Sponsored By Viasat
08 Mar 22. TEKEVER, ViaSat to expand drone-based intelligence-as-a-service globally. TEKEVER (booth N.A10 & N.A12), the European leader in drone-based Maritime Surveillance, and the US-based company Viasat, a provider of communication technologies and services, have entered into a strategic and commercial partnership aimed at expanding TEKEVER drone-based intelligence-as-a-service globally, with advanced satellite communications. The announcement was made in Riyadh, during the first edition of World Defense Show.
“Over the past years, we’ve developed a deep technical and operational partnership with Viasat. Together, we pushed the boundaries of what was possible in civilian BRLOS (Beyond Radio Line-of-Sight) operations, bringing our cutting-edge Intelligence-as-a-Service capability to areas that previously could only be reached by manned assets or super expensive military drones. The strategic alliance between VIASAT and TEKEVER aims at making this revolutionary service available worldwide, and at aligning our development roadmaps to continue pushing the boundaries of possibility.”, said Ricardo Mendes, TEKEVER CEO.
“Viasat and TEKEVER have the ability to provide complementary systems that meet the end user’s requirements: TEKEVER provides an advanced but highly compact system that supports an efficient and cost-effective service, Viasat provides widely available satellite communications network to support them to fly these unmanned missions across very wide areas. It’s a win-win match”, adds Chris Moore, Viasat’s business unit director for UAS ISR.
Viasat offers secure, high-capacity, beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) satellite communications across a vast coverage area. The company provides the satellite terminal for the TEKEVER’s AR5 UAV that meets the size, weight, and power (SWaP) requirements. TEKEVER’s AR5 is a versatile twin-engine UAS with a 7.9 meter (24 foot) wingspan, endurance of 12 hours and a 50-kilogram (110 pound) payload. Equipped with Viasat broadband SATCOM, the AR5 has an operational range of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles), making it particularly useful for long-range oceanic missions, or over vast, remote land areas such as deserts and wilderness.
TEKEVER combines advanced Robotics, Sensing and Artificial Intelligence to offer revolutionary drone-based Intelligence-as-a-Service. Unlike traditional aerospace companies, the company has a vertically integrated approach to its products, and full control over every aspect of the value chain, including aeronautical design, composite structures manufacturing, electronics design and production, software development including deep capability in data science. This ability allows to create products that are radically different, to bring them to market in record time, and to rapidly evolve them to stay ahead of the curve. In addition, TEKEVER’s team of drone operators and data analysts provide customers with an end-to-end service, allowing them to focus solely on information, while relying on TEKEVER to handle the complexity of day-to-day operations.
The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the United Kingdom’s Home Office were among the first governments, major agencies and global companies to adopt TEKEVER’s revolutionary drone-based intelligence service to gather real time data across ultra-wide areas and create the intelligence needed to predict and act timely and efficiently to avoid major threats to life, the environment and the economy in maritime context, like Piracy, Drugs and Human Trafficking, Migrant Smuggling, Pollution, Illegal Fishing, and threats to Infrastructure Security.
11 Mar 22. N. Korea satellite tech also useful for manoeuvrable nuclear warheads. North Korea’s latest launches appear aimed at developing and testing technology that can be used both for spy satellites and in a massive intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of launching multiple nuclear warheads, analysts said. North Korea deployed a new ICBM system in Feb. 27 and March 5 test-firings, U.S. and South Korean officials said on Friday, in what could be a prelude to the nuclear-armed country’s first full ICBM test since 2017, potentially disguised as a space launch. read more The giant, long-range missile system, known as the Hwasong-17, was first unveiled at an October 2020 military parade in Pyongyang and reappeared at a defence exhibition in October 2021, according to U.S. and South Korean officials. The large size of the Hwasong-17 suggests North Korea may be looking to tip it with multiple nuclear warheads in “multiple independently-targetable reentry vehicles” (MIRV), analysts said. In such a system, the main rocket booster pushes a “bus” carrying multiple reentry vehicles and sometimes decoys to confuse missile defence systems, into a suborbital ballistic flight path. The bus then uses small on-board rocket motors and a computerised inertial guidance system to manoeuvre and release the warheads on different trajectories. State media reports on the recent satellite system tests mentioned attitude control, which refers to small motors that help reorient an aerodynamic object, Ankit Panda, a senior fellow at the U.S.-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace noted.
“It turns out that this would help them both develop and deploy new reconnaissance satellites as well as a ‘bus’ for multiple warheads on an ICBM,” he said.
In 2021, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said a multi-warhead rocket was in the final stage of development.
Kim has also said putting multiple reconnaissance satellites in orbit is important for the country’s security, as well as its national prestige, and has suggested he could order new ICBM tests.
“North Korea wants to successfully place a satellite in orbit,” Michael Duitsman, a researcher at the U.S.-based James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) said on Twitter. “I suspect that, even more than that, they want to put more warheads on their missiles, to maximize their limited number of TELs,” he added, referring to the Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL) vehicles used to fire road-mobile missiles like the Hwasong-17.
North Korea was unusually secretive about the launches, saying they tested various components to be used in a developmental reconnaissance satellite but releasing no details or photos of the rockets involved.
Unlike North Korea’s usual space rockets, which were launched from static pads at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground, the recent missiles were fired from near Sunan, where Pyongyang’s international airport is located, suggesting the missiles were fired from a TEL.
