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20 Jan 22. ULA to Launch USSF-8 Mission in Support of National Security.
- Mission to Deliver Space Surveillance Assets for the Nation
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket is in final preparations to launch the USSF-8 mission for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command. The launch is on track for Jan. 21, 2022 from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Launch is planned for 2:00 p.m. EST. The live launch broadcast begins at 1:40 p.m. EST at www.ulalaunch.com.
“Our first launch of 2022 will deliver space surveillance assets that expand the capabilities of the U.S. Space Force in support of national security,” said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs. “We have been working collaboratively with the USSF team to prepare for this launch and keep our teams safe and healthy. We want to thank our mission partners for their continued teamwork as we complete the final preparations for launch.”
The USSF-8 mission will launch two Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) satellites, GSSAP-5 and GSSAP-6, to a near-geosynchronous orbit approximately 22,300 miles (36,000 km) above the equator. Data from the GSSAP satellites will contribute to timely and accurate orbital predictions, enhancing our knowledge of the GEO environment and further enabling space flight safety including satellite collision avoidance.
The mission will launch on an Atlas V 511 configuration rocket, that includes a 5-meter short payload fairing and stands 196 ft. (59.7 m) tall. The Atlas booster for this mission is powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine. Aerojet Rocketdyne provided the RL10C-1 engine for the Centaur upper stage and Northrop Grumman provided the Graphite Epoxy Motor (GEM) 63 solid rocket booster.
This will be the 91st launch of the Atlas V rocket. To date ULA has launched 147 times with 100 percent mission success.
(Source: ASD Network)
20 Jan 22. Avio discloses launch service contracts for Vega C launcher, shares rise. Italy’s aerospace group Avio (AVI.MI) said on Thursday that French launch services company Arianespace had signed new launch contracts for the Vega C launcher vehicle, pushing the Italian firm shares up more than 4%. The deals include a contract with the Italian Space Agency for the launch of two lightweight advanced satellite platforms between 2022 and 2024, as well as launch service contracts with the European Space Agency (ESA) for the launch of Flex and Altius satellites by 2025. Rome-based Avio, which is the prime contractor for European launcher Vega, added it had also signed a development contract worth about 50m euros ($56.79m) with ESA. The Vega C maiden flight is expected in May 2022, Avio added in the statement. Avio shares were up 3.1% by around 0855 GMT, outperforming a flattish Milan stock market (.FTITLMS). ($1 = 0.8804 euros) (Source: Reuters)
20 Jan 22. Avcon Industries, Inc. ISR Solutions Receives FAA Approval for King Air Wing-Mounted Hard Points and SAT COM Radome. Butler National Corporation (OTCQB: BUKS) announces that its subsidiary Avcon Industries, Inc., a leading provider of ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) and special mission solutions for aircraft, received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) approval for the installation of hard points, also known as provisions for external stores. The hard points are wing-mounted inboard and outboard with an optional cost-effective SATCOM/BLOS Radome on the Beechcraft King Air Model 200, B200, B300, 350. The collective modification package, including the Avcon lower fuselage ISR POD, defines the new Avcon ISR NG King Air platform. Avcon is increasing its focus on developing ISR Solutions across multiple aircraft platforms.
With its expansion of ISR-capable products, Avcon has developed a new subsidiary, Avcon ISR Solutions, to reinforce the Avcon presence in the ISR marketplace. The ISR products are derivative of the commercial products Avcon has developed and installed for more than 50 years. Avcon will continue to develop, manufacture, and install products under its Avcon Industries, Inc. identity for the commercial market in addition to the new Avcon ISR Solutions brand.
Avcon received FAA STC approval of:
(1) Wing-mounted Hard Points having a payload capacity of up to 325 pounds underneath each wing for the inboard stores (STC SA04178NY) and 225 pounds (per side) for each store on the outboard pylon (STC SA01965WI); with or without the
(2) Avcon SATCOM (BLOS) antenna radome KU/KA/X-band (STC SA04204NY).
Avcon has deployed its King Air 350 (Model B300) airplane to expand the cost-effective product offerings to create the Avcon ISR NG King Air platform. The Avcon ISR NG King Air includes the Avcon multi-purpose special mission ISR POD (fuselage belly sensor carrying radome/pod compartment), the Avcon hard points with custom-mounted stores, and the Avcon SATCOM Radome. The King Air 350 is the first airplane to be certified with the Avcon Hard Points.
Marcus Abendroth, Avcon President said, “We are excited to recognize Avcon’s vast experience, specialized ISR solutions, and understanding of the ISR marketplace with the name of Avcon ISR Solutions. Avcon further appreciates the customer interest in the latest and very cost-effective Avcon King Air products. Avcon can timely complete the Avcon ISR NG King Air platform modification that includes the provisions for external underwing stores and SAT COM radome.” Mr. Abendroth added: “The Avcon hard points are capable of mounting any NATO stores. Avcon fabricates and installs all the parts associated with the provisions for external stores. Avcon has significantly expanded its potential role in supplying quick turnaround modifications and cost-effective solutions in the King Air ISR / Special Mission Market. I am confident that our customers will find continued confidence in these new Avcon ISR Solutions.”
(Source: PR Newswire)
20 Jan 22. AFRL partners with SpaceX to explore Rocket Cargo potential. The Air Force Research Laboratory is using a new five-year contract with SpaceX to better understand the constraints and viability of using space launch vehicles for point-to-point cargo transport.
The $102m contract, which AFRL awarded Tuesday under its Rocket Cargo program, will give the lab more concrete data about how reusable launch vehicles could be used in future cargo missions and how the commercial capability could be adapted for use by the Department of Defense. The intent, according to program manager Greg Spanjers, is to ensure the government is ready to leverage the commercial service once industry has matured the capability.
The U.S. Air Force in its fiscal 2022 budget request designated the program one of AFRL’s Vanguard efforts, boosting its profile as a potentially transformational technology. Spanjers told C4ISRNET in an email this week the program represents “a big-bet [science and technology] investment,” noting its designation as a Vanguard effort is a recognition it could offer a “game-changing capability.”
To date, AFRL has awarded several Rocket Cargo contracts for analytics, landing material research, wind tunnel sensors and command-and-control systems development, but this week’s award to SpaceX is the first deal with a launch vehicle provider. According to Spanjers, the lab is engaged with other launch providers and will consider awarding additional contracts later in the program.
