Sponsored By Viasat
07 Apr 22. The Satellite Applications Catapult (“the Catapult”) and Virgin Orbit (“Virgin Orbit”, Nasdaq: VORB), a leading launch provider, have announced an agreement to launch the latest satellite in the Catapult’s In-Orbit Demonstration (IOD) programme into space from the United Kingdom later this year.
The satellite, called Amber-1, is a partnership between the Catapult and Horizon Technologies. Built by AAC Clyde Space in Scotland, it will be launched by Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne on its historic flight from Spaceport Cornwall this year – a mission that is expected to mark the first ever orbital launch from a United Kingdom spaceport.
The objective of the mission is to demonstrate for the first time how launch from the United Kingdom can benefit the rapidly growing UK space sector and can enable organisations to rapidly deploy new technologies to orbit, with a complete end-to-end capability coordinated from UK soil.
Amber-1 is expected to be the first of 20+ planned Amber™ satellites to provide Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) data to users. Using unique, patented technology, the system will geolocate and demodulate radio frequency (RF) data from ships around the world. Horizon Technologies’ data will be used by governments to provide information on the tracking and prevention of illegal fishing, smuggling, trafficking, piracy, and terrorism. Information collected through the programme will be provided to the United Kingdom’s Joint Maritime Security Centre (JMSC).
“We are delighted to work with the Catapult and Horizon to launch Amber-1 on this planned historic flight, the first to bring domestic launch capability to the United Kingdom. We believe tracking shipping from space is vital to keeping the seas safe and that Amber-1 is a key technology that will aid this endeavour. This important technology, and Virgin Orbit’s collaboration with the Catapult are the latest signs of the growth we are seeing across the UK space economy. This is galvanized by our planned capability to launch straight from the United Kingdom to orbit,” said Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart.
Lucy Edge, COO of the Satellite Applications Catapult said: “This launch is a huge milestone for the space sector in the UK. This summer, the UK completes its end-to-end ecosystem enabling companies to design, build, launch and operate their spacecraft all from one place.
“The impact for the UK Space Economy is uncapped, and we look forward to supporting this vibrant sector in demonstrating major advances in agile access to space.”
John Beckner, CEO of Horizon Technologies said: “The launch of Amber-1 has been a long time in coming, and we are thrilled to be part of our partner, Virgin Orbit’s planned launch this summer. Amber™ will revolutionize maritime RF detection from space using single CubeSats (as opposed to expensive clusters). We believe Amber™ is a glowing example of a successful partnership between a growing UK SME and the Satellite Applications Catapult.”
Science Minister George Freeman said: “British satellites have been saving lives at sea for decades by providing emergency communications and location services, so it is fitting that Virgin Orbit’s first mission from Space Cornwall later this year will launch a maritime intelligence satellite.
“This will be a major milestone for our £16bn space and satellite sector and a great example of the government’s National Space Strategy in action.”
Esra Kasapoglu, Director of AI and Data Economy, Innovate UK added, “The British satellite and space sector plays a significant role in saving lives, digital communications, location services, scientific discoveries and creating environmental and social impact.
05 Apr 22. US Space Command releases commercial integration strategy. U.S. Space Command wants to strengthen its partnerships with commercial providers through a new integration strategy. SPACECOM Commander Gen. James Dickinson rolled out the new commercial integration strategy Tuesday during a media briefing here at the Space Symposium.
“We have really had a surge, if you will, of commercial companies that are coming to us wanting to be part of the broader [Department of Defense] enterprise,” Dickinson said. “We took a step back . . . and said, how can we do that better? How can we make it easier, more efficient, more feasible for a commercial company to enter into an agreement with us?”
According to an overview of the strategy, the goal is to develop a framework for better integrating commercial capabilities in a way that helps fill capability gaps. The overview outlines three “ways” or lines of effort SPACECOM will pursue: accelerating acquisition and technology refresh timelines, exploring integration as a service and leveraging industry expertise to strengthen partnerships.
The outline notes that SPACECOM will prioritize opportunities in the areas of command and control, big data management, modeling and simulation, space control and satellite communication satellites and terminals. The command will also seek commercial service approaches in a range of areas including remote sensing, SATCOM bandwidth and quantum computing.
The role of commercial satellite imagery in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has demonstrated the capabilities these companies can provide, Dickinson said — especially when integrated with military intelligence.
“Those civilian companies that now can provide that level of imagery is really beneficial to not only the broader audience worldwide understanding what’s happening on the ground, but also in terms of how that can augment and supplement what we do in the Department of Defense,” he said.
Asked about concerns that commercial satellites could be targeted by adversaries, Dickinson did not directly address the issue, but noted those capabilities are becoming inherently more resilient as companies develop proliferated constellations and the ability to rapidly replenish capabilities. (Source: Defense News)
05 Apr 22. Advanced Cybersecurity Protection Now Part of Satellite Flight Software. Proven via an AFWERX Space Challenge in 2020 and a U.S. Space Force-funded prototype in 2021, RunSafe Security’s advanced cybersecurity protection is now part of Emergent’s Gear satellite flight software production build chain. Emergent’s customers achieve increased cyber resilience, benefiting from RunSafe’s run-time protections embedded in Emergent’s flight software.
“Emergent’s approach is to build-in cybersecurity into our flight software (FSW) products from the outset. We were impressed at how easily we integrated Alkemist into our existing software build chain and it complemented our existing cyber defense approach,” said Dr. George Davis, CEO of Emergent.
