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01 Apr 22. Launch of Kleos’ Patrol Mission Satellites Targeted for 1st April (UTC). Kleos Space S.A (ASX:KSS, Frankfurt:KS1), a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data-as-a-service (DaaS) company, is advised that their four Patrol Mission (KSF2) satellites are targeted to launch on the 1st of April 2022 from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida with a launch window opening at 12:24 p.m. ET, or 16:24 UTC onboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 Transporter-4 mission.
Kleos Space CEO Andy Bowyer said, “The launch of our third cluster of four satellites will enable us to further increase the volume of our precision geolocation data. The need for cost-effective intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities has never been greater and we are continuing to rapidly develop our constellation to cater to this demand. Our radio frequency data is increasingly being incorporated into aggregated datasets to enhance or verify other commercial GEOINT datasets.”
Kleos is targeting a constellation of up to 20 satellite clusters, with its fourth cluster, the Observer Mission, scheduled to launch in mid-2022. The Patrol Mission satellites will be deployed into a 525km Sun Synchronous orbit under a rideshare contract with Spaceflight Inc., and deployed via D-Orbit.
The launch was livestreamed on Kleos’ website at https://kleos.space/satellite-launch-patrol/ and on the SpaceX website at: https://www.spacex.com/launches/transporter-4/index.html. The latest forecast shows a 30% chance of favorable liftoff conditions, for updates refer to the SpaceX twitter account: https://twitter.com/SpaceX .
The four Patrol Mission satellites, flown in formation, will significantly increase Kleos’ global data collection capability by an additional 119 million km² per day and improve the average daily revisit rate over a 15-degree latitude area of interest to around five times a day.
30 Mar 22. Boeing Debuts High-Throughput Small Satellite Production Facility. 30,000 square-foot facility (2,787 square meters) is housed in world’s largest satellite factory where Boeing builds advanced space and communications systems for commercial and government customers
– Powered by Boeing subsidiary Millennium Space Systems, virtually every aspect of satellite manufacturing will be accomplished in the new production facility.
Boeing (NYSE: BA) unveiled a new high-throughput small satellite production, integration and test facility designed for efficiency and rapid delivery timelines. Housed in the world’s largest satellite factory, Boeing’s 1-million-square-foot El Segundo facility (92,903 square meters), the small satellite production line will be powered by Boeing subsidiary, Millennium Space Systems.
“Boeing and Millennium are bringing together Boeing’s production expertise, domain knowledge, and manufacturing capacity with Millennium’s agility and rapid prototyping,” said Jim Chilton, senior vice president of Boeing Space and Launch. “We’re scaling and growing to fulfill our customers’ vision for multi-orbit constellations with demand across markets and mission sets.”
The companies are applying advanced and additive manufacturing techniques, including 3D printing entire space-qualified satellite buses, to offer faster cycle times while improving performance.
“Our customers need satellites on-orbit faster than ever,” Chilton said. “Much like an airplane or auto production line, we’re employing lean production principles and advanced manufacturing techniques to accelerate delivery and pass on cost savings to our customers.”
Millennium’s team will staff the small satellite factory, bringing the subsidiary’s proven processes and infrastructure, in addition to environmental test capabilities tailored to small satellites. Boeing will also provide access to extensive environmental and specialty testing capabilities that have qualified some of the most iconic spacecraft, including the first vehicle to make a fully controlled soft landing on the moon and more than 300 satellites.
“Millennium’s culture is rooted in creating innovative ways to revolutionize space,” said Jason Kim, chief executive officer, Millennium Space Systems. “We’re bringing that culture into our facilities, rapidly building large constellations of high-performance small satellites, taking advantage of a footprint that’s larger than two professional hockey rinks.”
Designed to build small satellites for different security levels on the same assembly line, the digitally-defined small satellite factory incorporates model-based systems engineering, digital design engineering, and design for manufacturability.
“Understanding security protocols and how to build secure systems is critical to national security space, and this is an area where Millennium and Boeing excel,” said Kim. “We’re excited to leverage this impressive capability to support our customers’ critical missions.”
Initial operating capability took place in September 2021, and the small sat factory’s full operational capability is expected in late 2022.
Millennium Space Systems, a Boeing Company, delivers high-performing prototype and constellation solutions across advanced national security and environmental observation missions. Founded in 2001, the company’s small satellite missions support government, civil and commercial space customers’ needs across orbits. Learn more at www.millennium-space.com.