Spanjers said the SpaceX work is focused in four areas: collecting data from commercial orbital launches and landings; exploring cargo bay designs compatible with U.S. Transportation Command containers and support rapid loading and unloading; researching landing systems that can operate on a variety of terrain; and demonstrating the heavy cargo launch and landing process.
The emphasis on landing options and interoperability with TRANSCOM containers and loading processes is an important element of the project, Spanjers noted, because the department’s vision for how the point-to-point capability could be used is broader than just the commercial business case. While companies are primarily interested in delivering cargo to and from established sites, the military wants to deliver supplies and humanitarian aid to locations that may not have spaceports.
“We are therefore exploring a wider range of novel trajectories to mitigate overflight issues, exploring a broad range of landing options for austere sites, researching human factors when landing near populations and integrating a broader range of cargo, including medical supplies,” he said.
Because AFRL is looking to take advantage of an emerging commercial capability rather than develop its own launcher, the program isn’t dictating a schedule or prescribed milestones, Spanjers said.
“AFRL does not drive this schedule, but rather will collect data when SpaceX flies regular missions,” he said. “The final task is a full-up demonstration of heavy cargo transport capability to another location on Earth. This is similar to AFRL funding and flying research spacecraft, except in this case the cargo returns to Earth.”
As AFRL explores the logistics and enabling technologies through the Rocket Cargo effort, TRANSCOM is also partnering with companies to better understand the capability’s potential. In 2020, the command announced it had signed cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs) with SpaceX and xArc, a space architecture and engineering company. And last month, Blue Origin signed on with its own CRADA.
Those agreements, while likely informative for AFRL’s work, are separate efforts, which TRANSCOM awarded competitively.
With AFRL as its S&T partner, the Space Force is closely watching the program’s progress — particularly in terms of affordability and viability. Brig. Gen. Jason Cothern, Space Systems Command’s enterprise corps lead, told reporters in June he is interested in the prospect of buying the space cargo transport capability as a commercial service, similar to how the Space Force procures launches today. (Source: Defense News)
20 Jan 22. National Reconnaissance Office awards five contracts for commercial satellite radar capabilities. The National Reconnaissance Office has issued contracts to five synthetic aperture radar satellite operators as the intelligence agency continues to look at how these commercial capabilities can be integrated into its missions. The five companies receiving contracts are Airbus U.S., Capella Space, ICEYE U.S., PredaSAR and Umbra. The NRO declined to reveal the value of the contracts.
“We are very pleased with the response to the first focus area under our new [broad agency announcement],” said NRO Director Chris Scolese in a statement. “We know that users across the National System for Geospatial Intelligence are eager to explore commercial radar, and these contracts will allow us to rapidly validate capabilities and the benefits to the national mission.”
Unlike traditional electro-optical imagery, synthetic aperture radar is unaffected by cloud cover, darkness or inclement weather, making it useful for a number of intelligence missions. SAR can also provide data on material properties, moisture content, elevation and precise movements.
Under the contracts, NRO users will have access to the companies’ SAR products for operational use and to assess their applicability to various use cases. The agreements do not include analytics products, which will be generated by partners like the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
Director of the NRO’s Commercial Systems Program Office Pete Muend noted in a media call with reporters that while the base contracts have low contract value thresholds to accommodate emerging providers, they were deliberately designed to be quickly scaled up at the agency’s discretion. The initial contracts are for a six-month period of performance, but have options to be expanded to 30 months. The NRO can then go beyond that if needed, added Muend.
Some of the companies have yet to actually launch an SAR payload into orbit. That could affect the execution of individual contracts, Muend acknowledged, since part of the work will require an actual satellite on orbit. While the bulk of the contract work is focused on modeling and simulation data, the NRO will require on orbit data to validate those models and simulation in later stages of the acquisition. The NRO also wants the option to purchase ad hoc products from vendors at some point. Products could include SAR imagery or more advanced capabilities, such as moving target indicators.
The contracts will also inform the formal requirements document needed to issue operational contracts and establish a program of record. That formal requirements process is overseen by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which has its own research agreement with one of the providers: Capella Space.
The five contracts were issued under the NRO’s new broad agency announcement, which was unveiled only three months ago at the GEOINT conference in St. Louis. The NRO designed the Strategic Commercial Enhancements BAA Framework as a tool to help it explore new commercial capabilities across a variety of different types of sensor, enabling the agency to integrate them with its missions. Commercial radar was the first focus area of the BAA, and the agency said it plans to release its next focus area later this year.
“By leveraging commercial capabilities to the maximum extent possible, we are delivering increased flexibility and capacity, greater responsiveness, and improved resiliency for our customers,” said Muend in a statement.
The NRO contracts come amid growing interest in commercially-provided synthetic aperture radar among the intelligence community and Department of Defense. The U.S. Air Force, Navy, Army and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency all currently have contracts or research agreements with commercial SAR providers.
“We work very closely with the Air Force, Army, Navy — other services and agencies,” said Muend. “We certainly do keep tabs on what the other services and agencies are doing.”
Muend declined to share examples of what his agency has learned from those other efforts.
The NRO has itself dipped its toes into commercial SAR over the last two years, issuing a study contract to Capella Space in 2019. That contract was issued as part of a series of study contract the NRO used to look at the commercial capabilities of vendors, including more traditional electro-optical imagery and emerging capabilities like remote radio-frequency sensing and hyperspectral imagery.
While the agency was able to learn from the Capella Space study contract, this new batch of contracts under the BAA will take those efforts further, Muend told C4ISRNET.
“NRO’s previous commercial radar study contract was principally focused on our architecture interface and the actions required to integrate commercial radar products into it. This effort is principally focused on the commercial radar capabilities of the providers,” he said.
Muend noted the maturity of both the commercial capabilities and government’s ability to leverage those capabilities has grown in the last couple years, enabling this new batch of contracts to continue moving the process forward. (Source: Defense News)
19 Jan 22. Ultra Intelligence & Communications has been granted approval by Inmarsat, the world leader in global mobile satellite communications, to operate its new Ultra GigaSat ULV-950mp terminal over the Inmarsat Global Xpress network. The Global Xpress network is the world’s first and only, globally available, seamless mobile wideband service. In U.S. government operation since July 2014, Global Xpress has established itself as the gold standard for reliable communications across land, air and sea for assured mobile connectivity and interoperability with government satellite systems.
The new Ultra GigaSat ULV-950mp terminal is a leader in size, weight, power and enhanced performance requirements. The terminal’s robust (MIL-STD-810G certified), compact and ultra-light design allow troops to establish a communications capability in the field of operation, facilitating mission-critical communications between soldiers in the field and command and control.