Emergent has a layered architectural approach for integrating and managing FSW services in a sustainable, maintainable, and interoperable way. Emergent’s Gear Framework and software development kit (SDK) enables plug-and-play of FSW into modular open-source architectures (MOSA), spacecraft buses, and payload interfaces and rapid development of 3rd party FSW applications.
“Emergent’s flight software is a perfect use case for Alkemist. It’s Linux-based software and Emergent’s customers require a high level of cyber resilience to ensure mission success,” said Joe Saunders, Founder & CEO of RunSafe. “We’re excited to support Emergent and the Space Force, in addition to our related work with the Air Force, Navy, and Marines.”
RunSafe’s patented Alkemist technology protects against known and unknown vulnerabilities – without changing original software functionality and without slowing down software development – even when a patch is not available. Alkemist is integrated at build time for protection at run time. In September 2020, AFWERX selected RunSafe as one of seven finalists in the Space Asset Resiliency category of its 2020 Space Challenge. This selection made RunSafe eligible to propose its solution to the Space Force.
RunSafe and Emergent teamed on the effort, combining cyber and space expertise. The solution involved:
- Alkemist integration into the existing Gear software pipeline,
- Confirmation of no change to the original flight software functionality, and
- Increased cyber resilience and reduced attack surface via Alkemist’s software memory protection.
The successful prototype phase concluded in January 2022 with a presentation and demonstration for Col. Heather Bogstie at the Aerospace Corporation campus in El Segundo, CA.
About Emergent Space Technologies, Inc.
Headquartered in Laural, MD, Emergent researches, develops, integrates, and tests advanced systems and software for civil, military and commercial space missions. We are industry leaders in flight software for distributed space missions, including constellations, formations and clusters of small satellites, as well as rendezvous and proximity operations for on-orbit servicing, assembly and manufacturing. Our core competencies are systems engineering, GN&C, PNT, modeling and simulation and software architecture, design, development and test. Learn more at: https://www.emergentspace.com/
About RunSafe Security, Inc.
Based in McLean, Virginia, RunSafe Security is on a mission to immunize software from cyber attacks and disrupt hacker economics without developer friction. RunSafe’s patented technology inoculates customers’ systems from an entire class of cyber attacks by stopping the infection at its source. RunSafe Security’s customers span the critical infrastructure, IIoT, automotive, medical, DevSecOps, cloud workloads, and national security use cases. Learn more at: https://runsafesecurity.com/. (Source: PR Newswire)
05 Apr 22. Amazon inks deals to send its internet satellites into space. Arianespace, the ULA and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin to provide backbone for high-speed networks. The United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur rocket will be used for 38 Project Kuiper launches taking internet satellites into low earth orbit. Amazon has secured deals to launch up to 83 rockets carrying its internet satellites into low earth orbit, in what is believed to be the largest such procurement in the history of the space industry. The agreements with Arianespace, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin will be sufficient to launch the majority of its initial constellation of 3,236 satellites, Amazon said. They will provide the backbone to Project Kuiper, Amazon’s high-speed broadband network aimed at consumers, business, government agencies and others. It seeks to compete with Elon Musk’s Starlink, which has launched more than 2,000 satellites and boasts download speeds of up to 200 megabits per second. Amazon did not disclose any specific financial details of the agreements, nor a timeline for launches, but said it was “investing bns of dollars across the three contracts”. One Amazon executive told the Financial Times that the company would invest “no less than $10bn” in the total constellation. Project Kuiper has a deadline from the US communications regulator to have at least half of its satellites in low earth orbit by July 2026. Two prototype missions are set to launch later this year with a different provider, ABL Space Systems. (Source: FT.com)
04 Apr 22. Mercury announces new line of drop-in radiation-tolerant power supplies for the Space market. Standardized ultra-compact FPGA power module enables the most demanding on-orbit processing. Mercury Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY, www.mrcy.com), a leader in trusted, secure mission-critical technologies for aerospace and defense, today announced the new RH5210 radiation-tolerant power module, the first in a series of ultra-compact radiation-hardened multi-output power supplies designed for commercial and space applications. Developed to support the Xilinx XQRKU060 FPGA, the RH5210 provides a drop-in SWaP-optimized power solution for many radiation-sensitive applications and platforms such as satellite and launch vehicles, remote-controlled robotic devices, mission-critical computing systems, and any electronic system with the potential for radiation exposure.
Why It Matters:
The advent of more cost-effective, low earth orbit (LEO) constellations is making on-orbit processing more accessible by lowering the barriers to entry. Moreover, accelerating the implementation of the new space economy requires a new breed of microelectronics. Mercury’s off-the-shelf power supply enables advanced edge-processing applications, accelerating the ability to bring AI processing directly to orbit in support of earth imaging, sensor fusion, and hypersonic missile threat mitigation.
“New satellites equipped with breakthrough digital payload electronics require high-density, clean power to support advanced FPGAs required for low-latency, on-orbit edge processing,” said Tom Smelker, vice president and general manager, Mercury Microsystems. “Our new RHS5210 power module replaces several larger, standalone power supplies in typically half the space, freeing up valuable payload capacity for other critical electronics. It’s another example of our how we partner with our customers and semiconductor companies to deliver commercial technology to the aerospace and defense industry at the speed of innovation.”