31 Mar 22. HENSOLDT Cyber and Beyond Gravity: Bringing IT security for satellites to a new level. Beyond Gravity (formerly RUAG Space) and HENSOLDT Cyber announce their collaboration to offer the IT security operating system TRENTOS for the latest satellite computer Lynx from Beyond Gravity. Ensuring a high level of IT security for satellites is at the heart of today’s efforts to make satellites more robust and reliable. “As satellites have become increasingly critical to the infrastructure of modern society, there is an increased need for cyber resilience protecting space,” says Anders Linder, head of the global satellites business at Beyond Gravity (formerly RUAG Space). There is a strong demand for both, highly secure IT solutions for ground systems on Earth as well as for satellites in Space. HENSOLDT Cyber’s approach to cyber security is different from conventional IT solutions. Instead of standard add-on security products, which treat symptoms rather than addressing the underlying problems, HENSOLDT offers products that are designed to ensure the integrity of embedded systems at the core: the operating system and the processor. “We build systems that are secure from the ground up using formal methods which provide mathematical proofed system features to achieve true trustworthiness,” says Sascha Kegreiß, CTO at HENSOLDT Cyber, who is also member of the governing board of the open-source seL4© Foundation. “With TRENTOS we are providing an easy way to enable security-by-design for space application development to strongly oppose cyberwarfare.” The new high security operating system TRENTOS is based on the seL4© microkernel, which provides proven security capabilities under all operating conditions. “It is therefore an excellent choice to meet the high requirements of the space industry,” adds Kegreiß.
“With HENSOLDT Cyber’s new IT security operating system for our satellite computer Lynx, we can offer a higher value to our customers worldwide”, says Anders Linder from Beyond Gravity. “This cooperation is an important step to offer spacecraft platforms with IT security at a new level.” As the Lynx computer is flexible, it can be easily configured with TRENTOS. “We also see possibilities to combine this computer with several additional capabilities, such as different communication links, as well as other features and hardware.”
30 Mar 22. Australia will build and operate 4 new satellites. Australia’s federal budget announcement marked a huge boost for the local space industry, as the sector is set to receive $1.16bn to build and operate four new satellites. Dubbed the National Space Mission for Earth Observation, it will be led by the Australian Space Agency, and aims to make Australia “more self-sufficient” due to an ongoing track record of relying on other country’s satellite capabilities.
The mission is also expected to create hundreds of jobs.
“The information we get from Earth observation satellites is central to our everyday life – from forecasting the weather and responding to natural disasters through to managing the environment and supporting our farmers,” said Minister for Science and Technology Melissa Price.
“This investment reinforces the Morrison government’s commitment to growing space capability here at home so we can remain safe and secure and create important economic opportunities.”
The investment for the satellites will extend until 2038-39, and $38.5m per year ongoing will fund the first phase of the space mission.
According to the budget announcement, the project is set to create over 500 jobs for the first four years of the “build phase” and the government expects to utilise over 100 local companies for the supply chain.
“Developing and launching these first four Australian satellites will create the foundation of industry know-how for more complex space missions next decade. That means more expertise and more jobs right here in Australia in this critical industry,” Minister Price continued.
She also said it will “solidify” relationships with allied countries, so Australia will continue to benefit from their satellite data.
While this move is significant for Australia, the nation has already taken steps to establish satellite sovereign capability in recent months.
This includes the nationwide JP9102, a $3bn project underway to create a new military satellite communication capability for Australia.
It’s hoped it will eventually reduce the country’s reliance on the United States’ defence capabilities, including the US military’s Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS).
Building sovereign technology such as these will draw more international investments and drive other countries to rely on Australia for space technology.
However, the government did not only invest in satellite manufacturing in the latest budget announcement.
It also includes $65.7m over five years to establish conditions for rocket launch, $12.1m over five years to remove cost recovery requirements under previous regulations, $9.5m over two years to develop a Space Strategic Update, $3m to enhance overseas relationships and $25.2 m to expand the International Space Investment Initiative and continue projects with India.
Since Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s coalition began in 2018, over $2bn has been allocated to the civil space sector.
Along with the ASA, the mission will be led by Geoscience Australia, CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and Defence. (Source: Space Connect)
29 Mar 22. Next-Generation Polar is Indispensable in Highly Contested Space. On the battlefield, snipers rarely work alone.
Snipers act as part of a system with a spotter who surveys a wide area to identify potential targets.
That’s one way to think about the Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) system, according to Mike Ciffone, director of programs, OPIR, Northrop Grumman.
The Next-Generation Polar (NGP) satellites act as the spotter, surveying an enormous swath of the Northern Hemisphere from an orbit more than 20,000 miles from Earth. Once spotted by NGP, the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor satellites (HBTSS), which will operate in low-earth orbit, can act as the sniper’s high-resolution scope, precisely tracking hypersonic missiles in flight and relaying timely data to shooters on the ground or at sea.
“A soldier looking through a sniper rifle scope has a narrow field of view,” Ciffone said. “That’s great for honing in on a specific target, but without that wide view from the spotter, the soldier could miss a developing threat and would be altogether less effective. The teamed system ensures a better, safer outcome.”
In May 2020, the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command (SSC), formerly called Space and Missile Systems Center, awarded Northrop Grumman a $2.37bn contract for the first phase of the NGP program. NGP will serve as the spotter for the HBTSS’s scope.
“When it comes to detecting ballistic missiles, it’s a mission that can’t fail,” Ciffone said.
