB-E) formations with the likelihood of expanding operations from traditional Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites to leveraging commercial Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) constellations. In this framework, SES GS, in close cooperation with Lite Coms, carried out extensive work to update the legacy US Army Phoenix Terminal to be MEO capable (AN/TSC-156(E) for the U.S. Army. The resultant Lite Sat 2.2A terminal delivers 50Mbs on a Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) GEO network and up to 600×600 Mbps on SES’s O3b MEO system.
Leveraging MEO satellite technologies provides the modern warfighter the resiliency, high- bandwidth, and low-latency required for mission assurance in contested environments against advanced adversaries.
“MEO satellites are unique in their capabilities and SES operates the world’s only commercial MEO satellite constellation,” said President and CEO of SES Government Solutions, Brigadier General Pete Hoene, USAF (retired). “Early next year, SES will launch its second-generation MEO system, O3b mPOWER, which promises to meet and exceed the connectivity requirements of today’s warfighting technologies – delivering flexible and secure fiber-like connectivity anywhere the mission requires.”
In alignment with the Army’s stance on MDO, multi-orbit SATCOM solutions that leverage MEO significantly extend the Army’s ability to securely transport data between the command post, soldiers-on-the-move, as well as multiple sensors in support of Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2). As the Army increasingly relies on data and network-enabled platforms for deployed warfighters, having interoperable communication systems that are flexible and assured is essential to capturing a common operating picture (COP) for multi-domain operations. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
07 Dec 21. Rocket Lab to Launch Three Dedicated Electron Missions for Earth Imaging Company Synspective. The missions follow on from the launch of Synspective’s first satellite, StriX-α, by Rocket Lab in 2020.
Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (“Rocket Lab” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: RKLB), a leading launch provider and space systems company, has today announced it has signed a deal with Japanese Earth imaging company Synspective to carry out three dedicated Electron launches.
The first two missions are scheduled for lift-off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in 2022, with a third to follow in 2023. Each mission will deploy a single StriX satellite, growing Synspective’s synthetic aperture radar (SAR) constellation developed to deliver imagery that can detect millimetre-level changes to the Earth’s surface from space, independent of weather conditions on Earth and at any time of the day or night.
These new missions follow on from Rocket Lab’s first launch for Synspective in December 2020. The mission, named ‘The Owl’s Night Begins’, saw Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle deploy the StriX-α satellite – the first spacecraft in Synspective’s planned constellation of more than 30 SAR satellites designed to collate data of metropolitan centers on a daily basis to support urban development planning, construction and infrastructure monitoring, and disaster response. During ‘The Owl’s Night Begins’ mission Rocket Lab performed an advanced mid-mission maneuver with its Kick Stage to shield the StriX satellite from the sun to reduce radiation exposure ahead of payload deployment. The Kick Stage will once again perform the maneuver for the new upcoming missions. Flying as a dedicated mission means the StriX satellites will be the only payload on board Electron, giving Synspective control over launch schedule and enabling specific LTANs1 not achievable when flying as one of many satellites on large rideshare missions.
Rocket Lab founder and Chief Executive, Peter Beck, says: “We’re honored the Synspective team has once again chosen Electron to grow their StriX constellation. We recognize the importance of dedicated orbits and custom mission parameters for constellations, and we’re delighted to deliver a tailored launch and integration service to the Synspective team once again.”
Synspective founder and CEO, Dr. Motoyuki Arai, says: “It is a great honor to collaborate with Rocket Lab, which is evolving from a rocket venture pioneer to an experienced launch service provider with the successful Strix-α deployment to orbit. We are very grateful for their flexibility in accepting our requests on the satellite’s orbit and launch period. Synspective has already begun operating its first satellite and providing solution services, and is now entering a phase of business expansion. StriX-β, the second satellite following StriX-α, will demonstrate Interferometric SAR (InSAR) technology in orbit and deepen satellite-operation know-how, which are strengths in our business expansion. We will accomplish this mission and steadily achieve results to enhance global efficiency and resilience.”