The Ultra GigaSat ULV-950mp terminal allows a single individual to set up and operate the terminal with no tools or special equipment required. Featuring an auto-assist display, the terminal can be up and running in less than five minutes, making it ideal for high-pressure and harsh environments. In addition to the built-in iDirect 950mp modem, the solution includes additional external RF ports, making it modem agnostic for maximum deployment flexibility. Its Tri-band (Ka, Ku and X-band) capability allows terminal operators to change frequency bands in the field, maximising modularity mission performance.
Trevor Vizard, Deputy Global Sales Director for Ultra’s SATCOM solutions, commented, “The Ultra GigaSat ULV-950mp satellite terminal is the most compact and powerful multi-certified, multi-bearer, multi-frequency solution we’ve launched to date and certification for Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network is a strategically important milestone for Ultra’s SATCOM GigaSat solutions. The addition of the Inmarsat GX network provides flexibility and delivers the world’s most advanced mobile satellite communication services for our global customer base.”
Matt Wissler, Chief Technical Officer, Inmarsat Government commented, “We are pleased to add the Ultra GigaSat ULV-950mp satellite terminal to our rich portfolio of highly reliable user terminals for Global Xpress. With ULV-950mp, land expeditionary users now have access to Inmarsat’s always-on, secure wideband
19 Jan 22. US Space Force wants funding for a new mission — tracking ground targets. The U.S. Space Force wants to take on a new mission — tracking ground targets with space-based sensors — and the service expects to wrap up a review and requesting funding for the effort in fiscal 2024, according to the service’s top official.
Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond said last February the service was “thinking through” its role in the tactical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) mission and in May, speaking at the annual McAleese Conference, he revealed a previously classified effort to develop a space-based ground moving target indicator, or GMTI, capability.
“There’s a role here for the Space Force in tactical level ISR,” he said at the time. “I really believe that this is an area that we’ll begin to migrate to because we can do it, and we can do it in a way that doesn’t break the bank and is focused on our joint and coalition partners.”
Now, Raymond said the Space Force expects to complete a review of those capabilities this spring and request funding for the effort in fiscal 2024.
Raymond said during a Mitchell Institute event Tuesday the service’s force design hub — the Space Warfighting Analysis Center — has been working with the intelligence community and across the Defense Department to study options for a future space-based GMTI program that is complementary to what other agencies provide.
“We don’t want to duplicate,” Raymond said. “We don’t want to spend $1 wasted on doing something that we don’t have to if somebody else is already doing it. We’ve done that before.”
The National Reconnaissance Office and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency have traditionally taken the lead on space-based intelligence gathering and image processing but growing demand for tactical ISR products coupled with reduced satellite production and launch costs have shifted that paradigm.
The Army is also developing a Tactical Space Layer to provide users on the ground with beyond-line-of-sight targeting information and the Space Development Agency is building a transport layer based in low Earth orbit that would serve as a mesh network, connecting commercial imaging satellites with the Tactical Space Layer.
Raymond didn’t offer details on what the study has revealed about the Space Force’s role in the mission, noting that the SWAC team would wrap up its work by late this spring.
Meanwhile, lawmakers want to limit how much money the Pentagon can spend on GMTI efforts until the department completes a program-by-program review of all “established and planned” GMTI initiatives, according to language in a joint explanatory statement that accompanied the fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.
Beyond GMTI, Vice Chief of Space Operations Gen. David Thompson is leading a more holistic review of cross-domain ISR capabilities and requirements to identify possible gaps. Thompson will then work with the intelligence community “to figure out the best way to address those requirements that are left uncovered,” Raymond said.
Work to flesh out the service’s future architecture will be a major focus for the Space Force in the coming year, Raymond said, and much of that effort will focus on making constellations more resilient.
“We have got to shift our space architecture, if you will, from a handful of exquisite capabilities that are very hard to defend to a more robust, more resilient architecture,” he said.
Much of the design work will fall under the purview of the SWAC, which the Space Force created last year to lead architecture analysis and reviews across a range of mission areas. The SWAC completed its first review in the fall of the missile warning and tracking architecture and will focus next on space data transport as well as the ongoing GMTI analysis. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/C4ISR & Networks)
18 Jan 22. Head of US Air Force’s space research will help design the Space Force’s satellite constellations. The head of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s space initiatives is taking a new job with the Space Force where he’ll help design the service’s architecture at the Pentagon. In July, Col. Eric Felt will wrap up four years as the director of AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate, heading to the Pentagon to serve as the new deputy executive director of the service’s Space Architecture, Science and Technology Directorate, according to an AFRL press release. In his new position, Felt will play an important role in establishing the Space Force’s new acquisitions office. When Congress established the Space Force in 2019, it created a new assistant secretary of the Air Force position to lead space acquisitions, with the idea that an acquisitions executive focused on space systems could address the military’s long-running challenges with delays and cost-overruns in that area. Following complaints from legislators that the position was still unfilled in May 2021, the Biden Administration nominated former principal deputy director of the National Reconnaissance Office Frank Calvelli, who is now awaiting a Senate confirmation hearing. In the interim, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall announced in August the service would reorganize its space procurement office, establishing the space-focused acquisitions and integration organization within the Air Force, with major decisions still going through the acting assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisitions until the space acquisitions executive was approved by the Senate. As the deputy director of the Space Force’s architecture and science and technology organization, Felt will play a key role in the service’s architecture design work and in communicating the service’s acquisitions priorities and needs to Congress. In his role at AFRL, Felt and his team of 1,080 military, civilian and contracted personnel, support the Space Force in its missile warning, position navigation and timing, space situational awareness, communications and space control missions. The directorate is considered a center of excellence for space research, development and demonstration. Among the programs Felt is in charge of is Navigation Technology Satellite-3, an AFRL Vanguard effort that will demonstrate new position, navigation and timing capabilities that may be incorporated on future GPS satellites. Felt also oversaw a rapid build-up in space-related infrastructure at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, the home of the Space Vehicles Directorate and the Space Rapid Capabilities Office. In the last two years, AFRL has opened or begun construction on a $4m Deployable Structures Laboratory, a $3.5m Skywave Technology Laboratory, and a $12.8m Space Warfighting Operations Research and Development Lab. The Space Vehicles Directorate also has dedicated space within the $6m Wargaming and Advanced Research Simulation (WARS) Laboratory. Col. Jeremy Raley, who now works in the Space Rapid Capabilities Office, will take over Felt’s position at the Space Vehicles Directorate. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
