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30 June 22. L3Harris Infrared Space Technology to Enhance Battlefield Imagery and Missile Defense Detection.
- Enhanced Infrared instrument will provide superior resolution to collect battlefield information
- Wide-field-of-view satellite will scan large area of Earth for potential missile launches
- Data to inform future space-based missile defense missions and architectures
A L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX) infrared instrument set to launch June 30 will significantly improve the ability to capture high-resolution imagery and other important battlefield information from space – a critical capability for the nation’s future missile defense efforts.
L3Harris is providing the instrument as part of a wide-field-of-view satellite that also will help inform future space-based missile defense missions and architectures. The satellite will be positioned 22,000 miles from Earth, enabling the infrared system to see a wide swath and patrol a large area for potential missile launches.
“The L3Harris instrument can stare continuously at a theater of interest to provide ongoing information about the battlespace, which is an improvement over legacy systems,” said Ed Zoiss, President, Space & Airborne Systems, L3Harris. “It also provides better resolution, sensitivity and target discrimination at a lower cost.”
The instrument was built for Space Systems Command and is integrated into a Millennium Space Systems satellite, scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The payload, which is more than six feet tall and weighs more than 365 pounds, was developed in Wilmington, Mass.
L3Harris is prioritizing investments in space-based missile defense programs and has accelerated the development of resilient, end-to-end satellite solutions in spacecraft, payloads and ground software, and advanced algorithms.
In a related effort, the Missile Defense Agency awarded L3Harris a missile-tracking study contract in 2019 and the prototype demonstration in January 2021. In December 2020, the Space Development Agency selected L3Harris to build and launch four space vehicles to demonstrate the capability to detect and track ballistic and hypersonic missiles.
(Source: BUSINESS WIRE)
30 June 22. Giant Leap for Space Industry R&D in NSW. Technologies that aim to enhance our space-based defence surveillance capabilities, improve the performance of computers in space and deliver sovereign production of communication systems are among projects funded under a landmark new program. The NSW Space Research Network (SRN) will fund seven projects through its first Research Pilot Program, with two additional projects receiving seed funding.
Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology Alister Henskens said NSW already has an incredible depth of talent in the space industry and this investment will accelerate local R&D opportunities.
“With many industries looking to increase their output and improve efficiency through space-enabled technologies, the value of the global space sector is forecast to reach more than US$1 trillion by 2040,” Mr Henskens said.
“Collaboration between government, industry and our universities is essential to successful commercialisation of our world leading research. This investment is another example of our commitment to turbocharging local R&D opportunities so that our State remains at the forefront of this innovative and rapidly growing industry.”
The SRN is a university-led initiative, funded by the NSW Government, designed to enhance the local space industry through collaboration with government and academic research institutions.
NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte said the SRN was at the forefront of NSW’s push to play a significant role in the global space industry.
“NSW boasts world-leading space R&D, and is home to the largest concentration of space-related activity in Australia, with more than 40 per cent of the country’s space businesses and more than a third of its space startups,” Professor Durrant-Whyte said.
SRN co-director Professor Stefan Williams from The University of Sydney said the Network will develop and support a comprehensive strategy to grow space research and industry capacity within NSW.
“This will be achieved through a focus on supporting collaborative projects, knowledge exchange, educational opportunities and community outreach,” Prof. Williams said.
30 June 22. U.S. approves SpaceX’s Starlink internet for use with ships, boats, planes. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Thursday authorized Elon Musk’s SpaceX to use its Starlink satellite internet network with moving vehicles, green-lighting the company’s plan to expand broadband offerings to commercial airlines, shipping vessels and trucks.
Starlink, a fast-growing constellation of internet-beaming satellites in orbit, has long sought to grow its customer base from individual broadband users in rural, internet-poor locations to enterprise customers in the potentially lucrative automotive, shipping and airline sectors.
“Authorizing a new class of terminals for SpaceX’s satellite system will expand the range of broadband capabilities to meet the growing user demands that now require connectivity while on the move,” the FCC said in its authorization published Thursday, echoing plans outlined in SpaceX’s request for the approval early last year.
SpaceX has steadily launched some 2,700 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit since 2019 and has amassed hundreds of thousands of subscribers, including many who pay $110 a month for broadband internet using $599 self-install terminal kits.
The Hawthorne, California-based space company has focused heavily in recent years on courting airlines around Starlink for in-flight WiFi, having inked its first such deals in recent months with Hawaiian Airlines and semi-private jet service JSX.
