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11 Aug 22. US Army looking at new ways to use space technology for unconventional warfare.
The U.S. Army’s land forces for decades have relied on satellites for communications, navigation and early warning of missile attack. But the Army now wants to figure out other ways to use space technologies for nontraditional military operations such as cyber and information warfare.
Army leaders in panel discussions at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium said wars in the future will be fought in the space and cyber domains. And they argued that there should be more synergy among space, cyber and information warfare capabilities so they can be layered to greater effect.
The head of the Army Space and Missile Defense Command Lt. Gen. Daniel Karbler described the concept as a “triad of space, cyber and special operations.” This would require developing concepts of operations where surveillance satellites and cyber tools, for example, would be used in support of U.S. special forces that specialize in counterterrorism, information warfare and influence operations.
The idea was endorsed by the Army’s top cyberwarfare officer Lt. Gen, Maria Barrett, and the head of Army Special Operations Command Lt. Gen. Jon Braga, who made a joint appearance at the conference.
Using space and cyber technologies deliberately to locate targets, disrupt adversaries’ operations and gain information advantage is a departure from the Army’s traditional role of just being a passive consumer of GPS and satcom services.
Officials said the concept aligns with the Pentagon’s national defense strategy that calls for the military to develop non-lethal capabilities, including those that can disable enemies’ networks and satellites.
In a conflict against a peer competitor, “we need flexible options to counter disinformation, cyber attacks and asymmetric threats,” said Karbler. Space and cyber tools would complement traditional hard power to “address threats that transcend geographical boundaries and provide options when higher power escalatory options are less comfortable.”
Barrett said cyberwarfare capabilities, when combined with the global reach provided by space systems, could “disrupt adversary actions and shape adversary perceptions.”
Karbler said these unconventional approaches “underscore the vital importance of space and the essential role it plays when used in combination with new and existing capabilities.” Going forward, he added, “no longer can the space domain be untethered from land components.”
Braga argued that greater use of space technologies in warfare is necessary as “adversaries have made great investments in space capabilities and have shown that they will use them.”
China’s military doctrine, for example, integrates cyberspace, space, information operations, psychological warfare, and electronic warfare capabilities into joint military operations.
Special operations forces increasingly are aware of the importance of space as a high ground, Braga said, as “there is no sanctuary” anywhere on Earth.
Braga suggested the Army and other military services should collectively develop experiments that use space and cyber tools and eventually “test solutions in service exercises and joint force exercises.” He said Army Special Operations Command in March hosted an exercise focused on the intersection of space, cyber and special operations, but more is needed.
Growing role of space in land combat
The idea of combining space, cyber and special warfare marks a departure from the way the Army views space-based capabilities, said Eric Brown, vice president of military space advanced program development at Lockheed Martin.
Brown said in an interview that the “triad” concept floated by Karbler appears to be an effort to use space and cyber technologies in more sophisticated ways.
“The Army is, and has been, one of the largest consumers of space technologies of any of the services, just based on its sheer size,” said Brown. That is not likely to change but now “they are starting to think about the effects that you would want to have in an unconventional way,” he said. This stands in contrast to the conventional ways of measuring combat power based on the numbers of battalions, tanks and aircraft
Brown said tactics enabled by space and cyber systems give the military options to fight in scenarios the Pentagon calls “anti-access area denial” where enemies deploy air defenses, missiles at sea and other systems to counter U.S. conventional military power.
Bringing in special operations forces into the mix makes sense, he said. “We use our special operators to get into places that are difficult for other people to get into.” These are the units that identify and locate targets on the battlefield to enable the conventional forces to have an impact, Brown added.
Space-based target location and reconnaissance is one way to support missions in denied areas. The Air Force and Space Force have made the case that surveillance traditionally performed by aircraft should move to the space domain, said Brown, “because we don’t expect that we’ll be able to get air assets in place.”
Electronic warfare is another area that could leverage space systems, he added. When one looks at what could be done with electronic signals from space, “it really starts getting creative in how you use assets in a different way.”
(Source: glstrade.com/Space News)
11 Aug 22. DARPA selects 11 teams for Phase-1 of Space-BACN programme.
Space-BACN would allow continuous communication between military and commercial satellites. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has selected 11 teams to work on Phase 1 of the space-based adaptive communications node (Space-BACN) programme.