NGP is a technological leap forward compared to the current polar monitoring system – the Space-Based Infrared System in Highly Elliptical Orbit (SBIRS HEO) – because it will detect both hypersonic and traditional ballistic missile launches.
SBIRS HEO service life is planned till 2028, when NGP is slated for launch. According to Jeff Sneller, Northrop Grumman’s chief engineer for NGP, these combined factors increase the urgency of launching NGP on schedule.
NGP is an indispensable part of the next-gen OPIR construct for numerous reasons:
It covers the poles. NGP will cover the northern polar region — the shortest route for a ballistic missile to travel toward the United States. It is the most difficult region to monitor from space, said Randy Weidenheimer, director of programs, OPIR, Northrop Grumman.
“Covering the North Pole region requires highly elliptical orbiting satellites,” Weidenheimer said. “It just can’t be done as effectively from geosynchronous (GEO), geostationary or low-Earth orbit (LEO). If the North Pole is uncovered, an adversary could exploit it.”
Failure isn’t an option. Infrared missile detection strengthens nuclear deterrence and NGP is key to the OPIR construct.
“Without NGP, not only will we risk missing a ballistic missile launch from the polar region, we will lose the resilience inherent in having a robust capability in HEO,” Weidenheimer said. “One reason that’s important is that, for example, low-Earth orbit satellites need to orbit over countries that could seek to target or disable them several times a day, making HEO an inherently safer option.”
Near total coverage. According to Sneller, NGP provides round-the-clock coverage of the Northern Hemisphere, including adversarial countries in Eurasia, the Middle East and the Indo-Pacific.
“NGP monitors virtually every country from which a ballistic or hypersonic missile threat directed at the United States or its allies is likely to originate,” Sneller said.
Resilient. On top of the wide coverage NGP provides from its unique orbit, HEO is more resilient than other orbits.
“Satellites in HEO are difficult to target and NGP has features that will help ensure it can continue to operate in contested environments,” Ciffone said. “NGP is always in communication with ground terminals in the continental United States. If forward-deployed ground stations for satellites in GEO or LEO are attacked or jammed, NGP can still get information back to commanders in the U.S.”
NGP is on track and on schedule to begin its vital mission in 2028. According to Ciffone, “NGP is a vital part of the United States’ missile defense space architecture that we can’t afford to do without.”
25 Mar 22. Nanosatellites are still in the early stages, says Fleet Space CEO. Nanosatellites are diversifying every day, and many consider them as the future of the space industry – but they still have a long way to go. Flavia Tata Nardini, the chief executive and co-founder of Australia’s Fleet Space Technologies says that like how mobile phones were once bulky and fairly useless but are now smaller and smarter; satellites are going through the same phase. South Australian-based Fleet is launching the only commercial nanosatellites in Australia, aiming to boost connectivity across all sectors in a cheaper and more accessible way.
In Space Connect’s latest podcast episode, Nardini explains why nanosatellites are important, and how these are furthering Australia’s space industry, despite still being in the early stages of development.
What are nanosatellites?
Nanosatellites, or also known as small satellites or CubeSat’s, typically weigh less than 10 kilograms.
Nanosatellites can be used for varying applications such as telecommunications, mining, agriculture, defence, Earth observation and more, just like typical ones.
Larger satellites can weigh up to 1,000 kilograms, and while less governments and companies are launching bigger ones, they still have served the space industry for many decades.
While nanosatellites’ span of view may be smaller, many providers have switched to launching constellations of them into space, which are easier to maintain, and if some fail or are destroyed, the others can compensate, according to Nardini.
They started big, but are getting smaller
The first satellite ever launched was by the Soviet Union in 1957, named Sputnik 1. It weighed around 80 kilograms and orbited for three weeks before its batteries ran out.
Sputnik 1 and many satellites after it paved the way for the space industry, and now there are thousands of satellites in low-Earth orbit serving the world’s connectivity, military, monitoring and observation needs.
“We need to understand that every technology takes time in the history of humankind, so that everyone can benefit from it,” Nardini said.
“You know, we started with massive supercomputers that were as big as a room that just government or NASA could use, and then look forward 30 or 40 years, and everyone has got an iPhone.”
Similarly, satellites are getting smaller and more accessible, following decades of them being large and only used by governments and space agencies. But they still aren’t perfect, Nardini says.
“I think we are in that phase. Small satellites are small, and like a small phone, there is no battery, not enough data … there are these small satellites, they look very basic, they do basic things, but we like the fact that they’re small, and then we work to make them good.”
Should Australia launch more nanosatellites?
Many Australians are already launching nanosatellites into space, such as the University of Sydney’s CUAVA-1 and Curtin’s Binar-1 small-sat, and Nardini believes it is even more important for the nation to invest in nanosatellites due to our infrastructure “struggling to keep up” with the vast remote land.
“We are all trying to move into a more environmentally sustainable planet,” she said. Manufacturers are pushing for solar farms and sustainable fuel for cars, but companies need to search for these resources efficiently.