“We’re obsessive about the passenger experience,” Jonathan Hofeller, Starlink’s commercial sales chief, said at an aviation conference earlier this month. “We’re going to be on planes here very shortly, so hopefully passengers are wowed by the experience.”
SpaceX, under an earlier experimental FCC license, has been testing aircraft-tailored Starlink terminals on Gulfstream jets and U.S. military aircraft.
Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, has previously said that the types of vehicles Starlink was expected to be used with pursuant to Thursday’s authorization were aircraft, ships, large trucks and RVs. Musk, also the CEO of electric car maker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), had said he didn’t see “connecting Tesla cars to Starlink, as our terminal is much too big.”
Competition in the low-Earth orbiting satellite internet sector is fierce between SpaceX, satellite operator OneWeb, and Jeff Bezos’s Kuiper project, a unit of e-commerce giant Amazon.com (AMZN.O) which is planning to launch the first prototype satellites of its own broadband network later this year. (Source: Reuters)
29 June 22. ICEYE Expands its Business to Offer Complete Satellite Missions for Customers. Owning the world’s largest SAR constellation, ICEYE is the only company in the world that can provide customers with complete SAR satellite missions delivered in months. ICEYE, an Earth observation company operating the world’s largest synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) satellite constellation, today announced the establishment of a new line of business focused solely on delivering fully operational satellite missions to customers looking for their own orbital SAR capabilities. Governments and large multinational corporations are able to purchase their own radar imaging satellites from ICEYE and operate them independently, or arrange ICEYE to manage the spacecraft exclusively on their behalf.
“We have pioneered advances in electronics, spacecraft engineering and on-orbit computation so that we can manufacture high performance, smaller and less expensive SAR satellites to meet the imaging requirements for international customers,” said Rafal Modrzewski, CEO and Co-founder of ICEYE. “We have been listening carefully to the market and we are responding to the strong need for this unique offering.”
The new Missions line of business will be led by Steve Young, a seasoned space and aerospace professional, formerly acting as ICEYE’s Vice President of Business Development and Sales. Prior to joining ICEYE, Young worked in executive positions at BAE Systems. In 2015, he helped co-found the New Space company Earth-i, a high-resolution satellite imaging provider, after a previous role as the Head of Business Development and Sales for Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL). In 2011, he was made a fellow at the Royal Aeronautical Society.
“For the longest time, the potential to see anywhere on the planet has been there, but it’s never been fully realized,” said Steve Young, President, Satellite Missions, ICEYE. “Part of that has been due to the limitations of the current systems which can’t image at night or through clouds. ICEYE’s SAR satellites can see day or night and during bad weather. This is truth data that you simply can’t hide from. As the only organization in the world to rapidly deliver proven high-precision SAR satellites, we are excited to offer our ICEYE SAR satellites for customer missions and enable organizations to have independent control of this reliable and repeatable information source.”
ICEYE has already secured complete satellite missions with several international customers including, two of the satellites launched in May 2022 which were provided to the Brazilian Air Force (BAF). The BAF will own and operate the satellites in support of environmental and national security objectives. Due to South America’s almost constant cloud-cover in certain areas, radar imaging satellites are the only truly viable solution to reliably capture the data required.
In December 2021, ICEYE also entered a partnership with Canada’s MDA Ltd. to supply a SAR spacecraft for its next generation commercial Earth observation system known as CHORUS. The ICEYE satellite will work in conjunction with MDA’s broad area C-band SAR satellite following the same ground track to enable cross-cue operations between the two satellites.
Unlike traditional Earth observation satellites, ICEYE’s radar imaging satellites, each weighing around 100 kg, can form high-resolution images of areas of the Earth in all lighting and weather conditions multiple times a day. Imagery can be collected over very wide areas, up to thousands of square kilometers, or over small and precise points of interest. In the high-resolution collection mode, the images are detailed enough to see changes on the ground as small as footprints across a field or vehicle tracks in the sand. (Source: PR Newswire)
28 June 22. Top military space buyer eyes fixed-price contracts. Frank Calvelli, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration, said “fixed-price contracting is not a bad approach for space things” and could help keep acquisitions on time.
Frank Calvelli, the new assistant secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration, said “fixed-price contracting is not a bad approach for space things” and that “the worst thing you want to be is a cost-plus program inside a factory that has everything going through a fixed price because you will end up paying the bills, you end up being late and you will end up behind schedule.”