The objective of this programme is to create a reconfigurable, cost-effective optical communications terminal to adapt optical intersatellite link standards, translating between various satellite constellations.
According to the agency, Space-BACN would create an ‘internet’ of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, allowing continuous communication between military/government and commercial/civil satellite constellations.
DARPA Strategic Technology Office Space-BACN programme manager Greg Kuperman said: “After a successful Phase-0 where we got to see teams sprint to put together an initial architecture design for Space-BACN, I’m excited to get to work in Phase-1 building actual system.”
The first technical area will see CACI, MBRYONICS and Mynaric develop a flexible, low size, weight, power and cost (SWaP-C) optical aperture that couples into single-mode fibre.
In the second technical area, II-VI Aerospace and Defense, Arizona State University and Intel Federal will develop a reconfigurable optical modem to support up to 100Gbps on a single wavelength.
The six performers will also participate in a collaborative working group to determine the interface between system components.
Under the third technical area, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), Telesat, SpaceLink, Viasat and Kuiper Government Solutions will identify command-and-control elements to support cross-constellation optical intersatellite link communications.
It will support the development of a schema to interface between Space-BACN and commercial partner constellations.
The 14-month Phase-1 will culminate with a preliminary design review of the first two technical areas.
Following Phase-1 completion, the first two technical area teams will participate in an 18-month Phase-2 to develop engineering design units of optical terminal components.
Five other firms will continue to evolve schema to function for challenging and dynamic scenarios. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
10 Aug 22. U.S. rejects broadband subsidies for SpaceX’s Starlink, LTD.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission rejected SpaceX’s Starlink and LTD Broadband’s applications for more than $2bn in internet service subsidies, the FCC said on Wednesday.
In December 2020, the FCC tentatively awarded $9.2bn to over 300 bidders to deploy high-speed broadband from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. LTD Broadband won $1.32bn and SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet network won $885.5m in the 2020 auction. SpaceX, which is run by bnaire Elon Musk, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Starlink’s technology has real promise,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a statement disclosing that the agency had rejected its long-form applications. But the FCC was hesitant to publicly subsidize Starlink’s developing technology, especially given that users need to purchase a $600 dish.
LTD, which has tower sites in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin, said it is “extremely disappointed” in the decision.
“I don’t believe the FCC fully appreciated the benefits LTD Broadband would bring to hundreds of thousands of rural Americans. We are continuing to review the letter and are evaluating our next steps,” the company’s CEO, Corey Hauer, told Reuters in an email.
The FCC noted that Starlink, a fast-growing constellation of internet-beaming satellites, relies on nascent low-earth orbit satellite technology and had sought funding to provide 100/20 Mbps service to 642,925 locations in 35 states.
“We must put scarce universal service dollars to their best possible use as we move into a digital future that demands ever more powerful and faster networks,” Rosenworcel said. “We cannot afford to subsidize ventures that are not delivering the promised speeds or are not likely to meet program requirements.”
The FCC said the two companies both provided inadequate responses to questions and are not capable of complying with commission requirements.
The FCC cited data as of July 31 indicating Starlink’s speeds declined between the last quarter of 2021 and the second quarter of 2022, and its upload speeds have fallen well below 20 Mbps.
SpaceX has steadily launched some 2,700 Starlink satellites 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.
To date, the FCC rural internet subsidy program has authorized more than $5bn in funding to bring mostly fiber gigabit broadband service to over 3m locations in 47 states. (Source: Reuters)
10 Aug 22. NanoAvionics Adds New, Larger Microsat to Bus Line. NanoAvionics is expanding its flagship satellite bus line with a larger bus to meet customer demand for microsats. The company announced Wednesday it is adding the MP42H and the MP42D to its product line based on its flagship MP42 bus.
The MP42D is double the size of the MP42 bus, and can accommodate payloads of up to 145 kg for a total satellite mass of up to 220 kg. The company said this size can support advanced missions and applications, and it can also be used as an orbital transfer vehicles (OTV) for satellite rideshare providers.
The smallest bus in the range is the MP42H and can accommodate payloads of up to 22 kg.
NanoAvionics CEO Vytenis Buzas told Via Satellite this expansion is the logical next step to support the company’s customers, who want more capable and more flexible satellites. The company started out manufacturing the 3U nanosatellite bus, but over time customers have advanced and gotten away from cubesats. As customers have advanced and launch costs have gone down, the company has consistently added larger buses like the 12U and 16U nanosatellites, and then introduced the MP42 microsat last year.
