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09 June 22. Palermo holds talks with India for further collaboration in space. India and Australia are set to strengthen their ties in space even more, after Enrico Palermo held talks with the chairman of the nation’s space agency on Tuesday.
The head of the Australian Space Agency and Shri S. Somanath from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in a virtual meeting discussed the potential establishment of ground stations in Australia to monitor the South Asian nation’s navigation satellites.
It comes after the Australian federal government announced in March it was investing $42 m into space initiatives with India, such as supporting the nation’s first manned spaceflight, Gaganyaan, set to launch in 2023.
Australia will support the mission by tracking the spacecraft from Cocos Keeling Islands, a part of the nation’s external territory, with hopes to establish a ground station there.
In their latest talk on Tuesday, the leaders “expressed happiness over the progress” of establishing the ISRO ground station, according to a statement released by the Indian space agency.
“They also discussed on other potential areas of working together including Australia’s International Space Investment initiative; establishing ISRO’s ground stations in Australia for satellite data reception and for range and integrity monitoring of NavIC satellites and organising a joint workshop to promote interaction among space entities of both nations.”
The NavIC, also known as the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), is a constellation that provides accurate positioning information to users in India and regions extending up to 1500 kilometres from its boundary.
It is the Indian version of the GPS system and provides vehicle tracking, disaster management, aerial, marine and terrestrial navigation services.
The first of the eight satellites was launched in 2013, and the last in 2018. Space Connect has requested the Australian Space Agency for comment. Both nations have worked together in space since 1997 and have continued to strengthen ties in recent years over shared interests in space. The funding announcement made in March includes more than $25 m that will be invested into Australian businesses and researchers to utilise India’s space capabilities.
Then, $9.5m will also be spent on an Australia-India Innovation and Technology Challenge, and $7.8m to secure the ongoing Australia-India Strategic Research Fund. The Australia-India Strategic Fund – which is a previously established bilateral science cooperation – will receive $3.8m per year from 2026.
The fund provides grants for collaborations with Indian partners.
The announcement comes a year after the Australian Space Agency and the ISRO signed a memorandum of understanding to increase cooperation across civil space activities. Since then, the nations have collaborated on civil space research, technology and capability development, educational activities and the peaceful use of outer space. (Source: Space Connect)
07 June 22. Science & Technology drive to deliver UK space launch.
An ambitious Defence Science & Technology agenda, backed by £2 bn of investment, including an exciting new satellite launch, has been commissioned today.
- Science & Technology Portfolio launched to support new projects across Defence
- More than £2bn of R&D funding allocated between now and 2026.
- New space sensors to be launched from UK later this year
A new, ambitious Defence Science & Technology agenda, backed by £2 bn of investment and including an exciting new satellite launch, has been commissioned today.
Aimed at driving forward cutting-edge research and developing new Defence capabilities, the Science & Technology Portfolio outlines a series of ambitious programmes, encouraging industry collaboration and input to meet future Defence needs.
One ground-breaking project in the new portfolio is the Coordinated Ionospheric Reconstruction Cubesat Experiment (CIRCE) – a miniaturised space weather suite onboard two satellites – which will be launched later this year in partnership with the US Naval Research Laboratory.
The CIRCE mission will see three miniature sensors fixed to two cereal box-sized satellites to collect data on space weather as part of Virgin Orbit’s Launcher One rocket from Spaceport Cornwall in Newquay later this year.
The miniature sensors have been developed for the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) by University College London, the University of Bath, and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, and drawing on expertise from the University of Surrey. They will monitor changes within the ionosphere – a layer of the Earth’s atmosphere about 80 to 1,000 km above the surface – where variations in the environment can interfere with the operation of GPS, communications and sensing technology.
Paving the way for similar technology to be used on future satellite deployments, the miniature sensors could expand the ability to collect measurements in space to enhance space weather modelling capabilities. This knowledge would assist our Armed Forces to maintain communication and intelligence capabilities on the frontline.
Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin, said: “Exploring and using space is crucial for developing cutting-edge Defence capabilities that will ensure our Armed Forces can operate at the highest level anywhere on the battlefield.”
We are investing record amounts across our science and technology portfolio to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of innovation and sustains its strategic advantage over our adversaries.
Air Vice-Marshal Paul Godfrey, Commander of UK Space Command, said: “Defence science and technological activity in space has never been more important, whether it is in support of military operations or helping to combat climate change, defence innovation is at the forefront of this work. After it enters orbit from Spaceport Cornwall, CIRCE will enhance our understanding of space weather and help us to keep critical satellites safe from the many hazards associated with operating in space.”
The CIRCE mission forms just one element of a broader Science & Technology Portfolio announced today, aimed at driving forward cutting-edge research and developing new capabilities that currently do not exist anywhere around the world.
Building on previous projects including testing autonomous systems and developing state-of-the-art capabilities for our F-35 fighter jets, the MOD will work with the best of British industry and academia to develop new and exciting defence technology.
£2 bn will be invested between now and 2026 to develop programmes which underpin the development of the generation-after-next of military capabilities Key elements of the future-facing portfolio include:
- Plans to develop a new weapon demonstrator capable of operating up to hypersonic speeds to better equip our Armed Forces against future threats.
- Expanded research into AI technologies, better understanding how they can benefit service personnel on the front line.
- Investment to build defence capabilities in space, improving intelligence, communication, and surveillance.
The £2 bn outlined is part of the £6.6 bn investment into research and development following the £24 bn increase in the defence budget announced in the 2021 Defence Command Paper. Designed to meet the MOD’s capability needs, the Science & Technology portfolio will ensure the UK Armed Forces have access to the newest and most cutting-edge technology.
Dstl Chief Executive Dr Paul Hollinshead said: “Dstl’s world-class scientists are committed to delivering the best scientific advice and technological solutions, giving the armed forces operational advantage, the edge in decision making, and saving lives. The new portfolio will see defence enhancing its hypersonic research programme alongside significant science and technology investment in AI, cyber, electromagnet activities, novel sensors, advanced materials, space and support to the nuclear deterrent.” (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
07 June 22. CIRCE space weather suite announced for first UK satellite launch. Dstl’s miniaturised space weather instrumentation suite will be aboard Virgin Orbit which is aiming to launch from Spaceport Cornwall later in 2022. The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s (Dstl) miniaturised space weather instrumentation suite will be one of the payloads aboard Virgin Orbit which is targeting the first UK satellite launch this summer from Spaceport Cornwall in Newquay. Virgin Orbit’s Launcher One rocket takes off horizontally, carried aloft by a modified Boeing 747 jet, named Cosmic Girl.