A trusted, secure, low-latency solution that reduces back-end processing
- Offering 11 integrated power supplies with inductors
- Simple, drop-in design for easy integration with Xilinx XQRKU060 FPGA
- Built for space with fully rad-tolerant components
- Onshore trusted manufacturing in a DMEA-accredited facility
04 Apr 22. D-Orbit Launches its 5th ION Satellite Carrier Mission.
- Spacelust launched on April 1, 2022, aboard the SpaceX Transporter-4 mission
D-Orbit, the space logistics and orbital transportation company, today launched Spacelust, the fifth mission of the Company’s proprietary ION Satellite Carrier (ION), aboard SpaceX’s Transporter-4 mission. The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off today, April 1, 2022, at 12:24 PM EDT from the Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS), Florida. ION, a versatile and cost-effective orbital transfer vehicle (OTV) designed both to precisely deploy satellites and perform technology demonstrations of third-party payloads in orbit, was successfully deployed at 1:50 PM EDT into a 500 km Sun synchronous orbit (SSO).
“The pace of our missions is growing fast, and we’re thrilled to add the fifth ION to the fleet of our vehicles that are already in orbit”, said Renato Panesi, Ph.D., D-Orbit’s Chief Commercial Officer. “Every mission we launch is built upon the success of the ones that came before it. We are steadily increasing our performance with each new mission, expanding our customer base and growing our exceptional team. As we execute our strategic plans, we are continuing to demonstrate the strength of our technology and are advancing D-Orbit’s path to enabling the transportation and logistics infrastructure to drive the evolving space economy.”
With the launch successfully completed, D-Orbit’s mission control team is currently going through the mission’s Launch and Early Orbit phase (LEOP), performing a series of health check procedures in preparation for the operational phase.
The Company has four more ION launches scheduled for the remainder of 2022. The next ION mission, Infinite Blue, is scheduled for no earlier than June 2022.
Partnering with Valued Customers
The Spacelust mission includes satellites from Kleos Space S.A. (ASX:KSS, Frankfurt:KS1, Kleos) via Spaceflight Inc., satellites developed at the Space Exploration Laboratory (SPEL) and a hosted payload from Upmosphere.
For Kleos Space, a space-powered radio frequency reconnaissance data-as-a-service (DaaS) company, D-Orbit will deploy four satellites which will:
- Augment the capabilities of the company’s eight satellites constellation, increasing the average daily revisit rate to around five times a day over a 15-degree latitude area of interest, while expanding Kleos’ data collection capability by up to an additional 119 m kilometers² per day.
o The resulting twelve-satellite constellation will be able to detect and geolocate radio frequency transmissions to within 300 meters, improving the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities of governments and commercial entities to expose illegal activity on land and sea.
D-Orbit is partnering with Spaceflight to deploy its customer Kleos’ satellites on this mission. To prepare for launch, D-Orbit worked in close collaboration with the Spaceflight and Kleos teams to perform all operations necessary to adapt and integrate the satellites aboard ION.
- For SPEL, D-Orbit will deploy three additional satellites, developed by the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Mathematics (FCFM) at the University of Chile in collaboration with the University of Santiago de Chile. These three satellites include:
o PlantSat, a 3U CubeSat that will study the growth of a plant in low Earth orbit in an environment that will replicate the conditions on the surface of Mars; and
o The Satellite of the University of Chile for Aerospace Investigation’s (SUCHAI) nanosats, SUCHAI 2 and SUCHAI 3, which will perform basic science research funded by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), the basic research technical directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The satellite data will be studied by multidisciplinary teams, which will undertake cutting edge research on scientific exploration and technological development.
For Upmosphere, which offers customers a chance to launch smaller personal items that will travel around the Earth for several years aboard ION, the payload for this mission consists of a wooden UP-box containing mementos from four different clients. (Source: ASD Network)
01 Apr 22. Space Force eyes Iridium in quest for satellite broadband, say top company officials.
“We’re offering a very specialized services so we’re not trying to compete in the general purpose broadband,” Iridium CEO Matt Desch told Breaking Defense. “We don’t have to be the primary; we may be the emergency or contingency kind of solution.”
The Space Force is increasingly interested in Iridium’s satellite broadband communications services as one path to feeding the military’s ever-growing appetite for space-based Internet — especially as the military services move to make Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) real, say senior company officials.
“Right now, the most exciting thing they’re looking at is our broadband services. With that, we’re able to provide broadband on the move, and they’re a big adopter of that, obviously, for things like JADC2,” Scott Scheimreif, Iridium’s executive vice president for government programs told Breaking Defense.
Scheimreif said his firm is “not trying to compete” in general-purpose broadband, but is offering “very specialized services” that could be of use to Space Force.
“We don’t have to be the primary; we may be the emergency or contingency kind of solution. But we’re not going to have a fixed-price for broadband,” he said, drawing a distinction with the company’s narrowband offerings.
The company operates 66 active Iridium NEXT satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), plus nine spares.
Buying commercial satellite communications (SATCOM) as a service — that is, buying access to bandwidth under a fixed-price contract over a fixed number of years, similar to how individuals buy a cell phone plan — is something that the Space Force has been struggling to do since its inception. It also is something in which combatant commands and the other services, particularly the Army, are interested.
The goal is two-pronged: to save money but also provide more, and more resilient, battlefield communications by being able to switch from one provider to another when one system is either unavailable or actively being jammed.
Space Force’s Space Warfighting Analysis Center (SWAC) is working on a so-called force design aimed at creating a “space data backbone” that integrates SATCOM across military, commercial and even allied networks, SWAC Director Andrew Cox told Breaking Defense in an exclusive interview in January that effort includes looking at a “fee for service” acquisition model.
Further, the Commercial Satellite Communications Office (CSCO) shared a draft request for proposals with industry last fall looking for feedback on how the Space Force might be able use such a services-based acquisition model to tap into the large constellations of broadband Internet satellites being built in LEO, such Iridium NEXT, the Starlink network being built by SpaceX or a similar network being built by OneWeb.