“We were listening to the market and going where the market wanted to go,” Buzas said. “The bigger the vehicle, the more sophisticated subsystems you can accommodate there. More redundancy, better durability, higher power resources, higher computational resources, communication, much more room for deployable elements. And of course, bigger payloads.”
A number of customers have already purchased the new bus sizes. Overall, the MP42 is becoming more popular than NanoAvionics flagship product, the M6P 6U bus, Buzas said.
NanoAvionics customer business cases are maturing and the company is evolving to keep up with demand. The company is going through the process of being acquired by Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, which Buzas said will give NanoAvionics the support of a larger company and help it scale.
“The market as a whole is getting more mature,” Buzas said. “A lot of new businesses are starting to generate tangible revenues. We’ve been doing a lot of experiments on cubesats for the last 10 years, then initial business case demonstrations based on larger cubesat form factors. Finally, we are having companies deploy businesses based on smaller microsats. People are starting to generate real revenue.” (Source: Google/https://www.satellitetoday.com/)
09 Aug 22. USMC explores operational use of low Earth orbit satcom. The US Marine Corps (USMC) displayed a variety of emerging communications equipment during the amphibious warfare phase of the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise in Hawaii this week.
The display was hosted by the first Marine Littoral Regiment (MLR) to join the USMC’s order of battle – 3rd MLR – which is in the process of being equipped as a “self-deployable, multidomain force” that will support partners and allies in deterring adversaries, particularly across the Indo-Pacific.
3rd MLR’s Communications Company highlighted several satellite communication (satcom) user terminals, used to network ground vehicles, surface vessels, and command posts to low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellations.
Commercially available LEO satcom is gaining popularity across armed forces around the world. Combat commanders see it as a way to employ primary, alternative, contingency, and emergency (PACE) communications plans, which can ensure secure and resilient connectivity, even in the face of disruption by well-equipped adversaries. (Source: Janes)
09 Aug 22. Space Accelerator catalyses multi-m pound investment. Space start-ups generated almost £9m in investment and created 80 new jobs after taking part in a UK Space Agency-backed business support programme. Space start-ups generated almost £9m in investment and created 80 new jobs after taking part in a UK Space Agency-backed business support programme. The UK Space Agency Space Accelerator Programme, delivered by Entrepreneurial Spark, worked with entrepreneurs from all over the UK aged between 18-70, with business expertise in sectors such as aerospace, law, quantum technology, farming, environmental engineering, and healthcare.
Delivered through a series of virtual events led by a range of industry experts, the Accelerator aimed to break down perceived barriers facing under-represented business founders and open conversations about the opportunities that space can present.
Harshbir Sangha, Director of Growth at UK Space Agency, said: “I’d like to congratulate everyone who successfully completed our Space Accelerator. The UK has a strong entrepreneurial culture and a growing space sector, and there are significant opportunities for new space businesses to start up and thrive with the right support. The Space Accelerator perfectly encapsulates the value we seek to bring as an agency: catalysing investment, delivering space capabilities and championing space. With record levels of investment flowing into the sector, we want to accelerate the growth in space start ups and create thousands of new jobs across the UK.”
Participants included start-up leaders, established businesses in their early stages, and professionals from adjacent sectors who could benefit from space expertise, generating a vast and diverse network of multi-skilled space pioneers.
The UK Space Agency awarded £360,000 to the Accelerator over two financial years. This catalysed a total investment of £8.79 m from other grants and investors, opening up 80 new jobs and directly assisting 88 individual businesses between January 2020 and April 2022.
Since joining the programme, participants have reported an increase in their business turnover and customer numbers, as well as improved confidence in their own leadership skills, strategy planning, business models and partnerships.
James New, Co-founder and CEO of ODIN Space Ltd, said: “Our biggest achievement during the accelerator was raising our first round of investment. We raised £430,000 and it has massively boosted our growth.
The support from UK Space Agency, Entrepreneurial Spark and the delivery partners helped us hone our business model and boost our confidence when pitching to investors. It really felt like we were part of a major industry movement to develop new space businesses.”
ODIN Space is now ready to launch and start protecting space assets against orbital debris.
The growing UK space sector is already worth £16.5 bn to the economy and employs almost 47,000 from all over the UK, representing a huge area of opportunity for a range of businesses. The first satellite launches from the UK, due to take off later this year, will also help to drive growth in the sector and enhance the UK’s position as a leader in the global space community.
