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16 June 22. Space Development Agency plans for ‘enduring’ satellite experimentation testbed. The Space Development Agency wants to buy 10 satellites to support a new on-orbit experimentation effort.
The agency released a draft solicitation June 3 for the National Defense Space Architecture Experimental Testbed, or NExT, seeking a satellite provider to integrate government-provided payloads onto 10 satellites that SDA will use to test new capabilities. The testbed will support SDA’s vision of creating a constellation of hundreds of satellites operating in low Earth orbit and is on track to launch the first of those systems this fall. While the initial solicitation will be for 10 satellites, an SDA official told C4ISRNET June 14 the agency expects NExT to provide an “enduring” test and experimentation capability. The official spoke on background to freely discuss the program.
“SDA is going to fly these things in this experimental testbed so that if the threat changes or if the warfighter comes to us in two years or four years or sometime in between and says, ‘We need a way to do this,’ we will have already checked out a number of payloads,” the official said.
The testbed will also allow the agency to work ahead, answering key questions about whether it can launch large quantities of the payloads and how they integrate with command-and-control systems on the ground.
“We’ll know a lot more information about these payloads than we would have without this experimentation testbed,” the official said.
SDA will hold an industry day June 22 to brief companies on its plan for NExT and expects to release a formal solicitation in July or August. The official said the agency has identified which government payloads the satellites will carry, but declined to provide details.
Separate from NExT, SDA is also preparing to buy up to 12 satellites that will carry experimentation payloads to inform future capabilities for its transport layer, set to create a mesh network of communication satellites that can transfer information from on-orbit sensors to users on the ground. The 12 satellites will integrate with “tranche 1″ of that transport constellation under an effort called Tranche 1 Demonstration and Experimentation Satellites or T1DES. SDA will release a formal solicitation for T1DES by mid-July. (Source: Defense News)
14 June 22. German Bundeswehr’s first SARah satellite to launch this week. The 4t SARah satellite will be launched from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, US. German Bundeswehr’s first of three Airbus-built SARah Earth observation satellites, SARah-1, is being readied for launch on 18 June. The new SARah system will replace the SARSynthetic Aperture Radar-Lupe reconnaissance satellites. SARah-1 has been transported from Germany to the launch site at the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, US. It will first be subjected to system-specific tests in the preparation hall at the launch site. The satellite-based radar reconnaissance system will then go to the refuelling hall, before final integration into the SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket.
According to the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw), the launcher will take approximately 40 minutes after the engines’ ignition to release the 4t SARah satellite into the space.
SARah-1 has been developed by Airbus Defence and Space in Friedrichshafen, which is also responsible for the launch, calibration and validation of the satellite, with final in-orbit delivery.
In March 2018, BAAINBw contracted OHB System in Bremen, Germany, for the development and integration of the satellite. Airbus was appointed as the main subcontractor.
The SARah system’s overall architecture includes a space segment with three radar satellites (two by OHB, one by Airbus) and a ground segment connected to two ground stations, designed and built by German manufacturers.
Besides, individual components and assemblies were developed by international suppliers and were integrated by German manufacturers after successful acceptance.
The integration phase involved several interfaces and functional tests to ensure satellites do not suffer damage during launch and can safely send data to the SARah ground segment during subsequent space operations. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
14 June 22. Northrop Grumman teamed with Mynaric and Innoflight to bring the Space Development Agency’s (SDA) vision of a secure, proliferated low-Earth orbit (LEO) mesh communication network closer to reality. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) today announced the successful ground demonstration of a secure networked laser communications system for proliferated-LEO constellations supporting the U.S. military.
Performed for SDA leadership, the demonstration validated compatibility between commercially developed laser communication and secure U.S. government encryption hardware, providing a baseline for Northrop Grumman’s future proliferated space crosslink communications offerings including SDA’s Transport and Tracking programs.
“We invested in this demonstration because we wanted to reduce key risks early in development,” said Blake Bullock, vice president, communication systems, strategic space systems, Northrop Grumman. “Our team focused on speed and optimizing the best of emerging commercial suppliers like Mynaric and Innoflight – while bringing the mission expertise unique to Northrop Grumman to test and field this prototype constellation.”
Northrop Grumman selected Mynaric as a strategic supplier for laser communications in space, and Innoflight for encryption, decryption and other key aspects of Northrop Grumman’s architecture.
As the U.S. Department of Defense works to connect the joint force, Northrop Grumman’s space networking capabilities seek to play a vital role in providing secure global connectivity. Another step toward enabling this vision to connect the joint force is the recent announcement of a collaboration with AT&T to research and develop a 5G-enabled digital battle network.