North Korea’s space programme has always been controversial because of its ties to military missile development. read more
“North Korea used early rockets like the Taepodong and Unha/Kwangmyongsong series to test their theories and later develop the ICBMs known as Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-15,” said Melissa Hanham, a researcher at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) in California. “This is type of development is pretty standard for all countries with ICBMs.”
North Korea’s last formal ICBM test was the Hwasong-15, which reached an altitude of around 4,475 km (2,780 miles) and travelled 950 km (590 miles) during a single launch in Nov. 2017, giving it an estimate range to strike anywhere in the continental United States.
In contrast, the latest test that reportedly involved the new Hwasong-17 system reached a height of 550 km (340 miles) and flew 300 km (190 miles), according to South Korea.
Analysts said the tests may have only used only one stage of the liquid-fuelled Hwasong-17.
Any use of ballistic missile technology by North Korea, even in a space launch vehicle, is fully banned by United Nations Security Council resolutions, a senior U.S. official told reporters in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity.
09 Mar 22. Galileo 2nd Generation Satellites Ready to Navigate Into the Future.
- Airbus satellite design passes important project milestone
- Preparing for industrialised manufacturing concept
Airbus has successfully completed the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) for its system concept for the second generation Galileo navigation satellites. During this important milestone, Airbus’ proposed preliminary design and the customer’s system requirements have been fully reviewed and agreed.
This paves the way for further verification, acceptance and qualification at equipment and module level. Verification at payload level is already in full swing, with the Critical Design Review (CDR) for the satellite structure also due shortly.
In parallel, the Airbus site in Friedrichshafen, on Lake Constance, is preparing for an industrialised production line for currently six second-generation Galileo satellites. The satellite integration centre, is being completely upgraded to meet current and future requirements for efficient, environmentally friendly, safe and secure production for the Galileo 2nd generation satellites. Galileo second generation is a key milestone in European satellite navigation services that European citizens and billions of users around the world will benefit from, powered by Airbus know-how brought to the project by over 200 highly skilled space engineers. The first Galileo second generation are planned to be launched in 2024.
The world of navigation is changing, driven by rapidly emerging and changing user needs (availability and reliability), a growing number of security threats (jamming and spoofing) and the evolution of other navigation systems. The new batch of Galileo spacecraft built by Airbus is the answer to this changing context. It will make the Galileo service more accurate, secure and dependable, and adaptable over its lifetime spanning two decades.
Weighing around 2.3 tons, each satellite is designed to operate for about 15 years. The state-of-the-art and all-electric medium-Earth orbit (MEO) platform from Airbus, reuses flight proven building blocks from our Telecoms and Earth Observation programmes, taking advantage of a unique combination of heritage and in orbit experience. The flexible and modular navigation payload solution with future growth capability is also based on telecom elements for beam forming and signal generation.
Galileo is managed and funded by the European Union. The European Commission, ESA and EUSPA have signed an agreement by which ESA acts as design authority and system development prime on behalf of the Commission and EUSPA as the exploitation and operation manager of Galileo. The views expressed in this Press Release can in no way be taken to reflect the opinion of the European Union and/or ESA. (Source: ASD Network)
09 Mar 22. Proposed Space Development Agency funding boost falls short of earlier request. The Space Development Agency is poised for a $550m funding boost in the compromise defense budget bill that would accelerate plans to provide a missile warning and tracking capability for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
However, the increase is $200m short of previous proposals, and it’s not clear whether that reduction will require a change to the agency’s plan to launch at least 28 wide- and medium-field-of-view satellites as part of its Tranche 1 Tracking Layer (T1TL).
The joint explanatory statement accompanying the bill, which was released Wednesday, doesn’t offer details about the reduction and neither the committee nor SDA immediately responded to questions about how it might impact the agency’s strategy.
Senate appropriators originally proposed a $750m increase to SDA’s $636 m fiscal 2022 budget request to accelerate development of the T1TL and meet INDOPACOM’s missile tracking needs. SDA Director Derek Tournear told reporters last week the agency is ready to issue a solicitation, but has been waiting for lawmakers to pass an appropriations bill before moving forward.
“If that mark holds and we get the funding, then we will start that Tracking Tranche 1, which means we are essentially holding and ready to release our tracking solicitation as soon as there’s an appropriations act,” Tournear said during a Defense Writers Group event.
SDA issued a draft solicitation for T1TL satellites in December.
Tournear noted that if the additional Tranche 1 tracking funding comes through, the agency will wait to issue a request for proposals for its Tranche 1 Demonstration and Experimentation System — a separate effort aimed at prototyping new capabilities.
“We are very concerned with the bandwidth of our industrial performer base as well as our internal SDA bandwidth, so we’re not going to release both of those solicitations at the same time,” he said. “We would stagger those.”
The satellites will operate from low Earth orbit and carry overhead persistent infrared sensors, providing key space-based missile tracking capabilities. The tracking satellites are part of the Space Development Agency’s broader National Defense Space Architecture, which will consist of hundreds of satellites, primarily operating in LEO.
SDA plans to launch its first batch of satellites, Tranche 0, later this year. Tranche 1 will expand on that capability with technology enhancements and expanded coverage and is intended to represent the NDSA’s initial warfighting capability.
In 2020, SDA awarded contracts to L3Harris and SpaceX to develop the Tranche 0 Tracking Layer satellites. Under those contracts — L3Harris received $193m and SpaceX $149m — both companies are developing four wide-field-of-view space vehicles.