The Coordinated Ionospheric Reconstruction Cubesat Experiment (CIRCE) satellite mission comprises two 6U cube-satellites that will be launched into a near-polar low Earth orbit in a string-of-pearls configuration (targeting 555 kilometres altitude). Each 6U satellite bus measures 10cm by 20cm by 30cm (the size of a cereal box), and will fly almost identical instrument capability on both satellites. Dstl is partnering with the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) on the joint mission.
The UK contribution to CIRCE is the In-situ and Remote Ionospheric Sensing (IRIS) suite, complementary to NRL sensors and comprising 3 highly miniaturised payloads developed for Dstl by University College London (UCL), University of Bath, and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), drawing on expertise from the University of Surrey. CIRCE will characterise a region of the space environment, the ionosphere, which is important for a range of defence and civil applications and can impact GPS, communications and sensing technology – both in space and on the ground.
All 3 IRIS payloads together occupy a small volume no more than 10cm by 10cm by 20cm. Miniaturisation of space weather sensors means that a significant capability is packed into each satellite bus provided by Blue Canyon Technologies. This type of miniaturisation could pave the way for deployment of many more such sensors as a routine inclusion on other satellites thanks to their small size, weight and power. The result would expand data collection for the near-Earth space environment, and enhance space weather modelling capabilities.
Understanding space weather is crucial to the safe operation of satellites. Solar flares and geomagnetic storms can severely impact satellites in space, as highlighted by the recent loss of 40 Space X Starlink satellites in February 2022.
During the mission the satellites will be operated from a series of ground stations in conjunction with international partners. As well as data collection, the miniature satellites will act as technology demonstrators, with their utility and performance being assessed to de-risk future missions.
A unique aspect of the CIRCE mission is the ability to characterise the same volume of space within a very short return period, enabled by the constellation of 2 near identical spacecraft actively maintaining a lead-follow configuration in the same low Earth orbit, separated by 250 to 500 kilometres. A single satellite in low Earth orbit has an approximately 90 minute revisit period; a multi-satellite constellation would improve on this, but it is the dual-nature of the 2 relatively closely-spaced CIRCE satellites that is anticipated to provide unique insights into the temporal dynamics associated with specific ionospheric structures.
Air Vice-Marshal Paul Godfrey, Commander of UK Space Command, said: “Defence science and technological activity in space has never been more important, whether it is in support of military operations or helping to combat climate change, defence innovation is at the forefront of this work. After it enters orbit from Spaceport Cornwall, CIRCE will enhance our understanding of space weather and help us to keep critical satellites safe from the many hazards associated with operating in space.”
Dr Paul Hollinshead, Dstl Chief Executive, said: “The CIRCE mission showcases the UK’s academic and industry space capabilities and extends the physical boundaries of our collaboration. This joint endeavour with our US partners shows there are no limits to what can be achieved with our international allies.”
Dr Paul Bate, CEO of the UK Space Agency, said: “The CIRCE space weather experiment will join a host of small satellites on board Virgin Orbit’s first launch from the UK, and it’s exciting to see the wide range of commercial, academic and government partners who will share this moment in history with us. We are on track to meet our ambition of becoming the first country to offer commercial launch services from Europe, catalysing investment into our growing space sector and creating hundreds of new jobs. I can’t wait to see Cosmic Girl take to the skies above Spaceport Cornwall later this year.”
Melissa Thorpe, Head of Spaceport Cornwall, said: “It’s an honour that critical UK and US partnerships are to be launched from Cornwall and we are proud to support the facilitation of these international milestones. The mission aligns with Spaceport Cornwall’s delivery of ‘space for good’, by bringing together partners from across the planet in a shared mission to support transformational space-to-planet communications and applications to benefit humanity.”
Notes to editors
IRIS provides in-situ ionospheric particle and radiation measurements (INMS and RadMon), combined with remote-sensing of triple-frequency GPS signals to map the topside ionosphere and beyond (TOPCAT). The UK data will provide useful information in their own right, as well as providing contextual environmental information for CIRCE, and enrich the science that can be derived from NRL’s triple tiny ionospheric photometry (Tri-TIP) ultra violet optics cameras, for tomographic specification of electron density.
The IRIS suite, integrated by SSTL, includes:
- An Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer (INMS), developed by UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory, which will improve understanding of the variability of atmospheric drag, the chemistry of the thermosphere and the impact of space weather on the upper-atmosphere;
- A Radiation Monitor (RadMon) from SSTL will identify areas of increased radiation for satellites to avoid, help identify suitable orbits and shielding requirements for future satellites, and highlight dynamic radiation enhancements that can be cross-correlated with payload and subsystem anomalies;
- TOPCAT, developed by Bath University’s department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, which will look at remote sensing of triple-frequency GPS signals, and validate the UK’s Multi-Instrument Data Analysis System (MIDAS) tomography algorithm for the topside ionosphere and plasmasphere, by using total electron content (TEC) measurements from the differential phase of GPS signals, inverting them to derive the electron density of the region. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
07 June 22. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) and Aeronix, Inc. have been selected to build a secure connective networking layer in space that will help enable the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) vision for the joint force.
The companies will develop a Space End Crypto Unit (ECU) prototype that will connect platforms and weapons in low earth orbit (LEO) across common architecture, providing added network security to critical missions for the Space Force. Northrop Grumman’s prototype is a flexible, high throughput design based on a single chip, reprogrammable solution and is expected to provide a connected network solution that helps warfighters make decisions faster across a full range of platforms.
“Our open architecture space mesh networking prototype enables new capabilities in Space Layer Networking to address emerging and evolving customer needs,” said Kevin Berkowitz, director, network solutions, Northrop Grumman. “This offering provides data, communications connectivity, and cryptographic processing at mission speed – a critical element of connecting the joint force.”
Northrop Grumman collaborated with Aeronix to incorporate high-speed encrypt/decrypt firmware, designed and tested to National Security Agency standards. Leveraging a crypto development kit, Northrop Grumman proved that third-party developers can further contribute to the already rich library of cryptographic algorithms. As part of this new award, this capability will be implemented onto the Space ECU prototype for delivery in 2024.
As the DoD seeks to connect the joint force, Northrop Grumman’s networking capabilities play a vital role in providing secure global connectivity. Recent demonstrations of the Software Programmable Open Mission Systems Compliant radio terminal have successfully connected third-party industry providers and securely shared information in a platform agnostic, all-domain environment.
Northrop Grumman is a technology company, focused on global security and human discovery. Our pioneering solutions equip our customers with capabilities they need to connect, advance and protect the U.S. and its allies. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers’ toughest problems, our 90,000 employees define possible every day.
07 June 22. Lynred, a leading global provider of high-quality infrared (IR) detectors for the aerospace, defense and commercial markets, today announces the launch of two multispectral linear array IR detectors for application in a range of Earth observation missions. Pega and Capyork are designed for integration into imaging satellites, tracking and measurement instruments used in water cycle observation and drought evaluation, as well as sea and land surface temperature monitoring, among numerous other potential commercial space applications.