Lithium resources are in strong demand in Australia, as it is used for the development of electric vehicles, and Nardini says without satellites monitoring remote land, it will be difficult to find.
“We can use satellites to help look for some more lithium or copper … we can find it and satellites can come into rescue,” Nardini added.
Nanosatellites are also critical for Earth observation applications, allowing for better preparation when it comes to weather events like bushfires, floods and storms.
Almost 40 per cent of the world’s population have no access to internet, mostly in developing countries, according to a UN agency’s data from December 2021. Nardini says that nanosatellites will allow for the most remote areas to even be connected soon.
“Eventually the satellites will provide satellite connectivity for your phone so you can’t be out, outside in the middle of nowhere not having connectivity anymore.”
Although nanosatellites are being manufactured rapidly across the globe, large satellites are still being utilised for defence capabilities – but not for long.
At the inaugural Australian Space Summit on Thursday, South Australian Senator the Hon David Fawcett and chair of the joint standing committee on foreign affairs, defence and trade said the nationwide Joint Project 9102 may be the last time the government invests in a large satellite.
JP9102 is the name for the $3bn project to create a new military satellite communication capability for Australia. It’s hoped it will eventually reduce the country’s reliance on the United States’ defence capabilities, including the US military’s Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS).
“[JP9102] will potentially be one of the last major programs when talking [about] satellites measuring in tonnes as opposed to smaller systems,” he said in a panel.
“Space is becoming more congested and contested, which is a large theme of our defence space strategy. But what that means is, resilience [is] not just defending exquisite capabilities from large satellites, but potentially through multiple small satellites… providing similar capabilities.”
What about space weather?
Despite the benefits of launching technology into orbit, manufacturers still consider space weather a main concern as all spacecraft are exposed to many unforeseeable solar events.
Such weather includes geomagnetic storms – like the one that destroyed 38 Starlink satellites in February – or solar flares that can cause blackouts on entire cities for hours.
Nardini says that while satellites cannot avoid being exposed to space weather, nanosatellites pose a particular advantage compared to larger ones.
It’s about “building satellites that can die, and you can bring them down very fast, then launch another one without having to put debris everywhere,” she said.
Engineers are faced with the unfortunate event of rebuilding large satellites when they are destroyed, which is costly and time consuming.
Constellations of nanosatellites can address this issue, according to Nardini, by essentially equipping operators with many backups in case a few get destroyed, or even fail.
“If we keep building these technologies that are ancient, and they stay up there, and then they die – then that’s not going to work,” Nardini said.
Despite small satellites still refining and improving, Nardini argues that these are the future of space technology.
“It’s a bit of a shift in thinking,” Nardini said. “It’s not about failing or not failing, it’s about how you react when you fail, and how fast you can react to it, and that’s what happens when you go from launching one satellite, to launch 10,000.
“It’s a complicated exercise … but the dream is, can satellites really support connectivity so much that no one ever get lost without communication?” (Source: Space Connect)
20 Mar 22. Anokiwave + Requtech AB Developing High Performance SOTM User Terminals. Anokiwave, Inc. and Requtech have engaged in a collaboration to enable SATCOM-On-The-Move (SOTM) applications over LEO/MEO/GEO communication satellites. As part of this collaboration, Anokiwave provides advanced, low-cost, silicon 2nd generation SATCOM Ku- and K/Ka-band ICs to power Requtech’s RESA-S family of fully integrated phased array flat panel antenna terminals.
Requtech’s phased array flat panel antennas enable SOTM applications over LEO/MEO/GEO constellations. Designed as a lightweight member of the RESA family of flat panel satellite terminals, RESA-S can be used as a stand-alone product or used in a networked mesh configuration with several RESA terminals to avoid signal blockage from for example, ships superstructure.
Anokiwave provides Silicon SATCOM beamforming ICs to Requtech that improve performance, reduce cost, simplify thermal management, and provide a host of unique digital functionality to simplify overall system design. Compared to multiple other companies that are just starting to promise their early-stage ICs, Anokiwave ICs are fully released and are shipping in volume.
“Phased array antennas are changing the way in which users communicate with SATCOM networks as they enter a new era of global communication. As the market moves to commercial, high-volume terminals, ground communications with LEO/MEO/GEO SATCOM systems require low-cost antennas with extremely fast steerable beams in a low-profile form factor,” said Andy Crofts, Anokiwave VP of Applications. “The Anokiwave CMOS based beamformer ICs are the key enabling technology making electronic beam steering in flat panel active antennas a commercial reality.”
“The Anokiwave chipset offers huge advantages in terms of ‘time to market’ and performance. This is why Requtech has selected Anokiwave for its Ku and Ka Satcom Phased Array Antenna design,” said Omid Sotoudeh, Requtech’s CEO. “Requtech previously has extensive knowledge and experience with military phased array radars and felt that the Anokiwave chipset was the best vehicle for using those skill sets in the development of products for the SATCOM market.”