About Rocket Lab
Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab is an end-to-end space company with an established track record of mission success. We deliver reliable launch services, spacecraft components, satellites and other spacecraft and on-orbit management solutions that make it faster, easier and more affordable to access space. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, Rocket Lab designs and manufactures the Electron small orbital launch vehicle and the Photon satellite platform and is developing the Neutron 8-ton payload class launch vehicle. Since its first orbital launch in January 2018, Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle has become the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually and has delivered 107 satellites to orbit for private and public sector organizations, enabling operations in national security, scientific research, space debris mitigation, Earth observation, climate monitoring, and communications. Rocket Lab’s Photon spacecraft platform has been selected to support NASA missions to the Moon and Mars, as well as the first private commercial mission to Venus. Rocket Lab has three launch pads at two launch sites, including two launch pads at a private orbital launch site located in New Zealand, one of which is currently operational, and a second launch site in Virginia, USA which is expected to become operational in early 2022. To learn more, visit www.rocketlabusa.com.
Synspective’s mission is to create a learning world where people can expand their capabilities and make tangible progress with new data and technologies. Synspective provides one-stop-solutions using geospatial data from its own SAR satellites to create a progressive world based on real data. Synspective is building a constellation of its own small SAR satellites to provide data and analytic information to governments and commercial outfits. For more information, visit: https://synspective.com/
(Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
07 Dec 21. Cognitive Space 2021 Recap – Momentum in Artificial Intelligence for Satellite Operations. Cognitive Space wraps up 2021 with several victories – a significant capital investment round, new and expanded government contracts, the rollout of its commercial product line, solid year-over-year revenue growth, and an expanding team of Space and Artificial Intelligence experts.
Cognitive Space announced the highlights of a very successful year in its mission to dramatically improve the way we monitor the Earth for economic, environmental, and national security understanding. The company helps organizations fly their satellites with new tools for New Space – providing satellite operators and space infrastructure companies with sophisticated SaaS services for optimizing revenue and performance yield, forecasting future capacity, and orchestrating collection management as satellite constellations grow and scale.
“The New Space economy is attracting massive investment and is growing exponentially. Space will be filled with thousands of new commercial satellites,” said Scott Herman, CEO of Cognitive Space. “But building out the required ground architecture is a major hurdle for New Space companies and usually represents a significant monetary investment, a multi-year time commitment, and major execution risk as they build their business. Cognitive Space provides a blueprint and an operational capability that de-risks and accelerates their buildout schedule, controls costs, and then optimizes their ongoing operations to power their business vision.”
2021 Highlights for Cognitive Space:
$5.5m in Investment Capital raised – Cognitive Space started the year with a $1.5m “pre-seed” raise, followed in November with the closing of a $4m Series Seed led by Grit Ventures of Menlo Park. Additional investors include Argon Ventures, Techstars, UltraTech Capital Partners, Cultivation Capital, Glasswing Ventures, Gutbrain Ventures, PBJ Capital, SpaceFund, and Deep Ventures. Outside counsel for the transaction were Covington and Burling LLP. As a result of this 2021 fundraising effort, Cognitive Space enters 2022 with $5.5m in funds ready to apply towards commercial product development and company growth.
“Billions of investment dollars are flowing into the New Space economy. There is an unmet imperative for cost-effective, scalable, and business-savvy constellation operations,” commented Jennifer Gill Roberts, Managing Partner at Grit Ventures. “We believe Cognitive Space’s AI-driven approach to maximizing constellation revenue and performance yield gives their customers a significant competitive advantage in this emerging market for Space-based services.”
New and expanded US Government contracts – Cognitive Space continued its work with several US Government agencies, including the US Space Force, the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), and other members of the national security community. In these engagements Cognitive Space focused on concept development and rapid prototyping for topics such as orchestrated collection management, hybrid space architecture, and global monitoring. Of particular note, Cognitive Space was selected as a winner of the Space Force Pitch Day competition, resulting in a $1.7m contract for exploring new approaches to satellite operations using Artificial Intelligence.