CSCO serves as a middleman between commercial satellite operators and then matches the needs of various operational commands and other DoD customers to a provider — helping manage the contracting process. However, CSCO doesn’t have a budget or program of record for buying bandwidth access; rather funds are found in the Overseas Contingency Operations fund when a need for a surge in connectivity is required by operators. And up to now it’s not done a lot of contracting on a true fee-for-service basis, according to industry officials.
“We have much more work to do,” Pete Hoene, CEO of SES Government Solutions, told the SATELLITE 2022 conference on March 23. “We really do need a long term partnership so that as owner/operators we can invest in the capabilities the US government wants and needs, but we also have an incentive to do so — longer term contracts, Other Transaction Authority, so we’re more flexible.”
Iridium is one of the few firms that already has a long-term fixed price contract for SATCOM with Space Force. Indeed, the bulk of DoD’s SATCOM services and bandwidth comes via the Enhanced Mobile Satellite Services (EMMS) program, for which Iridium Communications was awarded a $738.5m, seven-year, fixed-price contract in December 2019.
But that, Iridium CEO Matt Desch explained, is a contract for narrowband services, not broadband.
Narrowband SATCOM is optimized for applications/customers that need highly reliable, low power, and long-range communications — it eats up less of the bandwidth available, and transmits at a higher power level than broadband, thus the high reliability.
“We make everybody else jealous, because we are the only satellite company with a fixed-price model,” he said.”Now, that’s for our narrowband services, because we can afford to do that, be sort of all-you-can-eat.”
Broadband SATCOM, on the other hand, is capable of higher data rates, meaning it can transmit much more data than narrowband in a given amount of time. Thus, broadband is used to provide not just voice communications, but high-speed internet connectivity that can rapidly transmit images and video.
Desch said that there is a lot of interest in broadband as a service, too, but that is more difficult to make a business case for because it is more costly. For this reason, Iridium won’t be offering its various-speed broadband services, called Iridium Certus, under an unlimited data for a fixed-price contract.
Scheimreif also stressed the fact that Iridium doesn’t see itself as a competitor to big broadband providers like SpaceX and OneWeb.
“We kind of consider ourselves a very niche, unique capability of highly reliable, very resilient network. And we work with others like a Starlink, and a OneWeb: they’re providing the big pipes and we’re providing highly reliable service.”
That said, Desch explained that one of the advantages of Iridium’s broadband network for the Space Force is that it is already built. “We built it. We spent bns of dollars, they didn’t have to build it,” he said.
Service officials the company has interacted with also “like the idea” that Iridium’s broadband service is based on L-band, he added, “so it has lot of resiliency.” Finally, he said, the Iridium network is attractive to Space Force because it uses “a small terminal” that “can be integrated with other technologies.” (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
04 Apr 22. Boeing Successfully Demonstrates Ground-Based Anti-Jam SATCOM Capability.
– Demo showcased successful integration of Boeing Protected Tactical Enterprise Service (PTES) software elements with an industry partner’s user terminal
– U.S. Space Force is employing agile development and rapid prototyping on this pathfinder program to accelerate delivery to the warfighter
Boeing [NYSE: BA] recently demonstrated successful integration of its Protected Tactical Enterprise Service (PTES) software elements with an industry partner’s user terminal, proving technical maturity on the U.S. Space Force’s pathfinder program.
“The Space Force and our industry partners are employing continuous integration, rapid prototyping and agile development across the PTES program to ensure successful deployment of this critical capability, at mission relevant-speed,” said Ms. Charlotte Gerhart, Space Systems Command’s Tactical SATCOM division chief. “A great deal of coordination and real-time collaboration is required for industry teammates to achieve a successful integration event like this one. To fulfill our vision of digital dominance, the Space Force is building on these types of accomplishments to continue developing the most advanced mission-enabling technology to counter the threat.”
PTES provides ground-based Protected Tactical Waveform (PTW) processing, enabling secure operations and protected tactical communications coverage over Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellites – and eventually on commercial satellites – without spacecraft modification. PTW, the U.S. military’s jam resistant waveform, provides security features for data protection.
Making use of WGS military-unique features in conjunction with its wide bandwidth for PTW spread spectrum hopping, PTES-over-WGS provides the U.S. Department of Defense with crucial fleetwide protected communications anywhere on the globe. It mitigates interference and adversarial jamming for high-data-rate satellite communications in contested environments, creating greater resiliency and enabling missions in otherwise denied areas.
At the integration event, the latest in a series of incremental capability demonstrations, Boeing showcased PTES’ encryption capabilities in a virtual environment.
The successful demonstration validated the Boeing-developed key management system’s ability to interface with a PTW ground terminal. It also validated the network management software and virtualized mission planning components. These software elements combine to provide the mechanism for secure communication with the ground terminal.
“This incremental system demonstration provides valuable feedback from Space Force operators and other members of the user community, reducing development and integration risk, while ensuring system capabilities are adaptable to change,” said Troy Dawson, Boeing’s vice president of Government Satellite Systems. “We’re committed to the Space Force’s mission to rapidly develop and deploy technology at operationally-relevant speed. Our PTES program demonstrates how stakeholder collaboration and agile development enable continued advancements to meet the evolving threats on the battlefield.”
In August 2021, Boeing and the Space Force successfully completed the PTES program’s first over-the-air forward-link demonstration using a PTW modem. The next over-the-air demonstration, which includes forward and return-links, is planned for later this year. Initial operational capability is slated for 2023.