All Anokiwave SATCOM ICs are released, available and shipping in volume.
Requtech’s antenna products are released and undergoing type approval and certification with several LEO, MEO and GEO satellite constellations in both Ku- and Ka-band. Modems can be embedded internally or connected externally depending on the application requirements.
Anokiwave is a cutting-edge provider of highly integrated IC solutions that enable emerging mmW markets and Active Antenna based solutions. Anokiwave’s creative system architectures and optimal selection of semiconductor technologies solve the toughest engineering problems. Anokiwave is based in Boston, MA and operates design centers in Austin, TX, Boston, MA, and San Diego, CA with sales offices in Taipei, Taiwan, Boston, MA, and San Diego, CA. Additional information can be found at www.anokiwave.com/satcom.
Requtech is a leading SATCOM product developer based in Linköping, Sweden. Built around a team of ex-Saab Defense and Sony Ericsson engineers, we deliver fully integrated terminal solutions for LEO, MEO & GEO connectivity. We offer robust and reliable high-performance SATCOM terminals based on cutting edge technology. Additional information can be found at www.requtech.com. (Source: Satnews)
23 Mar 22. Spaceflight + Astrocast Extend Their Smallsat IoT Constellation Launch Contract. Spaceflight Inc. has initiated an extended multi-launch agreement (MLA) with long-time customer and Internet of Things (IoT) constellation developer, Astrocast. This agreement will add two missions to accommodate Astrocast’s fast-growing IoT constellation which helps track assets in some of the world’s most remote regions.
In February of 2020, Astrocast and Spaceflight signed an MLA for the launch of 10 additional IoT smallsats, representing the sixth launch booked with Spaceflight. In total, Spaceflight is now set to launch a majority of the satellites that will complete the Astrocast IoT Nanosatellite Network.
Spaceflight has already managed the successful launch of 10 Astrocast spacecraft, including demonstration models on Spaceflight’s historic SSO-A mission in 2018 and PSLV-C45 in 2019. The companies most recently partnered and successfully launched an additional five smallsats on Spaceflight’s SXRS-5 in January of 2021.
The uniqueness of Astrocast’s constellation lies in a very low signal and small antenna and terminal with long battery life. The small size lets the company put the terminal on everything from fishing buoys to animals. For example, Astrocast is helping its customers track illegal fishing, endangered animal species, and heavy machinery in remote locations. By default, IoT solutions implemented in many of these situations are deployed in remote locations – from mines to farmland, ships to oil platforms. Astrocast’s solution minimizes the need for human intervention and repair, wherever possible, safeguarding the business case.
2022 promises to be a year of unprecedented innovation and leadership for Spaceflight, with approximately 20 planned missions across its diverse portfolio of launch vehicle partners. In January 2022, NASA named Spaceflight to provide launch services for the agency’s Venture-Class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR) missions. The company also successfully executed its first launch with Astra last week and plans to debut the next two variations of its Sherpa OTV family with its much-anticipated quarter lunar slingshot mission, GEO Pathfinder.
“Flexibility is a key differentiator going forward,” said Astrocast CFO, Kjell Karlsen. “Spaceflight has already demonstrated their flexibility in launch timing and availability across multiple vehicles in our existing contract. Assured access to space is critical for Astrocast to grow our constellation and we’re looking forward to working with Spaceflight to continue to efficiently build out our constellation in orbit.”
“We’re pleased to expand our relationship with Astrocast,” said Curt Blake, president and CEO of Spaceflight. “Having a portfolio of launch options and the expertise to move quickly to accommodate changes is something we’re very proud of, and one that fast-growing constellation builders like Astrocast rely on.” (Source: Satnews)
21 Mar 22. AvL Technologies’ Reveals New COTM Terminal, New X-Y Antennas, Intelsat Antenna Qualifications, New Tri-Band Antenna + An SES Contract. AvL Technologies has announced a new Communications-On-The-Move (COTM) terminal, new X-Y antennas and terminal qualifications with Intelsat. These new products are being showcased in the AvL Technologies booth this week at SATELLITE 2022.
AvL has developed a unique, multi-band COTM terminal for land and sea applications. Designed for today’s evolving battlespace and emergency response environments, the terminal is band reconfigurable to support multi-orbit GEO and MEO applications. This new product features an operator friendly interface and a simple band reconfiguration capability. Customers will also appreciate the life cycle costs and ease of maintenance.
The AvL COTM terminal operates with high efficiency for greater throughput over an entire range of networks, enabling a lower cost per bit to operate. It was developed with best-in-class performance, reliability and ruggedness, and high precision mechanical steering for fast acquisition and re-acquisition tracking. Key features include pre-commissioned plug and play technology, modem agnostic, OpenAMIP, open and closed loop tracking, user friendly graphical interfaces, multiple non-pen rooftop mounts, and easy maintenance with its modular design and field replaceable components.