Cognitive Space also supported several US Government exercises, including RIMPAC, Northern Edge, and Joint Warrior. The company orchestrated collection opportunities across multiple commercial and government suppliers of satellite remote sensing. Cognitive Space provided the US Government with insight into the emerging wave of commercial remote sensing capabilities, helping them understand the impact of these capabilities on future operations, tradecraft, tools, and procurement methods.
Commercial Sales Traction – This summer, Cognitive Space introduced its SaaS-based platform for autonomous and dynamic satellite operations to a growing set of commercial satellite operators and space infrastructure companies. The platform revolutionizes satellite operations with the power of artificial intelligence for mission management, collections planning, and communications link coordination. The suite is available in versions tailored for startups, growth, and enterprise-class customers in the New Space domain.
Strong Revenue growth – Cognitive Space continues to dramatically increase its year-over-year revenue with new contracts, solid bookings, and a dense opportunity pipeline going into 2022.
Accelerator Wins – Cognitive Space was competitively selected for several startup accelerators, including the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Seraphim Space Accelerator and the NGA Startup Accelerator. As one of 10 companies chosen by AWS out of a field of approximately 200 startups, Cognitive Space received $100,000 in cloud infrastructure credits, AWS Cloud training and support, mentorship, and additional business development resources including opportunities to speak with space-savvy venture investors. With the NGA Accelerator, Cognitive Space has been working with government analysts on a pilot project exploring the role of future commercial satellite capabilities for facility monitoring and pattern-of-life analytics in real-world scenarios.
Building the best team in AI-driven Satellite Operations – Cognitive Space continues to recruit aggressively for an expanding team of AI/ML scientists and mathematicians, satellite and aerospace engineers, full-stack and frontend/backend developers, system architects, and Cloud DevOps engineers. In 2021, the company also made strategic additions to the executive team by recruiting senior industry veterans Scott Herman (as CEO) and Hanna Steplewska (as VP, Business Development & Operations). Scott and Hanna bring deep experience in Space Operations, Satellite Remote Sensing, Geospatial Analytics, and National Security and a comprehensive understanding of the New Space ecosystem.
About Cognitive Space
More information about Cognitive Space can be found at http://www.cognitivespace.com. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
07 Dec 21. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) technologies played a vital role in the U.S. Space Force’s Space Test Program (STP)-3 mission. Today, a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket successfully launched the Northrop Grumman-built Space Test Program Satellite (STPSat)-6 and the Long Duration Propulsive Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA), known as LDPE-1, into orbit in support of STP-3. Northrop Grumman also provided critical components to the Atlas V rocket, continuing more than three decades of support to this program.
Built on Northrop Grumman’s highly successful LEOStar-3 platform, STPSat-6 is the primary spacecraft for the STP-3 mission. STP-3 supports advanced communications capabilities, the collection of space weather data and nuclear detonation detection in the Earth’s atmosphere or in near space. LDPE-1, launched along with STPSat-6, was built using Northrop Grumman’s ESPAStar bus. LDPE-1 hosts diverse payloads for the government and offers affordable ridesharing services to the Space Force.
“STPSat-6 and LDPE both provide flexible and cost-effective access to space while supporting critical technology development and operational payloads,” said Blake Bullock, vice president, national security systems, Northrop Grumman. “Northrop Grumman’s ESPAStar flexible, modular product line enables us to provide mission-critical solutions for today’s rapid-response space environment.”
STPSat-6 carries several payloads for the Department of Defense (DoD), National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and NASA, which includes the Space and Atmospheric Burst Reporting System (SABRS-3), NASA’s Laser Communication Relay Demonstration (LCRD) and several experiments from the DoD Space Experiments Review Board.
Northrop Grumman also provides key elements in ULA’s Atlas V launch vehicle. The 63-inch-diameter Graphite Epoxy Motor (GEM 63) solid rocket motors were used on the ULA Atlas V for the first time since their inaugural flight in November 2020. Five strap-on boosters, manufactured at the company’s Magna, Utah, facility, were used in today’s launch, each contributing 371,500 pounds of maximum thrust. The company manufactured the Atlas V rocket’s reaction control system propellant tanks at its Commerce, California, facility, and eight retro motors at its Elkton, Maryland, facility that assist first and second stage separation.