At the same time, the Missile Defense Agency is developing medium-field-of-view satellites through its Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor program, which will be part of the tracking layer. The agency awarded contracts early last year to L3Harris and Northrop Grumman to develop prototypes for HBTSS. Northrop received $155m and L3Harris $122m.
Elsewhere in the appropriations bill, lawmakers raised concerns with the launch strategy for the Tranche 0 Tracking Layer and HBTSS, which calls for the satellites to be launched on separate rockets — a departure from previous plans to launch the MDA and SDA satellites together.
“The MDA and SDA each launching their own satellites reveals a lack of coordination and cooperation between SDA and MDA, poor oversight on the part of the Department of Defense’s space acquisition enterprise and waste of taxpayer funds,” lawmakers said. (Source: Defense News)
09 Mar 22. South Korea to develop hybrid rocket engines. South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) is to launch a project to develop hybrid rocket engines (HREs) that will be used to launch satellites to support the country’s burgeoning space force.
The MND disclosed to Janes that the HRE project will be undertaken in co-operation with South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT (information and communication technology).
The MND said the project – focused on the development of an engine that combines solid and liquid propellants – is intended to increase payloads and reduce the cost of satellite launches. The MND plans to increase the use of low-Earth orbit satellites to enhance persistent surveillance capability.
An MND spokesperson said, “Hybrid engines for space launch vehicles feature technologies that can quickly increase payloads and reduce the cost of launches. To this end, we will review the development of new forms of space-launch vehicle technologies.” (Source: Janes)
08 Mar 22. Canada’s MDA providing Ukraine with satellite imagery to fight Russia. Canada’s satellite builder and operator MDA Ltd. (MDA.TO) is providing Ukraine with near real-time satellite images to track Russian troop movements even at night or through cloud cover, Chief Executive Officer Mike Greenley said on Tuesday.
“We can deliver intelligence reports and people can make determinations of what’s going on the ground, or on the sea, from our radar imagery,” Greenley said in a Zoom interview. “It’s all about… doing the right thing and giving Ukraine the support that they need.”
Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation, made an appeal to the international community on Twitter a week ago, asking for synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite data.
“We badly need the opportunity to watch the movement of Russian troops, especially at night when our technologies are blind,” Fedorov said on March 1.
With the war in its 13th day, the main Russian assault force heading towards Kyiv has been stuck on a road north of the capital. But to the south, Russia has made more progress along the Black and Azov Sea coasts.
Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” that it says is not designed to occupy territory. In the SAR images, “you can see groups of vehicles, you can see changes to buildings, you can see changes to bridges, you can see ships at sea through all weather conditions day and night,” Greenley said.
The intelligence is communicated securely to Ukraine through Western-based commercial agencies or governments, he said. MDA received approval from the Canadian government on Friday to share the SAR images of Ukraine, Greenley said.
Asked whether he feared Russian retaliation, Greenley said his company had adopted a “slightly heightened security posture”. (Source: Reuters)
08 Mar 22. Motiv Space Systems and Blue Origin Announce ModuLink. Motiv and Blue Origin awarded DIU contract to develop modular and scalable space robotics. Motiv Space Systems announced today it has been awarded a contract under the Defense Innovation Unit’s (DIU’s) Modularity for Space Systems Program (M4SS) together with sub-contractor Blue Origin. The contract leverages Motiv’s advanced space robotics technology to enable a new age of space utilization in which deployed spacecraft can be repaired, augmented, or modified to make them more resilient and modular. The ModuLink robotics applique, with its two robotic arms, sensors, and modular interfaces, can be installed on a wide variety of spacecraft making robotic space missions available to a broad user base. This commercially available product will enable both the US Government and the commercial space industry to robotically retrieve and deliver payload modules, repair or replace aging or failed components, refuel satellites, remove space debris, reposition satellites, and assemble spacecraft in space. Motiv and Blue Origin plan to use a version of the Robot Operating System (ROS) called Space ROS to serve as the ModuLink software architecture which Blue Origin is developing in collaboration with NASA.
“ModuLink enables an exciting new modular approach to spacecraft, their capabilities, and on-orbit repair through advanced robotics,” said Chris Thayer, Chief Executive Officer of Motiv. “The ModuLink system is designed to be a ‘bolt-on’ robotics enhancement for spacecraft which, with the use of Space ROS, will lead a new era of robotics in space.”
ModuLink will enable a user to select any number of elements from its ecosystem and apply them to their spacecraft – turning that platform into a customized robotic spacecraft.
“Modular control software simplifies and speeds up development and verification of flight system robotics solutions. We’re pleased to be collaborating with Motiv to drive this field forward,” said Brent Sherwood, senior vice president of Blue Origin’s Advanced Development Programs.
The foundation of the ModuLink system is Motiv’s xLink robotic manipulation system. xLink was developed to address the need for affordable space robotics and is the fusion of Motiv’s ground and space flight robotics systems. xLink’s first flight is scheduled to be on NASA’s OSAM-2 mission where it will be used for manufacturing and assembly tasks. xLink was born out of Motiv’s successful Mars 2020 Perseverance robotic arm and the RoboMantis modular ground robotics system.
“In addition to enabling spacecraft modularity, ModuLink is itself a modular robotic system. This means we can easily reconfigure the system, such as the reach or number of robotic arms, to meet the mission needs,” said Motiv’s CEO Chris Thayer.