1.3 meter and 2.4 meter X-Y Antennas
AvL has designed new X-Y antennas for operation in GEO and MEO orbits. The 1.3 and 2.4 meter antennas operate in pairs and support make-before-break uninterrupted links, and the antennas feature rapid retrace ability to operate independently for many applications. The antennas operate with full hemispheric coverage and eliminate the overhead pass keyhole with the X-Y positioner, enable high gain with AvL’s uniquely shaped optics, and maintain accurate and reliable beam pointing with AvL’s AAQ antenna control system.
The antennas are transportable and pack into cases, with the 1.3 meter antenna packable in three, airline checkable cases and the 2.4 meter antenna packable in four, MIL-STD-1472G two-man lift/carry cases. The antennas can be assembled and acquire a satellite signal within 15 minutes and both operate in X-, Ku- and Ka-bands with optional customized frequency bands.
Intelsat Qualified Terminals
Three AvL terminals are now certified for operation on the Intelsat GEO network. The AvL terminals are the 0714 75cm 25W BUC, 0914 98cm 25W BUC, and 1314 1.35m 25W BUC terminal.
“2021 was an incredibly busy year for AvL Technologies with the development of the COTM terminal, the new XY antennas and Intelsat terminal qualifications among other efforts,” said Mike Proffitt, President of AvL Technologies. “We’re excited to debut our new products and Intelsat qualified terminals at SATELLITE 2022..”
Plus, AvL Technologies has revealed a new 1.55 meter, tri-band, manual point terminal. The antenna is being showcased in the AvL Technologies booth this week at SATELLITE 2022.
The antenna features include high efficiency X-, Ku- and Ka-band feeds integrated with high power Mission Microwave block upconverters, an all-new AvL quad-pod positioner and the company’s Terminal Interface Unit with high-stability 10Mhz reference and built-in graphical user interface for ease of satellite acquisition and peaking. Importantly, this terminal includes standard and high wind configurations and has been demonstrated in extremely harsh environments during 25m/sec (56 mph) winds with minimum gain loss with the optional high-wind kit. The terminal packs into 4 lightweight cases and can be assembled by two people in 15 minutes.
Additionally, AvL Technologies has been selected by SES to develop and produce 2.4 meter, X-Y Ka-band transportable antennas to operate with O3b mPOWER, SES’s second-generation, MEO constellation. The antennas are now in development and a pre-production prototype is featured in AvL’s booth this week at the SATELLITE 2022 show.
AvL is developing two types of transportable 2.4 meter X-Y antennas for O3b mPOWER to be used as high-throughput user terminals or transportable gateways. The X-Y antennas will track O3b mPOWER satellites in MEO and provide direct overhead satellite tracking. The antennas operate in pairs and also feature enhanced retrace speeds that are optimized for robust network operational performance.
The AvL antennas will allow SES’s customers, ranging from governments to mobile network operators, to leverage the soon-to-be launched O3b mPOWER system that will provide unprecedented flexibility, performance coverage, and scale. The software-driven O3b mPOWER communications system is capable of delivering secure and intelligent connectivity services from tens of megabits to multiple gigabits per second to any customers who require rugged, portable land mobile applications across the globe.
AvL and SES have a longstanding relationship of collaborating on antennas as AvL developed 85cm, 1.2m and 2.4m terminals that operate with O3b, SES’s first-generation network. AvL recently upgraded and certified three traditional AvL GEO terminals to provide field-upgradeable (re-configurable) MEO operability on the SES first-generation O3b network, including 1.0 meter and 1.2 meter vehicle-mount terminals and a new 2.2 meter ultra lightweight, flyaway terminal.
“We’re thrilled to continue the long relationship between SES and AvL,” said Mike Proffitt, President of AvL Technologies. “Together AvL and SES will continue to innovate and take SATCOM to new dimensions, with the output being impressive new high bandwidth applications suited for AvL’s rugged and resilient antennas with O3b mPOWER intelligent connectivity services.” (Source: Satnews)
21 Mar 22. Mission Microwave Ka-Band SSPAs To Be Implemented In SES O3b mPOWER Gateways. Mission Microwave Technologies, LLC, a manufacturer Gallium Nitride (GaN) based Solid State Power Amplifiers (SSPAs), has confirmed the initial production orders for high power SSPAs in support of SES O3b mPOWER gateways — this order follows nearly three years of work between the companies to implement this forward-looking technology into the O3b mPOWER system.
SES and Mission Microwave shared their vision of replacing classic Traveling Wave Tube Amplifiers (TWTA) with state-of-the-art SSPAs. Exchanging Tube based amplifiers for Solid State Amplifiers is best understood with the analogy of replacing incandescent light bulbs with LED lighting. The benefits include reliability, energy efficiency and lower total cost of ownership over the lifetime of a satellite project/ground station. Tube amplifiers also have a limited shelf life, complicating logistics for global deployments in remote locations.