As an industry leader in tactical military satellite communications, Boeing is responsible for a portfolio of programs to deliver protected high-data-rate communications to the warfighter. In addition to PTES, Boeing is the prime contractor for the WGS system, as well as the Mitigation and Anti-Jam Enhancement (MAJE) upgrade to the WGS fleet.
PTES is the ground-based anti-jam capability the U.S. Space Force is developing within the Protected Anti-Jam Tactical SATCOM (PATS) portfolio. Boeing is also developing a spaced-based PTW hub, the Protected Tactical SATCOM Prototype (PTS-P).
01 Apr 22. Omnispace and Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), are proud to announce that Omnispace Spark-1™ was successfully delivered into orbit aboard the SpaceX Transporter-4. The Omnispace Spark™ program represents phase one in the development and delivery of the world’s first standards-based global hybrid network.
Thales Alenia Space designed and built the satellite, part of the initial two-satellite Omnispace Spark program. The new-generation NGSO satellite in low-earth orbit (LEO) will operate in the 2 GHz S-band. Omnispace Spark will support the mobile industry 3GPP standard in band n256, making connectivity possible direct to compatible devices. This program will serve to advance the development and implementation of Omnispace’s global hybrid non-terrestrial (NTN) network.
“Omnispace is reinventing mobile communications by building a global hybrid network that will benefit users requiring true mobility, everywhere,” said Ram Viswanathan, president and CEO of Omnispace LLC. “We are pleased with the work that Thales Alenia Space, together with its world-class team of innovators, have done to design and build Omnispace Spark. With their help we are making our vision of a single, ubiquitous, global hybrid network possible.”
“I’m very excited about the successful launch of Spark-1, a nanosatellite we built in conjunction with NanoAvionics, Syrlinks & ANYWAVES. This achievement reflects our ability to develop new space solutions in partnership with innovative SMEs to address market needs. We are convinced that merging flight proven expertise with agility is the key to successfully matching the evolving space demand,” said Hervé Derrey, CEO of Thales Alenia Space.
Spark-1 was delivered into orbit aboard a SpaceX Transporter. Exolaunch provided launch, mission management, integration and deployment services.
Led by prime contractor, Thales Alenia Space, the Omnispace Spark program includes industry partners, NanoAvionics providing the satellites buses, launch support and in-orbit operations, ANYWAVES the payloads user antennas and Syrlinks the S-band instruments for the payloads. (Source: PR Newswire)
01 Apr 22. HawkEye 360 Inc., the world’s leading commercial provider of space-based radio frequency (RF) data and analytics, today announced that its Cluster 4 satellites have successfully launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Cape Canaveral site on April 1. The trio of HawkEye 360 satellites, each containing an RF payload developed by HawkEye 360, has established communication with ground control and is set to commence its commissioning process to meet increasing client demand.
“The successful launch of Cluster 4 marks another critical milestone achieved by HawkEye 360. I am proud to see our team continue to improve the cutting-edge capabilities we have on orbit,” said CEO John Serafini. “Each capacity increase and technological advancement to our constellation opens new possibilities for delivering timely, unique insights to our government, commercial and humanitarian clients.”
Cluster 4 expands HawkEye 360’s existing nine-satellite constellation, which has collected more than 80 m emitter geolocations since 2019. The newly designed satellites include enhanced antenna functions which allow greater flexibility in detecting and geolocating signals across a wide range of frequencies important to our customers.
Cluster 4 is the fourth set of satellites launched by the company and is slated to achieve initial operating capability in June 2022. HawkEye 360’s Cluster 5 is tested and ready to launch no sooner than June 2022. Together, Cluster 4 and the soon-to-launch Cluster 5 will double HawkEye 360’s on-orbit capacity and significantly expand its collection across the RF spectrum.
Two additional fully funded clusters are scheduled for launch in 2022. These clusters will enable the constellation to have a global revisit rate of less than one hour. This revisit rate is key to further enhancing our ability to monitor global activities and support timely defense, national security, and commercial applications. (Source: PR Newswire)
04 Apr 22. UK Space Command Contracts with SSTL for Carbonite+ Satellite. Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has signed an £18m contract with Defence Equipment and Support on behalf of Space Command for Carbonite+, a 150kg spacecraft
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has signed an £22m contract with Defence Equipment and Support on behalf of Space Command for Carbonite+, a 150kg spacecraft. Project TYCHE is the first satellite procurement for the MINERVA programme which is a key enabler in the development of the foundation for a UK Space-based Intelligence Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) constellation under programme ISTARI. Delivered under a 3 year build programme, the Carbonite+ mission will be compatible with both horizontal as well as vertical launch. Carbonite+ will be operated from SSTL’s Spacecraft Operations Centre in Guildford.
Phil Brownnett, SSTL’s Managing Director, said “We are delighted that Space Command has signed with SSTL for Carbonite+, and we are looking forward to working together on this pivotal mission for the UK. We have established an excellent relationship with Space Command and by working closely together we have evolved and enhanced our Carbonite+ spacecraft design for the Project TYCHE Programme.”
Defence Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin said: “The MINERVA programme provides the route to use space to be fully interoperable and able to share data with our close allies. “This is the crucial first step in delivering this capability and I’m delighted that we’re working together with UK companies to remain at the forefront of innovation in space.”
The key outcome of project TYCHE will be a robust understanding and analysis of the integration activities, test environments and interfaces required to establish and maintain UK MOD rights to freely operate a space based Intelligence Surveillance and Recognisance (ISR) capability. The project also aims to understand security requirements, risks and identify further activities which may be required to mature the ISTARI ISR capability.