Multispectral IR detectors enable users to obtain light measurements in a number of spectral wavelength bands covering the infrared range from short- to very longwave. Onboard a satellite, they operate by collecting a range of IR image data taken simultaneously from the same scene along the path of the satellite’s orbit, retrieving scientific information specific to an Earth observation application.
As spin out products based on IR detectors Lynred developed for two space missions: TRISHNA (Thermal infraRed Imaging Satellite for High-resolution Natural resource Assessment) led by CNES, the French national center for space studies, and LSTM, the European Copernicus Land Surface Temperature Monitoring mission, Pega and Capyork will enable future instruments for Earth observation missions to:
- Gain increased spatial resolution – the number of pixels used in constructing an image – which enables Earth observation within the infrared range at distances as low as a few meters above the Earth’s surface, allowing, for example, localized adjustments in soil preparation for agriculture
- Gain increased spectral resolution – the number of spectral bands in which an image is taken. This is particularly important for managing the water cycle in drought areas, where increased spectral resolution will provide more precise information on the absolute temperature of the area, as well as plant evolution
- Improve radiometric resolution of image data – the ability of the sensor to distinguish different gray-scale values. This improvement will enable the satellite to obtain more accurate data, critical for improving mathematical models
- Achieve wider swath – in order to reduce the time interval between two images taken of the same area; thereby meeting the increasing demand to obtain information more rapidly and even address real-time applications
“Lynred developed Pega and Capyork to fill gaps in Earth observation applications for infrared imagery. In space, IR imagery is needed across the whole spectral range from shortwave infrared (SWIR) to very longwave infrared (VLWIR), while providing a large variety of possibilities in terms of spatial resolution and swath,” said Philippe Chorier, space business development manager at Lynred. “Our new range also marks the beginning of space product lines that will help implement more market standardization, thus shorten time-to-market, which is important for space applications in land, climate change, emergency response and security domains.”
These multispectral IR detectors can work with either passive or active cooling at the system level and thus create new technical possibilities for standardization for future space applications.
“Due to their versatile design, they will be able to match space equipment needs, whatever the required spectral range, swath, spatial resolution or integration and cooling configuration requirements,” added Chorier.
- Pega and Capyork are each multispectral linear arrays with four different spectral lines
- Pega is equipped for Earth observation missions requiring a high flux range typically in the LWIR and VLWIR spectral range, whereas Capyork operates primarily in the SWIR spectral range
- Both devices can be adapted to operate in MWIR range
- Pega is made up of 600 pixels with 30µm pitch in the across-track direction and 12 pixels in the along-track directions for the four different spectral lines. This is significant because the 12 pixels allow users to manage how the detector operates in order to have zero defects in the line, among other benefits
- Capyork has 1,200 pixels with 15µm pitch format in the across-track direction and 12 pixels in the along-track directions for the four different spectral lines
During Optro 2022, taking place in Versailles (near Paris), France, June 8 to 10, 2022, Lynred will be at booth #20. The company will speak at four imaging and systems sessions:
- Thursday, June 9, at 16:00: ‘Development of a multispectral SWIR demonstrator using pixel level filters’
- Thursday, June 9, at 17:20: ‘Effects of etching depth and processing on electrical and electro-optical properties of Ga-free T2SL barrier infrared photodetector’
- Friday, June 10, at 09:30: ‘New developments of multilinear and multispectral infrared sensors for space applications at Lynred’
- Friday, June 10, at 09:50: ‘Lynred smart thermal imager: a powerful combination of processing and detector technology paving the way to new applications’
Lynred and its subsidiaries, Lynred USA and Lynred Asia-Pacific, are global leaders in designing and manufacturing high quality infrared technologies for aerospace, defense and commercial markets. It has a vast portfolio of infrared detectors that covers the entire electromagnetic spectrum from near to very far infrared. The Group’s products are at the center of multiple military programs and applications. Its IR detectors are the key component of many top brands in commercial thermal imaging equipment sold across Europe, Asia and North America. Lynred is the leading European manufacturer for IR detectors deployed in space.
07 June 22. EOS joins SmartSat CRC as 20th core partner. EOS Space Systems has just become the 20th core partner of SmartSat CRC, the Australian-wide consortium developing next-generation in-orbit technologies.
The Canberra-based company, which provides satellite tracking services, will work on improving space and ground communications under this new partnership alongside other industry leaders including Airbus, Nova Systems, BAE Systems and several universities.
As a core partner, EOS will also be able to spearhead research projects and nominate other candidates to join the industry consortium.
“We are delighted that EOS have decided to become one of our core partners,” said SmartSat CRC CEO Professor Andy Koronios.
“They obviously see real benefit in their participation with the SmartSat CRC and we look forward to working together to help build Australian space technology capability.”
SmartSat CRC hosts multiple collaborative missions that partners take part in, and EOS will join Project CHORUS (Compact Hybrid Optical-RF User Segment), a $2.8m investment into developing a new technology to improve space communications.
Shoal Group, one of SmartSat’s supporting members said that high data rate communications to and from small aperture satellite Earth terminals – two-way satellite ground stations with a very small dish antenna – are “reaching the limits” of radio frequency technology, which is typically used to communicate between space and Earth.
These limits make spacecraft more vulnerable to outside threats and electronic warfare, Shoal said.
But project CHORUS is developing a small aperture combined with a hybrid optical-RF terminal to create “leap-frogging” technology with diverse capabilities.
Optical communications (also known as laser communications) are carried on an optical rather than a radio wavelength. In NASA’s context, optical communications use light to transmit information over long distances by using lasers instead of radio frequencies.
Lasers are smaller, lighter and use less power than radio systems, and according to NASA, these advantages can significantly advance human exploration in the future.
“The commercial potential of Project CHORUS is significant with the technology dovetailing neatly with our existing globally-recognised capabilities of EM Solutions,” CEO of EOS, Glen Tindall said.
“Project CHORUS has been an exercise in the best-practice commercialisation of a new technology driven by collaboration between government, industry, and academics. The success of this venture to date demonstrates the value of having an independent platform like SmartSat CRC to bring the various parties together and accelerate the emergence of Australia’s space sector.
“Having benefited from what SmartSat is doing, we are thrilled to be investing our time and joining the CRC to drive great outcomes for Australian space technology.”
Phase 1, which ran from April 2019-April 2020 focused on research and feasibility studies, and Phase 2, which will deliver a working terrestrial demonstration of the terminal is set to be ready by early 2023.
Australian government agency the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) is also working alongside SmartSat’s partners for the project.