The Space Accelerator Programme was developed in collaboration with partners including Airbus, Astroscale, the European Space Agency, Department for International Trade, STFC RAL Space and others. Entrepreneurial Spark provided one-to-one support to the participants, specialising in developing entrepreneurial mindsets in technically focused founders. Alden Legal hosted a series of regulatory and access to finance workshops, while AstroAgency delivered space focused market prioritisation and competitive analysis workshops and one-to-one sessions with participants. Grey Consultants provided open access business horizons tech talks to engage new-to-space attendees from all around the UK.
The UK Space Agency is now looking for a partner to design and deliver the next space accelerator phase to run until March 2025. This will include providing a focused package of targeted support to space companies at different stages of development and equip programme participants with the knowledge and skills they need to grow, wherever they are based in the UK.
Entrepreneurial Spark is an impact-led accelerator for entrepreneurs. With a decade of global experience running 22 accelerators, it has supported over 5,000 founders to start, grow and scale their businesses. The Entrepreneurial Spark team members are experts in people, with a focus on helping entrepreneurs overcome the psychological barriers to growth while building great businesses. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
09 Aug 22. Microsoft becomes Cicada Innovations’ first ‘Constellation Partner’ at the National Space Industry Hub. Microsoft has been announced as the first ‘Constellation Partner’ at the National Space Industry Hub (NSIH) delivered by Cicada Innovations in a significant demonstration of growing industry support for Australia’s emerging space industry.
The NSIH Constellation Partners Program was designed to engage industry and foster investment in the local space industry. This will enable the NSIH to expand its national programs and become sustainable over the long term, following initial funding from the NSW Government.
“To be globally competitive in the space industry, Australian organisations need to work collaboratively in the pursuit of a thriving ecosystem,” said Sally-Ann Williams, CEO of Cicada Innovations. “Initiatives like the National Space Industry Hub, with the support of industry partners like Microsoft, are critical to this.”
Microsoft will be the exclusive Constellation Partner in the ‘cloud technology’ category. It will invest its time, capabilities and capital in the innovators, entrepreneurs, and researchers who form the NSIH community.
The partnership will enhance the NSIH’s commercialisation programs, including through events and workshops, free technology credits for participants, and mentoring.
NSIH members will be supported by Microsoft technology advisors and Microsoft Azure Space engineers as they build their solutions for commercial use.
Sally-Ann Williams, CEO of Cicada Innovations, said that strengthening ties between space innovators and industry will be critical for building a local space industry that is globally competitive.
Lynn McDonald, Azure Space Lead at Microsoft Australia, said the partnership reflects Microsoft’s approach to making space accessible and affordable. It will integrate the Azure cloud platform with an ecosystem of space partners to develop a multi-orbit, multi-band, multi-vendor, cloud-enabled capability. The NSIH officially launched in February 2022 and is delivered by Cicada Innovations, with seed funding from the NSW Government. (Source: Rumour Control)
08 Aug 22. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) and Firefly Aerospace have joined forces to provide an American-built first-stage upgrade for the Antares rocket and a new medium launch vehicle to serve commercial, civil and national security space launch markets.
“Through our collaboration, we will first develop a fully domestic version of our Antares rocket, the Antares 330, for Cygnus space station commercial resupply services, followed by an entirely new medium class launch vehicle,” said Scott Lehr, vice president and general manager, launch and missile defense systems, Northrop Grumman. “Northrop Grumman and Firefly have been working on a combined strategy and technical development plan to meet current and future launch requirements.”
Firefly’s propulsion technology utilizes the same propellants as the current Antares rocket, which minimizes launch site upgrades. The Antares 330 will utilize seven of Firefly’s Miranda engines and leverage its composites technology for the first stage structures and tanks, while Northrop Grumman provides its proven avionics and software, upper-stage structures and Castor 30XL motor, as well as proven vehicle integration and launch pad operations. This new stage will also significantly increase Antares mass to orbit capability.
“Firefly prides itself on being a disrupter in the new space industry and collaborating with a proven space pioneer like Northrop Grumman will help us continue that disruption,” said Peter Schumacher, interim CEO, Firefly.
The Antares 330 performance upgrade will enable Northrop Grumman to continue to support the company’s current contracts while planning for future mission capabilities.