The ModuLink project is planned as a three-year development cycle concluding in a flight demonstration. You can learn more by visiting: https://motivss.com/products-capabilities/modulink/ Motiv Space Systems was founded in 2014 to bring innovative robotics and motion control solutions to the space market. (Source: PR Newswire)
08 Mar 22. Taqnia ETS Company announces the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Star.Vision Ltd to explore the development of innovative geospatial products and services that can enhance the local content and serve the promising Saudi market. TAQNIA ETS and TAQNIA SPACE – subsidiaries of TAQNIA; the PIF owned company – signed an MoU with STAR.VISION Hangzhou LTD to collaborate on the development of innovative space technologies, satellites, artificial intelligence technologies and geospatial products.
Eng. Abdulaziz S. Al-Farraj CEO of TAQNIA ETS, Dr. Faisal Al-Harbi CEO of TAQNIA SPACE and Fan Lianghua Co-founder & Vice President of STAR.VISION signed the MoU at the WDS today.
This MOU establishes the framework for the three parties to engage in collaborative research and development to introduce localized innovative services and products that will support the strategic space and geospatial industry in Saudi Arabia and the region.
“As the leading geospatial company in Saudi Arabia, TAQNIA ETS was keen to sign this MOU and to collaborate with STAR.VISION in product-driven R&D; exploring utilizing AI in producing high resolution & accuracy geospatial products that are compatible to the unique topographic and geographic elements of Saudi Arabia” said Al-Farraj.
While, Lianghua commented “We look forward to STAR.VISION bringing its expertise in space sector and AI applications in Saudi Arabia, and enable the young generation of Saudi talent in these industries”.
“We are pleased to sign this MOU with STAR.VISION, as we look forward to a productive relationship that will serve the local demand for advanced space & satellite products and services, and ultimately support the realization of 2030Vision to which the localization of innovative technology and the development of local talent are key”.
07 Mar 22. Spire Global and SNC Announce Strategic Partnership on Space Services Program. Spire will build four 6U LEMUR satellites for SNC to conduct RF collection and analysis. Spire Global, Inc. (NYSE: SPIR), a leading provider of space-based data, analytics, and space services, today announced a partnership with Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) on a space services program to address a growing market need for radio frequency (RF) collection and analysis. Spire’s cluster of four 6U satellites will enhance SNC technology that detects and geolocates certain objects based on targeted RF emissions. The program will provide valuable insight into how military and government organizations can better manage RF emissions and safeguard against RF and GPS interference.
“Spire’s secure, scalable and space-proven satellite platform will enable SNC to advance its RF collection capabilities in an efficient, low-risk and cost-effective manner.”
“This is an exciting and important strategic partnership for Spire, and we thank SNC for their confidence in our team and our space-as-a-service offering,” Director Intelligence Community Sales, Spire Federal Mark Carhart said. “Spire’s secure, scalable and space-proven satellite platform will enable SNC to advance its RF collection capabilities in an efficient, low-risk and cost-effective manner.”
SNC is a global aerospace and national security leader, delivering tailored solutions to government and commercial customers with technological applications in satellites and space exploration, aircraft integration, navigation and guidance systems, security and threat detection, scientific research, and infrastructure protection. A pioneer in artificial intelligence and machine learning, SNC brings more than 12 years of experience developing advanced algorithms, analytics, process automation and leading laboratories to the project.
“We are excited to partner with Spire and further extend our geospatial intelligence capabilities,” said SNC Executive Vice President Tim Owings. “We’re looking forward to bringing this new commercial data stream and enhanced RF awareness to our customers in the national security and defense areas.”
About Spire Global, Inc.
Spire is a leading global provider of space-based data, analytics, and space services, offering access to unique datasets and powerful insights about Earth from the ultimate vantage point so that organizations can make decisions with confidence, accuracy, and speed. Spire uses one of the world’s largest multi-purpose satellite constellations to source hard to acquire, valuable data and enriches it with predictive solutions. Spire then provides this data as a subscription to organizations around the world so they can improve business operations, decrease their environmental footprint, deploy resources for growth and competitive advantage, and mitigate risk. Spire gives commercial and government organizations the competitive advantage they seek to innovate and solve some of the world’s toughest problems with insights from space. Spire has offices in San Francisco, Boulder, Washington DC, Glasgow, Luxembourg, Cambridge, Ontario, Oxfordshire, and Singapore. To learn more, visit http://www.spire.com.
About Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC)
SNC is a trusted leader in innovative, advanced technology solutions and open architecture integrations in aerospace and national security. Best known for its unique mission applications, SNC creates customized solutions for the world’s most pressing technology challenges in the fields of aviation, national security space, electronic warfare, command and control, mission systems and inline cybersecurity. SNC is owned by Chairwoman and President Eren Ozmen and CEO Fatih Ozmen, and is once again recognized as a US Best Managed Company by Deloitte Private. In spring 2021, SNC announced the transition of its Space Systems business area to an independent commercial space company, Sierra Space. (Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
07 Mar 22. The US Patent Office has Granted Horizon Technologies a Further Patent for Amber™ RF Geolocation Technology. Horizon Technologies, announced that it was issued a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) titled “Techniques for Determining Geolocations.” The patent pertains to a system for using a single low-earth orbit (LEO) CubeSat to determine geolocations of earth-based Radio Frequency (RF) emitters. A corresponding patent was also recently issued by the European Patent Office (EPO).
The patented invention is part of Horizon Technologies’ growing patent portfolio relating to its Amber™ technology, which enables more accurate, and efficient, geolocation without necessitating clusters of CubeSats.