“We are seeing the development of potentially breakthrough technologies that could be a game-changer for military satellite communications,” said DSTG’s chief technology officer, strategic research and innovation, Professor Michelle Gee. (Source: Space Connect)
08 June 22. ELA says NASA will launch rockets from Australia on 26 June. Equatorial Launch Australia has announced that it will send NASA’s first commercial rocket into space on 26 June.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the Northern Territory-based launch company also confirmed the following two will be on 4 July and 12 July.
The contract to launch three scientific research rockets for NASA was first announced in 2019, initially planning for lift-off in 2020 but was delayed due to pandemic-related restrictions. If it goes to plan, ELA will also achieve Australia’s first commercial rocket launch from home ground at the Arnhem Space Centre (ASC), which is located on the Dhupuma Plateau near Nhulunbuy.
Following the three sounding rocket launches, ELA expects to complete over 50 per year by 2024 and 2025 – this is compared to Southern Launch’s ambition to host around 36 per year.
“Having NASA as our first customer is not only a great endorsement of our spaceport, but it places us at the forefront of global commercial space and proves that through ELA and the ASC, Australia now has a sovereign launch capability and access to space,” said ELA’s CEO, Michael Jones.
The mission will see the sub-orbital sounding rockets blast-off from the launchpad in Arnhem Land carrying scientific instruments into space as part of NASA’s Sounding Rockets Program.
The sounding rockets will conduct engineering tests and astrophysics research during their brief time in sub-orbital space – which will be between five to 20 minutes.
Newly elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Wednesday made an official announcement of the launch during his visit to Darwin.
“It’s terrific to be here in Darwin today to declare Equatorial Launch Australia and NASA [are a] go for launch right here in the Northern Territory,” he said at a press conference.
Prime Minister Albanese explained that the rockets will fly 250 kilometres north to collect data on the physics of the sun and its relationship with the Earth.
“This is a really exciting project. This is about not just the rocket launches itself, but it’s about sending a message to younger Australians and indeed, Australians of any age who might be looking at retraining for future careers of how important science is,” Prime Minister Albanese continued.
“We want the next generation to really look at STEM as part of Australia’s future and that’s why this is an important project.”
Philip Citowicki, the Executive Officer of Space Industry Association of Australia and Non-Resident Fellow at the Pacific Forum, told Space Connect that the comments from the Prime Minister “shows how serious” the government is taking the launch.
“Returning launch is one of the few major pieces of the space industry jigsaw puzzle needed to further accelerate our industries growth. It’s also a major step along the way in the development of sovereign space capability, which has been prioritised by the government,” Citowicki added.
According to Jones, ELA hopes to carry out at least two more launches in 2022.
It comes after the company was recently awarded its launch facility licence and launch permit for the NASA campaign following a two-year evaluation by the Australian Space Agency, ELA said.
The three upcoming launches will mark the end of the first stage of development of the spaceport, Jones added.
“We will now commence the development of Phase 2 of the ASC which includes the construction of additional larger launch pads to accommodate medium sized/larger payload rockets.”
The launch facility will initially be equipped with three launch pads for sub-orbital launches and small orbital satellite vehicles.
Space Connect reported earlier this week that ELA is preparing to welcome more than 70 personnel from NASA who are travelling from NASA Wallops Flight Facility to support the upcoming launches.
In October last year, the NT Labor government announced it was co-investing $5m into the sounding rocket launch, alongside private investors including Blackfyre Holding, Paspalis Innovation Investment Fund, and a group of sophisticated investors coordinated by Greenwich Capital.
ELA’s Arnhem Space Centre has been praised for its advantageous location when it comes to launch, as it resides just 12 degrees from the equator. This allows launch vehicles to “leverage the earth’s rotation to gain extra velocity”, ELA says, meaning payload to fuel ratios will be far cheaper.
Jones said that the geographic location “makes ASC very attractive to global rocket companies” and will provide an alternative to the French Guiana launch site.
Among other advantages such as sparse population and minimal air traffic making it a prime launch location, rockets will also be able to reach not only low-Earth orbit, but geosynchronous equatorial orbit, lunar orbit and deep space, ELA says.
The NT launchpad will become one of the only commercial sites in Australia, along with the Whalers Way facility in South Australia, which is on its way to approval, and the Gilmour Space Technologies Bowen Orbital Spaceport in Queensland, which is expected to facilitate commercial launches in the future.
According to the NT government, the Australian launch market is forecasted to be worth up to US$930 m over the next 10 years.
Head of the Australian Space Agency, Enrico Palermo, said this launch will “further cement” Australia’s reputation as a global space player.
“The growth of launch-related activities in Australia is helping to open up the full value chain of space activities, which will grow the sector and create new businesses and job opportunities here at home,” he said. (Source: Space Connect)
06 June 22. EY, Swinburne launch $3m space tech hub. Two major space players in Australia are teaming up to create a new space tech hub, set to help businesses utilise space to solve real-world problems such as climate change and natural disasters.
EY Australia, a professional service network that works heavily in space tech, and Swinburne University of Technology are working together to launch the hub with the help of $3 m from EY’s Global Strategic Innovation Fund, according to a statement on Monday.
The hub will give EY’s clients access to Swinburne’s equipment, academics and engineers to further their use of space technology, such as satellites.
“The space tech hub will solve big business problems by focusing on the downstream side of space activity – utilising space-derived data and services for terrestrial benefit,” said EY partner Anthony Jones, who will oversee the hub.
“We’ll be leveraging the capability of EY’s own astrophysicists, machine learning engineers and data scientists, as well as working with academics from Swinburne University of Technology, to help solve community resilience issues, drive decarbonisation initiatives, and aid in reducing the impact of natural disasters on communities.”
Using space technology has become critical for government agencies and companies across the world. In particular, the use of satellites has made natural disaster responses far more efficient, which is largely the reason Australia is investing into Earth observation satellites over the coming years.
According to an article in the Australian Financial Review, the service will use artificial intelligence to analyse satellite data and imagery which helps with bushfire detection and water management. The hub will be competing with existing Australian companies such as Geospatial Intelligence and Aerometrex.
EY already operates a dedicated team that builds space technology software solutions that can be applied to its clients’ needs. However, the hub will further the company’s in-orbit interests by combining 15 support staff comprised of scientists, data analysts and AI specialists that will work with Swinburne to help EY’s clients to utilise space for relevant issues.
Specifically, the hub will focus on improving community resilience and environmental health, through using space to respond quicker to natural disasters and climate change pressures.
It is also set to improve productivity, by using space technology to manage infrastructure and assets under challenged conditions, plus aiding problems of national interest, such as land management, logistics and defence.