Firefly Aerospace is an emerging end-to-end space transportation company focused on developing a family of launch vehicles, in-space vehicles, and services to provide industry-leading affordability, convenience, and reliability to its government and commercial customers. Firefly’s launch vehicles, combined with their in-space vehicles, such as the Space Utility Vehicle (SUV) and Blue Ghost Lunar Lander, provide the space industry with a single source for missions from LEO to the surface of the Moon and beyond.
07 Aug 22. Get SAT Introduces Two New FULLY Electronic KU ESA Solutions for Aviation, Land, and Maritime. Get SAT is proud to introduce its two newest electronically steerable antennas (ESA), the LESA Aero Ku and the Sling Blade KU Land Maritime (LM). Designed from the ground up for Multi-Orbit/Multi-Constellation operations. These Ku ESA designs use Get SAT’s breakthrough 2D fully electronically steered antenna (ESA) system for SATCOM-on-the-move connectivity. Get SAT’s ESA systems are a fully integrated, all in one terminal that are scalable in size and performance to fit various application in the air, on land or at sea.
LESA Aero Ku is a small, compact solution that will support all ranges of airborne platforms sizes to include wide body aircraft, executive aviation, and rotary wing operations, basically any in-flight connectivity. Its low-profile design makes it perfect for integration on any aviation platform to include already in place fuselage mount designs. LESA also enables the end user the ability to switch from LEO to GEO operations on the move in an instant providing true multi-Orbit operations.
Sling Blade Ku LM is Get SAT’s latest design for use with land and maritime on the move platforms with the most stringent of environmental requirements. The Sling Blade Ku LM will provide a fully integrated package including modems. Sling Blade Ku LM’s low profile, compact design allow for a myriad of installation options to support a range of military and commercial use cases. Its Multi-Orbit capabilities will allow government and military planners to support a robust PACE plan for C5ISR requirements.
Get SAT’s two new ESA designs have a number of key features: both have 2D beam steering, are full-duplex, and conduct handover between satellites in <800ms, in addition to multi beam operation. Designed with no moving parts, no calibration is required therefore providing long-term reliability and lower maintenance costs. They are optimized for mobile connectivity, have a short acquisition time, and excel in high dynamic tracking in harsh environments.
Kfir Benjamin, Get Sat CEO says: “These two new Ku ESA designs are a culmination of two years of data and requirement gathering from our most valued Government and Military end users. We are extremely proud to deliver what we feel will be a critical piece in future C5ISR planning to provide no fail communications in the harshest environments.” (Source: PR Newswire)
08 Aug 22. Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket pushes NROL-199 to the satellite’s assigned slot. At 05:00 UTC on August 4, 2022, Rocket Lab successfully launched the company’s second of two, back-to-back, national security missions for the National Reconnaissance Office.
Highlights of this mission include:
- This mission follows the successful delivery to orbit of its predecessor NROL-162 three weeks earlier, launched on the “Wise One Looks Ahead” mission on July 13, 2022.
- The launches of NROL-162 and NROL-199, combined with the successful launch of the CAPSTONE mission to the Moon for NASA on June 28, 2022, make up a record launch cadence for Rocket Lab of three successful Electron launches in just over five weeks.
- The turnaround between NROL-162 and this NROL-199 launch is the shortest time between national security missions by a small launch provider, setting a new standard in responsive space.
Electron is on the pad and ready to launch a national security mission for the National Reconnaissance Office — the second of two missions for the NRO from a spaceport outside the United States.
Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) has confirmed that the second of two, back-to-back, national security launches for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), originally scheduled for August 2 UTC, is now pushed out to at least Thursday, August 4th, due to rather windy conditions.
The NROL-199 (“Antipodean Adventure”) mission was scheduled to lift-off from Pad B at Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 during a launch window opening on August 2, 05:00 UTC. This Electron mission follows on from an earlier successful launch for the NRO on July 12, 2022 that deployed the NROL-162 national security payload to orbit.