Innoflight is a non-traditional defense contractor founded in 2004. Innoflight offers state-of-the-art space avionics, including Communications & Networking Solutions, Cyber Security Solutions, Processing, Data Storage & Payload Interface Electronics Solutions, and Bus & Payload Integrated Avionics Solutions. Our core competency is secure Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4) systems designed through innovative implementation of modern commercial, off-the-shelf technology. The result is modular, high performance, yet low Size Weight and Power systems at competitive prices. Our products are qualified through an Innoflight rigorous process that includes parts reliability analysis and testing, system-level fault tolerance, and radiation risk mitigation. Our customers include the U.S. government, prime aerospace contractors and commercial space developers.
Mynaric (NASDAQ: MYNA) (FRA: M0Y) is leading the industrial revolution of laser communications by producing optical communications terminals for air, space and mobile applications. Laser communication networks provide connectivity from the sky, allowing for ultra-high data rates and secure, long-distance data transmission between moving objects for wireless terrestrial, mobility, airborne- and space-based applications. The company is headquartered in Munich, Germany, with additional locations in Los Angeles, California, and Washington, D.C.
14 June 22. Lockheed JP9102 bid includes new rideshare opportunity. Lockheed Martin Australia has boosted its JP9102 bid by pledging it will give small, local satellite missions an opportunity to rideshare on the SATCOM launch vehicle into space.
Announced in partnership with Adelaide-based satellite manufacturer Inovor Technologies, the program is dubbed ‘Hosted Missions Program’ and is set to provide “multiple mission opportunities” all in the one launch vehicle, according to a statement.
JP9102, the name for the $3 bn project to create a new military satellite communication capability for Australia, is hoped to eventually reduce the country’s reliance on the United States’ defence capabilities, including the US military’s Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS).
The aerospace giant is heading a consortium to bid for JP9102, which includes Linfox, Shoal Group and Clearbox Systems and others.
LMA said the small missions, which could include spacecraft to augment the JP9102 satellite or separate commercial one’s, will slot into any leftover space on the rocket.
“We’re committed to supporting Australian space industry by maximising the benefits of existing launch opportunities,” said David Ball, Lockheed Martin Australia’s Regional Director for Space.
“Inovor, as the only spacecraft manufacturer in Australia developing bespoke spacecraft subsystems, and with deep experience providing satellite mission solutions for Defence, would support the Hosted Missions Program with exploratory studies, knowledge sharing, program planning activities and safety design requirements.
“By offering to facilitate launch and transferring engineering know-how and capability to these organisations, Lockheed Martin Australia is contributing to the ongoing development of our nation’s robust space capability,” Ball added.
Ball said the program will enable more Australian space companies and organizations to benefit from LMA’s JP9102 proposal.
Inovor’s founder and CEO, Matt Tetlow, said the company welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the program.
“We’re excited by the opportunity to work hand in glove with Lockheed Martin Australia to create unparalleled opportunities for Australian space organisations, while also ensuring any hosted mission adds no risk to the safety and security of the primary JP9102 spacecraft.”
The Hosted Missions Program falls under LMA’s Enhanced Australian industry Capability (AIC) plan, which was established to support small to medium Australian businesses to develop defence and space capabilities.
The JP9102 bid is competitive, and other contenders in the frame are thought to include Airbus and Team Maier, Boeing, and Team AUSSAT – comprised of companies including Optus, Thales and Raytheon. (Source: Space Connect)
13 June 22. Skynet 6 SDW in August? Sources suggest that the UK’s Skynet 6 Service Delivery Wrap (SDW) will be announced in August. At the same time Airbus has been granted an 18 month contract extension to its Skynet 5 contract. Does this signify that Airbus will not be selected for the SDW?
13 June 22. Stratolaunch completes sixth flight test of Roc carrier aircraft. Delivery of hypersonic flight services for commercial and government customers is expected by next year. US-based aerospace company Stratolaunch has completed the sixth flight test of its Roc carrier aircraft over the Mojave Desert. During the flight test, the aircraft flew for around one hour and 26 minutes and reached an altitude of 15,000ft.
This flight test was intended to continue the flight expansion envelope of the Roc carrier aircraft, with a recently added pylon on the aircraft’s centre wing.
Pylon consists of a mini-wing and an adapter and can be used for carrying and releasing reusable, rocket-powered Talon-A hypersonic vehicles safely.
Stratolaunch CEO and president Dr Zachary Krevor said: “Today’s flight builds on previous successful flights and hardware enhancements.
“We will leverage this flight experience as we complete integrated testing in the coming months and prepare for Talon-A test flights.”
At the time of the demonstration, the team faced certain consequences that led them to realise that it would not be able to complete all the test objectives and so the focus was shifted to completing other targets.
Other targets included the evaluation of the aircraft’s handling characteristics, its general performance, the pylon hardware and its landing gear operations, involving alternate gear extension and door functionalities.