“We are excited to be combining Swinburne’s world-leading research, technology and education capabilities with EY’s deep global connections and end-user insights to create sustainable space tech solutions to real-world problems,” Professor Alan Duffy, director of the Space Technology and Industry Institute at Swinburne University of Technology, said.
“This pioneering space tech hub is all about taking the knowledge we’ve gained from research across our universe and applying it to the complex problems we face here on Earth.
“Through the use of groundbreaking technology, like the Swinburne OzSTAR supercomputer, and our access to the next-gen of talent, this partnership will ensure that Australia’s space industry is at the forefront of this global economic, environmental and social opportunity,” said Professor Duffy. The hub also pens a master research services agreement between EY and Swinburne, the statement said. (Source: Space Connect)
06 June 22. USAF SSC plans to launch USSF-12 mission this summer. The GEO WFOV Testbed can perform missions, including missile warning, battlespace awareness, among others.
The US Space Force’s (USSF) Space Systems Command (SSC) has revealed its plans to launch the next mission, USSF-12, on 29 June.
USSF-12 will be launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 launch vehicle from Space Launch Complex (SLC)-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
The mission aims to demonstrate the performance of an innovative infrared sensor.
It will also perform a wide range of experiments and prototypes from GEO and evaluate its ability to host multiple missions on a single structure.
USSF-12 includes the SSC Space Test Programme’s (STP) co-manifested USSF12 Ring and SSC’s Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) Wide Field of View (WFOV) Testbed.
The SSC’s GEO WFOV Testbed is the primary payload for the mission.
It is an Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) demonstration in geosynchronous orbit that provides maturity and demonstrates the efficiency of the new space sensing technology to counter future adversaries.
GEO WFOV Testbed is a crucial technology component of the Missile Warning, Tracking, and Defence (MW/MT/MD) architecture, under which the SSC is collaborating with the Missile Defence Agency (MDA) and the Space Development Agency (SDA).
The programme is expected to deliver an integrated system of satellites quickly.
SSC Acquisition Delta Resilient MW/MT/MD senior materiel leader colonel Heather Bogstie said: “Our GEO WFOV Testbed can simultaneously perform strategic missions, such as missile warning and battlespace awareness, as well as tactical missions directly supporting the warfighter, by continuously monitoring up to one-third of the Earth’s surface with just a single sensor.”
The rideshare spacecraft on the mission, USSF-12 Ring, is a ring-based payload structure used to host multiple auxiliary payloads. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
03 June 22. QinetiQ’s system to provide communication in satellite denied environment. QinetiQ has developed a new system to provide communication in the satellite denied environments to support several military operations.
The system combines Free Space Optical Communications (FSOC) and real-time Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities together within one sensor.
The Software Defined Multifunction LIDAR (SDML) has the capability to provide multi-gigabit per second (Gbps) beyond line-of-sight (LoS) communication in a satellite denied condition.
This capability is achieved through LoS laser-based communications between a portable ground station and an airborne relay, which is available either on the aircraft of opportunity, an aerostat or on the high-altitude pseudo satellites (HAPS).
According to QinetiQ, the low probability of interception (LPI) and low probability of detection (LPD) are a result of reduced optical sidelobes, laser frequency and emitted power.
SDML’s software defined nature allows to change the mode of operations in mid-missions.
It can be switched to communications and ISR modes including 3D imaging, which provides traditional LIDAR imagery from a mobile platform, and Vibrometry for remotely detecting if the machinery is running or the buildings are occupied.
QinetiQ UK has already tested an SDML payload for the Zephyr HAPS and is now focusing on the development of a ground station for all the space based SDML systems.
In a statement, QinetiQ said: “QinetiQ Australia is seeking to develop a sovereign SDML capability that complements the work being done in the UK.
“We will draw on the existing IP in the UK to develop vehicle and man-portable SDML systems in Australia.
“The systems will become part of the suite of SDML capabilities being offered globally.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
05 June 22. Commercial providers of satellite services face a trust gap with military buyers. Despite growing enthusiasm for new space internet services, some military buyers remain distrustful of commercial solutions as a replacement for government-developed systems, a senior procurement official said June 2.
“We see the LEO mania, and the new capability available … but customers have a bit of a trust issue,” Clare Grason, chief of the Space Force’s Commercial Satellite Communications Office, said during an online event hosted by the Aerospace Corp.
Services provided by commercial satellites from low Earth orbit are one item on a growing menu of options offered by LEO, medium orbit and geostationary Earth orbit satellite operators to fill military communications needs. Grason said her office — which is responsible for matching military satcom demand with commercial suppliers — is “trying to get DoD comfortable that commercial solutions are reliable and dependable. We are trying to build confidence.”
Grason noted that most military buyers of commercial satellite capacity still prefer the traditional approach of using commercial bandwidth under short-term leases rather than buy fully managed services now offered by the industry.
An exception is a seven-year agreement DoD signed in 2019 with Iridium Communications for unlimited use of the company’s mobile communications constellation.
Otherwise, the “majority of what we’re procuring today is transponder capacity,” Grason said. “They [military customers] want to own and control the terminals, the ground segment and the management of the network traffic.”
Some users are warming up to commercial services, however, Grason said. The U.S. Army, for example, recently started a pilot program to evaluate commercial services, which is likely to be followed up with a managed service contract. The Marine Corps is looking to follow suit.
“The barrier in many cases is largely cultural,” she said.
Commercial satellite communications acquisitions peaked in 2012, fueled by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “After 2012 there was a slight decline,” said Grason. “Now we’re seeing our numbers rising.”
Aerospace held the June 2 event to highlight a recent white paper that provides broad guidelines for government agencies to determine when it makes sense to buy commercial services.
The “commercial readiness assessment framework” lists recommendations for how government organizations can assess commercial providers and commercial markets to meet national needs.
Ronald Birk, associate principal director at Aerospace and one of the authors of the assessment, said U.S. administrations for at least two decades have issued guidance to agencies to “use commercial as much as possible” but have not given guidance on “how to assess the appropriateness and readiness of providers.”
“When making the decision to acquire a commercial capability, government agencies should determine the level and scope of assessments needed to match their risk tolerance,” said the Aerospace paper.
A new business model
Grason said the Space Force “is laying the foundation to grow and prioritize commercial relationships.” The space industry is leading in many areas “and we’re seeing that in satcom.”
Contracts like Iridium’s that aggregate demand is a more efficient way of buying satcom, compared to having multiple contracts for different military customers, Grason said. Her office currently manages 175 different contracts for satellite communications.
“We believe that approach is a bit suboptimal,” he said. But transitioning to full-service contracts will be difficult for DoD users because it’s an unfamiliar business model.
Grason said her office is working with the consulting firm Deloitte to build an automated system to manage satcom procurements using the Salesforce customer relations management platform. “This should provide us with better information and promote better decision making and responsiveness,” she said.