The Project TYCHE contract provides sustained employment at SSTL, with up to 100 employees directly contributing to the successful project delivery, together with increased opportunities for UK start-ups, SMEs, and VSCE’s to become involved with an annual growth target of 5%.
01 Apr 22. The D-Orbit Orbital Transfer Vehicle carrying the four Patrol Mission satellites has been successfully deployed into a 500km Sun Synchronous orbit after being launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida. After the deployment of the Kleos satellites from the Orbital Transfer Vehicle, satellite builder, Innovative Solutions In Space (ISISPACE), will assist with Launch and Early Operation Phase (LEOP) support, including in-orbit system commissioning and final manoeuvring of the satellites into their operational formation.
The Patrol Mission satellites increase Kleos’ global data collection capacity by 119 m km² per day and incorporate additional frequency spectrum collection capabilities, enabling the geolocation of X-Band radar transmissions in the 8500-9600 MHz range. X-Band maritime radar is commonly used for collision avoidance on board ships even when tracking systems such as Automatic Identification System (AIS) are turned off. The successful launch and deployment will grow Kleos’ low earth orbit constellation to 12 satellites and improve average daily revisits over key areas of interest for the customer base, e.g. over the area between 15-degrees latitude north and south of the equator to around five times a day.
Kleos CTO Vincent Furia said, “Each of our new clusters feature greater data collection and geolocation capability. In a little over a year, we have launched three satellite clusters with our fourth coming middle of this year. The pace at which we are building our constellation is a testament to the quality of our team and supplier partnerships.
“The additional X-Band geolocation capability will provide greater consistency and accuracy for customers, enabling them to locate ships that are emitting X-Band radar signals such as those that might be involved in illicit activities and evading Automatic Identification Systems (AIS).
“While our initial Scouting Mission satellites were focused on mid latitude collections including the South China Sea, the Vigilance and Patrol satellites increase our capabilities and provide global coverage. Additional clusters increase not only the volume of geolocation data available for our customers to purchase, but also its value in establishing baseline patterns of life and improving the detection of illegal activity such as drug and people smuggling, border security challenges and piracy.
“Kleos’ accessible and cost-effective GEOINT dataset complements and integrates with existing commercial data, providing our customers with a more complete view of what’s happening on the ground.”
01 Apr 22. ‘We’re in trouble’ if supply chain issues continue, says Gilmour. Supply chain woes are continuing to impact Australia’s space industry as it recovers from the pandemic and now faces the results of the war between Russia and Ukraine.
Chief executive officer and co-founder of Gilmour Space Technologies, Adam Gilmour, said at the Australian Space Summit some bulk commodities, like aluminium, are currently difficult to source.
“I don’t know what’s going on, but everybody is buying aluminum. I’m not sure if there are traders somewhere in the world buying it all off,” he said in a panel discussing Australia’s launch capabilities.
He said it is expected the issues will “normalise” by the end of 2022 and that he is “not panicking too much” as the rocket manufacturing company foresaw this happening a year ago.
“I remember our program manager said everybody’s got to go out and buy two or three vehicles worth of components to have in stock.
“So definitely until the end of the year it’s okay, but if it doesn’t normalise after that, we’re in trouble.”
The Queensland-based company is set to launch its Eris rocket into sub-orbital space by the end of 2022.
Aluminium is one of the primary components of building spacecraft and aircraft, as the material is considered lightweight and strong.
However, in late March, Prime Minister Scott Morrison banned exports of alumina and aluminium ores, including bauxite, to Russia in its latest sanction towards the war-torn country.
Morrison said in his address that the sanction would limit the nation’s ability to produce aluminium, “which is a critical export for Russia”.
“This significant step demonstrates our absolute commitment to holding the Putin regime to account. And we won’t cease until we’re doing everything we possibly can.”
In 2020, Russia was the second largest exporter of aluminium in the world, and the rising tensions with Ukraine have hindered its production, now impacting the aerospace industry.
Despite current world obstacles, Australia has struggled with the particular issue of unfilled supply chain gaps due to the sector still being small for far longer.
Ben Kitcher, executive director of research and technology, Western Parkland City Authority said at the summit that despite that, the nation still has the opportunity to scale up the ecosystem.
He said other nations’ fuller supply chains weren’t just handed to them, but “they were developed, they were invested in, they were committed to and built over time, and that’s how we get to that position.
“One thing we have to do is look for the things we can do really good at and make sure we fill the gaps,” Kitcher added.
He said Australia is advanced in multiple fields such as RF, optoelectronics and photonics, and should focus on utilising them to “move as fast as possible”.
However, supply chain problems in space are global, and were worsened due to the pandemic.
According to Paul Graven, chief executive of Cateni, a US company that develops avionics and software for the aerospace industry, the global “underinvestment” of the space supply chain was further emphasised during the COVID-19 crisis.
“The supply chain in space often behaves as though it’s surprised by orders. In no other industry does that really happen,” Graven told SpaceNews in November.
“COVID exacerbated some of the existing problems,” he said. “It created a situation where, when you have these supply chain shocks, they hit even harder.”
Space Connect has requested a comment from other space manufacturing companies such as Black Sky Aerospace, Fleet Space Technologies and Space Machines Company, but they are yet to respond. (Source: Space Connect)
01 Apr 22. UK Space Command marks one-year anniversary. UK Space Command is today marking its first anniversary following formation in April 2021.
Over the past year, UK Space Command – the Ministry of Defence’s lead for space operations, space workforce, and space capability – has taken command of RAF Fylingdales in North Yorkshire and the UK Space Operations Centre at RAF High Wycombe.