Using advanced fiber placement manufacturing and automated inspection techniques, Northrop Grumman produced the composite heat shield that provides essential protection to the ULA Atlas V first stage engine, the Centaur Interstage Adapter that houses the second stage engine, and the broadtail that adapts from the core vehicle to the five-meter diameter fairing. Northrop Grumman fabricated these structures at its Iuka, Mississippi, facility.
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.
07 Dec 21. ESA selects Airbus for exoplanet mission Ariel. Ariel will analyse the atmosphere of hundreds of exoplanets. Continuity of CHEOPS, synergies with heritage of Gaia mission. €200m contract with launch in 2029. The European Space Agency (ESA) has signed a contract with Airbus to build the Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey (Ariel) mission. Ariel is the fourth medium-class mission in ESA’s Cosmic Vision programme. Ariel will study the composition of exoplanets, how they formed and how they evolve, by surveying a diverse sample of about 1000 extrasolar planets in visible and infrared wavelengths. It is the first mission dedicated to measuring precisely the chemical composition and thermal structures of transiting exoplanets. The contract is valued at around €200.
“Airbus has extensive experience of leading ground-breaking science missions, including JUICE, Gaia, Solar Orbiter, LISA Pathfinder and CHEOPS, on which we are building for ESA’s latest science mission, Ariel,” said Jean-Marc Nasr, Head of Space Systems at Airbus.
“In our Toulouse facilities, the largest space site in Europe, we have all the resources, facilities and expertise to design, manufacture and integrate the spacecraft and actively support ESA with payload development. Airbus Stevenage is fully integrated in the prime team for the engineering of the avionics, Radio Frequency communication and electrical design of the platform, as successfully proven for the development of Gaia”.
Airbus will lead the European industrial consortium with more than 60 contractors for building the satellite and provide expertise and support to ESA for the development of the payload module.
“With this milestone for the Ariel mission we celebrate the continuation of the outstanding relationship with our industry partners to keep Europe at the forefront of excellence in the field of exoplanet research well into the next decade and beyond,” said Günther Hasinger, ESA’s Director of Science.
More than 5,000 exoplanets have been identified since the first observation in 1995, but little is known about the chemical composition of their atmospheres. Existing space science missions are delivering results on exoplanets (such as the Airbus-built CHEOPS for ESA), but Ariel will be the first mission dedicated to studying the atmospheres of a large number of exoplanets, including main atmospheric component determination and cloud characterisation. Observations of these worlds will give insights into the early stages of planetary and atmospheric formation, and their subsequent evolution, in turn contributing to the understanding of our own Solar System. They could help us find out whether there is life elsewhere in our universe and if there is another planet like Earth.
The mission will focus on warm and hot planets, ranging from super-Earths to gas giants orbiting close to their parent stars, taking advantage of their well-mixed atmospheres to decipher their bulk composition.
After its launch, in 2029 on an Ariane 6 launcher, Ariel will be injected onto a direct transfer trajectory to the second Lagrangian point (L2). Thanks to its very stable thermal and mechanical design, the spacecraft will be able to carry out long term observations of the same planet/star system for a duration of between 10 hours and up to three days. Its mission will last four years with a possible extension of at least two years.
Airbus was prime contractor for ESA’s mission CHEOPS. Launched in December 2019, its goal is to characterise exoplanets orbiting nearby stars, observing known planets in the size range between Earth and Neptune and precisely measuring their radii to determine density and composition.
07 Dec 21. Lockheed Martin Australia welcomes Conscia to JP 9102 consortium. The company announced that Canberra-based and veteran owned infrastructure advisory firm Conscia will join the Lockheed Martin Australia-led consortium for the JP 9102 program.
Lockheed Martin Australia announced today that it has welcomed Canberra-based and veteran owned infrastructure advisory firm Conscia into the company’s consortium as part of its bid for the JP 9102 Military Satellite Communication (MILSATCOM) System.
If successful, it is expected that Conscia will use its pedigree in planning, delivery and accreditation of sensitive facilities for Defence to oversee the design and construction of two satellite operations facilities for the JP 9102 program, as well as upgrading two current satellite ground stations.