An effort also is under way to educate military program managers, said Grason.
“Space Force organizations are focused on building systems,” she said. Some organizations are not familiar with the types of contracting methods that are now available that they could take advantage of, and worry that if they use commercial services, their needs will not be prioritized, Grason said.
“Our customers need to understand that making a transition makes sense economically and they can scale without having to add significantly more cost,” she said.
It also would be helpful for commercial companies to make sure their business plans “match the budgets our customers have,” she said. “And what are the terms and conditions? If DoD wants to lease terminals, what are the terms of replacing them? There are concerns that seemingly attractive models could become cost prohibitive.”
Grason’s message to commercial industry: “Never assume that the audience you’re dealing with has a high level of understanding.” (Source: glstrade.com/Space News)
03 June 22. neXat interconnects with Eutelsat ADVANCE network resulting in wider coverage and better flexibility for ISPs.
Connectivity providers now have a better choice, wider coverage and greater flexibility from a new global satellite network of Point-of-Presence (PoP) interconnections.
The world’s first satellite aggregation platform, neXat (powered by SatADSL), will interconnect its three global PoPs, based in Brussels, Orlando and Singapore, to the Eutelsat ADVANCE global network of PoPs located in Paris, New York and Singapore.
neXat’s PoPs are local access points processing and shaping IP traffic and connecting the internet backbone with regional teleports.
This new partnership extends neXat’s coverage worldwide, allowing it to access the entire fleet of the Eutelsat ADVANCE network and its managed portfolio of connectivity services, without the need to create separate connections to dedicated teleports and hubs. The result provides choice, flexibility and time-to-market for service providers connected to the platform.
neXat COO Michel Dothey said, “This is a truly significant step for the neXat platform in our journey towards establishing ‘The Network of satellite networks’. It increases the ability for our clients to buy and resell satellite capacity via the neXat’s e-Marketplace, while providing better access to the value-added services provided by our platform. Thanks to the interconnection of our networks, we can now deploy any new connection on Eutelsat satellites very easily and quickly.”
“Building on our strong relationship with Eutelsat, which has already connected some of its beams to our platform, this new initiative will bring benefits not only to our respective companies, but also to the many ISPs and connectivity providers across the world who need reliable, affordable and widely available satellite services.”
neXat is a capacity aggregation platform that performs as an intermediary between teleport and hub operators and the marketplace. It offers its partners access to a network of resellers across five continents and operates as a Platform as a Service (PaaS) that offers a full suite of value-added services. (Source: Satnews)
01 June 22. Bridging Mexico’s digital divide is Hughes Network Systems’ JUPITER system. Hughes Network Systems, LLC. (HUGHES) has reported that the firm’s JUPITER™ System platform has been selected by Stargroup, Apconet/Aitelecom, Eutelsat and Globalsat to power satellite connectivity at more than 7,200 sites across Mexico.
Additionally, Stargroup selected Ka-band capacity from the Hughes JUPITER high-throughput satellite fleet for an integrated, high-performing solution. The providers won awards under the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) Telecomunicaciones e Internet para Todos initiative to bridge the digital divide and independently selected the Hughes JUPITER System to connect Community Wi-Fi and internet access sites.
The JUPITER System operates on more than 75 satellites, powering ms of consumer and enterprise broadband, cell backhaul, aero and maritime mobility connections. Now in its third generation, the system includes hubs and very small aperture terminals (VSATs) that deliver the industry’s best cost-to-performance ratio; private, cloud-delivered network management; and dynamic inroute configuration for the highest possible efficiencies.
“We are pleased to utilize Hughes JUPITER System technology and capacity to help connect schools, health clinics and community centers in the most rural and hard to reach areas in Mexico,” said Monica Aguirre, chief executive officer, Stargroup. “Hughes has a reputation for integrity and leadership in satellite communications worldwide and a track-record of investment and commitment to connecting the unconnected with satellite solutions across Mexico.”
“Hughes is proud to be the trusted supplier of satellite networking technology for this important initiative to help close the digital divide in Mexico,” said Ramesh Ramaswamy, executive vice president and general manager, International Division at Hughes. “Each service provider’s selection of the JUPITER System is a testament to the value Hughes technology brings in meeting operator needs for high-performing, economical and efficient satellite solutions. Across Mexico, JUPITER System equipment and Ka-band satellite capacity help bridge the digital divide with internet access, community Wi-Fi hotspots and cellular backhaul service to extend mobile operator reach. With cost-effective broadband connectivity like this throughout Mexico, these operators can help rural communities thrive and enjoy better access to education, healthcare and social services.” (Source: Satnews)
03 June 22. Strategic review to guide US approach to space weapons, classification, Liquori says. The U.S. Department of Defense expects to wrap up a review by the end of next month that will inform the Biden Administration’s space policy and guide decisions on the right mix of offensive and defensive capabilities.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan directed DoD and the intelligence community to conduct the “space strategic review,” which should be completed by late June or July, according to Lt. Gen. William Liquori, who oversees strategy, requirements and analysis for the Space Force.
“I anticipate that that will set our playing field, if you will, and define some of the policy aspects for this administration,” Liquori said June 2 during a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies virtual event.
The review will explore what combination of space weapons and defensive capabilities the department and its intelligence partners should operate and how they should talk about those systems in the public domain. Liquori said the review reflects a growing recognition that the U.S. not only needs resilient space systems, it needs a strategy for offensive and defensive operations.
The review will inform the department’s investments in “integrated deterrence” in the fiscal 2024 budget request and beyond, he said.
The Pentagon has been working on a strategy to declassify some programs, and the assistant secretary of defense for space policy told lawmakers last month DoD may rewrite the guide it uses to determine whether a program should be classified and at what level.
John Plumb told the Senate Armed Services strategic forces panel on May 11 that while a recent review of the Pentagon’s space portfolio found that the department’s secret programs are “probably appropriately classified,” there may be room for improvement to the process the department uses to make that determination.
“The fundamental question is, does the classification guide need to be redone?” he said.
The Space Force is also wrapping up a review of DoD’s space-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance requirements, which is part of a larger effort to define the service’s role in the mission and ensure there are no capability gaps.
Liquori said the service has partnered with the National Reconnaissance Office, which develops and operates the nation’s spy satellites, to draft a “needs memo” that is awaiting approval from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“That’s what we would have as a starting point for integrating all of the joint requirements for space-based ISR,” he said. “We can’t do that in a vacuum, so we’ve also got the intelligence community working with us.”
The NRO and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency are responsible for operating most space-based ISR assets, and Liquori said he doesn’t expect there to be a major change in their portfolios. Instead, he anticipates the Space Force will take ownership of a portion of the ISR mission now operated in the air domain.