The NROL-199 mission will launch a national security payload designed, built, and operated by the NRO in partnership with the Australian Department of Defence as part of a broad range of cooperative satellite activities with Australia. The satellites will support the NRO to provide critical information to government agencies and decision makers monitoring international issues
The mission was originally scheduled for lift-off on July 22; however, the launch was rescheduled to allow the NRO additional time to implement required payload software updates. This schedule shift demonstrated Rocket Lab’s responsive space capabilities, which provide customers with a high degree of flexibility over their mission, including orbit and launch timing. By operating a private launch complex, Rocket Lab doesn’t have to wait in a launch queue behind other operators and could instead quickly reschedule the launch to suit the NRO’s preferred timeline. (Source: Satnews)
01 Aug 22. Technology to enable AST SpaceMobile’s direct-to-cell phone connectivity from space. Their approach will mean that subscribers outside the reach of cellular coverage could have access to broadband speeds without having to invest in specialized hardware and be able to roam from land networks to space networks for the first time. AST SpaceMobile, Inc. (“AST SpaceMobile”), the company that is building the first space-based cellular broadband network accessible directly by standard mobile phones, announced that they have signed a five-year 5G deal with Nokia. Under the deal, Nokia and AST SpaceMobile will work to achieve their joint ambition to expand universal coverage and connect underserved communities around the world. The planned launch of AST SpaceMobile’s BlueWalker 3 test satellite later this year will kick off global testing with mobile network operators on six continents.
AST SpaceMobile’s mission is to eliminate the connectivity gaps faced by over five bn mobile subscribers worldwide and to bring cellular broadband to approximately half of the world’s population who remain unconnected. Their approach will mean that subscribers outside the reach of cellular coverage could have access to broadband speeds without having to invest in specialized hardware and be able to roam from land networks to space networks for the first time. Through its mobile network operator relationships, AST SpaceMobile has entered into agreements and understandings with mobile network operators which collectively service over 1.8 bn cellular customers.
Nokia’s AirScale Single RAN equipment aims to enable AST SpaceMobile in providing mobile services to new and existing subscribers in regions currently not served by terrestrial communication networks. This includes connecting devices globally on land, at sea, or in flight. Nokia will provide equipment from its comprehensive, energy-efficient AirScale portfolio including its AirScale base stations powered by its latest generation of Nokia’s ReefShark System-on-Chip (SoC) chipsets. AST SpaceMobile will benefit from Nokia’s modular baseband plug-in cards which add capacity where it is needed offering flexibility and efficiency. Nokia will also provide its NetAct solution for network management and seamless daily network operations as well as optimization and technical support services.
“Connectivity should be considered an essential service like water, electricity or gas. Everyone should be able to have access to universal broadband services that will ensure that no one is left behind,” said Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia. “Nokia has a long history of delivering connectivity solutions that have had a major and positive impact on society. We have worked closely with AST SpaceMobile on this important initiative for two years which seeks to provide crucial connectivity from space to underserved communities around the world. We are of course proud our technology is playing an important role in underpinning the networks.”
AST SpaceMobile plans to launch its BlueWalker 3 satellite for testing in early to mid-September from Cape Canaveral, Florida. BlueWalker 3 is a low Earth orbiting satellite and has an aperture of approximately 64 square meters (693 square feet), which is designed to communicate directly with cellular devices via 3GPP standard frequencies. Ultimately, AST SpaceMobile is aiming to deploy approximately 100 satellites to achieve substantial global mobile coverage.
“With the integration of Nokia’s AirScale system, AST SpaceMobile and Nokia are taking an important step toward closing connectivity gaps all over the world,” said Scott Wisniewski, Chief Strategy Officer at AST SpaceMobile. “Nokia is supporting us with dozens of engineers and development professionals, including leading architecture research experts at Bell Labs, the world-renowned industrial research arm of Nokia. In the coming months, we are scheduled to launch our BlueWalker 3 test satellite into low Earth orbit, which has a 64-square meter phased array antenna designed for direct-to-cell connectivity. With this satellite, we plan to conduct testing all over the world with leading mobile network operators, leveraging Nokia’s technology solutions on the ground.”
Nokia is committed to equitable opportunity for all and access to education, healthcare, jobs, and community digital services. Nokia supports the 2025 targets set by The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development that aims to ‘connect the other half’ in the next five years. They are involved in several projects underway around the world including in El Salvador and Kenya. (Source: Satnews)
05 Aug 22. Raytheon’s Blue Canyon opens expanded small satellite production facility. Raytheon-owned Blue Canyon Technologies opened the doors of a new satellite manufacturing facility in Colorado that will increase its production capacity to 85 space vehicles per year from 50 and could help cement its parent company’s position as a leader in the technology.