According to a release from Lockheed Martin Australia, throughout the engagement Conscia will undertake project management, design reviews, quality assurance for the program’s ground infrastructure requirements as well as the verification, validation and certification of the facilities.
David Ball, regional director for space at Lockheed Martin Australia, explained that the consortium provided a cutting-edge offering for the development of Australia’s future MILSATCOM capabilities, welcoming Conscia to the team.
“We’re excited to be working with Conscia, an Australian veteran-owned business with a strong track record for delivery,” Ball said.
“We’ve assembled an expert team that is now design- and construction-ready to deliver on JP 9102’s ground infrastructure requirements. This relationship is one of many that Lockheed Martin Australia has forged with Australian businesses as we continue our commitment to build a sovereign capability that strengthens Australia’s defence and space industry.”
Brendan Bilston, chairman and executive director at Conscia, explained that the company was ready and enthusiastic to take part in the bid
“I’ve deployed on operations and seen first-hand the critical importance of reliable space-based communications capabilities, so we’re delighted to be working with Lockheed Martin Australia, a company with unrivalled capabilities and a commitment to working with Australian businesses,” Bilston said.
“The team is eager to contribute to the development of a cutting-edge MILSATCOM capability for Australia that will play a critical role in securing our national interests.
“This project also has the potential to deliver significant and sustained growth for our business, as it enables us to further develop our capabilities in the defence and space sectors and expand our international presence.”
The Lockheed Martin Australia-led consortium includes Av-Comm, Calytrix Technologies, EM Solutions, Shoal Group, Clearbox Systems, STEM Punks and Ronson Gears. (Source: Space Connect)
06 Dec 21. France to mimic Musk with own SpaceX-style launcher, minister says. European space company ArianeGroup will develop a reusable mini-launcher to compete with the likes of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Monday.
The launcher “must be able to be operational in 2026”, Le Maire said during a trip to the ArianeGroup site at Vernon in Normandy, where the engines of Ariane rockets are tested.
“For the first time Europe…will have access to a reusable launcher. In other words, we will have our SpaceX, we will have our Falcon 9. We will make up for a bad strategic choice made 10 years ago,” Le Maire said.
Rebuilding competitiveness in space was one goal set by President Emmanuel Macron in October when he unveiled a 30bn euro ($34bn) investment roadmap dubbed “France 2030”, aimed at fostering industrial champions and innovation.
Tesla founder Musk’s SpaceX achieved the first successful touchdown of its prototype Starship rocket during the latest test flight of the next-generation launch vehicle in May.
The feat marked a milestone for the tech mogul’s private rocket company in its development of a reusable heavy-lift launch vehicle to eventually carry astronauts and large cargo payloads to the moon and Mars. ($1 = 0.8852 euros) (Source: Reuters)
03 Dec 21. USSF’s STP-3 mission to launch aboard ULA Atlas V rocket. The launch will take place from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Atlas V rocket is set to launch the US Space Force’s (USSF) Space Systems Command (SSC) Space Test Program (STP)-3 mission on 5 December.
The lift-off will take place from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
ULA Government and Commercial Programs vice-president Gary Wentz said: “The STP-3 is a unique mission as the Atlas V will deliver STP-3 directly into geosynchronous equatorial orbit (GEO).
“This is a highly complex orbital insertion that requires three Centaur burns and precise navigation, a capability unique to the Atlas V.
“This is our longest mission to date at seven hours and ten minutes until final spacecraft separation.”
ULA noted that the mission’s Atlas booster is powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine.