“Part of the reason for moving it is the unique aspect that being on orbit provides you with a larger coverage area,” he said.
In parallel with the broader space-based ISR requirements review, the Space Force is also developing a force design for a ground-moving target indicator capability. GMTI is used to track targets on the ground and has traditionally been conducted by aircraft like the Air Force’s Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System.
The Space Force revealed last year that it has begun development of a space-based GMTI capability and its force design organization, the Space Warfighting Analysis Center, is crafting a plan for how that technology might fit into the broader space architecture.
Liquori said that force design exercise will conclude this month and will inform the Space Force’s fiscal 2024 budget request. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/C4ISR & Networks)
01 June 22. Sierra Space + Spirit AeroSystems Form Strategic Partnership.
Sierra Space and Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. [NYSE: SPR] have formed a long-term, strategic partnership that is intended to accelerate access to a vibrant commercial space economy of the future.
Spirit Defense & Space will assist in the development and production of future affordable Shooting Star Transport Vehicles under a Letter of Intent signed between the two companies. The agreement also provides for the two companies to work together to develop innovative technologies and processes to accelerate Sierra Space’s expanding Dream Chaser family of scalable spaceplanes to the market.
Using Sierra Space’s growing range of space transportation, infrastructure and associated technologies, the company intends to expand access to the space economy for other commercial entities and enable the discoveries and innovations of the future.
Spirit Defense & Space will work with Sierra Space to enhance accessibility and efficiency of the Sierra Space Shooting Star cargo module system to advance a family of cargo and service modules for on-orbit services. The collaboration combines the strength of Sierra Space’s advanced space technology expertise with Spirit AeroSystem’s renowned aerospace industrialization proficiencies.
Aiming to revolutionize commercial space missions to new destinations, this new partnership will leverage the combined strengths of Sierra Space and Spirit Defense & Space to design, fabricate, assemble, integrate and test affordable cargo modules for upcoming NASA missions and expand the versatility of variant designs in support of future Sierra Space cargo and service missions.
Initially, the partnership intends to establish production efficiency and integrated assembly solutions for Sierra Space’s Shooting Star cargo module, supporting resupply missions to the International Space Station (ISS) under the NASA Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract.
Sierra Space’s Shooting Star is a 15-foot transport vehicle that attaches to the rear of the Dream Chaser® spaceplane. The module will carry up to 10,000 pounds of pressurized and unpressurized cargo, including critical science and provisions. Solar panels deliver six kilowatts of electrical power to the spacecraft, while six mounted thrusters provide Dream Chaser maneuverability.
In November of 2021, Sierra Space secured $1.4 bn in capital, the largest Series A capital raise in 2021 and the industry’s second largest private capital raise in history. The Series A investment was led by General Atlantic, Coatue and Moore Strategic Ventures, with participation from funds and accounts managed by BlackRock Private Equity Partners and AE Industrial Partners. The funding is accelerating the development of the company’s space transportation systems – led by the Dream Chaser® spaceplane, in-space destinations for LEO commercialization, and advanced technologies and space applications.
“Through this long-term partnership, Sierra Space is delighted to begin work with Tom’s team at Spirit AeroSystems, widely recognized as leaders in the aerospace industry and aligned with our vision of an accessible and vibrant space economy,” said Sierra Space CEO, Tom Vice. “Working with Spirit Defense & Space, we will broaden access to tomorrow’s space economy; lowering the cost of entry and increasing the speed to market of Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser franchise. Together we will accelerate the commercialization of space. Shooting Star is another innovative technological solution from Sierra Space for the new space economy, and with Spirit as a key partner, we are broadening accessibility to our offering and increasing efficiencies to accelerate more widespread adoption.”
“We are very excited about the opportunity this partnership with Sierra Space represents. Spirit AeroSystems brings unparalleled value in terms of design for manufacturability and industrialization to help scale production rates on the Dream Chaser and its derivatives,” said Tom Gentile, President and CEO, Spirit AeroSystems. “We look forward to joining Sierra Space on its mission to create exciting breakthroughs that enable existing businesses, entrepreneurs, researchers and governments to empower humanity to enhance life on Earth. We are grateful to Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas, who assisted with connecting our two companies to make this partnership possible.”
Sierra Space (www.sierraspace.com) is a leading commercial space company that is building platforms in space to benefit life on Earth. With more than 30 years and 500 missions of space flight heritage, Sierra Space is enabling the future of space transportation with Dream Chaser®, the world’s only winged commercial spaceplane. Expected to launch in early 2023 on a series of NASA missions, Dream Chaser can safely carry cargo – and eventually crew – to on-orbit destinations, returning to land on compatible commercial airport runways worldwide. Sierra Space is also building the LIFE™ habitat, a three-story commercial habitation and science platform designed for low Earth orbit (LEO). Both Dream Chaser and LIFE are central components to Orbital Reef, a mixed-use business park in LEO being developed by principal partners Sierra Space and Blue Origin, which is expected to be operational by 2027.
Spirit AeroSystems is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of aerostructures for commercial airplanes, defense platforms, and business/regional jets. With expertise in aluminum and advanced composite manufacturing solutions, the company’s core products include fuselages, integrated wings and wing components, pylons, and nacelles. We are leveraging decades of design and manufacturing expertise to be the most innovative and reliable supplier of military aerostructures, and specialty high-temperature materials, enabling warfighters to execute complex, critical missions. Spirit also serves the aftermarket for commercial and business/regional jets. Headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, Spirit has facilities in the U.S., U.K., France, Malaysia and Morocco. (Source: Satnews)
01 June 22. Poland’s first smallsat factory to be built by SatRev within the Legnica Special Economic Zone. SatRev will manufacture numerous nanosatellites in a new factory that will be built in Legnica, Poland, close to the company’s headquarters — this is the result of an agreement signed with the Legnica Special Economic Zone (LSEZ). The factory is the first of its kind and will increase the capabilities of the European satellite market.
By the close of 2025, SatRev expects to be producing hundreds of smallsats each year.
SatRev intends to be the world’s first satellite manufacturer that uses 100% of the required energy for their production process from renewable sources. Once the requirements have been met, SatRev will receive public aid for their undertaking. The Legnica Special Economic Zone is not only for large, international matters, but also for domestic companies working on development projects.
From the beginning, LSEZ can offer tax exemptions of as much as 45% on investment outlays, decide case by case. Access to relief for those investing in state-of-the-art technologies is easier thanks to a reduction of 95% of the required expenditure. This is 20x less than the requirement for large investors.