As the Command celebrates its first anniversary, it also reaches Initial Operating Capability (IOC), marking the completion of its initial development as an operational military command. This follows a year of rapid capability and workforce growth within UK Space Command.
In future, UK Space Command will command and control of all Defence’s space capabilities, including SKYNET satellite communications, the National Air and Space Operations Centre, and the ISTARI programme.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, the Chief of the Air Staff, said: “We are all dependent on space. It is fundamental to our security and to our way of life. Formed one year ago, UK Space Command has now achieved Initial Operating Capability, and is working 24-7-365 to make space safe, sustainable and accessible for the benefit of all.”
Air Vice-Marshal Paul Godfrey, Commander of UK Space Command, said: “Space Command’s first year has been exceptionally busy, and our staff have been superb. Every one of them should be proud of their role in enabling us to declare Initial Operating Capability as part of our first anniversary. We will continue to develop our workforce and capabilities to ensure the UK and our allies continue to have access to space and the services derived from it.”
The Command works closely with several allied nations in the Combined Space Operations Initiative (CSpO), Five Eyes, NATO, and other bilateral relationships, to collectively promote the free, responsible, and sustainable use of space.
Its first year has also seen close collaboration with the UK Space Agency to deliver joint civil and defence space policy as outlined by the National Space Strategy. The two organisations have worked closely together since the Command’s formation, especially throughout incidents like the re-entry of Long March-5B in May 2021, and the Russian anti-satellite missile test in November 2021.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the missile-tracking capabilities of UK Space Command have been a contributor to the UK and international response. Personnel at the UK Space Operations Centre and RAF Fylingdales have been monitoring this crisis continually since its outset having tracked more ballistic missiles in the last six weeks alone than in the whole of the previous year.
Now in its second year, UK Space Command will continue to deliver on the UK’s Space Programme outlined in the Defence Space Strategy from February 2022, setting out the government’s vision for Defence as a global actor in the space domain. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
28 Mar 22. A New LEO Constellation Is Introduced By Rivada Space Networks. launch a constellation of 600 LEO communications satellites, has been established by U.S. wireless communications company, Rivada Networks. Recognizing that the business world is increasingly data-driven, cloud-based and cybersecurity conscious, and that existing systems do not and cannot meet these needs, wireless technology entrepreneur Declan Ganley formed Rivada Space Networks to deliver a unique solution for secure, global, end-to-end enterprise and government connectivity — responding to specific customer needs that are not being met by today’s technology.
For the first time, Rivada Space Networks will offer access to secure satellite networks with pole-to-pole reach, offering end-to-end latencies similar or better than terrestrial fiber. The Rivada network will operate like an optical backbone in space using lasers to interconnect satellites to deliver an ultra-secure and highly reliable global data network for business operations in the telecom, enterprise, maritime, energy and government services markets.
The constellation’s unique architecture, high speed and low latency, combined with Rivada’s dynamic pricing and open access technology, will also make it possible to bring internet access to remote and underserved areas where no backhaul is currently available.
Rivada Space Networks will leverage the unique terrestrial wireless technologies of parent company Rivada Networks Inc. to optimize network utilization and facilitate the buying and selling of broadband capacity. The company’s patented technologies including Dynamic Spectrum Arbitrage and Open Access platform will enable efficient use of spectrum and provide customers with ultimate flexibility.
Rivada Space Networks Founder Declan Ganley said, “Our goal is to leverage the unique strengths of low-latency satellite communication to provide an enterprise-grade on demand experience anywhere in the world from any platform. Rivada Space Networks will not only provide a competitive advantage, it will help to expand these markets by enabling new opportunities through previously unavailable levels of performance combined with global reach. When wireless technologies converge with satellite over a single, highly secure network – you are going to get the best of both worlds.”
Based in Germany, Rivada Space Networks is rapidly moving forward with procurement of a low-earth-orbit network of 600 Ka-band communications satellites. The company is currently undertaking an RFI with major satellite manufacturers to finalize the system design and manufacturing plan, paving the way for the production and deployment of the entire constellation. (Source: Satnews)
29 Mar 22. Partnership Between Kymeta + IP Access Int’l To Optimize Terminals For First Responders Plus Kymeta + OneWeb Sign Distribution Agreement. Kymeta and IP Access International have signed a partnership agreement to co-develop and distribute optimized solutions using Kymeta terminals, broadband and LTE services to first responders across North America.
IP Access operates the nation’s largest public safety satellite network, which includes more than 1,000 agency customers encompassing 1,700 unique endpoints. This agreement to deliver optimized solutions will combine Kymeta’s resilient and cost-effective electronically-steered flat panel technology with IP Access’ experience building public safety networks for mobility and remote connectivity where it has not previously existed. It will use coverage and bandwidth on a jointly developed, multi layered broadband network optimized specifically for public safety customers. The Kymeta enabled solution allows communication and interoperability among devices, further extending the reach of the IP Access RedPHONE service even if there is an internet outage due to malware or denial-of-service attacks.
The Kymeta u8 product family for mobile broadband communications are low-maintenance and low-profile for resilient Communications-On-The-Move (COTM) and Communications-On-The-Pause (COTP). The u8 product family also offers a pathway to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) networks as they come online over the next several years. The new partnership will allow IP Access to provide solutions that perform on today’s satellites and are enabled to work on future LEO satellite networks.
The partnership illustrates the commitment from both companies to enable critical mobile connectivity solutions for public safety and for disaster response that are more robust than ever before. Kymeta and IP Access have committed to a significant volume of equipment and satellite bandwidth to quickly fulfill the needs of public safety and first responders and grow the product suite and coverage in support of this important market.