O3b mPOWER is SES’s next generation, Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellite constellation whose beams can be shifted and scaled in real-time to meet customer demands. When launched later this year, the O3b mPOWER system will deliver connectivity services ranging from tens of megabits to multiple gigabits per second.
Mission Microwave President and CEO, Francis Auricchio, said, “SES did a fantastic job in leading the industry to this technology innovation. As the O3b mPOWER network architecture was being designed SES wanted to explore the potential of using SSPAs rather than classic TWTAs in the network gateways. SES’s earlier efforts to source SSPAs at this power level were not successful. SES’s engineering teams understood the technology risks and benefits and worked closely with Mission Microwave’s product development team to define a form, fit and function replacement for 500 watt TWT Amplifiers that took advantage of the benefits of Solid State Amplifiers while allowing early network deployments to rely on traditional TWT amplifier designs. This was a substantial engineering challenge in terms of RF and thermodynamic design. The result is a new benchmark in high power amplifier design that is an enabler for SES network designers for O3b mPOWER and future network enhancements.”
Stewart Sanders, Executive Vice President of Technology and O3b mPOWER program lead at SES, said, “We need to bring together all the latest and most innovative technology so that we can optimise capabilities of the O3b mPOWER system and deliver the unprecedented scalability and flexibility connectivity services that our customers demand. Mission Microwave SSPAs are a key element to making the network reliable, scalable and supporting our customers’ global reach. Our technology team is justifiably proud of the joint accomplishment in bringing this new technology to support our global gateway infrastructure.”
Mission Microwave Technologies continues to be at the forefront of the satellite terminal industry in shipping high power X, Ku and Ka Band BUCs for critical applications in ground, maritime and aerospace applications for government and commercial industry sectors that require high efficiency, reliability and performance. Mission brings revolutionary design for RF (Radio Frequency) and microwave electronics, using the latest in semiconductor technology. Mission’s focus is to minimize the size, weight, and power (SWaP) for these critical applications while providing its customers with the best possible reliability. (Source: Satnews)
22 Mar 22. Comtech Unveils World’s Fastest 5 Gbps Gateway Modem To Optimize Satellite Constellations + Large VSAT Networks. Comtech has unveiled their new, advanced, high-speed CDM-780 Gateway modem, capable of managing unprecedented amounts of data delivered over new ultra-powerful and complex wideband GEO, MEO and LEO satellites and constellations to provide high-speed trunking services to gateways and support massive VSAT networks of hundreds-of-thousands of sites. The CDM-780 Gateway Modem, with five times the bi-directional speed of the nearest offering, further extends Comtech’s successful portfolio of advanced high-speed trunking and broadcast modems with a level of flexibility capable of delivering 2.5 Gbps simplex and 5 Gbps duplex data rates over a single solution.
The modular CDM-780 modem can be equipped with up to three modulators, three demodulators, or a combination of both to enable high-speed trunking or hitless satellite handover capabilities. Each modulator and demodulator is capable of supporting users at 500Msps and 2.5Gbps data rates.
Comtech’s new modem features a broad range of built-in redundancy features – from dual data management interfaces and power supplies – that allow the modem to run simultaneously on two different grid sources to keep the gateway link and its customers always on and operational.
When used as the DVB-S2X outbound for Comtech’s new Next-Gen ELEVATE VSAT platform, leveraging superior speed and statistical multiplexing, the CDM-780 modem can support five times the remote sites over a single outbound carrier compared to other platforms. It’s a key differentiator that will allow providers to serve both data hungry and light applications using less overall satellite bandwidth.
The CDM-780 Gateway modem was designed to be the most efficient, highest throughput trunking and feeder link modem across the market. The advanced platform delivers space segment efficiencies that reduce both capital and operating costs.
“The CDM-780 Gateway modem is the world’s fastest, most reliable and scalable modem, set for commercial rollout by summer to support new advanced satellites and constellations beginning to initiate service in multiple orbits,” said Louis Dubin, Senior Vice President of Product Management for Comtech Satellite Network Technologies. “This state-of-the-art platform offers global connectivity and the unparalleled reliability and resiliency content providers must have to meet mission-critical network demands around the world.” (Source: Satnews)
20 Mar 22. CISA + FBI: Strengthening The Cybersecurity Of SATCOM Network Providers + Customers.. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are aware of possible threats to U.S. and international satellite communication (SATCOM) networks. Successful intrusions into SATCOM networks could create risk in SATCOM network providers’ customer environments.
Given the current geopolitical situation, CISA’s Shields Up initiative requests that all organizations significantly lower their threshold for reporting and sharing indications of malicious cyber activity. To that end, CISA and FBI will update this joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA) as new information becomes available so that SATCOM providers and their customers can take additional mitigation steps pertinent to their environments.
CISA and FBI strongly encourages critical infrastructure organizations and other organizations that are either SATCOM network providers or customers to review and implement the mitigations outlined in this CSA to strengthen SATCOM network cybersecurity.