At present, the preparation of the functional-utility program for the factory project is nearing completion. The next stage will involve acquiring land, financing, and selecting a contractor. Details will soon be presented by the Legnica Special Economic Zone. The factory plant has more than 1,100 m2, including 280m2 of cleanrooms and clean boxes following ISO7 and ISO5, and is expected to be delivered in 2023
“By 2026 we plan to create a constellation of 1,000 EO satellites. To achieve this goal, we needed a place to increase our production, and we found the needed support in the Legnica Special Economic Zone. The cooperation agreement is the next step in the development of both the company and the Polish space sector,” said Grzegorz Zwolinski, CEO and Co-founder of SatRev.
“We are now opening up to new technologies and even a space venture. We support Polish innovative technological thought leaders. Preferential tax allowances offered by us are ‘tailor-made’ and this attracts businesses — start-ups included,”” said Przemysław Bożek, President of the Board of the Legnica Special Economic Zone.
“The most common barrier to the growth of new technology businesses is simply a lack of space for development. Another obstacle is the lack of funds to build your own production hall, and even earlier to purchase expensive land. Therefore, we are preparing a special project to build production, storage, and logistics halls, which we will also want to make available in a subscription model, like the Spotify service. If everything goes according to plan, the first halls will still be made available in 2023. We want SatRev to be the first tenant,” said Ryszard Wawryniewicz, Vice President of the Legnica Special Economic Zone.
SatRev was founded in Poland in 2016 to focus on the emerging space market. With vertically integrated operations, the company specializes in the design, manufacture, and mission operation of optic satellites and space programs for Earth Observation. It is building a constellation of satellites expected to reach more than 1,000 satellites by 2026. Moreover, in October 2019, the company formed a consortium with Virgin Orbit and nearly a dozen Polish universities to design and conduct the world’s first dedicated commercial satellite mission to Mars. Current investors include Polish VC funds such as JR HOLDING, Infini, Newberg, Tech Invest Group, and Varko (part of NCBiR’s science start-up funding program).
The Legnica Special Economic Zone is located in South-Western Poland, within the Dolnośląskie voivodeship, one of the most dynamically developing areas in Poland. In 2022 it will celebrate its 25th anniversary. To date, the LSEZ has 77 investors from many corners of the world and nearly 1.4 thousand hectares of investment land. Furthermore, LSEZ has PLN 11bn in investments and – above all – nearly 17 thousand jobs — twice as many as the investors planned. In over a quarter of a century, the area of the Legnica Special Economic Zone has almost quadrupled. Companies from many sectors invest here, e.g. automotive, food, chemical, and heating industries, and among them are well-known corporations such as Volkswagen Motor Polska, Brose Sitech, Winkelmann and BASF. Currently, construction work is also underway on a bn-dollar investment in Sroda Slaska – a plant for the global giant PepsiCo. (Source: Satnews)
02 June 22. Deutsche Telekom and Inmarsat collaborate with Tampnet to strengthen European Aviation Network connectivity in the North Sea.
The necessary equipment elements were brought in via helicopter in often challenging weather conditions and installed according to stringent security requirements on the offshore production platforms.
Deutsche Telekom and Inmarsat have boosted the capacity of their European Aviation Network (EAN) inflight broadband solution by collaborating with Tampnet, a global leader in providing high capacity, low latency and reliable connectivity to offshore installations, mobile rigs and vessels.
The cooperation entails the installation and maintenance of five EAN sites on production platforms in the North Sea. Two additional antenna sites are being placed in offshore wind farms within Germany’s and the Netherlands’ coastal waters (exclusive economic zones) and one more is already operational onshore in Norway. The new sites are located strategically to further enhance EAN’s high-speed passenger connectivity on flights in Northern Europe, including high-density flight routes between the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway. They complement the 300 LTE-based ground network antenna sites already set up across Europe and will further strengthen EAN’s combined satellite and air-to-ground network performance.
The five sea-based antenna sites are co-located on the top of existing communication infrastructure on offshore production platforms and therefore benefit from Tampnet’s extensive fiber network in the area. The necessary equipment elements were brought in via helicopter in often challenging weather conditions and installed according to stringent security requirements on the offshore production platforms. All engineering and installation activities were conducted in close cooperation with the platform owners and operators.
Rolf Nafziger, Senior Vice President of Deutsche Telekom Global Carrier, said, “With the installation of eight more antenna sites in and around the North Sea, we are proud to bring additional network capacity to an already exceptional connectivity service. The European Aviation Network gives European aviation a global advantage: Airlines get high speed and scalable connectivity with low operating costs and pan-European coverage. Passengers get a seamless service that is as good as a broadband connection on the ground.”
Philippe Carette, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said, “The European Aviation Network is well established as the continent’s fastest inflight broadband solution, available to ms of passengers on short and medium haul flights with British Airways, Iberia, Vueling and AEGEAN. For airlines, it has played an important role in enhancing the onboard experience, unlocking new revenue opportunities and instilling greater confidence in air travel. This latest enhancement coincides with the third anniversary of the service being offered to passengers by our airline customers, with passenger usage at record highs following the pandemic.”
Elie Hanna, CEO of Tampnet said, “Tampnet is very proud to partner with Deutsche Telekom and Inmarsat on such an innovative project. Our extensive offshore network was the perfect fit for the EAN project. Installing and maintaining an LTE network offshore is very challenging and we were honored to have the opportunity to extend our expertise and engage in such an innovative and significant project for Europe and the aviation industry. Going forward, Tampnet will support the project by delivering fiber backhaul and maintenance to the base stations providing additional coverage to the airspace above the North Sea. The fact that the network is fully supported by our subsea network ensures its scalability for future capacity needs.”
The network enhancement marks a new development for EAN, which is the world’s first inflight broadband solution that combines dedicated satellite coverage with a complementary LTE-based ground network. Offering incomparable speeds, uninterrupted coverage and significantly lower latency than any other inflight Wi-Fi network in the continent, it allows passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media, enjoy real-time interactive applications such as gaming, and more.
To date, more than 55 m passengers have enjoyed access to the advanced, high-speed connectivity solution on over 440,000 flights across the continent. Its popularity reached new heights last year, with record usage as passengers returned to the skies. This aligns with Inmarsat’s latest Passenger Confidence Tracker, the largest global survey of its kind, which found that 41 percent of the 10,000 respondents believed inflight Wi-Fi had further increased in importance post pandemic.
Specifically designed to meet the needs of European aviation, EAN delivers the fastest speeds over one of the world’s most congested airspaces, plus the quickest installation times and easy scalability to meet growing future demand. It has now been activated on over 270 aircraft, including the entire British Airways short-haul fleet. These numbers will continue to grow in the coming years, as final roll-out progresses with Iberia and Vueling — both members of the International Airlines Group (IAG) alongside British Airways — in addition to all of Greek carrier AEGEAN’s existing and new Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft. (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.