“We are pleased that the US Patent Office has yet again recognized Horizon Technologies’ unique technology by granting this patent concerning the Amber™ system,” said John Beckner, CEO of Horizon Technologies. Today’s real-world events clearly show the need for innovation in space-based, multi-domain ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance). This patented invention is especially important for our government and commercial customers addressing their maritime domain awareness requirements. Due to our unique technology, Horizon Technologies will not provide ‘RF Mapping on command,’ but rather a unique commercial RF intelligence data collected 24/7 and provided to our end-users.”
Amber™ data will be used worldwide for protecting the world’s oceans via “dark target detection”. Amber™ data, when available later this year, will help companies and governments combat such problems as illegal fishing, pollution, transshipment, piracy, GNSS spoofing, and smuggling. Horizon Technologies is developing a portfolio of patents and patent applications to protect our key product technologies and thus increase shareholder value.
04 Mar 22. Space Force reveals new structure for acquisition command. The Space Force is changing the structure of its acquisition field command to improve integration between its programs and position the command to counter growing threats in space.
Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond announced the change in a briefing with reporters Friday at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium, though space acquisition leaders have teased the realignment in recent months. Under the realigned structure, Space Systems Command now has five program executive offices: Assured Access to Space; Battle Management Command and Control; Space Domain Awareness and Combat Power; Communications and Positioning, Navigation and Timing; and Space Sensing.
In an interview Friday morning, SSC Commander Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein told C4ISRNET the newly aligned organization draws from the successful elements of other space acquisition organizations, including the Space Rapid Capabilities Office, the National Reconnaissance Office and the Missile Defense Agency.
“The realignment makes a pivot within Space Systems Command and within the Space Force,” Guetlein said. “It’s focused on countering the increasing threats that we’re seeing in space. It’s focused on guaranteeing Space capabilities to the nation and to the warfighter. It’s focused on development across the entire lifecycle.”
With the new structure, Guetlein is designated as the space system-of-systems integrator and will be an advisor on all space-related milestone decisions within the Department of the Air Force. The five new program executive officers will report directly to the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition and integration.
Along with the new PEO structure, SSC is adding four new offices:
- A System of Systems Integration Office that will develop standards and specifications that connect programs across the space enterprise;
- A Commercial Services Office that will bring together all SSC initiatives focused on commercial services, including satellite communications and space domain awareness;
- An International Affairs Office that will focus on partnering with allies;
- And a Warfighter Integration Office that will establish direct liaisons with combatant commands to ensure that the systems SSC is developing will meet their needs.
Guetlein noted that Warfighter Integration Office will, in the near term, create a liaison to U.S. Space Command, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and the Space Force’s Space Operations Command.
The realignment is the third major change to the space acquisition command’s structure since 2019, when then-commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center Lt. Gen. John Thompson moved away from the previous mission-centered model SMC had operated under to an enterprise model. The resulting structure, dubbed SMC 2.0, divided programs among four offices, or “corps”: Development Corps, Production Corps, Enterprise Corps and Atlas Corps.
Then last summer, the Space Force formally established Space Systems Command, redesignating SMC as SSC, with officials saying the change would “build upon the success seen with SMC 2.0.” Although SSC leaders said the new command represented a major culture change within the acquisitions community, it was structured similarly to SMC 2.0, aside from a shakeup of the launch enterprise that designated SSC’s deputy commander as the leader of a new Assured Access to Space office.
Guetlein said SMC 2.0 succeeded at helping Space Force acquirers navigate the Department of Defense’s new acquisition framework and embracing innovation within the service, but the organization “left a few seams between programs and the way we integrate across the enterprise.”
“When we stood up Space Systems Command, the objective was first to speed up acquisition to get after the emerging threat,” Guetlein said. “We needed to keep pace with the threat environment. We needed to make sure we are delivering on our promises to our current programs of record while increasing our resiliency and interoperability.”
The new structure puts PEOs in charge of the “birth-to-death” lifecycle of their programs, but also positions them to integrate across all other programs in their particular mission area.
The realignment at SSC comes as the Air Force is poised to welcome its first service acquisition executive for space, Frank Calvelli. As the former principal deputy director of the National Reconnaissance Office, Calvelli brings experience overseeing space system development and procurement, including satellite and ground system acquisition, systems engineering and satellite operations.
As the Space Force brings in new leadership and reshapes its acquisition processes and organization, Congress is closely watching for progress. In a report accompanying the fiscal 2022 House spending bill, lawmakers called for “more aggressive action in addressing longstanding space acquisition issues,” saying the service is taking too long to define a new space development and procurement system.
“The plans for establishing the new acquisition unit, Space Systems Command, consist primarily of renaming the Space and Missile Systems Center and incorporating existing space launch units. The plan does not resolve the fundamental issues of overlap and duplication in roles, responsibilities, and authorities among the various other space acquisition units in the Department of the Air Force,” lawmakers wrote in the report. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
07 Mar 22. Australian Minister announces new investment and updated space strategy. The Minister for Defence Industry and for Science and Technology, Melissa Price MP, announced at the 13thAustralian Space Forum on 3 March that the Australian government has awarded a $20m Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI) Collaboration Stream grant to Adelaide-based Fleet Space Technologies. The grant will enable the company to build a new manufacturing facility in Adelaide Airport’s Australian Space Park. The South Australian Government is also contributing $20m towards the $66m project which is expected to create 221 local jobs, as well as more than 1000 others indirectly. The Federal and State funding will supplement industry investment into the Australian Space Park by Fleet Space Technologies, AT Space, Alauda and Q-CTRL. The purpose-built facility will drive collaboration between Australia’s local space manufacturers to build innovative satellites and rockets and make South Australia the largest manufacturer of satellites in Australia.