Recently, Stratolaunch’s team has also integrated the Roc aircraft with a TA-0 separation test vehicle for the first time, hinting toward a captive carry and separation test expected to happen later this year.
Furthermore, the team is making continuous progress in terms of system integration for its first hypersonic flight test vehicle TA-1, along with the third vehicle TA-2’s fabrication. TA-2 is the first fully reusable hypersonic test vehicle.
Delivery of hypersonic flight services for commercial and government use is expected by next year.
In January 2022, Stratolaunch completed the third flight test for the Roc aircraft. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
15 Jun 22. Kleos’ fourth cluster to launch on SpaceX Transporter Mission.
Over EUR1m in new contracts
- Kleos’ fourth satellite cluster; Observer, is scheduled to launch on the Transporter-6 SpaceX mission
- Launch expected in September-November timeframe
- Increases Low Earth Orbit Constellation to 16 satellites
- Agreement signed with US Navy Naval Surface Warfare Center for joint data experimentation
- New Purchase orders and contracts valued over EUR1m / AUD$1.5m
Kleos Space S.A (ASX:KSS), a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) and Mission-as-a-Service (MaaS) provider, confirms its Observer Mission (KSF3) satellites is manifested to launch on the Transporter-6 SpaceX mission NET October 2022.
The Observer Mission satellites will be deployed into a Sun Synchronous orbit from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Spaceflight Inc. contracted the launch and integration services from ISILAUNCH on behalf of Kleos.
Equipped with AIS, VHF, and X-Band payloads, the four satellites will expand Kleos’ data collection capability by up to an additional 119 m km² per day. They also enable Kleos to increase its average daily revisit rate over the 15-degree latitude area of interest to around five times a day.
Kleos Space CEO Andy Bowyer said, “The upcoming launch brings our low earth orbit constellation to 16 satellites, further increasing our data collection, intelligence, and reconnaissance capabilities. The Observer Mission features VHF and X-Band collection payloads, providing additional value and capabilities to our government and commercial data customers.”
“As Kleos continues to launch its constellation, it’s important to offer a variety of reliable launch options,” said Curt Blake, President and CEO of Spaceflight. “Through our diverse portfolio of launch and industry partners, Spaceflight delivers unprecedented launch flexibility. We’re excited to support Kleos as it continues to grow its constellation and deliver valuable capabilities and insight.”
“We are pleased that we could offer our support to Kleos and Spaceflight with launch capacity on a launch that best fitted the needs of our customers and partners”, said Abe Bonnema, Director of ISILAUNCH. “Part of the ISISPACE Group, building turn-key satellite solutions for Kleos, ISILAUNCH is keenly aware of the importance of launch flexibility and working with launch partners to best serve our joint customer needs. We look forward to launching the Observer Mission satellites.”
US Navy engaged
Kleos recently announced successful execution of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the Naval Surface Warfare Center Division, Crane (NSWC Crane) for joint data experimentation.
Under the CRADA agreement, Kleos will provide its radio frequency (RF) geolocation data in realistic test scenarios to improve maritime domain awareness for real-world challenges, including sanctions reporting, embargo, transshipment monitoring, search and rescue, resource management, fisheries control, smuggling, and border control.
The agreement is the first phase of the SCOUT Experimentation Campaign – a collaboration between the Naval Research and Development Establishment, industry players, academia, and Department of Defense technology partners to rapidly innovate and integrate holistic solutions for military challenges. It includes discovery test exercises, which will contribute to the development and integration of technologies that allow for quicker leadership decision making.
Over the past two months, Kleos received purchase orders & contracts valued at just over EUR 1m/AUD$1.5m for expected delivery & payment in the current and next quarter.
05 Jun 22. EOS Space Systems joins SmartSat CRC as a core partner for the development of optical comms + compact RF tactical terminals.
SmartSAT CRC has announced that EOS Space Systems has become a core partner for the SmartSat Co-operative Research Centre, becoming the 20th core partner alongside leading universities and global corporations such as Airbus, BAE Systems and Nova Systems.
Project CHORUS aims to build on existing Australian technology in compact RF tactical terminals and optical communication to develop “leap-frogging” technology that exploits bearer diversity through a highly integrated hybrid Optical-RF tactical terminal with applications for the commercial and national security markets.
Phase 1 of CHORUS (Apr 2019-Apr 2020) was a research activity to develop concepts for, and explore the feasibility of, a highly integrated, tactical satellite communications terminal combining radio frequency and optical frequency capabilities into a single compact terminal. Phase 2 is on track to deliver a working terrestrial demonstration, with a terminal in early 2023.
SmartSat CRC CEO Professor Andy Koronios said, “EOS Space Systems becoming a core partner is the culmination of one of our most exciting space ventures: Project CHORUS. SmartSat CRC brought together a cross-disciplinary team of industry and universities under the leadership of the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) and facilitated the requirements-gathering from end-users, developed system designs and the research components. What began as a $1.2 m dollar Phase 1 project has already moved to the next phase, with a further $2.8 m investment in the rapid development of this innovative technology. We are delighted that EOS have decided to become one of our core partners. 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.”