It’s one of many approaches that Calvelli plans to bring to military space acquisitions from the National Reconnaissance Office, where he served as the principal deputy director and deputy acquisition executive.
“They’ve gotten really good over the last few years of really pushing for cost realism and schedule realism in their competitive [requests for proposals]. And one of the biggest challenges we have today is when we get an RFP that we award that’s not executable, and that ends up causing re-baselining and…slows things up,” Calvelli said during a virtual Mitchell Institute event on June 24.
“So they’ve gotten really good at driving costs and schedule realism and I’m gonna probably borrow those techniques.”
Calvelli added that while additional or unexpected costs weren’t totally avoidable, companies bidding on space contracts should take factors such as supply chain and inflation into account when bidding instead of offering the lowest possible rate.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson,told senators in May that cost-plus contracts were a “plague” on the agency’s major projects which have suffered from cost overruns.
“We have been moving to the fixed price where we can under procurement law,” Nelson told the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science and Related Agencies on May 3. “In those that we can’t do cost-plus, we are moving to really crack down on them.”
Calvelli made his intentions to improve space acquisitions known during his Senate confirmation hearing, saying a “culture of a program management discipline” could help the Space Force “to go a little bit faster.”
On Friday, Calvelli stressed that he was not against cost-plus contracts but that fixed-price helped speed acquisitions along.
“We want to go fast, which means if we’re smart, we use existing technology where we can, and take a page out of [the Space Development Agency’s] playbook, which is use what you can get and go off and build on to your centers,” Calvelli said. “And so when you start using existing technology capabilities and you want to go fast, fixed price helps in that as opposed to cost plus.”
Calvelli added that long development cycles spanning five to seven years make it difficult to refresh technology.
“You get these things up there and they last a long time, which is awesome. But, you know, the technology’s changed so quickly on the ground if you do more smaller systems with shorter design lives, as well, because launch has become so much more affordable…then you can take more advantage of technology faster.”
Calvelli added that he was also eyeing NRO techniques around system engineering, cloud computing, mission frameworks, and mission applications, while also noting that he wanted to better sync space and ground systems.
“We seem to have a disconnect with space and ground systems where we’ll launch something but the ground is just not ready yet or user terminals [are] just not ready yet,” he said, adding that the priority is “to ensure that the space and ground systems come together as an integrated system so that when we launch the systems, we can take full advantage of them.” (Source: Defense Systems)
23 June 22. Fleet to bring metal patch antenna printing onshore.
Fleet Space is set to bring the 3D printing of its satellite’s metal patch antenna onshore after announcing a partnership with Konica Minolta.
The deal will allow the business to initially scale up manufacturing but will later be used to develop prototypes and new parts during downtime.
Fleet Space is best known for creating an advanced low-power satellite network, which is securing global coverage for internet of things (IoT) devices by using its in-house nanosatellite technology.
The business says its current all-metal patch antennas deliver 10 times more throughput per kilogram of spacecraft. However, the 3D printing of these antennas was previously outsourced to an offshore provider.
Konica Minolta began a proof of concept to demonstrate that its “3D Systems DMP350 Flex” printing solution was capable of printing the quality of aluminium part and in the volume required for Fleet Space to keep up with demand.
Matthew Hunter, national manager, emerging technology, Konica Minolta, said, “This is a highly technical environment with precise specifications. Konica Minolta was able to prove that the 3D Systems metal printers include market-leading technology that lets users 3D print with aluminium in a precise, repeated, and scalable method.
“This made Fleet Space both more productive and cost effective for its volume manufacturing offices and provides ongoing capacity for important research and development, keeping the organisation at the cutting edge.
“The consultative approach taken by Konica Minolta and 3D Systems means that Fleet Space will be able to go straight into volume manufacturing as soon as the device arrives.”
Konica Minolta is implementing 3D printers from 3D Systems. Its SEANZ Industrial Solutions group leader, Tim Naylor, said, “One of the key criteria for Fleet Space was that the 3D printer could deliver a repeatable process to avoid any variation between parts.
“Our printer has a closed-loop architecture, which guarantees an accurate and repeatable process. The machine also has the lowest oxygen content on the market, which delivers a pure part without defects, something that is very important when it comes to aerospace applications.”