Aerojet Rocketdyne supplied the RL10C-1 engine for the Centaur upper stage while Northrop Grumman provided the five GEM-63 solid rocket boosters for the mission. ULA noted that the STP-3 mission comprises STPSat-6 satellite that hosts the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Space and Atmospheric Burst Reporting System-3 (SABRS-3) package and Nasa’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) experiment. A propulsive secondary payload adapter carrying further small science and technology missions is also part of the launch. In December 2020, ULA launched a satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), a US Government agency tasked to handle spy satellites. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
05 Dec 21. Fleet Space reveals Alpha 3D-printed satellite family. Fleet Space Technologies co-founders Flavia Tata Nardini and Matt Pearson with a full-scale mock-up of the new Alpha satellite – the 64-element antenna array is in the middle, between the two solar panel arrays. Image: Fleet Space Technologies
Adelaide-based startup Fleet Space Technologies has revealed the design of a new constellation of small Internet of Things (IoT) satellites with a 64-element steerable beam antenna. The first of this new Alpha satellite constellation should be ready for launch in 12 months, according to co-founder Flavia Tata Nardini, and the new satellites will operate alongside the company’s existing in-orbit Centauri cubesat constellation.
The Alpha constellation represents a fundamental shift for Fleet Space which delivers the Nebula IoT service using its constellation of Centauri-series satellites and a proprietary Portal. A recent US$26.4m Series B investment has enabled the company to create the Alpha, the world’s first entirely 3D-printed satellite, which will integrate Fleet’s advanced beamforming technology and patented antennas.
Fleet Space has unique expertise in digital beamforming for Low Power Wide Area networks and has designed a world-first metal 3D-printed patch antenna for small satellites. This increases signal throughput per kilo of spacecraft weight by a factor of 10. The first of these antennas, a four-element unit, went into orbit in June 2021 aboard Centauri-4 which proved the company’s approach and the robustness of the technology for much wider use.
The Alpha satellites will have a 64-element antenna compared to the Centauri-4, representing a 16-fold increase in performance while being only four times heavier.
“Alpha represents a major step forward and the first time a satellite has been created entirely through 3D-printing,” said Ms Nardini. “By bringing together the creation, deployment and service of space technology this is a clear statement of our intent to become a global leader in space technology, and to support Australia’s ambition to lead this critical field.
“It is Fleet Space’s vision that everyone, everywhere, has access to unlimited connectivity, no matter where they are on the globe, in cities, remote regions, on land or navigating the oceans,” she added. “Our recent Series B investment empowered us to realise this vision by embarking on a bold new strategy.”
Leveraging experience and lessons from its successful Centauri constellation, Fleet Space will be able to expand its coverage reach and provide down to sub-seconds latency, providing an extremely cost-effective means to unlock unprecedented connectivity more quickly and in more locations, however remote.
The existing Centauri constellation is among the world’s most advanced space communications systems. Like Alpha, Fleet Space’s latest Centauri 4 small satellite, developed in collaboration with US firm Tyvak, has been integrated with Fleet Space’s breakthrough smallsat digital beamforming technology. This uses an array of multiple 3D printed all-metal antennas along with cutting edge Digital Signal Processing.
This beamforming technology provides a substantial increase in throughput of customer IoT data and can service a higher number of customer terminals at once. It does this by generating a high number of highly-directional low-interfering beams in point-to-point satellite communications. This achieves a high spectral efficiency which improves quality of service through enhanced frequency re-use, faster data rates and more link robustness. Integrating this digital beamforming into a Low Earth Orbit Satellite, not much larger than a half a square metre, is a world first. (Source: Rumour Control)
29 Nov 21. Russia Issues Threat To GPS Satellites. Russian state TV last night claimed its new ‘Star Warrior’ anti-satellite missile technology could be used to render the West’s GPS-guided missiles useless. It warned Moscow could destroy 32 NATO satellites and ‘blind all their missiles, planes and ships, not to mention the ground forces. The Kremlin warned it could blow up 32 GPS satellites with its new anti-satellite technology, ASAT, which it tested Nov. 15 on a retired Soviet Tselina-D satellite, according to numerous news reports.
Russia then claimed on state television that its new ASAT missiles could obliterate NATO satellites and “blind all their missiles, planes and ships, not to mention the ground forces,” said Russian Channel One TV host Dmitry Kiselyov, rendering the West’s GPS-guided missiles useless. “It means that if NATO crosses our red line, it risks losing all 32 of its GPS satellites at once.”