19 Jan 22. NATO publishes ‘Overarching Space Policy’ document. On 17 January NATO published its ‘Overarching Space Policy’, setting out the fundamental aspects of the space domain and its importance in preserving the alliance’s security and prosperity. It is an acknowledgement of NATO’s increasing reliance upon space-based capabilities and their importance in supporting the delivery of communications, navigation, intelligence, and situational awareness, among other operational necessities. The policy document started with a framework agreement in June 2019, when the alliance decided to formulate and adopt a specific space policy. The document outlines in detail the space-related threat environment, noting that “potential adversaries are developing, testing, and operationalising sophisticated counter-space technologies that could threaten allies’ access to and freedom to operate in space”. These threats vary from non-kinetic systems such as jamming of communications or Global Positioning System (GPS) to kinetic capabilities such as “direct-ascent anti-satellite missiles, on-orbit anti-satellite systems, and laser and electromagnetic capabilities”, it adds. The policy includes a core set of principles, the most important one being the recognition that space is vital for deterrence and defence, ensuring free access to space, and collaborating with allies to avoid the duplication of efforts. (Source: Janes)
19 Jan 22. US Space Force eyes hybrid satcom architecture. Members of the US Space Force’s (USSF) combat requirements office are weighing options for the development of a hybrid, space-based satellite communications (satcom) architecture, as the US Air Force’s (USAF’s) premier research directorate is standing up a similar architecture for extra-terrestrial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations. The notion of a hybrid satcom architecture is akin to how cellular data is transmitted during voice and video calls, as well as other means of electronic communication. A cellular signal can ping across any number of cellular provider networks and infrastructure, transmitting on to one network, then leapfrogging across other networks until the data reaches its destination. In terms of satcom, under a hybrid approach, data transmission can be initiated through a network at geosynchronous orbit (GEO), then jump onto a satcom network at medium-Earth orbit (MEO) or low-Earth orbit (LEO) – and potentially back up the orbital satcom chain – until the data transmission reaches the receiver. (Source: Janes)
18 Jan 22. 1st EGNOS V3 Test Signal Broadcast by Eutelsat E5WB Satellite. Airbus, with its key partners Indra and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona/IEEC, and the EGNOS V3 stakeholders the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA), the European Space Agency (ESA) and Eutelsat, have successfully completed the first test signal broadcast of the European Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) EGNOS V3 respecting the Single Frequency L1 and Dual Frequency Multi Constellation L5 formats.
Version V3 of EGNOS, the European Union SBAS, will improve GPS and Galileo performances, to provide satellite-positioning services to the most safety-critical applications such as aircraft navigation. This new generation of EGNOS, currently under development by Airbus, will operate on a multi-frequency (L1/L5, E1/E5), multi-constellation basis (GPS, Galileo) embedding security protection against cyber-attacks.
The EGNOS V3 test signal campaign involved the new version of EGNOS Navigation Land Earth Station (NLES) developed by Indra as well as the Eutelsat E5WB’s dual-frequency SBAS payload developed by Airbus. This first NLES to E5WB integration aimed to verify an EGNOS V3 key algorithm ensuring each signal is rightly steered at the satellite output by adapting in real time the uplink signal from the ground. This important milestone secures the critical design of EGNOS V3 NLES before the final implementation and its full factory qualification.
“The successful broadcast of the EGNOS V3 test signal is a key event in the life of the program,” said Silvio Sandrone, Head of Navigation Programs at Airbus. “Together with other ongoing field experiments, this “hello world” of EGNOS V3 lays the foundation for the deployment of the new generation of EGNOS. The program and the system are now entering into reality on their journey to enable continuous and improved Safety of Life services across the European Union and beyond.”
EGNOS is a component of the European Union Space Programme designed to improve positioning service of the Global Positioning System and of Galileo for Safety of Life users. It is managed in the frame of the partnership agreement established between the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Defence, Industry and Space (DG-DEFIS), the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) and the European Space Agency (ESA). The views expressed in this Press Release can in no way be taken to reflect the opinion of the European Union, of EUSPA and/or of ESA. (Source: ASD Network)
17 Jan 22. Carrier aircraft for hypersonic vehicle completes 3rd test flight. The world’s largest aircraft, designed to carry a rocket-powered vehicle into low-Earth orbit, completed its third test flight on Sunday.
Stratolaunch said the team tested “Roc’s” left main landing gear, which provided potential options for landing it in the event the hardware didn’t perform as expected.
The distinctive-looking twin-fuselage aircraft is the brainchild of late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and is designed to carry a hypersonic vehicle underneath that can reach speeds above Mach 5.
The first two of these, TA-0 and TA-1, completed its initial power-on testing in late December 2021, and is due to begin hypersonic flight testing in 2022.
Stratolaunch is targeting delivery to customers as early as next year and if all goes well, the aircraft will carry payloads for customers into low-Earth orbit.
During Roc’s latest test flight, the aircraft flew for more than four hours, reached an altitude of 7,160 metres and an indicative airspeed of 180 knots.
Stratolaunch president Dr. Zachary Krevor said, “Today’s successful flight demonstrates and validates improvements to the carrier aircraft’s systems and overall flight performance.
“We will take the data we gathered today and continue to advance the aircraft’s operational performance to support hypersonic testing in 2022.
“Testing the left main landing gear individually mitigated risk and provided our aircrew with options for landing the aircraft in the event the hardware didn’t perform as expected.”
World of Aviation reported how Roc completed its first flight back in 2019.
The test pilots performed a variety of flight control manoeuvres to calibrate speed and test flight control systems. These included roll doublets, yawing manoeuvres, pushovers and pull-ups, and steady heading side slips.
The all-composite aircraft has a payload capacity of 500,000 pounds (245,000 kilograms), is powered by six Pratt & Whitney PW4056 turbofans, and has a 385-foot wingspan and two 238-foot fuselages.
While Allen was one of the driving forces behind the Stratolaunch, he was not there to witness the first flight milestone, having died in October 2018 due to cancer. He was 65 years of age. (Source: Space Connect)
17 Jan 22. Airbus backs long-haul AIC approach for JP 9102 push. The prime is anchoring its bid to secure the JP 9102 contract on its long-term proposition to the local defence ecosystem. Airbus is among a host of major defence primes offering to lead the development, delivery, and sustainment of a next-generation sovereign military SATCOM system for the Australian Defence Force as part of the Commonwealth government’s JP 9102 project. The company has formed ‘Team Maier’, made up of IT and cyber security company Willyama, engineering and utilities provider UGL, satellite technology manufacturer Blacktree Technology, and global tech giant Microsoft. The team has committed to producing workshare and export opportunities for Australian SMEs, helping to create jobs and foster technology transfer and innovation.