Space Connect reported in May how Fleet Space Technologies has made contact with its 12-kilogram satellite that it successfully launched into orbit.
The newest payload will add more data capacity and reduce the latency of Fleet’s existing six satellite Centauri constellation, currently positioned in low-Earth orbit (LEO).
That launch marked the first time its all-metal patch antennas were entirely 3D printed, paving way for a future constellation to be fully manufactured the same way.
“We’ve built our business and reputation by consistently delivering on our stated goals and developing technologies that address real human and commercial needs reliably and cost-effectively,” said Flavia Tata Nardini, the CEO and co-founder of the company. The 12-kilogram, 6U payload was launched at an expected altitude of 530 kilometres in LEO.
It comes almost a year after Centauri 4, its previous satellite, was launched into space. (Source: Space Connect)
20 June 22. A SpaceX Falcon 9 frees Globalstar’s FM15 spare satellite successfully from Earth to orbit. On Sunday, June 19, at 12:27 a.m., ET, a SpaceX Falcon 9 launched the Globalstar FM15 satellite to LEO from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. This was the ninth launch and landing of this booster, which previously supported the launch of Crew-1, Crew-2, SXM-8, CRS-23, IXPE, one Starlink mission, Transporter-4, and Transporter-5.
Globalstar, Inc. also announced the successful launch of their FM15 spare satellite from Cape Canaveral’s Kennedy Space Center. FM-15 is the 25th and final satellite of Globalstar’s 2Gen constellation, which was manufactured and stored by Thales Alenia Space. The satellite is expected to remain as an on-orbit spare and will only be raised to its operational orbit at a future date, if needed.
SpaceX confirmed that the upper stage of the Falcon 9 rocket accurately injected the satellite into its targeted LEO and the company has started initial on-orbit testing and the satellite is operating nominally at this time. This satellite addition to the firm’s constellation is designed to further support Globalstar’s data products and services, including the firm’s legacy Duplex, SPOT retail consumer and Commercial IoT. The launch further solidifies Globalstar’s commitment to deliver uninterrupted connectivity to users worldwide.
“We are pleased to achieve launch success together with SpaceX and would like to extend a profound thank you to the team at Thales Alenia Space for successfully manufacturing, storing and then readying the satellite for launch,” said David Kagan, CEO. “This latest satellite, which will serve as an in-orbit spare, plays a crucial role in our continued growth plans prior to the launch of additional satellites procured from MDA and Rocket Lab which are expected to launch in 2025.”
Globalstar introduced their SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger in 2007. Today, leveraging its LEO satellite constellation, Globalstar reliably connects and protects assets, transmits key operational data, and saves lives – from any location – for consumers, industrial companies, and government agencies in over 120 countries. With a portfolio that includes SPOT GPS messengers, next-generation IoT products and modules and cloud-based telematics solutions, Globalstar’s cost-effective satellite-powered innovations give users visibility and intelligence for improving safety and operational efficiencies. (Source: Satnews)
20 June 22. Satellite Vu selects Orbit Logic planning software for thermal imaging constellation. Satellite Vu has selected Orbit Logic’s collection planning software for the operation of their planned constellation of high resolution thermal imaging satellites.
Orbit Logic will deliver software and engineering services, including software configuration, training and custom model development, starting in May of 2022. Orbit Logic will deliver its Collection Planning & Analysis Workstation (CPAW) and Order Logic software products, configured for the Satellite Vu constellation. These products will generate operational-fidelity imaging schedules and related downlink plans for use in pre-launch constellation design, analysis, and on-orbit operations.
CPAW-generated plans are output for command generation and to Order Logic for plan inspection and 3D visualization and animation. CPAW uses high fidelity system modeling and advanced scheduling algorithms to generate valid and optimized imagery collection plans for use in spacecraft operations and analysis. CPAW planning capabilities include contact scheduling and recorder management, power management and antenna modeling, imaging platform attitude/slew planning, system availability management, timing constraints, and sensor imaging mode modeling and related collection deconfliction and optimization.
Order Logic will also provide order management, collection feasibility, an API for integration with external software, and a secure multi-user web browser interface for operators, managers, and customers alike. Configurable permissions ensure that each user logging in to Order Logic has access only to the data and features necessary for their job.