“Kymeta is dedicated to bringing access to always-on, reliable, and mission-critical communications while on the move to the public safety and first responder market,” said Bill Marks, EVP and Chief Development Officer of Kymeta. “Our u8 products have been deployed around the world and provide a real-world solution for the defense, government, public safety, and commercial industries by enabling connectivity that is ubiquitous and more robust than ever before. We are pleased to partner with a well-established leader like IP Access who has earned the continued trust and loyalty of first responders for over two decades through the delivery of consistent, reliable products and services.”
“IP Access looks forward to a strong partner relationship with Kymeta in our joint efforts to provide resilient communications to response teams who protect and save lives,” said Bryan Hill, CEO of IP Access International. “Our customers are indifferent to what network they are on so long as it is reliable. Our goal at IP Access is to provide them with the connectivity they need on every possible network. That means 4G, 5G, GEO, MEO and LEO. Customers have capital constraints, and it is our responsibility to deliver solutions that are future proof and that is why we are partnering with Kymeta.”
Additionally, Kymeta and OneWeb now have in place a distribution partner agreement to offer broadband connectivity services across the globe. The OneWeb LEO satellite network will give Kymeta customers access to high-speed, low-latency broadband connectivity while on the move or while stationary, anywhere in the world.
Kymeta offers the world’s only high-bandwidth, low power, fully integrated family of high throughput mobile terminals and has been widely adopted by military, government, enterprise, and maritime customers. The connectivity from OneWeb will complement Kymeta’s existing broadband geostationary orbit (GEO) and 4G cellular service offering.
Kymeta’s distribution agreement with OneWeb will enable the company to resell OneWeb services in conjunction with fixed and mobility hardware solutions to government and commercial customers globally.
The new Kymeta service, supported by OneWeb’s network of satellites, will distribute standalone OneWeb LEO service on the u8 or package together broadband services to offer GEO/LEO while also enabling military users access to a multi-constellation platform while on the move for the first time. The collaboration between the two leading companies in their respective fields provides a unique and comprehensive solution that expands connectivity and applications across all verticals and meets the needs of customers around the world.
“Whether connectivity is needed on land, at sea, or in the air, Kymeta continues to deliver through innovation and strong partner relationships,” said Walter Berger, President and Co-CEO, Kymeta. “Our distinctive technology can switch between linear and circular polarization in software, allowing support for both LEO and GEO Ku-band constellations without any physical changes to the hardware required. We look forward to working with OneWeb as the addition of capacity from their leading LEO satellite network will give customers, including the U.S. government and military, unprecedented access to connectivity in areas where existing networks don’t reach. Kymeta’s expansion into managed satellite services allows us to package our hardware solutions for connectivity as a service, a capability the US DoD and other end users are increasingly seeking.”
Commenting on OneWeb’s agreement, OneWeb CEO Neil Masterson added, “We believe that space is the future for communications on Earth. This agreement with Kymeta is another example of OneWeb’s dedication to enabling resilient and secure connectivity for all with fast, high-bandwidth, and low-latency communications services that enhances lives and can be accessed through revolutionary technology like Kymeta’s flat panel u8.” (Source: Satnews)
27 Mar 22. Aussies’ To Begin Building Three New Dedicated Teleports After MOU With OneWeb. OneWeb’s MOU with Telstra will explore new connectivity solutions for Australia and the Asia pacific regions.
Telstra is expanding its presence in the rapidly growing satellite telecommunications market, building and maintaining three new dedicated teleports across Australia to provide satellite gateway services for OneWeb in the Southern Hemisphere.
The first of the new teleports, located in Darwin Tivendale, is scheduled to begin installation this month with go-live planned in July. Two other sites – Charlton Toowoomba and Wangara, Perth, WA – are planned for completion later in 2022. Each facility will provide turnkey ground station support for OneWeb’s growing fleet of low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites.
These facilities are being delivered as part of a 10-year deal between Telstra and OneWeb. Telstra’s turnkey approach for OneWeb includes designing, building and activating the teleports with ground station capabilities to meet OneWeb’s requirements. Telstra will also provide 24/7 monitoring and quality assurance services at each location.
“OneWeb had exacting requirements from the outset, and we worked in close partnership with them from site selection through construction,” said Vish Vishwanathan, Vice President Wholesale & Satellite, Telstra Americas. “Teleports are complex sites involving access to secure and resilient infrastructure and on-the-ground expertise, which Telstra has provided to OneWeb throughout this project.”
Telco providers typically own and operate significant terrestrial and subsea assets, including fiber networks, IP backbones and data centers. These resources provide the critical ground service required to support satellite operators’ growing constellations, reduce their costs of entry into new markets and minimize the need for personnel to maintain their own terrestrial infrastructures.
“Low Earth Orbit satellite technology is transforming the global connectivity landscape, not only by creating new business opportunities, but also giving more businesses, communities and governments the internet access they need for progress,” said Michele Franci, Chief of Delivery and Operations at OneWeb. “More connectivity options benefit everyone and our approach in establishing strategic partnerships with experienced providers like Telstra is core to how we deliver the OneWeb mission.”
OneWeb has two-thirds of its constellation launched and is providing coverage above the 50th parallel North – reaching areas that have historically been hard to connect with distributed communities and challenging terrain. This includes Alaska, Canada, and the wider Arctic Region.
Earlier in March, OneWeb signed an MOU with Telstra to explore new connectivity solutions for Australia and the Asia pacific regions. (Source: Satnews)
At Viasat, we’re driven to connect every warfighter, platform, and node on the battlefield. As a global communications company, we power ms 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.