But Martin Rowse, Airbus’ strategic campaign lead and key account manager for space, has stressed the company’s AIC proposition would extend beyond supply-chain engagement in the delivery process.
“We see AIC as the end point of the project, not the beginning,” he told Defence Connect.
“We don’t see it as a tokenistic supply chain approach.”
Rowse said Team Maier’s AIC network would retain core responsibilities for the sustainment of the military SATCOM after the project achieves final portability capability.
“This is not about Airbus building Airbus presence in Australia, this is about how we support all the existing Australian companies and universities in growing for the next 10, 15, 20 years,” he continued.
According to Rowse, Airbus has engaged in over 1,000 hours of collaborative discussions with Team Maier partners to iron out the group’s strategy.
Australian firms and academic institutions make up the lion’s share of approximately 40 agreements entered into since Airbus launched its bid.
If successful, Airbus will build on the Skynet 6A network, currently being developed for the United Kingdom’s multibillion-dollar military SATCOM program.
The Skynet 6A is expected to be enhanced to meet the ADF’s bespoke requirements.
The ADF currently taps into Skynet 5 to access the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) for its military operations, with the switch to a Skynet 6A variant tipped to enable a smoother transition
“What we bring is battle experience, literal battle experience through Iraq and Afghanistan and supporting UK and allied troops in conflicts around the world for the last 20 years,” Rowse said.
“… Australia would have that balance between cutting-edge innovation and heritage, and that’s key.”
According to Rowse, opting into Airbus’ existing Skynet network would also enable Defence to bypass the United States’ Internal Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which would need to be met if a US-based offering is selected.
“The ADF has to ask permission when they want to certify new terminals, they can’t do that under the current set-up,” he said.“If there’s high ITAR on that solution, they’ll still have to go through that request loop.
“We see that as an incumbrance to sovereignty because that means Australian companies don’t play on a level playing field.”
Airbus is competing with Boeing Defence Australia (BDA), Lockheed Martin Australia, Northrop Grumman Australia, and telecommunications giant Optus. The JP 9102 tender closed on 10 January, with the Commonwealth government now considering submissions ahead of the next phase of the selection process. (Source: Defence Connect)
17 Jan 22. Seraphim Space Predictions 2022. 2021 saw many breakthroughs in Space, ranging from human space flights, deep space exploration to record levels of investment. “New Space” essentially came of age and became widely accepted as a new investment asset class in both the public and private markets. Looking ahead, we believe 2022 will see continued momentum in investment and public interest in the SpaceTech domain. Technologies such as cloud computing are transforming the industry by providing startups with infrastructure to scale quickly and focus on their differentiated value proposition. Integration of satellite communications, location and earth observation are enabling real-time connectivity of sensors to deliver valuable insights that are disrupting every industry, driving digitization and decarbonization of the global economy. As space becomes increasingly relevant in combating climate change on earth, commercial companies will ramp their activities in Space Situational Awareness (SSA), Space Traffic Management and debris removal to maintain a safe and sustainable space after the risk posed by the recent Russian’s missile test.
Here are our 2022 Space predictions:
- Space momentum continues; Public interest remains high with mega-rocket launches. 2021 was another record year with $12.4 bn of private capital invested in the space ecosystem, a huge increase of more than 60% from last year. We expect this momentum to continue as space is at an inflection point. Significant new capabilities in satellite communications and Earth Observation are coming online that could disrupt traditional industries and create new ones. We believe public enthusiasm for Space will remain high with the launch of new mega-rockets in the coming year. This includes NASA’s giant moon rocket and SpaceX’s next-generation Starship, to return humans to the moon and some day to Mars. Countries including South Korea, Japan, India and UAE are planning to launch their first missions the Moon.
- Growing relevance for space companies tackling climate change/ESG. The explosion of new geospatial data and development of analytics have become increasingly relevant to solving big problems related to climate change. Diversity of higher resolution, more frequent space data are enabling new applications to monitor and track objects and activities on earth. At the same time, companies are rushing to integrate ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) due to growing investor and regulatory pressure. Space data provides powerful tools to help institutions establish a baseline to monitor their operations at scale and track their progress and carbon footprint overtime. We expect to see more space companies tackling climate change in a wide range of applications such as green-house gas detection, building energy efficiency, weather forecast, environmental monitoring, supply chain optimization, precision agriculture, efficient routing of air and maritime traffic and more. Space companies active in climate include Planet, Spire, ICEYE, Tomorrow.io, GHG Sat, Scepter Air and Pixxel SatelliteVu, Cervest, Sust Global and RS Metrics.
- Pipeline for Space SPAC remains robust for communications and climate
Although going public via SPACs in 2022 will be more challenging for Space companies, we still expect this market to continue to develop with emerging category leaders that have demonstrated solid commercial traction and growth, especially communications and climate related companies. Almost all of the nine space companies that went public traded down last year due high shareholder redemptions While the stronger ones are leveraging their position for M&A, we expect the weaker ones to become acquisition targets in the upcoming wave of consolidation.
- Cloud transforming Space; Tech giants validating space with disruptive technologies. Cloud players will accelerate their reach in Space in the coming year. AWS (Amazon Web Services), the number one cloud player, established a dedicated space unit more than a year ago, and partnered with Seraphim Capital on a space accelerator. We see leading cloud players like AWS rapidly transforming the space industry by providing powerful, cost-effective and scalable solutions to accelerate space companies across the ecosystem. Graduates from the Seraphim AWS Space Accelerator such as Ursa Space, HawkEye 360 and LeoLabs have seen dramatic increases in efficiency, helping to rapidly scale their business and collaborate with partners. At the same time, Amazon is investing more than $10bn to build a network of over 3,000 satellites to deliver broadband connectivity. It is planning to launch its first Project Kuiper satellites in late 2022. Another tech/cloud giant Microsoft Azure also launched a space business recently; they believe every one of their enterprise customers could benefit from Space and see space technology disrupting every industry of the economy.
- Massive increase in satcom capacity will drive further consolidation. Global satcom capacity is expected to increase by more than five-fold to over 20 Tbps this year, according to Euroconsult, as long-planned High Throughput Satellite (HTS) from major satellite operators ViaSat, Eutelsat and Hughes, SES come on-line. At the same time, new LEO mega-constellations such as Starlink and OneWeb are gearing up for commercial services. While we see strong demand for broadband, mobility recovery and growing applications for autonomous vehicles and Machine-to-Machine/IoT (Internet of Things), operators still need to close their business case in a fragmented market with many technologies and spectrums. We expect to see further consolidation as operators try to scale and position themselves for growth.