The 31,000 square foot plant is dedicated to building cubesats, a class of small satellites that weigh between one and 10 kilograms and are typically the size of a loaf of bread. Since Raytheon acquired Blue Canyon last year, it has expanded production capacity in Boulder and at a facility in nearby Lafayette that builds microsatellites, or those weighing 10-100 kilograms.
“This new manufacturing facility allows us to produce at a larger scale, provide innovative solutions and deliver top-performing satellites to meet our customers’ needs,” John Carvo, Blue Canyon’s executive director of cubesats, said in a statement announcing the plant’s Aug. 4 grand opening.
Blue Canyon produces a range of small space vehicles for customers at the U.S. Department of Defense and NASA. Later this summer, two weather satellites it developed for a joint program led by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and the United Kingdom Defence Science and Technology Laboratory will launch as part of the first space mission to lift off from British territory.
Roy Azevedo, president of Raytheon’s intelligence and space business, told C4ISRNET the company’s investment in Blue Canyon is part of a broader strategy to become a leader in small satellite technology.
“In the last two years, we’ve invested over $1 bn dollars — and that’s in small satellites, space-qualified electronics, optics, constellation management systems,” Azevedo told C4ISRNET during a July 19 interview at the Farnborough Airshow. “We have every intent of being a small sat leader.”
Along with its purchase of Blue Canyon, Raytheon last year acquired space-qualified electronics company SEAKR Engineering and in July announced it would buy a United Kingdom-based space domain awareness startup called Northern Space and Security. That deal is expected to close by the end of this month.
Azevedo said Raytheon’s recent acquisitions, while focused on leadership in the small satellite market, are also meant to differentiate the company at a technology level. Blue Canyon and SEAKR provide the company with satellite and sensor hardware expertise and NORSS adds specialization in orbital analysis and surveillance.
“It’s quite congested in space, and that is what their tool sets are made for,” he said of NORSS. (Source: Defense News)
05 Aug 22. NRO, Air and Space Forces jointly investigating how to improve space-based ISR. The Space Force, Air Force and National Reconnaissance Office are deepening collaboration as they explore better ways to provide critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) information to warfighters and U.S. policymakers, NRO Director Chris Scolese confirmed on Thursday.
ISR capabilities enable officials to gather intel about adversaries by tracking their behavior and movements. Much of what NRO does is classified, but the office has been capturing and supplying ISR data from satellites to help focus military efforts and natural disaster response throughout its more than 60 years of existence. Now though, as the strategic environment and technologies are quickly evolving, senior leaders see the need to reshape how U.S. agencies work together.
“We need information faster and we need to deliver it quicker — and we have even more denied areas” to contend with, Scolese noted at a virtual forum hosted by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.
Challenges associated with the division of different government entities’ responsibilities for ISR have also been repeatedly spotlighted since the Space Force’s establishment in 2019.
“[NRO has] a lot of experience that we can bring to bear on [ISR], and we’re working very closely with the Air Force and the Space Force [to address] how we go about doing that. How do we take what we’ve learned and what capabilities we have to solve a very urgent problem? There’s a study that’s going on right now that we’re doing jointly that’s going to inform how we move forward on that,” Scolese said. “We recognize that we have to work together in order to develop that capability at scale that we’re going to need as we work in more denied areas.”
That study is not yet complete, “but is going well,” Scolese added — though he didn’t provide further details. At this point, he said, major shifts to the NRO’s role of providing overhead reconnaissance to the nation are not expected.
“I certainly haven’t heard of any indications that there’s a fundamental change in that sense of responsibility,” Scolese noted.
His remarks came about a week after Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall affirmed a new informal agreement for collaboration between the National Reconnaissance Office and the Department of the Air Force — which includes the Space Force — and the potential for more co-funded projects to accelerate the delivery of intel solutions to meet demands.
“Secretary Kendall and I talk regularly,” Scolese said. In his view, the NRO’s long-standing relationships with the Air Force, Space Force and U.S. Space Command are currently “expanding to recognize that, again, the world is changing.”
He added: “So, as we discussed and as the secretary said, we’re going to tighten that relationship. We’re going to work more closely together and we’re going to find ways so that we can be efficient from a government standpoint so that we can make that happen very effectively.”
Additionally, NRO is working with Space Command to develop a more resilient, proliferated satellite architecture.
“We all know that Russia and China are becoming very aggressive with space weapons. They want to take away our advantage in space. So, we have to deal with that,” Scolese said.
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.