EOS Space Systems Chief Executive Officer, Glen Tindall, said the speed of creation of Project CHORUS had spurred the organization to step up as a core partner to SmartSat CRC. “Project CHORUS has been an exercise in the best-practice commercialization of a new technology. Driven by collaboration between government, industry, and the researchers – it was fast, efficient and the IP negotiations were effortless, allowing us to control the IP but Defence having a call on the technology at no extra cost. The success of this venture demonstrates the value of having an independent platform like SmartSat CRC to bring the various parties together and makes things happen for 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.”
DSTG’s Chief Technology Officer, Strategic Research and Innovation, Professor Michelle Gee, said that Defence’s investment in the SmartSat CRC through the Next Generation Technologies Fund was clearly paying dividends. “We are seeing the development of potentially break-through technologies that could be a game-changer for military satellite communications,” she said. “Those are exactly the sorts of results we want and expect to see from the Next Generation Technologies Fund.” (Source: Satnews)
13 June 22. Airbus-built Earth observation satellite (SARah-1) ready for launch. World-class Earth observation satellite system developed for the Bundeswehr. Latest radar technology together with very fast alignment and flexible shaping of the antenna beam enables extremely high-resolution observation of the Earth’s surface, regardless of time of day and weather conditions. The Airbus-built “SARah-1” Earth observation satellite, under subcontract to OHB System AG, has been transported from Friedrichshafen, Germany, to Vandenberg, California, USA, and is currently being prepared for launch in June 2022 and subsequent operation by Airbus in space.
SARah is a new operational reconnaissance system consisting of several satellites and a ground segment, which was developed on behalf of the German Bundeswehr. As the successor system, it replaces the SAR-Lupe system currently in service and offers significantly enhanced capabilities and system performance.
Overall responsibility for the complete SARah system lies with OHB System AG, Bremen, as prime contractor, which holds the main contract from the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw). Airbus is the main subcontractor. The architecture of the overall SARah system consists of a space segment with three radar satellites (2 x OHB, 1 x Airbus) and a ground segment connected to two ground stations.
Airbus Defence and Space in Friedrichshafen developed the satellite with the latest, highest-resolution radar technology as well as jointly developing the ground segment to operate its own satellite. The company is also responsible for the launch, calibration and validation of the radar satellite, with final in-orbit delivery.
The radar instrument developed and built by Airbus features a sophisticated active phased array antenna and represents a further development of the Airbus-built TerraSAR, TanDEM-X and PAZ Earth observation satellites already successfully operating in orbit. This technology offers the advantages of very fast pointing and very flexible shaping of the antenna beam to deliver imagery in record time.
In general, radar satellites, with both passive and active antenna technology, allow observation of the Earth’s surface regardless of the time of day or weather conditions.
The satellite, built by Airbus, weighs around four tons and will be launched from Vandenberg, California, USA.
The launch and commissioning (LEOP) of the satellite will be supervised from Airbus’ control centre in Friedrichshafen. The subsequent calibration, validation and operation will be carried out from the Bundeswehr control centre.
10 June 22. NILESAT 301 Communications Satellite Successfully Launched.
The NILESAT 301 communications satellite built by Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%) for the Egyptian operator NILESAT was successfully launched today from Cape Canaveral launch pad, Florida (USA), on board of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
Thanks to a powerful Ku-band mission NILESAT 301 will reinforce NILESAT commercial leadership in broadcast services at 7°W over MENA and opening new services over Southern Africa and Nile Basin. In addition, a state-of-the art multibeam Ka band mission will support NILESAT entry in the broadband connectivity market over Egypt.
As prime contractor, Thales Alenia Space was responsible for satellite design, production, testing and in-orbit acceptance tests. NILESAT will also benefit from brand new satellite control facilities installed in Cairo and Alexandria, which are already operational to control NILESAT 201 in orbit.
The satellite is based on the Spacebus 4000-B2 platform with about 4 metric tons at launch and a design life exceeding 15 years.
Following NILESAT 201, NILESAT 301 is the second geostationary communications satellite built by Thales Alenia Space for NILESAT. It is also the fourth payload developed by Thales Alenia Space for the Egyptian operator.
“We are delighted to continue supporting NILESAT in this growth by delivering customized satellite products with outstanding performance”, said Hervé Derrey, CEO of Thales Alenia Space. “This achievement proves that our telecommunications offer perfectly replies to the telecom market’s needs and that we are perfectly capable of providing tailored solutions that meet each operator’s specific requirements, to enhance global connectivity and reduce the digital divide.” (Source: ASD Network)
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