- Explosion of EO data. Leveraging of fusion of multi-data and multi-sensor to deliver insights. Like satcom, the Earth Observation (EO) industry is rapidly transforming with new technologies and will see a significant increase in capacity and modalities in the coming year. First, Maxar is launching its Legion constellation, which will deliver high resolution optical imagery with revisit rates up to 15 times per day, more than tripling its capacity. Planet Labs is planning to double its imaging capacity with the launch of 44 SuperDove satellites. We expect to see a significant increase in commercial SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) with more than half a dozen smallsat SAR companies expanding their constellations. Companies like Tomorrow.io, SatelliteVu and Pixxel are planning to launch their first EO satellites, making new modality of weather, infrared and hyperspectral data available to the commercial market for the first time, enabling new capabilities to deliver better customer solutions. We see this trend driving further horizontal and vertical consolidation, especially for well-funded optical EO players to acquire a complementary constellation like Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), to enhance its product offerings.
- Need for global leadership becomes clear amidst congestion and rising tension between US and China. Debris from the recent Russian weapons test highlighted the growing risk of collisions in space as it becomes more congested. While global leadership and cooperation are urgently needed to promote norms and maintain a sustainable space ecosystem, the chances of cooperation between the US and China are likely slim due to ongoing national security concerns and rising geopolitical tensions and competition in space. Last year, China exceeded the US with 56 orbital launches and is jockeying for global leadership and partners to develop the Moon. In the coming year, a new United Nations resolution on “norms of behavior” represents an opportunity for leading space powers to come together and reach consensus to reduce risk in space. We expect to see more private sector companies such as LeoLabs, Astroscale and D-Orbit stepping in to fill in the gap and provide services include Space Situational Awareness (SSA) and space debris removal and in-orbit services.
17 Jan 22. Airbus, NTT, DOCOMO and SKY Perfect JSAT Jointly Studying Connectivity Services from High-Altitude Platform Stations (HAPS).
- Targeting future global wireless-connectivity services combining satellites and HAPS
Airbus, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT), NTT DOCOMO, INC. (DOCOMO) and SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation (SKY Perfect JSAT) jointly announced that they have begun studying the feasibility of collaborating on future high-altitude platform stations (HAPS)-based connectivity services as part of a future space-based wireless connectivity ecosystem. Launched with a memorandum of understanding (MOU), the study aims to identify the early deployment requirements of a HAPS-based network. The collaboration will investigate the use of the Airbus Zephyr, the leading fixed wing, solar-powered, stratospheric unmanned aerial system (UAS), and the wireless communication networks of NTT, DOCOMO and SKY Perfect JSAT in order to test HAPS connectivity, identify practical applications, develop required technologies and ultimately launch space-based wireless broadband services.
In the global push to further advance 5G and eventually introduce 6G, initiatives are under way to expand coverage worldwide, including in the oceans and in the air, as well as remote and hard to reach areas. Such initiatives will include HAPS, which fly in the stratosphere about 20 km above the earth, and non-terrestrial network (NTN) technologies using geostationary-orbit (GEO) satellites and low Earth-orbit (LEO) satellites. HAPS networks are deemed to be a relatively easy solution for air and sea connectivity and an effective platform for deploying disaster countermeasures plus have many industrial applications. The provision of space-based radio access network services using NTN technologies, collectively called Space RAN (radio access network), is expected to support worldwide mobile communications with ultra-wide coverage and improved disaster resistance as well enhanced 5G and 6G. In addition, HAPS platforms can also interconnect to the nearest terrestrial network gateway and extend the reach of existing mobile services directly to end-user devices, providing service options including rural, emergency and maritime connectivity.
With the signing of the MOU, the four companies will discuss and identify possible future developments necessary to unlock future HAPS-based connectivity services, lobby for standardization and institutionalization of HAPS operations, and explore business models for commercializing HAPS services.
Specific themes will include the applicability of HAPS for mobile connectivity on the ground and base station backhaul,1 the performance of various frequency bands in HAPS systems, the technological considerations for linking HAPS with satellites and ground base stations, and the establishment of a cooperative system to test a network combining NTN technology, satellites and HAPS.
As separately announced on November 15, 2021, DOCOMO and Airbus successfully conducted a propagation test between the ground and a “Zephyr S” HAPS aircraft in the stratosphere, demonstrating the possibility of providing stable communication with such a configuration.
1 Base station backhaul refers to a fixed line that supports high-speed, high-capacity information transmission between a large number of wireless base stations in a mobile communications network and the core network.
13 Jan 22. SpaceX’s Transporter-3 Mission Launch Is Successful — 105 Spacecraft Climb To Their Orbits. SpaceX‘s January 13th, Falcon 9 launch has successfully lifted the Transporter-3 from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
The 29-minute launch window opened at 10:25 a.m. EST, or 15:25 UTC.
Falcon 9’s first stage booster previously launched Crew Demo-2, ANASIS-II, CRS-21, Transporter-1, and five Starlink missions.
Following stage separation, SpaceX brought home the Falcon 9’s first stage on Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Transporter-3 is SpaceX’s third, dedicated, rideshare mission, and on board this launch are 105 spacecraft (including smallsats and Orbital Transfer Vehicles(OTV)). (Source: Satnews)
14 Jan 22. Virgin Orbit’s Latest Mission Successfully Reaches Above The Clouds With Seven Satellites. Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB) successfully deployed into orbit all seven customer satellites onboard the company’s LauncherOne rocket during the Above the Clouds mission.
Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rocket separates from the 747 carrier aircraft, Cosmic Girl, and the Above The Clouds Mission is underway.
Virgin Orbit’s 747 carrier aircraft Cosmic Girl took off from Mojave Air and Space Port on February 13th at approximately 1:39 PM PST/09:39 PM UTC and flew to a launch site over the Pacific Ocean, about 50 miles south of the Channel Islands. After a smooth release from the aircraft, the LauncherOne rocket ignited and propelled itself toward space, deploying its payload into a precise target orbit approximately 500 km. above the Earth’s surface at 45 degrees inclination. This is the first time that anyone has reached this orbit from the West Coast.