Minister Price also made two other key announcements: the abolition of Partial Cost Recovery, where the government charges a fee for launch applications. This will let companies invest in the future with certainty and encourage more launches from Australia, says the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER).
“We know if the Australian space sector is going to keep growing at a rapid rate, then we need to ensure the conditions are right,” said Minister for Defence Industry and for Science and Technology Melissa Price. “That is why we’re scrapping plans for launch application fees and making improvements to regulations.”
And the Government has tasked the Australian Space Agency with developing a unified, national Space Strategic Update (SSU) to align efforts across the nation through to the 2040s. It will give the government direction on future funding opportunities. It will also give the sector confidence to make longer-term investment decisions. Globally, the space sector is expected to grow from US$350bn to US$1trn by 2040.
“The SSU will ensure that as we develop our sovereign space capability, we have the Australian businesses there ready to deliver it – from research and design through to manufacture,” said the Minister. “It will also give the whole-of-sector insight that we need as a Government to make decisions on future funding opportunities – and ensure the money we are spending across portfolios is complementary and not duplicated.”
The Australian Space Agency will engage across industry and government over the next 18 months to deliver the SSU, according to its Director, Enrico Palermo. It will also set up an expert advisory panel to guide the delivery of the SSU. The panel will include leaders from the space industry and academia.
Minister Price said this investment will help future-proof the space sector by making it more self-sufficient: “This project will lock in Australia’s ability to deliver along the entire space supply chain. From research and design through to manufacture and operation, Australia’s credentials as a leading space nation are going to be significantly strengthened by this investment.” (Source: Rumour Control)
02 Mar 22. Hughes + General Atomics Showcase UAS SATCOM Capabilities. The MQ-1C Gray Eagle Extended Range (GE-ER) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) has been called the linchpin of the U.S. Army’s multi-domain operations. Gray Eagle is a multipurpose platform that provides access into diverse environments — over land and sea — with Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLoS) capabilities that are critical for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). Built by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., (GA-ASI), the Gray Eagle can fly for hours, transmitting mission-critical data over satellite to operators located hundreds or even thousands of miles away. As part of PEO Aviation’s Datalink Modernization Program, satellite communications (SATCOM) connectivity aboard Gray Eagle is enabled by the Hughes HM Airborne System. Hughes has supported GA-ASI with SATCOM equipment, integration and operations for their unmanned aerial vehicle programs for several years. For the Army Gray Eagle program, Hughes is delivering a customized version of the HM400 modem. This innovative airborne technology incorporates flexible, software defined techniques and a ruggedized container for high altitude applications, meets low size, weight and power (SWAP) requirements, and supports government approved waveforms. To help GA-ASI meet its customers’ evolving needs, Hughes continuously advances the HM System capabilities with software upgrades and enhancements.
Recently, Hughes joined with GA-ASI to demonstrate the very latest HM System capabilities that support resilient communications using government approved waveforms. The successful demonstration aboard the Gray Eagle showcased the HM System’s ability to accommodate the Army’s approved waveform and switch between both GEO and NGSO satellite beams and frequencies (Ku- and Ka-band). This seamless, dynamic frequency and orbital diversity enables communication resiliency and redundancy, especially in contested environments — a key capability for warfighters today.
Across the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), network modernization is a priority, as it is in the commercial sector. Adding advanced features such as multi-transport, multi-constellation, multi-orbit, multi-frequency capabilities to existing platforms like the Gray Eagle helps ensure their lasting value in supporting multi-domain, information-focused operations.
The HM System employs frequency-agnostic, commercially based, open standards to enable affordable, resilient solutions not only for the Gray Eagle, but for a wide variety of manned and unmanned fixed and rotary wing platforms.
“As the Gray Eagle continues to support Army operations, the platform needs resilient SATCOM technology to withstand attacks and transmit high-quality, high-throughput data intelligence in any domain,” said Rick Lober, VP and GM for Hughes Defense. “Employing software-defined technologies, the HM System is flexible and customizable, with an open architecture that interfaces with a variety of antenna technologies and satellite constellations to maintain information assurance, no matter where the Gray Eagle flies.” (Source: Satnews)
02 Mar 22. A First-Of-Its-Kind Community LTE Service Debuts From Hughes. Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES) has successfully completed a three-month pilot of a new Community LTE service at five villages in Brazil. Designed to serve people who live outside the reach of cable, fiber and cellular networks, Community LTE creates a mobile hotspot across several kilometers that connects to the internet by satellite. Anyone can access the broadband service with an LTE-enabled device simply by purchasing data at the local retailer who hosts the hotspot. At each site, Hughes integrates its JUPITER™ high-throughput satellite capacity and equipment with an LTE small cell and an opensource network core — effectively creating a private LTE network. With this edge configuration, subscriber traffic gets processed locally, rather than traversing the satellite backlink to the central network core – saving bandwidth and money for the operator when compared to traditional backhaul. Hughes recruited local retailers to host the Community LTE hotspots and provides marketing and training support so they can manage sales and earn revenue. Similar to the Hughes Community Wi-Fi Hotspot services that combine a Wi-Fi access point with satellite backhaul to power internet across 50-80 meters, Hughes Community LTE service serves a larger area of approximately five square kilometers. Since launching the pilot program, hundreds of people have used the LTE service. One of them is Ivone Cordeiro who lives near the town of Japonvar in the state of Minas Gerais. “We live in the rural area, and the phone signal here is really poor,” she said. “Now, even being about a kilometer away from the center of town, the Hughes service allows me to use internet in my house with a good signal and speed, and even use text apps or social media.”