CISA and FBI strongly encourages critical infrastructure organizations and other organizations that are either SATCOM network providers or customers to review and implement the following mitigations:
Mitigations for SATCOM Network Providers
- Put in place additional monitoring at ingress and egress points to SATCOM equipment to look for anomalous traffic, such as
- The presence of insecure remote access tools—such as Teletype Network Protocol (Telnet), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Secure Shell Protocol (SSH), Secure Copy Protocol (SCP), and Virtual Network Computing (VNC)—facilitating communications to and from SATCOM terminals.
- Network traffic from SATCOM networks to other unexpected network segments.
- Unauthorized use of local or backup accounts within SATCOM networks.
- Unexpected SATCOM terminal to SATCOM terminal traffic.
- Network traffic from the internet to closed group SATCOM networks.
- Brute force login attempts over SATCOM network segments.
See the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community, February 2022 for specific state-sponsored cyber threat activity relating to SATCOM networks.
Mitigations for SATCOM Network Providers and Customers
- Use secure methods for authentication, including multi-factor authentication where possible, for all accounts used to access, manage, and/or administer SATCOM networks.
- Use and enforce strong, complex passwords: Review password policies to ensure they align with the latest NIST guidelines.
- Do not use default credentials or weak passwords.
- Audit accounts and credentials: remove terminated or unnecessary accounts; change expired credentials.
Enforce principle of least privilege through authorization policies. Minimize unnecessary privileges for identities. Consider privileges assigned to individual personnel accounts, as well as those assigned to non-personnel accounts (e.g., those assigned to software or systems). Account privileges should be clearly defined, narrowly scoped, and regularly audited against usage patterns.
Review trust relationships. Review existing trust relationships with IT service providers. Threat actors are known to exploit trust relationships between providers and their customers to gain access to customer networks and data.
- Remove unnecessary trust relationships.
- Review contractual relationships with all service providers. Ensure contracts include appropriate provisions addressing security, such as those listed below, and that these provisions are appropriately leveraged:
- Security controls the customer deems appropriate.
- Provider should have in place appropriate monitoring and logging of provider-managed customer systems.
- Customer should have in place appropriate monitoring of the service provider’s presence, activities, and connections to the customer network.
- Notification of confirmed or suspected security events and incidents occurring on the provider’s infrastructure and administrative networks.
Implement independent encryption across all communications links leased from, or provided by, your SATCOM provider. See National Security Agency (NSA) Cybersecurity Advisory: Protecting VSAT Communications for guidance.
Strengthen the security of operating systems, software, and firmware.
- Ensure robust vulnerability management and patching practices are in place and, after testing, immediately patch known exploited vulnerabilities included in CISA’s living catalog of known exploited vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities carry significant risk to federal agencies as well as public and private sectors entities.
- Implement rigorous configuration management programs. Ensure the programs can track and mitigate emerging threats. Regularly audit system configurations for misconfigurations and security weaknesses.
Monitor network logs for suspicious activity and unauthorized or unusual login attempts.
- Integrate SATCOM traffic into existing network security monitoring tools.
- Review logs of systems behind SATCOM terminals for suspicious activity.
- Ingest system and network generated logs into your enterprise security information and event management (SIEM) tool.
- Implement endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools where possible on devices behind SATCOM terminals, and ingest into the SIEM.
- Expand and enhance monitoring of network segments and assets that use SATCOM.
- Expand monitoring to include ingress and egress traffic transiting SATCOM links and monitor for suspicious or anomalous network activity.
- Baseline SATCOM network traffic to determine what is normal and investigate deviations, such as large spikes in traffic.
Create, maintain and exercise a cyber incident response plan, resilience plan and continuity of operations plan so that critical functions and operations can be kept running if technology systems—including SATCOM networks—are disrupted or need to be taken offline.
All organizations should report incidents and anomalous activity to CISA 24/7 Operations Center at or (888) 282-0870 and/or to the FBI via your local FBI field office or the FBI’s 24/7 CyWatch at (855) 292-3937 or
National Security Agency (NSA) Cybersecurity Advisory: Protecting VSAT Communications
NSA Cybersecurity Technical Report: Network Infrastructure Security Guidance
Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI): Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community, February 2022
CISA Tip: Choosing and Protecting Passwords
CISA Capacity Enhancement Guide: Implementing Strong Authentication
Revisions March 17, 2022: Initial Version (Source: Satnews)
At Viasat, we’re driven to connect every warfighter, platform, and node on the battlefield. As a global communications company, we power millions of fast, resilient connections for military forces around the world – connections that have the capacity to revolutionize the mission – in the air, on the ground, and at sea. Our customers depend on us for connectivity that brings greater operational capabilities, whether we’re securing the U.S. Government’s networks, delivering satellite and wireless communications to the remote edges of the battlefield, or providing senior leaders with the ability to perform mission-critical communications while in flight. We’re a team of fearless innovators, driven to redefine what’s possible. And we’re not done – we’re just beginning.