The launch was the company’s third successful flight, occurring less than one year from its first mission. Virgin Orbit has now successfully delivered commercial, government, international, and national security satellites to space, including new Above the Clouds customer Spire Global, Inc. (NYSE: SPIR), and first ever repeat customers: the U.S. Department of Defense Space Test Program and Polish company SatRevolution. This launch was awarded to Virgin Orbit through its subsidiary VOX Space by the DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) as part of the DoD Space Test Program’s (STP) Rapid Agile Launch (RALI) Initiative.
The satellites launched on the company’s latest mission include experiments in space-based communications, space debris detection, and in-space navigation and propulsion, as well as satellites that will serve the global agricultural sector. The launch brings the total satellites launched by Virgin Orbit to 26 in number.
Due to the unique air-launch system Virgin Orbit has developed, the Above the Clouds mission was launched in an orbit never before directly accessible from the West Coast of the Americas. Rather than launching from a fixed pad on the ground, Virgin Orbit conducts its launches from under the wing of a modified 747 aircraft. By flying the aircraft further out over the ocean, the company was able to launch on a trajectory no ground-launch rocket could have achieved. That direct injection into the target orbit saved the satellites onboard this mission months of time and kilograms of fuel they might have otherwise spent correcting their orbit from what a landlocked launch site could provide them.
“Our customers are starting to hear back from their satellites that are checking in from orbit — and for us, that’s what success looks like. It’s a thrill for our team that this mission included our first repeat customers as well as our first ‘last minute ticket’ customers and reached an orbit that no one had ever reached from the West Coast before, all of which confirms the team’s ability to provide top tier launch service anywhere, anytime,” said Virgin Orbit CEO, Dan Hart. “On top of that, we flew through weather and a cloud layer that would have grounded any other launch I’ve worked on in my career, something only made possible by air-launch and our incredible team. We can say with confidence that in this new era of regular, frequent, successful missions, we can help our customers and partners use space technology to advance human knowledge and open space for good.”
“This accomplishment today really shows the future of space launch capabilities, something that is of paramount importance to national security,” said VOX Space President, Mark Baird, a retired U.S. Air Force Brigadier General. “We have the ability to launch anywhere, anytime and unwarned, which allows us to customize the launches to serve a government’s mission and goals, allowing us to be better mission partners in their space operations.”
“What an unforgettable experience to watch the Virgin Orbit team complete another perfect mission to space. I could not be prouder of the work they are doing. I am beaming alongside them,” said Virgin Orbit founder, Sir Richard Branson. “We supported experimental, important work for our three happy customers today. I congratulate them and our wonderful team.” (Source: Satnews)
10 Jan 22. Benchmark’s Non-Toxic Chemical Propulsion System Integrated Into Spaceflight’s Sherpa-LTC OTV + Ready For Transporter 3 Mission. With milestone hot fire engine tests of its Halcyon Avant non-toxic chemical propulsion system completed at its Pleasanton, California, facility, Benchmark Space Systems‘ highly-anticipated system has been integrated into Spaceflight Inc.’s first Sherpa-LTC orbital transfer vehicle (OTV). The Sherpa-LTC features a high thrust, bi-propellant, green propulsion subsystem integrated seamlessly within the available space of the original free flyer. The propulsive OTV is set for launch on the SpaceX Transporter 3 mission that is scheduled for liftoff on January 13th from Cape Canaveral. Spaceflight’s historic SXRS-6 mission is set to deliver 13 payloads on the company’s first multi-destination rideshare mission.
Spaceflight is the first to use Benchmark’s Halcyon Avant green, bipropellant system, which boasts a 25% increase in fuel efficiency over state-of-the-art green monopropellants, using low-cost and readily available propellants. Spaceflight designed Sherpa-LTC to offer rideshare customers a fast on-orbit transportation option. Benchmark’s Halcyon Avant green bipropellant system enables satellites to reach their desired orbits quickly.
Benchmark’s Halycon Avant propulsion system.
Benchmark’s Halcyon High-test peroxide (HTP)-based monopropellant system has successfully performed recent mission-critical maneuvers and will continue to drive government and commercial missions across three satellites as part of the Halcyon heritage campaign that reached orbit on Transporter 2. The Halcyon Avant system uses many common components from its monopropellant predecessor, with the added benefit of a post-catalyst fuel-injection feature that provides nearly 100% performance improvement.
The Benchmark team is already working on the second Sherpa LTC propulsion system scheduled for a Q2 delivery to Spaceflight, as well as smaller scaled Halcyon Avant systems for commercial and government smallsat missions, representing several system configurations that are scheduled to be in space before 2022 ends.
In its fifth year, Benchmark Space Systems is projecting 4x y-o-y revenue growth, expanding its product and service offerings, and scaling production capacity to meet demand and lead exciting new opportunities in space. The company is developing and delivering groundbreaking solutions that will not only support sustainability of LEO, GEO and beyond, but maximize the value of on-orbit assets through extended revenue generation and added capabilities.
“Benchmark’s innovative high-thrust system will play an important role in our first multi-destination rideshare mission,” said Phil Bracken, Spaceflight’s VP of Engineering. “We intentionally designed our Sherpa program to be modular so we could utilize best-of-class propulsion systems to meet our customers’ specific launch needs. Our partners play an important role in helping us get our customers exactly where they need to be so they can achieve their mission objectives.”
“The collaborative partnership between Spaceflight and Benchmark played a big part in the effective co-development of our first OTV-specific system, poised to deliver on the evolving needs of the Sherpa-LTC product family,” said Ryan McDevitt, Benchmark Space Systems CEO. “Benchmark’s innovative bipropellant system and Spaceflight’s spacecraft design and operational depth and experience capable of delivering Sherpa payloads on orbit with unmatched speed and precision. We are thrilled with the successful hot fire tests and engine integration aboard the first Sherpa-LTC, as we ready for a historic rideshare that opens the door to more access to space.”
Benchmark’s scalable, launch vehicle agnostic propulsion product and services suite supports a broad spectrum of spacecraft – from 1U cubesats through ESPA-class (1-500kg) satellites, lunar landers, spent launcher stages, and orbital transfer vehicles (OTVs), offering far safer and faster rideshare options than electric propulsion (EP) systems, which can take months to complete their trips to orbit. (Source: Satnews)
10 Jan 22. Scotland’s Preswick Spaceport Continues To Advance Plans For Smallsat Launches. The South Ayrshire Council in Preswick, Scotland, has started the process of submitting a formal planning application for the Prestwick Spaceport development. The Proposal of Application Notice (POAN) is the first step in the planning process for Prestwick Spaceport and signals the intent to apply for planning permission in early 2022. The submission of the POAN follows the Council’s submission of an Environmental Impact Assessment Screening Report last year that confirms that Prestwick’s space ambitions will not result in any significant adverse effects to the environment.