“Connecting the unconnected is a global imperative, yet no single type of transport can solve the digital divide,” said Bhanu Durvasula, vice president, international division at Hughes. “Our Community LTE program exemplifies a multi-transport solution that combines LTE and satellite to expand coverage to those in need. It’s another solution that governments and mobile network operators can implement to extend networks and connect more people, cost-effectively. This pilot test proved our use case for Community LTE in three important ways. First, as an effective way to connect the unconnected to essential broadband. Second, in helping local businesses earn more revenue. Third, helping MNOs extend mobile network reach quickly and inexpensively – especially to small villages that would otherwise not have internet access.”
Thais Barbosa, a shop owner and host of the Community LTE hotspot in Melancias, said, “Communication here was always hard. We went through days without cellular signal. Now that people are starting to know this internet service from Hughes, they ended up pleased, and my commerce has increased.” (Source: Satnews)
02 Mar 22. SkyLabs Signs A New Collaboration Agreement With Elecnor Deimos. SkyLabs has signed a new Collaboration Agreement with Deimos Elecnor to provide On-Board Computer (OBC) and Remote Terminal Unit (RTU) equipment for DEIMOS’ standalone AOCS (Attitude and Orbit Control System) product for smallsats. A modular AOCS for small satellites is being developed by Deimos to address the need for the rapid procurement of agile and high stability attitude control systems for platforms that are particularly suited for LEO and Earth Observation (EO) missions.
SkyLabs solution has been recognized by Deimos as the one that can enable Deimos to develop leading-edge AOCS product and, on top of that, offers high configurability and customization to address a wide variety of smallsat missions and a range of actuator and sensor solutions. In particular, SkyLabs’ solution for AOCS product is based on a NANOhpm-obc and picoRTU system, which is combination than can tackle the most demanding AOCS needs.
NANOhpm-obc is high performance OBC, one of the first solutions with RISC-V fault tolerant processor within to answer the most demanding LEO applications with very high-performance needs.
The picoRTU system is based on a distributed intelligence thanks to the PicoSkyFT IP solution that enables higher levels of subsystem autonomy, showcases the use of modern design techniques, facilitating higher modularity and interoperability of satellite equipment, and thereby enabling scalability of actuator and sensor interfaces according to mission needs. By entering collaboration agreement with Deimos, SkyLabs became a provider of the OBC and RTU solutions for the AOCS and beyond.
Dejan Gačnik, CTO of SkyLabs and responsible for overall cooperation with DEIMOS, said, ‘This cooperation agreement proves once again that SkyLabs is providing the leading-edge satellite solutions for the small satellites market, and thus enabling our customers to build innovative, dependable and cost-efficient systems. SkyLabs is going to supply DEIMOS picoRTU and NANOhpm-obc as critical equipment of the their highly innovative and modular AOCS. Both critical elements have been developed jointly under ESA General Support and Technology Programme, as the results of systematically well identified market needs years ago and condensate knowhow resulting from several R&D activities.‘
Dr. Murray Kerr, DEIMOS’ head of Flight Engineering and responsible for the SAT4EOCE project, said, ‘Our AOCS product is highly innovative, in both its provision of very high pointing stability and agility, and its low-price point. SkyLabs is just the partner we need to make our AOCS both modular and reliable. We hope to build a strong and enduring cooperation with SkyLabs in the commercial market.‘
“Cooperation with DEIMOS is another important milestone for SkyLabs, as we have been recognized as trustworthy supplier also in the domain of small-scale satellites. I am confident that this is just a beginning of our important and strategic cooperation with DEIMOS in the segment of small satellites and even beyond,” said Dr. Tomaž Rotovnik, CEO of SkyLabs. (Source: Satnews)
07 Mar 22. Yahsat and EDGE Join Forces to Equip NIMR Vehicles with Interoperable Satellite Connectivity Solutions.
- Yahsat and Edge have agreed to line-fit pre-qualified Comms-On-The-Move (COTM) solutions on NIMR’s vehicular systems.
- The agreement builds on Yahsat and NIMR’s pre-existing partnership to provide the UAE Government with advanced vehicular satcom capabilities
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 7 March 2022: Al Yah Satellite Communications Company PJSC (“Yahsat”) listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (“ADX”) under (SYMBOL: YAHSAT) (ISIN: AEA007501017), the UAE’s flagship satellite solutions provider, today announced that its government division, Yahsat Government Solutions (“YGS”), has agreed with EDGE Group entity, NIMR, a leading manufacturer of combat-proven wheeled military vehicles, to line-fit pre-qualified Comms-On-The-Move (COTM) solutions on NIMR’s vehicular systems.
The agreement was announced at the World Defense Show in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and builds on the partnership formed between the entities by the signing of a MoU recently at the International Defence Exhibition & Conference (IDEX) 2021 in Abu Dhabi, UAE last year. That MoU allowed both entities to develop a concept design demonstrating how NIMR’s military vehicles can be equipped with Yahsat’s COTM solutions. During the World Defense Show, Yahsat and NIMR are showcasing one of Yahsat’s terminals fitted onto NIMR’s AJBAN 442A vehicle.