The International Space Station (ISS) Flight Control team was notified of indications of a satellite breakup, causing 1,500 pieces of debris to threaten the station. “Due to the debris generated by the destructive Russian Anti-Satellite (ASAT) test, ISS astronauts and cosmonauts undertook emergency procedures for safety,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
“With its long and storied history in human spaceflight, it is unthinkable that Russia would endanger not only the American and international partner astronauts on the ISS, but also their own cosmonauts,” Nelson said. “Their actions are reckless and dangerous, threatening as well the Chinese space station and the taikonauts on board. All nations have a responsibility to prevent the purposeful creation of space debris from ASATs and to foster a safe, sustainable space environment.”
“Russia has demonstrated a deliberate disregard for the security, safety, stability and long-term sustainability of the space domain for all nations,” Gen. James Dickinson, commander of U.S. Space Command, said. “Russia’s tests of direct-ascent anti-satellite weapons clearly demonstrate that Russia continues to pursue counterspace weapon systems that undermine strategic stability and pose a threat to all nations (Source: Satnews)
05 Dec 21. The Arianespace VS26 Mission Launches Successfully Via A Soyuz Rocket. Arianespace’s 13th launch of 2021 via the 8th Soyuz mission of the year successfully launched the Galileo FOC 23-24 satellite passengers for the European Space Agency (ESA) into Medium Earth Orbit (MEO). The launcher lifted a total payload of approximately 1,645 kg. The launch was performed from Kourou, in French Guyana, at 21:19 Kourou time, (December 5, 00:19 UTC; December 4, 7:19 p.m., EST). Operational since 2016, Galileo is the global navigation satellite system that is fully financed and owned by the European Union. Under civilian control, it offers high-precision positioning, navigation and timing services to more than 2,3bn users worldwide. Undertaken by a European partnership, the European Commission manages Galileo, with European Space Agency (ESA) as the design authority overseeing its development, procuring satellites and the ground segment, and the European Union Agency for the Space Program (EUSPA) overseeing Galileo operations and service provision.
The medium-lift Soyuz (produced by Progress Space Rocket Center, part of the Russian space agency Roscosmos) entered service from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana in October of 2011, bringing the industry’s longest-operating launcher to the world’s most modern launch base. Soyuz is a four-stage launcher, designed with extremely high reliability requirements for its use in manned missions. This flight also marks 10 years of Soyuz operations in French Guiana and its 26th mission for the European Spaceport.
“Congratulations Europe! With this 11th launch for Galileo, the constellation is now counting 28 satellites in orbit. Arianespace is proud to guarantee a secure and autonomous access to space with the deployment of Galileo, marking another step towards European independence in satellite navigation,” said Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace. “I would like to thank the European Union, especially the European Commission, as well as the European Space Agency, our direct customer for this launch, for continuing to trust us with their satellites.” (Source: Satnews)
01 Dec 21. Skykraft Air Traffic Management Constellation To Launch Aboard The SpaceX Transporter-5 Mission In Mid-2022. Skykraft and SpaceX have agreed to a follow-on to the Transporter-5 launch for Skykraft’s Air Traffic Management constellation. The second tranche of Air Traffic Management satellites will fly on SpaceX’s Transporter-6 launch in October of 2022 under a recently signed contract.
This repeat launch is part of Skykraft’s rapid progress toward the roll-out of the full constellation of more than 200 satellites in 2023.
Skykraft’s Space-based Air Traffic Management constellation will improve the safety and efficiency of global air travel by providing global surveillance and communication for all air traffic.
Skykraft is also pleased to be flying demonstration payloads for Australian National University (ANU), CSIRO, Valiant, University of Melbourne, and Swinbourne as part of the Skyride rapid space access program. These organizations are on track to have space-demonstrated payloads on the June 2022 Transporter-5 launch.