Launches from Prestwick will occur using horizontal or air launch, wherein an aircraft will carry a rocket containing smallsats a long distance to high altitude above the ocean. Once safely beyond inhabited areas and above the densest layer of the atmosphere, the rocket leaves the aircraft, ignites its engines and carries its payload to orbit.
Launch operations at Prestwick will consist mainly of processing rockets and their payloads, loading them onto a launch aircraft and then conventional aircraft take-offs will occur from the existing airport runways.
To provide horizontal launch capability, which until now has never been accessible anywhere in Europe, Prestwick Spaceport has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Astraius, a leading UK-based commercial horizontal launch company that will launch rockets from standard transport aircraft that require no modification and will be able to place smallsats into a variety of orbits.
These smallsats can be used for a host of applications, such as monitoring climate change or tracking food supply chains to ensure that products in supermarkets are sustainably sourced. The city of Glasgow, Scotland, already designs and manufactures more cubesats than any city outside of the USA.
Prestwick aims to conduct the first rocket launch by the end of 2023, a goal supported by the Ayrshire Growth Deal, a multi-m-pound funding package that was signed last year. £80m of the Growth Deal is dedicated to securing Ayrshire’s future as a leading region in the UK’s aerospace and space engineering industries.
Satellite launches from Prestwick, along with the other measures in the Ayrshire Growth Deal, will create many opportunities beyond launch, such as establishing a high-tech space supply chain in the region to complement the existing aerospace cluster, creating as many as 4,000 jobs for the local economy. Horizontal launch from Prestwick will give Ayrshire the opportunity to be at the forefront of satellite launches in the UK as well as in Europe.
Councilor Peter Henderson, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, said, “Prestwick Spaceport has achieved another milestone by filing a POAN for its development. The POAN starts the process for Prestwick Spaceport submitting its formal planning application later this year. This follows on from Prestwick Spaceport securing a launch provider, Astraius, in September last year. By securing a launch partner and beginning the planning process, South Ayrshire is on its way to establishing Prestwick Spaceport and ensuring an exciting future for our local communities and making South Ayrshire part of the global space economy.”
Zoe Kilpatrick, Commercial Director at Glasgow Prestwick Airport said, “We are delighted to see the next stage of the Prestwick Spaceport being developed. We are building an industry in Ayrshire which will create jobs and investment for years to come. 2022 will see further developments as we partner with more organizations to grow and expand our space capabilities here at Glasgow Prestwick Airport. It is a very exciting time to be involved with the project and I look forward to seeing progress made over the coming months as we approach our first launch in 2023.”
The public will be invited to find out more about the Spaceport planning application, ask any questions about the proposed development and give their views at public consultation events to be held in February and March.
Further details will be made available in advance of these public consultations. The Aerospace and Space project is being funded with £32m from the UK Government, £30m from the Scottish Government, and £18m from South Ayrshire Council as part of the £251 m Ayrshire Growth Deal — a ten year investment program jointly funded by the UK and Scottish governments and local authorities. (Source: Satnews)
14 Jan 22. Teaming Up: Mission Microwave + AST Microwave To Advance GaN SSAs For Teleports + Gateways. Mission Microwave Technologies, LLC, and AST Microwave, Inc. have drafted a teaming arrangement to help customers take advantage of Mission Microwave’s advanced Gallium Nitride (GaN) Solid State Amplifiers in teleports and gateways. The companies have worked closely to develop integrated, redundancy systems that take advantage of the elegant designs and industry leading size, weight, and power of Mission Microwave products, along with AST Microwave’s ability to design custom high power RF solutions.
AST Microwave has been serving the satellite and RF industry for more than 30 years with highly reliable customized waveguide switch and load systems able to provide redundancy-switching capabilities for extremely high power RF amplifiers between 6 and 40 GHz for C-, X-, Ku-, and Ka-band frequencies.
Mission Microwave’s highly reliable Solid State Amplifiers and Block Up Converters offer the best combination of size, weight, and power available in the industry and are widely used on critical SATCOM terminals for government , aviation and maritime terminals. Mission Microwave manufactures BUCs that operate at power levels from 8 to 800 watts in X-, Ku- and Ka-band.
High Power Amplifier (HPA) systems are typically one of the most complex and expensive subsystems in a teleport. Advances in SSPA technology have allowed teleport operators to move the HPA systems from expensive air-conditioned shelters to outdoor mounting at the base of the antenna.
AST Microwave designs HPA systems using Mission Microwave’s lightweight and compact SSPAs optimally to place the HPA system in the antenna hub or integrated onto the antenna structure to eliminate the RF Loss and complexity of axis crossings on the antenna mount. This allows the teleport operator to use a smaller HPA to produce the same overall transmit power from the antenna at a lower initial cost and a reduced operating cost.
Dave Owers, AST Microwave’s President, said, “Traditionally these large HPA systems where shipped to a teleport in expensive custom crates and then lifted into place at the base of the antenna using a crane or boom truck – a high risk operation in a teleport. The redundant systems designed with Mission Microwave’s SSPAs can be shipped directly to site without any custom crating and assembled on site by a small installation team. The systems are designed to be easier to install, maintain, and repair in the field. As all AST switches are fully sealed our systems are particularly well suited to withstand inclement weather conditions.”
Steve Richeson, Mission Microwave’s VP of Sales & Marketing, added, “Our teleport customers require sophisticated RF switching products that are efficiently and elegantly combined with their ground station antennas. The partnership with AST Microwave makes it easier and more affordable for our teleport customers to buy a complete system and be confident that the components will work well together and offer the ultimate in ease of installation, maintenance and repair.”
AST’s broad line of waveguide products stem from many years of microwave experience. Since its founding in 1992, AST has shipped over 30,000 switches and waveguide parts to more than 100 countries. Our commitment is to give our clients a top quality product with a very fast delivery. AST is ISO 9001:2015 accredited.
Mission Microwave Technologies brings revolutionary design for RF (Radio Frequency) and microwave electronics, supporting ground-based, airborne, and space-based applications. Using the latest in semiconductor technology, Mission Microwave’s focus is to minimize the size, weight, and power (SWaP) for these critical applications, while providing its customers with the best possible reliability. Mission Microwave sets the new standard for design, performance, and reliability. (Source: Satnews)
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