By pre-testing and integrating Yahsat’s COTM solutions on various connected vehicular systems, Yahsat has been able to remove risks and unwanted costs associated with system integration for its customers. Through the agreement, Yahsat will leverage NIMR’s network and existing relationship with the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to extend its reach and increase customer acquisition. NIMR will have the opportunity to expand its value-chain and offer connected vehicles to their customer base with a secured satcom network – both Ka-band and L-band.
Commenting on the announcement, Eisa Al Shamsi, General Manager, YGS, said: “We are pleased to have reached this milestone with NIMR, building upon our MoU that was signed in 2021. At Yahsat, we understand the needs of our customers in the Defence industry and offer platform-integrated, satellite-enabled and ready-to-deploy COTM solutions. With our partners and solutions providers, we offer advanced, end-to-end, managed COTM services for complex, land-based and maritime vehicular platforms, backed by around-the-clock maintenance and support to ensure superlative performance, reliability and security. Through this agreement, we look forward to continuing our ongoing support to the UAE Government while also effectively expanding our services to the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, working towards fulfilling the Kingdom’s demand for state-of-the-art satellite connectivity solutions.”
Abri du Plessis, CEO, NIMR, said: “As the region’s leading manufacturer of combat-proven armoured vehicles, we are delighted to announce our agreement with the UAE’s global satellite services operator to equip our state-of-the-art platforms with their pioneering satcom solutions. This strategic partnership reflects our commitment to employ the latest technologies that ensure our customers excel on the field.”
As the preferred satcom provider of the UAE Government and other semi-governmental entities, Yahsat is ideally positioned to provide comprehensive, secure and interoperable satellite connectivity and multi-mission solutions to support operations across land, sea and air. The Group’s flexible, beyond-line-of-sight solutions enable superior command and control of military vehicles from any location, enabling the extension of their operational range.
07 Mar 22. Thuraya Launches its Innovative Push-to-Talk Communications Solution with Cobham SATCOM.
- The new solution will provide users the ability to create private networks – integrating different technologies
- Thuraya PTT seamlessly extends the range of voice and data communications, reducing costs while improving efficiency for customers
- The solution guarantees interoperability among multiple users with communications systems on land and at sea
Thuraya Telecommunications Company, the mobile satellite services subsidiary of the UAE’s flagship satellite solutions provider, Al Yah Satellite Communications Company PJSC (“Yahsat” or, together with its subsidiaries, “the Group”) listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (“ADX”) under (SYMBOL: YAHSAT) (ISIN: AEA007501017) today announced that it has launched its new IP-based radio communications solution, Thuraya Push-to-Talk (PTT).
Thuraya PTT has been developed with Cobham SATCOM, a market-leading provider of satellite communications solutions to the maritime and land markets. The solution will enable users across a wide spectrum of industries to extend the range of their voice communications beyond line of sight (BLOS) wherever their assets and teams are located.
Thuraya PTT is an IP-based radio communications solution that works in conjunction with any Thuraya Broadband terminal to establish a private network. It gives users the ability to combine and integrate different technologies such as 3G/LTE/LMR (Land Mobile Radio) via Thuraya’s advanced satellite system for seamless voice and data communications.
The new solution has been designed so that it is simple to use and guarantees secure interoperability among multiple users with different communication systems on land and at sea. The solution manages communications from multiple devices and locations and provide real-time, uninterrupted switching between satellite, cellular and LAN, ensuring cost efficient and reliable connectivity.
Thuraya PTT is designed for mission critical operations to support organizations in remote areas that often struggle with a lack of reliable connectivity – particularly when there is an urgent need to communicate across different areas, countries or continents. Thuraya’s PTT service enables organizations to overcome this challenge, enhancing overall workforce productivity and safety as a result.
Sulaiman Al Ali, Chief Executive Officer at Thuraya, said: “We are proud to announce the launch of the Thuraya Push-to-Talk solution today. Satellite connectivity and push-to-talk technology will provide unparalleled support to a wide range of sectors—most of which are currently being served and supported by Thuraya—by boosting efficiency, safety and security for troops and staff operating on-the-ground. The market has clearly shown a demand for PTT services which enables users to communicate through a single solution. We anticipate that market potential for such a service will continue to grow.”
“Our partnership with Cobham SATCOM has been a key component of this successful launch. It has enabled us to broaden and enhance our portfolio offering by creating a platform for further innovation and development of features and applications to increase our global market share. We’re looking forward to more collaborations with Cobham SATCOM and reaching more milestones of this nature in the near future”, he added.
The global PTT (incl. hardware, solutions and services for all network types) market size is set to grow from USD 29.2bn in 2021 to USD 45.2bn by 2026, at CAGR of 9.1 % during this period, with the sectors of Public Safety, Government, Energy and Utilities occupying a significant proportion of growth. In addition, the global hybrid-satellite cellular terminal market is expected to reach around USD 700m by 2031, with a CAGR of 22.81% during the forecast period 2021-2031.
Thuraya PTT extends legacy push-to-talk capabilities to hybrid data networks such as terrestrial cellular networks where available, supplemented by the Thuraya satellite network where no terrestrial network coverage is present. With no user intervention required, the system automatically routes voice and data traffic via the least expensive and most reliable network available.
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.