Dr. Doug Griffin, Chief Engineer of Skykraft, said, “By choosing SpaceX as our launch provider, we get regular and reliable flights to run an aggressive spiral development program and supercharge the services we can provide from space. SpaceX’s launch capability is transforming humanity’s relationship with space.” (Source: Satnews)
05 Dec 21. ULA’s Atlas V STP-3 Mission Has Been Scrubbed — New Date For The Launch Is Now December 7. The launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket carrying the Space Test Program-3 (STP-3) mission for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command (SSC) has been scrubbed. During initial operations, a leak was discovered in the Rocket Propellant-1 (RP-1) ground storage system. Launch is now scheduled for Monday, December 6 at 4:04 a.m., EST. A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket is in final preparations to launch the Space Test Program (STP)-3 mission for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command. The launch is on track for December 5, 2021 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Launch is planned for 4:04 a.m. EST. The live launch broadcast begins at 3:30 a.m. EST at www.ulalaunch.com.
“STP-3 is a unique mission as the Atlas V will deliver STP-3 directly into Geosynchronous Equatorial Orbit (GEO). This is a highly complex orbital insertion that requires three Centaur burns and precise navigation, a capability unique to the Atlas V. This is our longest mission to date at seven hours and 10 minutes until final spacecraft separation,” said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs. “We are proud to work alongside our mission partners to prepare to launch this challenging mission and thank them for their outstanding teamwork.”
The STP-3 mission consists of the STPSat-6 satellite that hosts the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Space and Atmospheric Burst Reporting System-3 (SABRS-3) package and NASA’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) experiment. The launch also includes a propulsive secondary payload adapter carrying additional small science and technology missions. (Source: Satnews)
01 Dec 21. iDirect Government Evolves Evolution To v.4.4 With Enhanced MILSATCOM Protection. iDirect Government (iDirectGov) has announced their newest software release, Evolution® Defense 4.4, for enhanced military satellite communications (MILSATCOM) protection.
Evolution Defense 4.4 technology advancements are targeted at the Defense Receive Line (DLC-R) cards, enabling Communication Signal Interference Removal (CSIR™) on the DLC-R line cards, and other security improvements. CSIR represents a real-time streaming technology to mitigate interference, and the introduction of Evolution Defense 4.4 now applies to both iDirectGov’s remote and line cards. This release complements the previous Evolution Defense 184.108.40.206 software release, which provided CSIR protection on the 9-Series, establishing a complete end-to-end interference mitigation solution.
The DLC-R and 9-Series remote interference reporting work in the company’s iMonitor network management software, which provides in-depth views into both real-time and historical network performance. This includes the health status of remotes, graphical displays, network probes and detailed bandwidth usage. The DLC-R-measured interference alerts and warnings thresholds are user configurable, as are the satellite remote alerts and warnings.
With security a highest priority for iDirectGov, the Evolution Defense platform is continuously tested and evaluated to ensure mission critical data is protected. To reinforce this security posture, the deployment of the Evolution Defense 4.4 software will have the protection of the Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 140-2 Level 1 enabled, along with the backing of the security enhancements in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 (RHEL8). This implementation is applicable to all the servers associated with the platform beginning with Evolution Defense 4.4.
These security enhancements help to combat adversaries who are increasing their implementations of signal intelligence (SIGINT) to attack military and government spectrum use, as enemies seek to jam transmissions intended for radio communications, radar and various operations.
“Enhanced security solutions in Evolution Defense 4.4 create a multi-layered approach to MILSATCOM protection,” said John Ratigan, president of iDirect Government. “We have engineered this specialized software release to enable interference mitigation on our line cards to create an end-to-end solution for interference when combined with our 9-Series remotes. Evolution Defense 4.4 meets military communications requirements worldwide. Our security solution offers a Defense-in-Depth approach for reliable and secure communications.” (Source: Satnews)
At Viasat, we’re driven to connect every warfighter, platform, and node on the battlefield. As a global communications company, we power millions of fast, resilient connections for military forces around the world – connections that have the capacity to revolutionize the mission – in the air, on the ground, and at sea. Our customers depend on us for connectivity that brings greater operational capabilities, whether we’re securing the U.S. Government’s networks, delivering satellite and wireless communications to the remote edges of the battlefield, or providing senior leaders with the ability to perform mission-critical communications while in flight. We’re a team of fearless innovators, driven to redefine what’s possible. And we’re not done – we’re just beginning.