“We are excited to be a part of the Satellite Vu team that is developing such an innovative, space-based thermal data solution to help build a more sustainable world, said Alex Herz, president of Orbit Logic. Anthony Baker, CEO of Satellite Vu. He continued, “We are delighted to add Orbit Logic’s collection planning software to our state-of-the-art thermal monitoring satellites as we continue to count down the days to launch. The space industry is at an exciting stage and our satellites are a part of that, poised to make a significant difference in the fight against climate change by providing governments and businesses with the data they need to identify energy wastage and minimize carbon emissions, as well as contributing to preventing fire spread and reducing water pollution.”
Orbit Logic specializes in mission planning and scheduling solutions for aerospace and geospatial intelligence. Orbit Logic’s operationally proven COTS products create better plans faster with fewer resources for all mission phases. Orbit Logic engineering services are available to configure, customise, and integrate Orbit Logic’s mobile, web-based, cloud-hosted, and desktop applications to provide turn-key operational solutions that leverage the latest available technologies to meet customer goals and exceed their expectations.
Founded to bring satellite technology to address our global challenges, Satellite Vu will be able to monitor the temperature of any building on the planet in near real-time using a new mid-wave infrared camera. These images provide valuable insights into economic activity, energy efficiency and disaster response. Satellite Vu will effectively be the Earth’s thermometer from space. Satellite Vu has raised a combined total of £20 m from grants and venture capital led by Seraphim Space Investment Trust, including Lockheed Martin, Molten and A/O PropTech. Partnered with Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. to build the satellite constellation, and with SpaceX for the first satellite launch in early 2023, Satellite Vu are bringing the highest resolution thermal data to enable us to see the world like never before. (Source: Satnews)
22 June 22. Arianespace’s Flight VA257 successfully launches from Korou, French Guiana. Arianespace announced that on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, at 06:50 pm local time, an Ariane 5 launcher lifted off from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana (South America), and successfully orbited two, geostationary, telecommunication satellites — MEASAT-3d and GSAT-24.
“With this Ariane 5 mission, Arianespace is honored to support the ambitions of two key actors in the Asia-Pacific region: MEASAT, the leading Malaysian satellite operator and NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), a Government of India company within the Department of Space (DOS) acting in concert with the Indian Space Agency ISRO. With the orbiting of both MEASAT-3d, the fourth satellite that we’ve launched for the benefit of Malaysia, and GSAT-24, the 25th Indian satellite we’ve delivered for them, we are affirming our long term partnership with these two great actors,” said Stéphane Israël, CEO of Arianespace.
MEASAT-3d, to be co-located with MEASAT-3a and MEASAT-3b in the 91.5°E orbital slot, is a multi-mission telecommunications satellite built by Airbus Defence and Space. It will significantly enhance broadband speeds of up to 100 Mbps per user in areas with limited or no terrestrial network throughout Malaysia, while continuing to provide redundancy and additional capacity for video distribution in HD, 4K, and ultimately 8K in the Asia-Pacific region.
MEASAT-3d will also carry an extremely innovative payload on behalf of the Korean operator KTSAT. Conceived by Airbus Defense and Space, it will be used by the Korean Augmentation System (KASS), a project of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport led by KARI, the Korean Space Agency, to significantly improve air traffic control in South Korea.
GSAT-24 is a Ku-band 4-ton class communications satellite built by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) for NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) that will provide high-quality television, telecommunications and broadcasting services across India. It will be the first “Demand Driven” communications satellite mission undertaken by NSIL.
“After the successful launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, this new achievement helps Ariane 5 write a new chapter in space history”, said André-Hubert Roussel, CEO of ArianeGroup. “Ariane 5 demonstrates its reliability once again, justifying the trust of Arianespace’s customers worldwide. Its successes are tied to Ariane 6, which benefits from the same reliability along with increased competitiveness and versatility.”
The Ariane 5 heavy-lift launcher is an ESA program carried out in cooperation between public institutions and industry across 12 European partner states.
ArianeGroup is the lead contractor for the development and production of Ariane 5, and is responsible for campaign operations and preparation of the launch vehicle up to lift-off. ArianGroup hands over a “ready to fly” rocket to its subsidiary Arianespace, which sells the Ariane 5 and operates it from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana. During launch campaigns, Arianespace works closely with CNES, who is the design authority for the Ariane 5 and controls the satellite preparation facilities at the CSG.
After this launch, four Ariane 5 vehicles remain before the Ariane 6 takes up the baton, supporting Europe’s institutional missions, while meeting the growing needs of the commercial market. (Source: Satnews)
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